Ramping Up

Hello friends and welcome to a self-motivational edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well, friends, loathe as I am to admit it, the post-NaNoWriMo slump got me but good this year. The normal burnout, plus all the bad wrong going on in the real world, plus an unusually long and intense depressive episode has meant my writing has been limping along forlornly in the background.

Which is not to say I’ve done nothing (19 pages!), which is already an improvement over years past where December and January are complete black holes of productivity. But as the days drag on and I am still often struggling to get more than 200 words a day done, I find myself looking for something, anything, to motivate it me to do more. I am still amazed at how easy I found this last NaNo to be, yet as soon as the clock struck December 1st, all those good vibrations just… flew out the window. Am I really a person that needs that communal struggle to propel me forth?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am not looking to work at that sort of breakneck speed more than once a year. But something closer to 1000 words a day would keep me on track to get this mammoth of a book done by July.

Something got me thinking. Last year (or was it the year before last? 2020 time flowed at a completely different rate, didn’t it) in the run up to NaNoWriMo, Mur Lafferty on her excellent podcast I Should Be Writing talked about how, if one is anxious about their capability of writing 1666 words a day in November, they can ease themselves into it by starting in October with a much lower daily word count and slowly build up to that magic number.

As far as ideas go for the motivation-starved writer (read: me), it’s as good as any, right?

My word count yesterday was 260. So, I thought, what if today I do 280? Maybe tomorrow I could do 300. Then Saturday 325. And so on. Just a little bit extra than I did yesterday, every day, until I’m routinely hitting the mark of 1000. I could knock out 50 or 100 words on my lunch break. I could dictate 100 more on my commute home. I could do 75 while the kids are in the shower. Here and there, nothing too overwhelming, until I build my – uh – tolerance back up.

Like flexing a muscle, right? Every day, a bit at time.


I’m projecting the first draft of this novel to be around 300k words, so at my current rate of writing I will be approximately… dead by the time its ready to query.

Better get to it, shouldn’t I?

Take care friends! Until next week, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Writing With Intention

Hello friends and welcome to another fun filled fantasy edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well, I am happy to report that I am finally coming out of the fog that has been clouding my brain for the last six weeks or so, and that means I am ready to attack my current project, The Nexus, with gusto.

I type with purpose.
I type with purpose.

I write fantasy, and one of the best things about writing fantasy is that the writer has a level of freedom that authors of most other genres do not enjoy. There is no history you need to keep in mind, no conventional values to adhere to. Not even the laws of nature are necessarily safe. With magic and fantastic creatures and pantheons of gods that can shape reality to their will at an author’s fingertips, literally anything is possible.

One of the things I am strongest at with my writing is developing characters. Even when I play roleplaying games, I tend to take the text and supplement it with background information of my own imagining, for no other reason than I find it more entertaining that way.

I am also a white, cis-gendered, straight passing woman who grew up surrounded by white, cis-gendered, straight media telling white, cis-gendered, straight stories, so when I create characters they usually start from a white, cis-gendered, straight template. However, as I started developing not just my craft but my social conscience in my early 20s, I realized that books strictly about white, cis-gendered, straight characters were no longer interesting to me – to read or write. And so I made a conscious decision to be extremely intentional to be as diverse as possible with my own casts.

I’m disappointed (in myself) to say that I’ve not done as good a job as that with The Nexus. For background, The Nexus came into being when I decided to round up a handful of unused or discarded character concepts from past projects. That means that though the story itself is wide ranging, most of the characters still more closely resemble the template upon which they are based.

There is still time to adjust this, of course, and I have no doubt that as I get deeper into the trenches (I’ve only completed 1/6 story paths after all) more ideas on how to diversify will come to me, but the realization that I hadn’t done as well as I’d hoped served as an important reminder that resisting one’s internal biases, even if it is unintentional and non-malicious, is an ongoing battle.


fThat’s all from me this week. I miiiiiight be back on Tuesday for a book review, depending on how much time I have to read over the weekend, but if not I’ll see you next Thursday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Reasons I DNF This Book: Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Hello and welcome to 2021’s first edition of Reasons I DNF This Book. I’m a little bit disappointed in myself to be writing this one, because I feel like I really did want to finish this book, but… well. I just don’t have the time or energy right now.

Today’s DNF: Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James; DNF at 13%

Before we get into it, as always:

Spoiler alert
Spoiler alert!

Continue reading “Reasons I DNF This Book: Black Leopard, Red Wolf”

Mental Space

Hello and welcome to a rare unburdened and optimistic edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Yesterday, I felt a weight lift off me. I honestly didn’t realize how much extra water I had been carrying these last four years. I wonder how much time I lost stressing about what was going on in the world outside my little bubble.

Some blue check I follow on Twitter said yesterday morning said that they’ll have so much more mental space now that the country isn’t on the brink of falling into fascism that they immediately plan to launch into three new projects. I couldn’t stop thinking about that sentiment all day, as I watched the proceedings with an increasingly light heart.

It would be too cheap and easy to blame my lack of productivity on world events, but, lets be honest, those events certainly haven’t helped the fickle and flighty being that is my muse stay on topic. And though I know myself well enough to say with confidence that I’m not gonna suddenly have enough vigor to write 10,000 words a day or start a bunch of new things behind the scenes even while I’m trying to write a novel, I can’t help but feel buoyed by this newfound optimism in all facets of my life.

It can get so easy to make excuses. Well, I wrote a blog today, that counts as writing so I don’t actually need to put words down. I had two doctors appointments today and now I just want to relax. My internet is blinking out and even though I don’t need it to write, now my ambient noise generator isn’t working and I just can’t focus.

It’s been so easy, these last four years, to convince myself that not only are all those things true, but that capitulating to those impulses is actually self-care. And it wasn’t until I was snuggled up in bed yesterday, with my heated blanket and a cup of hot chocolate, watching the fireworks, that I realized just how much I needed the release of tension it brought. That while things are far from being perfect, I don’t need to make excuses anymore. Because I’m going to wake up tomorrow lighter than I did yesterday. I’m going to be able to not worry about what nonsense the president has wrought and what it means for me and my kids.

Mental space. Its real. And it just multiplied tenfold.

So, now that I’m done writing this post, I am gonna put new words down, thank you very much. Because I’m not satisfied and there is so much more work to be done.


Book of the month side note: I am making very slow progress on Black Leopard, Red Wolf (read: 10% in two weeks). I keep telling myself that it’s not for me and I’m gonna DNF it, especially since I’m running out of time to review it this month as promised in my New Year’s Resolutions post. And yet… I keep coming back to it. I can’t get through more than a few pages at a time, but I’ve yet to convince myself to set it completely aside.

So I may be late with my next review, is what I’m trying to say. Please look forward to it.


The thing about blogging every week is it’s been hard to come up with topics, which is what has lead to these more free form posts of late. But I figure once I’m in the groove and habit of doing it every week, it’ll come easier to think of things to say. Thanks for bearing with me while I, once again, try to find my sea legs with this whole content thing.

Until next week! May your writing be plenty but your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Rolling With the Punches

Hello friends and welcome to an on topic edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Whilst fumbling around for a topic this week, I turned to last year’s January posts for inspiration. How was I feeling at this time last year? I had promised to blog once a week, just like I have this year, and I must have been motivated, right?

Funnily enough, it’s almost been a year to the day that I shelved Border Towns.

I didn’t know I was shelving it at the time, though. Back then, I had only just realized the fatal flaw of the novel and was optimistic that, with a little revision, the third draft would be an excellent launch point for eventually querying.

And then the bulk of 2020 hit and utterly drained my muse of it’s life force, and the revisions that I once held so much hope for instead withered on the vine. No matter how many times I convinced myself I would come back and finish that damn book, the spark for it just never materialized.

Coming to the conclusion that it had to be shelved was a laborious, at times even emotional process, but I later came to accept that it was for the best. In the months since, my creativity has blossomed once again, whereas every time I sat down to brain storm Border Towns revisions, I felt smothered. Perhaps this shouldn’t have come as a surprise – this is, after all, the second time I’ve had to trunk a project I had pinned a lot of hopes on.

Yet, that fact alone, in turn gives me pause. Am I really the kind of person who can’t revise? Who comes up against flawed but fixable stories and just… folds? Do I have any creative willpower at all?

Logically, I know that many, even most, writers have a stack of unfinished or unrevised novels underneath all of their published and perfectly good ones. So, logically, I’m right on pace. But, still, it doesn’t feel good to leave projects I once felt held so much promise, and still do feel could be whipped into shape given the right motivation, languishing in the trunk. 

That being said, I’m not gonna let myself dwell on that too much. I have a new project to shed blood, sweat, and tears over, after all, and besides, if I’ve learned nothing else these last few years of trying to be a writer, it’s that you’ve gotta take whatever stories come your way and roll with the punches they deal you. 

Nothing ever goes according to plan. Isn’t that what makes writing so much fun? 


That’s all from me this week, thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back next time with another look into the life of a struggling writer. Until then may your writing be plenty and your own struggles be few. 

Kerry Share

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2021: Second Verse, Same as the First

Hello friends, and welcome to a somewhat shell-shocked, everything-is-fine.gif edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

And struggling is exactly what I am doing today. Struggling to remain focused, struggling to maintain my resolutions to write every day, struggling with whether or not it’s even appropriate to pretend like my little writing blog matters. Funnily enough it’s the same sort of struggle I experienced writing my first blog post of the new year last year, back when I was worried we were about to go war with Iran.

What a time to be alive, but unironically.


For me, writing is not an escape. It’s not a distraction. It’s not even fun. It’s work. I love it – my god do I love it – but I think we all know that it is hard. It’s a job that one shows up to, day after day, for the promise of very little pay or no pay at all. And, just like my day job, I can’t just shut out the world when I want to get cracking.

I write fantasy, epic fantasy, full-fledged at-no-point-ever-even-in-the-same-universe fantasy. But what I write is still colored by what I experience, what I see in my daily life. How can I write about saving the world, when ours seems more than ever on the brink?  What does my story matter? Not just my fictional story, but my actual story. The story of just another struggling writer?


I’m okay, really I am. This isn’t some sort of mental health crisis. When that happens, I’m sad internally. Today I’m sad externally. I’m sad and I’m furious. I’m sad and I’m diminished. I’m sad and I’m just… tired.

I didn’t write yesterday. I probably won’t write today. But eventually I’ll find my way back to the page and get back to the business of making stuff up, because someday my words might be someone else’s escape. I should be so lucky.

Kerry Share

New Year’s Resolutions: 2020 Edition

Hello friends, and welcome to a special New Year’s Eve edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well. 2020, huh?

I’m not gonna harp too long on it. Suffice it to say: I did not meet a single one of my writing goals this year. Not one.

Some of that can be blamed on the pandemic (failing to attend critique group, for example), but most of them were just me giving up. It’d be easy to say “Well, 2020, give yourself a break,” and I am in some ways. But I want to be a professional writer, and that means holding myself to account when I let that goal drink itself stupid and pass out in the back seat of my car.

One thing I did start this year that I’m really proud to have kept up is journaling. It’s been a major boon to my mental health and it has really helped me kind of examine in a semi-external way the particular turns of my mind that leads me down certain paths. Which is an overly verbose way of saying, I think I know why I fail at so many resolutions, year after year.

First, and it so ding dang obvious now that I’ve thought about it, is that I get so amped up for the potential new lifestyle I’m about to embark on that I just get too ambitious. Like last year, I said I wanted to dabble in podcasting. I mean… even just dabbling in something like podcasting means a monumental amount of effort, that even if 2020 hadn’t been a complete trashcan would have totally eaten up spoons I frankly just don’t have. Or even something simple like starting an Instagram account. If I’d given it more than a moment’s consideration I would have realized that I have no use for an Instagram account. The idea of having pictures out there in the ether of my personal space pings my anxiety like nobody’s business.

Last year I listed eight (8) resolutions and failed every single one of them. This year, I’m scaling down. I only have three. They are ambitious in their own ways, but very achievable and much more in my time and mental energy budget. They are:

  1. Finish the first draft of The Nexus by July 31st
  2. Review the 22 books currently in my TBR list
  3. Resume the blogging schedule I outlined in August (with minor alterations)

Simple, really, and yet things I have struggled with in the past: reading and writing on a consistent basis when I don’t have the deadline of NaNo whipping me along. These things are habits that I need to form, not just goals I would like to achieve. So, the real question is: how do I, someone notoriously resistant to change, go about altering my everyday behavior? Because, honestly, simply wanting to hasn’t been enough.

The answer I keep coming back to is accountability. I need the spectre of embarrassment from failing to spur me on. I need a structure to work within and deadlines to meet. And while I can’t ask someone to care about my writing as much as me enough to push me when I won’t push myself,  I can publically announce my intentions and imagine for myself a crowd of people who would be let down if I don’t follow through. So here we go. I’m not just going to vaguely say I’m going to meet these goals. I’m going to detail how and when I’m going to do that.

As for drafting the Nexus. I have a total of 6 story paths, one already drafted during November and three more outlined. So I’m giving myself seven months to plot, outline, and write the remaining paths. The path I drafted for NaNo was ostensibly the longest, so it’s not outside the realm of plausibility that I can draft one path a month. Having the first draft completely done will give me time to think through the revisions and outline draft 2 so I can start drafting that in November. Easy peasy.

Note that my second goal for 2021 was to review the 22 books in my TBR. Not necessarily finish. I’m actually giving myself the mental space to DNF some of them. Fortunately, I have a blog series specifically for these kinds of books, so even if I don’t read as much as I’d like… I can still get some content out of it. Further, after giving it some thought, I realized it would really help me stay on target if I actually named the books I plan to read (and review) and in what order. That way, if inspiration fails me or if the depression monster diverts me off track, I have a roadmap to find my way back. So without further ado: Just Another Struggling Writer’s book review schedule!

January
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

February
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

March
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
The Throne of the Five Winds by S.C. Emmett

April
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

May
The Bone Ships by RJ Barker
Radiance by Grace Draven

June
We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

July
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

August
Jade City by Fonda Lee
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

September
Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
Legacy of Ash by Matthew Ward

October
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock
The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso

(Break for NaNoWriMo)

December
Nocturne by Kat Ross
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Yes, before you ask, I’ve never read any of these, despite their fame and popularity, particularly within the genre. I’m also a little bit ahead of the game and pleased to say that I’ll most likely have the first review done as soon as Tuesday as I’m more than halfway through The Obelisk Gate and plan to spend my holiday weekend finishing it up. As I’ve mentioned before, my book reviews tend to get a surprising amount of traffic and I’m looking forward to bringing you all more of them in the coming year.

And speaking of the blog schedule… Look, 52 solid weeks of blogging is a lot. I very much doubt that I’m going to be able to keep up with that kind of production consistently. That said, I’m gonna do my best, but I’m also not gonna beat myself up about it if I don’t manage it. I also am planning to have Short But Sweet Sundays make a comeback. I’m still really enamored with that story and that setting, and it’ll be nice to have a break from the Nexus every once and a while. It won’t be weekly, but the last Sunday of the month please look forward to a little vignette in the Pillar-verse. 

See? Simple! She said sarcastically.

In all seriousness, after the trainwreck of 2020 I’m not sweating even these modest goals. Really, on a micro level, if I’m reading and writing every day then it’s a win and that’s all I have to say about that. 


So, that’s it from me for this week. I’ll be back on Tuesday for a YMMV review of The Obelisk Gate and then on Thursday to check in and see how that whole writing-every-day thing is going. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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