Thursday Words, Uncategorized

The Chain

Hello friends and welcome to another less-than-ideal edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Friends, I don’t know if you have noticed, but I am not a perfect writer. Brave of me to reveal this publicly, I know, but I must speak my truth as I live it. Yes, its true, there are times when I find it difficult to sit down and write. Unfortunately for me, one of those situations is literally any time I am in my house.

Home Is Where The Black Hole of Motivation Is

I have a moderately stressful day job. I prefer not to get into the details, but it requires more emotional labor than the average profession. Though I love what I do, it is often a strain on my mental resources. My job is part of the reason why I absolutely have to have time every day to decompress and destress from work.

This has ultimately led to the deeply engrained mindset that my home is the place I go to not work. When I get home after a long day at my day job, plus extra curricular activities, oh and don’t forget dinner, dishes, laundry, and cleaning up that thing my dog just shredded, sitting down in my recliner, even if my laptop is right there next to me, my brain automatically switches into leisure mode. Its almost Pavlovian at this point.

However, as we all know, writing is also work. It requires mental energy, focus, and stamina — things that tend to be in short supply after, well, *gestures above* Not writing when I get home isn’t even necessarily about the myriad distractions at my disposal (although they certainly play a part), its about breaking out of the mental feedback loop of home = not work.

I’ve tried a couple of different ways to fix this. I’ve tried writing in the mornings before work (a Herculean effort for a lifelong night owl), I’ve tried carving out a space to treat as a home office (which was just a nook in my bedroom, and you can see how that would cause motivation issues), I’ve tried Pomodoros (“I’ll just work for twenty minute and then get a little five minute break for video games as a treat”).

You might be wondering to yourself, if I struggle so much to write at home how in the hell do I get any writing done at all?

Well. Truth be told, about 80% of the writing I do, blogs and drabbles included, I do at work.

Kerry, you might be saying to yourself, what??

Its true. I use the creases in my work day to write. I bring my notebook with me and leave it open on the desk next to me. When I have a few moments, I jot down a sentence or two. When I have dedicated breaks, I drabble or blog. My lunch is spent with the WordPress app open on my phone. During the commute, I’ll talk to text ideas to myself. Because I find it so difficult to write at home, I have found ways to sneak in creativity throughout my day.

This extends not just to work, however. My favorite place to write is my daughter’s gymnastics practice. I get one hour uninterrupted, with the only distraction the occasional outbreak of applause when a gymnast sticks a landing. I’ve also started working at my other daughter’s guitar lesson. I’ve even brought my notebook along to my son’s allergy shots, because we are required to wait half an hour afterward before we can leave.

Anywhere I have a few minutes, I use it. As long as I’m not at home.

If that seems not ideal to you, well, you’d be right, its not. Because, while my method works to an extent, if I find myself at home unexpectedly for any reason (like today, home with a sick kid), every last iota of production goes right in the toilet. I have to make a concerted effort to do even the bare minimum *coughlikethisblogcough* Weekends, what should be my peak writing days, are, you know, not. Bank holidays? Don’t get me started.

Druthers, Druthers Everywhere

It seems to me that in a perfect world, I would find a place I could go after my kids went to bed where I could put my earbuds in and just buckle down and write. There’s a library literally right across the street from where I live, but they close at eight. There’s a Starbucks down the street, but that closes even earlier. Deep in suburbia, it seems that there is just no good place for a writer who prefers to work in a public environment late at night.

However, part of me knows that even if such a place did exist within a reasonable distance from my home I wouldn’t actually utilize it. Because once I get home, once I sit down… its all over man.

So, what I actually need to do is just get over myself and do the work, even if there’s a basketball game on. Even if the latest Final Fantasy XIV patch just released. Even if Twitter has some amazing discourse I want to watch go down. I don’t need to push myself past my limits, of course, that’s a short road to potentially long term burnout. But, on days — like today — where I’m just sitting at home anyway, I need resist the urge to take a second nap, to open my Steam library, to make excuses not to write.

I don’t think it’ll be easy. Changing something so deeply engrained never is. But, earlier today I was standing at my sink doing some dishes and thinking about how much of a bummer it would be to let my 25-day blogging streak come to an end just because of a stupid habit of needing to preserve my home as a non-working space. So, as soon as I finished up, I walked to my computer, and I opened WordPress.

The desire to keep the chain going was enough to kick my ass into gear.

Now, if I can just start a chain for writing 3 pages a day, regardless of where I’m at, I might actually be a little less of a struggling writer.


That’s all from me this time. I’ll be home again tomorrow it looks like, so if I can keep the streak going despite the significant disruption to my routine, I’ll allow myself a little pride. See you then!

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; The Emperor

Hello friends and welcome to another winged week of writing.

Friends, I am in a great mood this morning. I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s because the kids are on Thanksgiving break which means I got an extra twenty minutes to lay in bed. Maybe it’s because I know I have fried turkey and baked three cheese macaroni and cheese to look forward to in a few days. Maybe it’s because for the first time in weeks I feel confident again in my writing.

I don’t know. But I am going to take advantage of it.

Last week I had a lot of success with posting everyday, some of which was fiction content. I hope to continue on that this week while getting better about getting my words down. A big ask, I know, with the holiday and all but I feel really… clear. I don’t know if last week was an eye opener or what, but I just feel really self assured that I can do all these things.

Until next time my friends!

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Ace of Pentacles

Hello friends and welcome to another winning week of writing.

Friends, I’m not going to lie. I’m feeling on the weary side this gloomy, rainy Monday morning. Last week was an abject failure thanks to a big day job meeting that totally wore me out and a bout of colds that ran through my house that culminated in my daughter coming down with strep throat. My routine was completely decimated and writing was a hopeless endeavor.

Piling on to that let down is the fact that I am undertaking a brand new (non-writing related) venture starting today that is certain to demand a sizable chunk of my limited free time. Why did I sign up for something like that, you might ask, knowing that I already have difficulty balancing all the projects and obligations I already have?

Friends. I truly do not know.

Alas, this new thing is not something I can easily back out of, nor do I even want to. To me, it is as important and necessary as going to work and paying rent. So, it is what it is. I’m just going to have to make it work.

Just like the manuscript I am under contract for, due in three weeks. I agreed to the terms, knowing what it meant for my schedule. It doesn’t change just because I had a rough few days. The only thing that shifts is how much I have to do every day from here on out to play catch up.

On days like today, it’s important for me to remind myself that I chose these obligations. Writing professionally and this new endeavor are important parts to the whole future I am trying to build. It isn’t like they were foisted on me. Will they be stressful? Certainly? Will it be worth it?

Only if I keep up my end of the bargain. And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; High Priestess

Hello friends and welcome to another wishful week of writing.

Last week my carefully laid plans to settle back into a routine were, of course, duly disrupted by the news that I would, in fact, have another romance novella to finish before the end of the year. Which is not to say that I can’t/won’t have a routine while writing it, but it does through my ideas for the last few months of the year askew (so long NaNo dreams).

I have the habit of biting off more than I can chew and then chastising myself for not getting everything done.

Friends, this week is no different. Because, while I do tend to overstretch myself, I also have the annoying habit of folding like a house of cards the moment my mood takes even the slightest turn. I’m still not treating writing as the job I want it to be, unless and, inevitably, until my back is up against the wall.

Frankly, I know I am capable of more than I achieve on any given day, because my proclivity is to do the bare minimum in flagrant spite of my actual desires and hopes. It’s a battle I’ve been fighting for years and I genuinely don’t know that it’s one I’ll ever win.

But I do know the answer is to just give in and opt for smaller goals. Because, apart from the fact that I’ll just find a way to not meet even those, the last thing I want to do is regress. I want to move forward. I want do more, bigger things. I want to really push the limits of what I can do right now, and then I want to see if I can expand into a space I’ve never dreamed of.

So, yes, I am under contract again which means the main thrust of my creative focus needs to be on my paid work. But I will not accept just putting my other ideas and projects on hold for the next five weeks. I know that means more hours and less sleep. I know that means fewer chances to just lay around or play video games. But, the truth of the matter is, my well is full — and historically I’ve been to leery to truly draw from it.

But if not now, when?

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Page of Cups

Hello friends and welcome to another wry week of writing.

Friends, by now you know the drill. Every Monday, I come here and talk about my hopes for the week and how I plan to tackle my writing tasks. Sometimes my motivations are external (like deadlines) but most of the time I try to draw my own experiences and thought processes.

This week, my inspiration isn’t especially creative. Its not grounded in my love of writing, and its not something I’m exactly proud of.

The thing keeping me on track this week is stubbornness.

See, I’ve been struggling the last several days, a week or more even, with staying on task. Which shouldn’t be the case. Without a romance novella to labor over, I should be hyped to take advantage of the extra hours in my day and get some writing done. I’m in the middle of a cute standalone cozy fantasy, that I’m drafting in longhand no less. The project is supposed to be fun, no stress, and designed to help me get back to fantasy writing after what has been a kind of disappointing 2022.

So, why do I feel so meh about this project?

Friends, I’ve been suffering from that troublesome writer condition that makes every current idea seem Not Good, Worthless, Boring and every future idea seem Perfect, Exciting, The One.

Actually, if I’m being honest, I’ve been struggling with this issue ever since I put Border Towns on the shelf. For those keeping track, that’s coming up on three years ago now.

Border Towns was the first manuscript I ever finished (even if it was just a first draft), and even to this day I think of it as the story I will query agents with one day. I think some part of me believes that everything else I do in the meantime is just… filler until the real story wends its way back into my brain.

And, frankly, I don’t have time for that shit. I’ve got way too many ideas to waste prime writing hours on just waiting for my fickle muse to decide to cooperate.

So, even though I’m no longer passionately in love with Pieces of Eight like I was when first put pen to paper, I’m going to keep on toiling away at it. Because right now I think the most important thing for my long term health is a writer is proving that I can stay focused and finish a story.

And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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Thursday Words

Just Keep Swimming

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

Friends, the last few weeks have been a little fraught in my world. Emotionally, financially, and writing…ly? I’ve had a lot of up and down moments, from launching my Patreon page to failing to secure a single Patron outside of my own inner circle, from having to cancel my trip to WorldCon because I could no longer afford the hotel to finally getting back to my romance novellas after a long summer off, from 7000+ word writing days to the stretch I’m in right now where flying a commercial jet seems like it would be easier than finishing this manuscript.

tenacity: the quality or state of being persistent

Something I’ve come to realize over the course of this journey, and its a lesson I am certain many authors have learned before me, is that determination is probably the most important quality in a writer — even more so than raw talent.

Because writing is going to be hard. There are going to be days (or several days in a row, or a week, or months) where it feels like there are no more words in your wrung out sponge of a brain. There are going to be periods where you think that you’re never going to make it. There will be deadlines you’re going to miss and you hate yourself for failing. It will feel like no one cares about your writing. It is going to be utterly demoralizing. And not everyone is going to be cut out for it.

I’ll be totally honest. I’ve thought more than once (often, even) that I’m one of those people. That, because my chronic depression and anxiety often rob me of creative spark, I’ll never be a professional writer. That, because I often find myself just too worn out from the other parts of my life that demand my time, attention, and mental energy, that I don’t deserve to succeed. And when the call is coming from inside the house like that, it becomes harder and harder to ignore.

There have been times when I “quit” writing. I just straight gave up. Told myself that writing was supposed to be fun, and I was making myself so miserable with guilt for not writing, that it was no longer an enjoyable activity for me. And if that was the case, what was the point? So, I walked away.

But, inevitably, a day or two later, I would miss it. I would feel the itch. I would be playing a video game and making up stories about the world or characters. I would be watching tv or a movie, and think about what I would do differently. I would hear a song and all sorts of ideas would come to life in my mind.

Then, just for shiggles of course, I would take a glance at the last thing I wrote before I rage quit, half expecting the words and ideas to be so terrible that they would actually affirm my decision to abandon writing altogether. Of course, they weren’t. Some of them were actually pretty good. And now that I looked at it again, I suddenly knew how to fix that trouble spot that made so frustrated before.

You get the idea. The point is this: I gave up. I stone cold quit. I was done. Writing was relegated to the long laundry list of failed endeavors.

And then I came back. 

Me to my WIPs

Okay, so maybe I didn’t quit quit. I really just took a break. But, at the time I made the decision, it really did feel like I was walking away, with all the emotional turmoil that entailed. And, weirdly enough, I think that was ultimately a good thing. It showed me how much writing meant to me, how I couldn’t stay away from it even if I tried, that though times get tough I will always find my way back to what I’m supposed to be doing.

Which is unquestionably, unshakably writing.


My monthly suggestion box is live over at Patreon for the $3.00 and up tiers. This month I am asking my Patrons to let me know what their favorite romance sub genres are. Who knows, maybe I’ll write one or two in those genres in the future. If you are a fan of romance, or know someone who is, please consider becoming a Patron or sharing my page: Patreon.com/KerryShare


That’s all from me this week, sorry it was a day late again. I’ll be back on Saturday with another installment of The Ballad of Mercy May. Until then, my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Nine of Wands

Hello friends and welcome to another wacky week of writing.

Friends, I come to you this morning with quite a few balls in the air. In addition to my World Con-turned-staycation starting this week, I also am preparing for the official launch of my very own Patreon page. I’m also still hard at work on my current romance novella, due in a week and a half, and have two new pitches to prepare. Also drabbles and fantasy writing. And blogging. And sleeping somewhere in there too.

Phew.

Overwhelming as that all sounds (and feels), there is something sort of gratifying about having such a full plate. I am moving into the next stage of my growth (and/or career) as a writer and that is something to be proud of. Even celebrate.

Later though, I don’t have time to celebrate now.

In addition to all those tangible goals and tasks I have this week, I’m going to add one more mental one: stay focused, don’t procrastinate, and work hard. This is what I signed up for and I’m not going to waste this moment in time.

Wish me luck friends!

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; The Moon

Hello friends and welcome to another wacky week of writing.

It’s the third week of Drabble Rock and I still feel really good about this fun little project. It’s keeping me creatively engaged without taxing my limited time. And by splitting the idea into two forks — one a contiguous story, the other unconnected, “random” snapshots — I’m able to scratch multiple itches at once.

I look forward to posting them so much, that I started wondering over the weekend if there was a way I could do Drabble Rock every day. At once I chastised myself. I have actual WIPs I could (and should) be working on, after all. As fun as Drabble Rock may be, it can’t be my main focus.

Trouble is, I have come to realize that part of the thing that is so fun and motivating about Drabble Rock is the public nature of it. That’s by design, because apparently the biggest influence on my daily productivity is the expectation — or even just the illusion of expectation — of others. That’s why I work so well on deadline and have no trouble (okay, maybe not no trouble) completing NaNoWriMo.

Personal goals and deadlines are more or less no good to me. I’m used to disappointing myself (thanks anxiety brain), so falling short of a target word count or failing to make writing daily, even just a little bit, a habit isn’t that surprising or, nay, motivating to me.

So, the idea I’m toying with now is reviving Friday Feelings and perhaps adding a mid-week check in. WIP Wednesday’s. It feels a little egotistical to have a blog post every day of the week, but I’m willing to set that embarrassment if it helps.

Whether it actually helps remains to be seen. Until next time, friends.

Kerry Share

Uncategorized

Monday Motivations; The Chariot… Again

Hello friends and welcome to another whimsical week of writing.

It’s fitting that I should draw the Chariot again today of all Mondays, because this week I am launching not just a soft reboot of the blog but an ambitious project to go along with it.

I am prone to overthinking things. Pictured: an actual picture of me wearing an actual shirt I own:

So, when it comes to new ideas typically one of two things happens: I either get locked up in analysis paralysis and the idea never sees the light of day, or I rush headlong into it spur of the moment, planning or long term viability be damned.

Drabble Rock was going the way of option A when I suddenly got a bolt from the blue last week. I decided, right then and there in my car on the way to my daughter’s guitar lesson, that I was going to make this crazy idea my next big thing.

It’s probably a good thing I’m charging straight into it because if I hadn’t publicly committed to definitely launching this Drabble series last week, I’d probably be reminding myself right about now that I don’t have a great track record with these sorts of things. I get distracted or too busy or the flame for the project that once burned so bright fizzles out until it’s just another obligation on my time.

But I can’t be afraid to fail. More rather, I can’t let that fear prevent me from trying.

And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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Uncategorized

Monday Motivations; Queen of Pentacles

Hello friends and welcome to another wild weekend of writing.

I decided almost as soon as I sat down at my desk this morning that the word (and mood) of the day would be: proactionary. I have no clue if that even is a real word, but the idea is the opposite reactionary.

With as hectic as my life has been these last few weeks/month (what year is it again?) I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time on my back foot. I’ve heard many people thrive in such chaotic environments, and while I am proud of myself for keeping my head above water, I’m ready to lean forward now. To stop reacting what life has been throwing at me and start tackling things my way.

What does that mean? What is “my way” anyway? I’d be lying if I said I really knew, though I do have some ideas.

Firstly, I’m going to stop waiting for opportunities to fall in my lap and start creating my own. The freelancing gig I landed last year I stumbled across purely by luck, and I honestly think that spoiled me a bit. It’s not always going to happen that way and it’s high time I remember that. If that means swallowing my irrational anxiety about Patreon and selling my own e-books, then that’s what I’m going to do.

In a similar fashion, I’m giving up on the “slave to the muse” lifestyle, especially since mine likes to take long, extended vacations when it is least convenient. For too long I have waited until inspiration struck (or NaNoWriMo rolled around) to buckle down and bang out a draft, and, as a rather unsurprising result, I haven’t written many books. It’s time to take a proactionary approach and, hopefully, finally break out of the cycle.

Lastly, I’m through with excuses. I’m always finding a reason to abandon my carefully laid productivity plan for the day. Sometimes those reasons are good, like my child had a difficult day and needed to be consoled. Sometimes, they are dubious, like I had a tough day at work and deserve an evening free of obligations to recuperate. Sometimes, they are downright bad, like I forgot or just didn’t feel up to it.

Take this blog post, for example. I usually write them Monday mornings. But today, there was just so much going on that I could only write one sentence at a time before being pulled away to something else. Then, after I got home, there was a bad storm that kept me distracted. Then, once the kids were all in bed, I opened my phone and saw the half written post still waiting to be finished. I thought… does it really matter? Is it really important for me to write and post this blog today? What would I really be sacrificing if I skipped out?

Only the chance to flex my willpower. To keep a promise made to no one but myself. To take another step in the formulation of a habit. To stop accepting such flimsy excuses as acceptable. So, here I am, at almost nine o’ clock, writing out a blog post that wasn’t supposed to be that deep but took a surprising look into my mental health.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t imagine that changing my entire mental outlook on work and opportunity will be something I can do simply because I made up a word and wrote a blog about it. It will be hard and it there will be failures. But every challenge, every stumble, will only be proof that I took a step forward.

And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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