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Drabble Rock

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

If you’ve been following along the blog the last few weeks, you’ll know that I’ve felt creatively pent up of late. I haven’t had a freelance novella to work on since I turned in my last at the end of March, and my attempt to utilize Camp NaNoWriMo to draft my urban fantasy novella failed after I realized I hadn’t given myself enough time to outline.

I took a hiatus last week both to adjust to some non-fiction freelance work I picked up to fill the gaps, and to mull over some ideas to keep me creatively engaged. One idea I returned to was podcasting. I even bought a (cheap) microphone. But that is something that will take a lot more thought than idle fancy allows, and would require more planning than I am able to give at the moment. As such, it wouldn’t satisfy the itch I feel right now.

The second idea I had was returning to weekly short form entries. You may remember my earlier attempt at short form with my Short But Sweet vignettes. You may also recall that they were, ahem, short lived.

Was I too ambitious, perhaps, by keeping them all withing a single story idea/setting? Or did I fail to give myself enough structure to keep my neurotic need for rules in check? I honestly don’t know. But I do still like the idea of telling a story one short entry at a time.

That’s when I remembered how much I enjoyed writing drabbles during my days as a fanfiction maven. Give me a ship and a single word prompt, and I could pump those babies out with alarming frequency. It was a fun and relatively commitment-free way to engage with my fandoms and fellow shippers.

Drabbles, for those unfamiliar with the term, are short works of fiction of precisely 100 words. If you spend any amount of time on writing Twitter you might have seen the drabble’s spiritual successor, the #VSS or very short story.

While the #VSS was always a little too short for my preferences, I think drabbles are perfect for some fun, weekly posts. Right? Of course right.

But it wouldn’t be Just Another Struggling Writer if I didn’t make it just a little too hard on myself, because while driving around my daughter this afternoon an idea occurred to me. What if I told a contiguous story through weekly, 100-word increments?

Enter Dark Me.


But, Me, I said, wouldn’t that be putting too much pressure on myself?

Who cares, Dark Me replied, just have fun with it.

I don’t know, I thought. I kind of wanted to do just random drabbles. You know, generate a random word and challenge myself to write 100 words around it. My friends and followers could join in if they wanted, it would be like #VSS but drabble-y.

That’s the great thing, Dark Me said. YOU COULD DO BOTH!

Both?? I thought. Now that’s crazy talk. I’ll never be able to keep up with it!

TOO BAD WE’RE DOING IT ANYWAY

Welp, I guess I’m committed, I thought, having committed nothing whatsoever other than a series of goofy photos to the task.

And that was pretty much that. I pretty quickly decided thereupon that I would do random-word-prompted drabbles every Tuesday and The Ballad of Mercy May, told in 100-word increments, every Friday. I thought I might start as soon as tomorrow, so full of vigor for the idea I was, but I think it’s probably best for the health of the idea and my fragile psyche that I give it a week to percolate.


Two things can be true at once:

  1. I have failed to maintain ambitious projects like these long term in the past
  2. I am prone to overthinking and if I don’t seize on this spur of the moment energy I might never actually get around to starting what I am calling Drabble Rock

And, honestly, I am Over allowing past failures to determine future endeavors. Stifling my creative energy just because I didn’t live up to my own expectations last time hurts only myself and helps… exactly nothing.

So, friends, I hope you’ll follow along while I test drive this new project. I hope some of you join me in drabble writing and I hope the idea inspires you to foster your own ambition, even if it is a bit wayward.

Oh, and, uh, wish me luck.


Summer Reading Challenge

Did anyone else participate in the summer reading challenge at their local library? My grandparents always signed my siblings, cousins, and I up, and I always wanted to win. I’ll never forget the thrill of returning to the library after a week of furious reading and getting a sticker for yet another completed book.

Anyway, a full two years after my city opened the branch they’d been building across the street from my neighborhood, I finally decided to avail myself of their services. I also pressganged my kids into joining this year’s summer reading challenge, but they only agreed if I did it with them.

The first book in my Summer Reading TBR? A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kolzoff.

Friends, I’m 23% in and I am smitten. I don’t care that the POV jumps around. I don’t care that there’s a lot of characters and politics and not a ton of forward momentum in the first act. I don’t care because I love these things.

This is very much my kind of book.

So, what is everyone else reading this week? Let me know!


Alright, I think that’s quite enough out of me for the day. I’ll be back next week for your regularly scheduled Monday Motivations and Thursday blogs, aaaaaaaaaaand of course the new Drabble Rock posts. Until then, my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Finding Your Why

Hello friends and welcome to another wily week of writing here at Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

I got to thinking a little bit this week about motivation. Not the kind that takes the shape of great ideas, nor the type of external stimulus that pushes someone onward. I was thinking much more along the lines of one of the most basic questions we as creative individuals must necessarily ask ourselves:

Why do I write?

What reason do I have to write?

When I asked myself these questions, my answer came easily: because I want to be a writer, duh. But that, in turn, asked a brand new question: what, to me, does “being a writer” entail, exactly?

Because, plainly just writing isn’t enough to satisfy that goal. Even writing for money isn’t exactly what I want, because I’m making money (not a lot, but still) with my freelancing deal. Do I want to be famous? Certainly not, I tremble to imagine the kind of unwanted scrutiny fame would invite. Well, then, is it ego? I didn’t even know I had one to speak of.

But I do. And that’s what brought me to my answer. My why do I write.

Its community. Its people. Its you (yes, you, person reading this right now). Because as much as I shrink against the idea of attention (even positive attention), I do very much desire to bring together a community. That’s why I started this blog, really. That’s why I continue to log onto Twitter every day. Though my anxieties and natural inclination to guarding my privacy have often meant a sort of distance between myself and those I wish to connect with, I do want to make friends. I do want to be surrounded by people who care about my successes. I do want to help others with what meager knowledge and experience I possess.

All this time, I’ve been trying to motivate myself to write with all the wrong reasons. Maybe not wrong, exactly, but incompatible. I thought that I want to write to make money, and well, I do, but that’s not the reason I write. I thought that I want to write because, well, I’m making up stories in my head anyway, I may as well jot them down. And, yeah, that’s also true. But as far as inspirations strong enough to kick my ass out of slow, weary complacency, those things just aren’t going to cut it.

But you are (again, you). You, who cares about me long enough to still be reading this blog after four years of inconsistent posting and a sort of meandering identity. You, who is interested in what sort of fiction I may bring into the world, even though I have yet to produce any for consumption (novellas outside of my favored genre aside). You, who are just another struggling writer and who just wants to share in that experience with someone outside of your own head. Or wait, maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, finding my why has been a bit of a sore spot for me lately. Because, truthfully, I didn’t want to plumb that well too deeply in case the reason actually was just “I want to make lots of money from writing.” Again, I don’t necessarily think that’s wrong and if that’s your motivation, as long as it works for you and gets you writing, I’m good with it. But it definitely wasn’t working for me.

Of course, this new source of inspiration means that I need to actually overcome some social anxiety and the death grip I have on the information I’m willing to share with the world. Gulp. But I think you’re worth it. Yes, you. And you know what? So am I.

Until next time my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Putting Your(my)self Out There

Hello and welcome to a reinvigorated yet anxious edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well, the creative slump that had been dogging me all last week lasted all the way up until this very morning, when, for whatever reason, I just felt ready to shake myself back to work. It’s been the single most frustrating thing about my writing journey: trying to accomplish my goals around the unpredictable cyclone that is my mental health. No matter how much I plan and schedule and set deadlines for myself, there is simply no accounting for a hiccup in brain chemistry that derails me off course, even if only for a few days or a week or a month.

But, it is who I am and, short of finding the right doctor and the right cocktail (unlikely in my present circumstances), it’s just something I have to live with.

So, enough of that. Back to work.

scribbling

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately (even struggling with, ha ha) is how hard I’ve found it to make connections with people in the writing community. It’s no secret as to why that is: I’m very shy and very private. But there have been moments, especially during the pandemic, where I have felt extremely isolated on this wild journey of mine. That’s not much of a revelation either. The act of writing is a solitary process. Sure, we can all commiserate before, during, and after the fact, but – unless you have a co-author (and more kudos to you if you do because, whew, I could never) – the actual penning of the words is something only you, yourself can do. Add in the pandemic, where we have all been cut off from each other in new and exciting ways, and it’s not any wonder that I’ve been feeling some loneliness creep in, despite my historic preference for mental hermitage.

(I know I’m not using that word correctly, but it feels accurate so let’s go with it.)

There’s also a measure of social anxiety baked into my predisposition for solitude. Will people unfollow me if I talk about my video game hobby or my kids or sports instead of writing? Will people like or respect me less if they learn more about my life? Will I be harassed if I share too much (it is the internet, after all). Will I say something I regret?

It’s hardly the first time I’ve wondered these things and it’s not at all the first time I’ve thought that my anxiety is crushing some of the life out of me. And while, again, that’s just part of my existence on this planet for the time being, over the last twelve months I’ve made major strides in pushing against some of my uncomfortably close boundaries and exploring what could lie beyond them. Turns out, if I want to make friends I’m going to have to be friendly. And part of that means opening myself up in ways I’ve been hesitant to before.

I’m not really sure what that means yet. But I think it’ll probably result in me talking a lot more. Maybe here on this blog, or in the comments of your own blogs (which I do read, but have been too nervous to meaningfully interact with). Or perhaps on Twitter or Instagram.

Please look forward to it.


I am trying really, really hard to get through my current read so I can review it for you all. Truly, I do like it and I do want to write a book sort of like it but… my god it is so dense. It’s like exercise trying to read it, and with everything else I’ve had going on I just haven’t had the energy. I will get through it one day, though, I swear.

Until next week my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Dream a Little Dream

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

Well friends, after last week’s profundity I thought it might be fun to go with some lighter fare today. But before we get started, a quick update: I am officially back in my home and sleeping in my own bed! I’m out two grand and still don’t have access to my washing machine yet, but who’s counting? Point is, I’m finally back in a place where I can actually relax and refocus on my writing and future prospects.

To that end, I want to talk about my dreams.

So, I was being chased…

Just kidding. I mean my dreams for my career as a writer.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. I can’t precisely pin down the exact age or year, but the first bit of “original” fiction I remember writing was when I was 11. And though I’ve flirted with other career paths since then, writing has been my through line from childhood to where I stand today. From that standpoint, I guess you could say I have achieved that dream. I mean, I am technically writing. Even if I’ve never been published or even taken a finished manuscript out to query. So, 11 year old me can rest easy.

But 32 year old me can’t just yet. For 32 year old me, the dream isn’t just writing, it’s making a living writing. It’s not just calling myself a professional writer, or a working writer, it’s actually being successful enough to be able to quit my day job to do the writing thing full time.

I’m not naïve. I know that it’s actually kind of a lofty goal. I’m perfectly aware that most writers maintain a day job because the sad truth of the matter is writing doesn’t tend to pay very well. Without a big name or a breakout hit, chances are you’re in the midlist and writing is a passion rather than a profession. I know all that. But that’s why we call them dreams, right?

daydreaming

It may not seem like it at times, but I’m actually a pretty private person. I’m shy and I’m anxious and I have a hard time meeting people. I don’t like talking about my day job and I’m reticent to share personal photos online outside of my approved social sphere.

But, despite all that, I long for a… I don’t know what the right word is. ‘Community’ seems too broad’ and I’ve never been a fan of the way ‘tribe’ has been used. But a close-knit group of people around me with similar interests and a common purpose. I had that once, back when I was really into fandom over on a popular blogging site that I won’t name. I had friends then, all over the world really. And, more than that, I was part of something that I contributed to, and people cared about those contributions. I’ll never forget the day I was on Twitter, years after I left fandom, and saw a gif I had made for a particular fandom used on a post for something completely unrelated. It was like… I had made a mark on the internet. It was a little weird… but also kind of cool.

I guess you could say I long for that sense of belonging again, except with writing as a focal point, instead of fandom. And if that writing happened to be my writing… well, I think that would be a little weird. But also kind of cool.

weird is cool

Now, lets get into the really off the wall stuff.

Last week there was a Twitter thread going around, asking people what they would name their indie bookstore. It was a cute little thread that low-key made me feel really dull because I couldn’t come up with a clever book store name.

Then I drove by a little strip mall that went up around the corner of my house right before the pandemic, and as such, hasn’t been able to rent out the storefronts – since opening a new business in 2020 was, well, not recommended and all. And then book store idea came around again.

A bookstore I owned and operated would be fantasy focused. Largely because it’s my favorite genre and there’s precious few (read: none that I’ve found in a reasonable distance) speculative themed indie bookstores in my metro area. I envision a section for YA, for sci-fi/fantasy blends, for paranormal romance. For sword and board, and for #ownvoices. For epic fantasy and political fantasies, and everything in between.

I’d host write ins, costume contests, dramatic readings of old classics. I’d write my own novel at the counter, and I’d partner up with my Friendly Local Game Store that happens to be right down the street for crossover events.

I’d call it Phoenix Feather Books and it would probably close within 6 months because I know jack all about being a book seller or running a business (how would I even get inventory???).

But it’s a dream, perhaps silly and not very well thought out or practical, and it’s mine.


I have other dreams too. People asking me in earnest about x, y, or z thing about my book, or telling me their favorite ships. Being on panels at conferences, or giving a workshop even. Seeing the cover of my very first published novel. Landing my ideal agent. Knowing enough about agents to have an ideal agent.

What are some of your dreams?


That’s all from me this week, now that my head is all light and airy and I can’t think of anything else. I hope to be back on Tuesday with a book review, but I’ve been slacking in my reading, so it may have to wait another week. Either way I’ll see you on Thursday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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Ch-ch-changes

Hello and welcome to another rambling, existential, content-packed edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Today I’m going to unveil the NEW CONTENT that you can expect to see on the blog going forward, but before I get into that I first want to talk a little bit about what I hope to achieve with these additions and why I’m making the change in the first place.

When I started this blog – yikes, almost two years ago – I had two goals: the first was to establish a place where I could scream into the void about all the parts about writing a novel that weren’t sunshine and rainbows (okay, so like 90% of it). I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on that, even if the screaming has been sporadic. The second goal was to, maybe, possibly, hopefully, form friendships or a community of fellow writers who were like me: near to the very beginning of their author journeys, and having to fight tooth and nail for every tiny success.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best at making connections. I’m shy, riddled with anxiety, and possessed of fluctuating mental health that often times means I’m a bit of a flake. So, that’s on me. With that said, I’m ready to make a change, not just to my own internal mindset and habits, but my exterior activities as well. So, while these additions to the blog were first conceived of with the goal of getting myself engaged in the writing community even when I’m between projects, the more I thought about it the more I realized that it can use this newfound desire for growth to forward along that original ambition, the one where I’m no longer just another struggling writer, but Just Another Struggling Writer.

Ultimately, I hope that one day this blog will stop being “the lamentations of yet another person struggling to write a novel” and start being a rallying point, a safe haven, a creative sounding board for those of us who just can’t do this thing alone. More than anything, I hope you join me on that journey.

So, without further ado, behold the new content schedule for Just Another Struggling Writer.


tuesday
Tuesday

Tuesdays:
Your Mileage May Vary 
or Reasons I DNF This Book.

Guilty confession #1: I am not a great reader. I am slow, easily distracted, and tend to put off reading for other leisure activities, a bad habit I am desperately trying to correct.

Guilty confession #2: I am also really discerning when I read. Actually, that’s too charitable a word. I am fucking picky. I don’t even know why. All I know is most books tend to turn me off by the second act, and even the ones I end up binge-reading to the end don’t really stay with me. Doesn’t mean they’re not good, of course. Just that… well, I’m evidently really hard to please. Sorry.

So, in an effort to broaden my library (and maybe figure out whatever the hell my taste in books is), on alternating Tuesdays I will post book reviews of different persuasions.

The first, Your Mileage May Vary, will cover books that I read to the end, loved or hated. Take these reviews with a grain of salt; because I’m thinly read I honestly haven’t the faintest clue how to write a “proper” book review. Most of the time, I imagine, I’ll probably just be word vomiting my thoughts and feelings without direction or structure. Please look forward to it.

In Reasons I DNF This Book I will dive into specific moments that turned me off of a novel. Whether it’s due to my inner editor not shutting up and letting me enjoy something, or a protagonist I just don’t get along with, or a cringey awkward moment that forces me to put it aside until the second hand embarrassment subsides, these posts will explore what makes a picky reader (me) so damn picky.


thursday
Thursday

Thursdays:
Your Regular Weekly Blog Post

Thursdays you can expect to remain pretty much the same, with random topics and thoughts on the struggle that is being a writer. In the past I talked about the progress of my manuscript, and revelations I was having along the way, but now that I am (at least for the moment) project-free, the discussion might trend more toward current issues in the book world. This is the least “content” like of my three planned weekly posts, and mostly will just be a continuing chronicle of my experience in the writing community. One thing I do plan to do every week is include a one-sentence writing prompt for….


sunday
Sunday, Sunday Sunday

Sundays:
Short But Sweet Sunday, flash fiction or vignettes

Well, I couldn’t go this whole time without doing a little bit of fiction writing. Can’t let these razor sharp skills get rusty, can I? Now where did I put that sarcasm font? Anyway, at the end of my weekly Thursday posts I will include a one-sentence prompt, and on Sunday I will post my answer to that prompt. All pieces will be less than 1000 words and I intend to limit them all to the same setting and group of characters, which I am tentatively calling the Pillar-verse. The Pillar-verse was once an old fantasy novel idea of mine that was undoubtedly destined for the trunk, and though I still think it is too unfocused a concept to be drafted and revised, I would still like to share it in some way. (Hell, maybe if I dabble in it often enough I’ll get that spark I need to actually write the damn thing.) But going beyond that, I hope that others might eventually partake in Short But Sweet with their own takes on the prompt.


In addition to the extra content, I also will be doing a bit of site maintenance, including adding a page for writerly resources. Most of these will trend toward fantasy writing, since… that’s what I do and all, but hopefully writers of any persuasion will find them useful. Be on the lookout for those updates in the next day or two.


One last thing before I go. That’s right, OUR VERY FIRST SHORT BUT SWEET PROMPT. A reminder: the goal is to write some flash fiction or a vignette, less than 1000 words, and post it Sunday for all to enjoy. It can take place in a world you already created, or it can be something entirely new. If you decide to participate, please feel free to tag #shortbutsweetsunday on Twitter, or even just drop the link to your own post in a comment here. However you get it out there, the goal is just to boost your creativity with some extracurricular words. Hope to see lots of great pieces on Sunday!

This week’s prompt: It was fall, the season of knowledge, but nobody knew that.


Well, I honestly think I’ve yakked enough for one post. I’ll be back on Sunday with my answer to this week’s Short But Sweet prompt, and again on Tuesday for the first Your Mileage May Vary review, where I plan to discuss City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty. Until then, as always, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few. 

Kerry Share

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DFWCON Recap

Okay so, for those who don’t follow along on my Twitter, this weekend I had the privilege of attending my very first writing conference. I’m not sure what I expected, and I was more than a little nervous, but the experience was absolutely invaluable. LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.


A Natural Introvert In a Room of 400+

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I, like many other writers, am a natural introvert with a degree of social anxiety. I find it very difficult to start conversations in most situations. Yet, one of the most surprising things about this weekend was 1) how easy I found it to talk to people and 2) my regret on Sunday evening that I didn’t manage to talk to more people. It turned out that after my initial anxiety was surmounted, I had a thousand questions I wanted to ask everyone I came across.

Is this your first time? Where are you from? What do you write? Is it finished? Are you pitching? Who are you pitching? What else is in your back catalog? What writing program do you use? Pantser or plotter? What classes are you going to?

It got to a point where I almost wish I had a microphone and a podcast to blame my incessant interrogating on. But, I couldn’t help myself. It was the first time I had the opportunity to be around other writers. It was so nice to be able to talk about things like word count and genre nuance with people who get it, and that relief was the biggest factor in overcoming my anxiety.


Classes, Lectures, and Panels, Oh My!

notes

I was telling people by the end of it all that my brain felt like a sponge that had absorbed as much water as it was physically capable, and all I wanted to do was get home and squeeze it out all over the page.

There was so many great classes to choose from that I was driven into a panic because I couldn’t actually pull a Hermione and go to all of them. I will say I came away just a little disappointed, not in any of the classes or presenters themselves, but in my own inability to streamline what I wanted to get out of the conference. I bounced around from topic to topic based on a whim, whereas I felt I probably would have gotten a lot more out of it if I had really considered what would be the most useful to me at this precise moment in my writing career. Oh well, lessons for next time.


Community

community

This really goes without saying, but the writing community is rad. It just is. I mean, I knew that before the conference, just based on how welcoming and supportive the online space has been. But for an introvert with social anxiety, moving those interactions into the physical realm came with new bunch of questions and fears. Sitting amongst all those fellow aspiring and successful authors, I found myself often wondering if I even belonged there. I don’t have a completed manuscript (first draft notwithstanding), I don’t have a back catalog, I’ve never queried or pitched. At 31 years old, I have as much (or less!) experience as an 18 year old.

And yet, no one ever made me feel that way. Even as I admitted, somewhat shamefaced, that I only just finished my very first first draft but a short two weeks prior, I was greeted with congratulations and high fives, even from some who had 12 books under their belts. It never felt condescending or placating, but spoke to the universal truth that writing is hard and in that little conference center, we really were all in it together.


All told, I left on Sunday creatively invigorated. I couldn’t wait to get back to the page. I had a hundred thousand ideas I wanted to get to and I still found myself pushing for more. I felt even more determined to make this the year I start treating writing as a job so that one day it will be my actual job. I found myself wishing there could be a conference once a month (my wallet would never survive) just so I could soak myself in that determination any time I felt low.

Thank you so much to the DFW Writers’ Workshop for putting on such an amazing experience. I’ll definitely be back next year.


That’s all from me this week. I’ll be back next week, probably with that previously promised post (how’s that for alliteration?) about Writing For Yourself. But! If you lovelies have any ideas for some topics you’d like me to tackle, be it authors behaving badly, craft, or even how the weather affects my writing, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me a message on Twitter.

Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Picking Your Professional Name

Manuscript news: I’m gonna be honest. I have been a pretty lazy writer this week. I joked after NaNo that I was gonna take a week off. At least, at the time I thought it was a joke, but it has turned out to be more prophetic than I would like.

Truthfully, I was really worried this would happen. My hobbies tend to be cyclical, and after a period of hitting one hard I usually circle around to something else for a while. Writing was a hobby for such a long time, and I’m only just now trying to transition it into more of a second job. And if it were a job, I’d have called out a lot this week and on the cusp of getting fired.

Since NaNo has ended I’ve only added about 3000 words. It’s not writer’s block. I’m in the middle of a really good scene that I’m (for once) really excited to write. It’s just… burn out, maybe? I gave myself a goal of being done with the manuscript by the end of January, with a daily word count target of 1000-1200. I’m not hitting that, not even close. I don’t know what I need to do to get myself back in the groove, but I’ve got to figure it out soon, while the story still has the capability of engaging me.


The Weekly Struggle: My latest struggle (apart from the above) has revolved around my professional name. Or lack of one, really. When I decided to go on this journey, choosing a name to write under was something pretty far down on my priorities list, somewhere between writing my query letter and writing my actual novel. I knew I would use my real first name (Kerry, in case you forgot, pleased to meet you), but I had concerns about going all in with my legal last name as well. However, I didn’t want to wait until I made a potentially long-term decision like that to get started on my blogging, my twittering, and my connecting with fellow writers.

So I opted to simply use Just Another Struggling Writer as my public façade, or Kerry for short, and went about my business.

But, lately I’ve felt a little naked as just a first name.

I know it’s still pretty early to think about. Especially considering my current difficulties getting words on the page and the non-zero possibility that I could flame out now and never finish this (or any) manuscript, picking a professional name seems like pretty small peanuts.

A lovely follower on Twitter (Miss K) pointed out that it would be prudent to pick a name, so a website domain could be registered before it’s snapped up by someone else, and I think there’s wisdom to that (although I had always intended on using the JASW — what’s the word? Brand? That feels unearned at this point but I can’t think of any other way to describe it — as my public persona, but that’s a bridge for Future Kerry to cross).

My focus needs to be writing. Finishing a book. But, I still can’t help but wonder if I should be getting my name out there in the community.

Originally, when I first planned this post, I was going to ask for advice on how to pick what professional name to use. Legal name? Maiden name? Pen name, and if a pen name how do you choose? But the more I thought about it, the more I started wondering if my name is a cart rumbling down the road miles ahead of the horse.

For the record, I feel pretty settled on a pen name. It rhymes with my real, legal, difficult to spell and therefore frequently mispronounced last name. It also shares a common first letter, and since my actual signature is a scribble in which only the initials are somewhat legible, I wouldn’t have to change anything (now that really is putting the cart in front of the horse, but sue me, I have a lot of time to mull about these things at the day job).

Which means, if I have chosen what I want to go by, then why wait? Why not just go ahead and change all my screen names, and register the domain, and make a small announcement that Just Another Struggling Writer will henceforth be known as Kerry….

Honestly, I don’t know.

I had sort of envisioned always being Just Another Struggling Writer. A person other writers in the early stages of their careers could see and relate to. Someone who is going through what they are going through right now. I sort of feel by stepping away from that I’ll be abandoning a community I dreamed of building, before it even has a chance to lay a foundation.

Is it self-centered of me to still want that?


What I’m Reading This Week: Shadow of the Raven by Millie Thom. After Outlander, I thought I might like a Viking story, but with more fantasy elements (since Outlander was lacking in that area, for my taste). My search led me to this series. I’m literally only just getting started on it, but I’m looking forward to it.