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; Five of Pentacles

Hello friends and welcome to another wrangled week of writing.

It’s officially back to real life this week and I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the routine. While I fervently wish writing could be my routine, it’s not and so I have to make hay with the one I’ve got.

Unfortunately, I have once again found myself in a pinch time wise. I’d like to make some sort of great excuse here about why I wasn’t able to write very much over the last month, but I can’t. The simple truth is I procrastinated. And now I’m in a hole.

At least the hole is familiar. Familiar enough that I’m not quite panicking (yet), though we’ll see how I feel after I’ve pulled three all nighters in a row to make deadline.

I’d also like to say that I’ll do better next time, but it seems like that too is destined to be a lie. So instead I’m just gonna be honest with myself: while it would be nice if I could make it a habit to write every day, so I’m not frequently putting myself in such a bind come deadline times, I recognize that am largely a binge writer.

I’ll try to get better. (Seriously.)

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; Three of Pentacles

Good morning friends and welcome to another windswept week of writing.

Last week, even if I didn’t say so out loud, one of my big goals was to catch up on the sleep I lost over my last deadline. Well, friends, I definitely accomplished that.

Which means I have absolutely no excuses left when it comes to what I need to get done this week.

I’ve been thinking a lot this morning about goals and motivation in a bid to boost my writing output and efficiency. Okay, I sounded a little bit like a robot just then, didn’t I? Beep boop.

Something that I have realized over the last eighteen months writing for Scribd, is that I am much more productive when responding to a need. Pressure of a deadline or someone expecting a result from me sharpens my focus and I’m able to tune out distractions.

However, absent that pressure, a vacuum forms and my ability to stand strong against the temptations of procrastination and relaxation folds like a house of cards.

I have been playing for some time with different ideas on how to perhaps manufacture a sense of pressure in order to keep me on task, but so far I’ve been unable to trick my brain into doing its job.

Which is not to say I’m giving up. There is a way out there that will help me stay productive on days when I’m not on a deadline, I just have to find it.

This week I’m trying out stretch goals. After my do or die tasks for the day are done, I’ve given myself some bonus tasks that will make my life easier down the road if I do them now. But I also don’t need to beat myself up if I don’t get to them.

Let’s see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Kerry Share

Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Four of Swords

Hello friends and welcome to another winning week of writing.

Today, for yours truly, is deadline day for my most recent novella contract. And, I know I say this literally every time, but this time I really pulled out all the stops to try and screw things up for myself. By Friday, I was only half done with the manuscript.

Since I’m here and not curled up under my desk with my laptop, eyes bloodshot and words flowing nonsensically, you may surmise that despite the incredible time crunch, I managed to bang out the the last 17000 words I needed in just 48 hours.

That isn’t a brag. I never want to do that again. I’m pissed off at myself for putting myself in such a horrible position. Instead of spending my precious few leisure hours relaxing, I worked all friggin weekend. Instead of catching up on sleep (sorely needed) I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning. Instead of enjoying my writing, I forced myself to do it until my brain felt like a wrung out sponge.

I have got to get better at time management. I have got to learn how power through the natural urge to procrastinate. I have got to figure out how to write every day, so that I’m not stockpiling the stress for later.

I owe it to myself to do better next time, which conveniently starts — uh — tomorrow. Gotta love back to back contracts.

Honestly, I don’t subscribe to write every day as a rule, but it’s clear to me that if I don’t, I’ll more often than not done myself in sticky spots like this past weekend. Which, I remind you, sucked ass.

If that can’t motivate me, I don’t know what will.

It’s a new day friends, a new week. Let’s get after it together.

Kerry Share

Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Four of Wands

Welcome friends and welcome to another wrung out week of writing.

I’ll admit I’ve been in a weird headspace ever since my daughter’s surgery forced me to take a week of from work and writing, partially because I went off my meds by accident and my brain chemistry has been jacked as a result.

But the good news is my next deadline is looming large (next week, gulp), which always has a funny way of kicking my ass into high gear. I don’t know if this is the farthest behind on a manuscript I’ve ever been, but if not it’s damn close.

And though I’m certainly stressed about it, I’m coming into this week determined not to overwhelm myself worrying about what’s happens tomorrow, or the next day. Instead I’m going to focus on what I can do today.

The laundry at my feet.

Good luck this week friends in all your writing endeavors.

Kerry Share

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

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Monday Motivations; Eight of Wands

Hello friends and welcome to another wiry week of writing.

If you called on me every Monday to name a theme for my upcoming week, this time it would definitely be trimming the fat.

After what felt like eons with nothing to do, the freelance work has definitely picked up and suddenly I’m awash in assignments. It’s all a little bit daunting if I’m being totally honest. How am I supposed to squeeze in all this extra work around… all the other work. (Also I literally signed up for this; what was I thinking?)

For a good while now, probably the last 12 or 14 months even, I’ve been wanting, yet struggling, to finally let go of, well, time wasting activities. A lot of it is social media. Twitter, Reddit (the AITA page is a particular productivity suck), the usual. I also have the bad habit of coming home and throwing myself on my bed and not moving again until the alarm goes off the next morning.

Which is fine every once in a while. But it’s not really a sustainable way of life for a wannabe working writer.

I know this. I’ve known this, yet kicking the bad habit has been, up to this point, impossible. That’s because when it comes to self motivation, I’m as weak-willed as my 11 year old son in his first year staying home after school standing in front of a stocked pantry with no adults around to tell him to have a cup of applesauce for snack rather than five bags of goldfish and half a gallon of chocolate milk.

But! I am very, very motivated by outside expectations. Give me a deadline and I’ll work breakneck to meet it, even if that means giving up some of my precious doing-absolutely-nothing time.

So, yeah, maybe this influx of work is a little overwhelming. For the moment. But I don’t think it’s outside my capabilities. I just need to trim a little fat in my time budget. And that’s my motivation this week.

Until next time friends.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Queen of Wands

Hello friends and welcome to another woeful week of writing.

As regular readers may have noticed, I’ve been a tad absent of late, and as regular readers might surmise, that absence is due in large part to the first depressive episode since starting my anti-depressant showing it’s ugly face.

I won’t harp on it too long since there is no new ground to tread, but I continue to be so, so grateful to those who have and still stick by me even when I am at my lowest. If that includes you, dear reader, your energy is not missed and is deeply felt and appreciated.

The good news is I’m starting to come around again, and not a moment too soon because after a three month hiatus, I finally have a freelance contract and accompanying manuscript to work on again. Though I still have to fight off all the normal gremlins that come with starting a new project (why are beginnings so haaaard), my mood noticeably improved the other day when I opened my laptop and started a new Scrivener doc. Which is odd because historically writing when I’m depressed doesn’t go very well and tends to bring me down even lower.

And yet despite having an incredibly stressful year in 2021 with difficulties in my day job and as a parent, I still managed to turn in six novellas last year. Wilder still is that every single one of them was on time. While I can easily say I was depressed the majority of the year, I still got my work done.

It makes me wonder sometimes if my path to being published is not meant to take the “bang my head against an idea or three until a good enough manuscript falls out to edit and query and get rejected and try again until the right one lands an agent” route.

I like to think I write really well to spec, and while I wouldn’t say I thrive on a deadline, I’m certainly very comfortable writing with a due date in mind (and actually meeting it). While my personal projects languish in first draft — or even worse, worldbuilding — hell because I have no outside pressure to stimulate me, my freelancing projects have never been late nor been so bad as to be unpublishable.

Is there a place for someone like me in the writing world? Well, duh, of course there is. That’s why I have this freelancing gig in the first place. But beyond that there are ghost writers and those who write for IP. It’s not really a matter if the kind of writer I apparently am has a space in publishing and literature, the real question is am I comfortable occupying it? Do I have the fortitude to accept that perhaps that writing my original ideas is not the path I was meant to take?

I don’t know. Obviously, this isn’t an either/or situation. There’s nothing stopping me from doing both, except, well, me. And the confines of time stubbornly refusing to accommodate how much work is physically and mentally possible during the day. But I digress.

It’s just something else to think about. In the short term, I’m going to keep freelancing and squeezing in the personal work where I can. At least that way I can be sure I’m always moving forward.

And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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Scribd subscribers, click here to find my romance novellas!

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Monday Motivations; Eliminating Waste

Happy NaNoWriMo everyone, especially those who are choosing to participate this year. Regular readers of this blog may be aware that after a lot of internal debate, pained agonizing over my busy schedule, and possibly against my better judgement, I have decided to go ahead and at least attempt NaNo.

With as much on my plate this month, with a manuscript due in two weeks, my partner going out of town for the holiday, leaving me with child care and housekeeping to take care of, and some other additions to my schedule, it honestly seems ludicrous, even to me, that I would even consider adding yet another time consuming, energy sapping, creative obligation to my list. That said, for the first time in four years, I’m under no illusion that “winning” NaNo is likely. But if I’m to have a prayer of crossing that 50,000 mark, time management is going to be critical.

I often think about time like currency. It can be spent wisely or wastefully. Too often, when I find myself scrambling to meet a deadline, or when I am feeling completely overwhelmed by my To Do list, it’s because I frittered away my balance of time in a decidedly unproductive fashion.

We all have our favorite time wasting activities. For me, it’s usually video games, although lately it’s been true crime TV and nonagram puzzles (I just discovered them and to say I’m obsessed is…). Sometimes I try to tell myself I am capable of multi tasking. That I can write and watch that basketball game, or that it’s okay to reward myself for a paragraph by scrolling Twitter. Sometimes it’s true, but mostly it’s just a comforting lie.

This month, I can’t afford to deceive myself. While self care and moments of leisure will be important to avoid burn out and over work, eliminating those moments when I know better than to open the AITA sub Reddit or mindlessly click through my newsfeed or do just one more puzzle, because all it is is a time sink that feeds my worst impulses.

So, that’s my motivation this week. Identifying and eliminating wastes of my already stretched thin and precious time.

It’s gonna take discipline I’m not sure I have, but I’ll never know unless I try, right? And, anyway, even if I don’t “win” NaNo, every word I do write is one more I didn’t have before this month, and that matters. In that regard, I’ve already accomplished the goal.

Until next time, my friends!

Kerry Share

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Scribd subscribers, click here to find my romance novellas!