Thursday Words

The Grindset

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

Friends, I am still in the throes of the New-Year mindset. Every morning when I wake up I think about all the things I want to accomplish for the day. Many of the tasks I put on my to do list are stepping stones along the path toward the larger goal, like writing 500-1000 words every day so I can finish Daughters of Necessity on schedule. That, in turn, feeds into the ultimate goal, which is, as I have said and will continue to repeat until it manifests, becoming a full time writer.

I feel like I’ve done pretty good so far this year (less than two weeks in, I know). I’ve blogged now for twelve days straight, I’ve written at least some words every day, and I’ve carved out time to read.

But there is still so much more I want to do. I want to rejuvenate my Patreon. I want to launch a Redbubble page. I want to dip my toes into podcasting (yes, still). I want to be active and friendly in the writing community. I want to return to freelance romance writing.

So much to do, yet so little time. Often times I find myself wistfully thinking that I’m not working hard enough. There are hours in my day when I can squeeze in more work. I see plenty of other people doing it. So why can’t I?

Everyday I’m Hustling

Well, here’s the thing. I recently had to take a break from freelancing because I was very seriously behind on a manuscript and just as seriously mentally blocked about it. Every time I opened the document to work on it, I would get so stressed out I could barely get a few sentences out before I was exhausted. My editor was great in allowing me to take time away and hopefully come back to it later, and since then I’ve been focusing on trying to enjoy my creative process again.

Part of the reason I fell behind, and the biggest reason why I was so damned stressed about it, was because there just wasn’t enough time over the course of the holiday season to give the piece any more than a cursory glance most days. Winter is my busy season at my day job, plus there were school functions for my kids, family in town, Christmas shopping to do, funky custody exchanges.

Most days by the time I got home I just wanted to relax. Watch a basketball game, or a true crime documentary. Take a bath or hit the sheets early. Then, I had to get up and do it all over again. On the days when I forced myself to use my evening hours to work, I was miserable in the days (yes, multiple) that followed. Without time to play video games or veg out, I became even more depressed than I usually get this time of year (thanks SAD).

I sometimes think this means I’m just a naturally lazy person. I’ve beaten myself up more times than I can count. Plenty of people in this industry are working a job (or more than one), going to school, raising a family, or any combination thereof and still find time to forge a successful writing career. So, then, I “reasoned,” what does it say about me that I can’t go a few nights a week without TV or video games or extra sleep?

Type What Personality?

Are you starting to see a pattern here? Far too often, I am holding myself up to someone else’s standard.

It occurred to me that maybe there are people out there, perhaps those I am trying to emulate, that get emotional satisfaction from always being on the go or juggling multiple projects. Maybe they go to bed after a long work day and look back on what they accomplished with joy. Maybe they can reward themselves with a bottle of champagne or a weekend away or a club night with friends, and that is enough to rejuvenate them to do it all again.

And if that is a personality type that some people are just born with, well… I’m one of them. I often want to be, but I’m just not. I’m not bored when I go home and have nothing to work on. I’m not stimulated by new challenges or changes to routine.

Does that make me lazy? I don’t know. I hope not. Does it mean I lack ambition? I don’t think so, I’ve got plenty of goals I want to meet. Does it mean I don’t have what it takes to be a writer? Certainly not.

I think what it really means is that if I stop trying to be someone I’m just not for a change, and actually accept that my own pace is what it is for a reason, then maybe I’ll actually start getting somewhere. I mean, who knows what I am capable if only I just start spending the mental energy I have been using to berate myself for not working hard enough instead on writing and creating and growing.

I want to find out, though. I want to find out what my real potential is, not just what I invented for myself based on a metric that is incompatible with who I am and who I am meant to be.

I am not broken after all.


Yall, I don’t think I can stress this enough, I am having fun writing again. I didn’t realize how much weight I had put on myself with the constant churn of deadlines and output, but I am really grateful that I have this opportunity to find my way again. I can’t wait to talk about craft again. Maybe next week. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Ace of Cups

Hello friends and welcome to another wet and wintry week of writing.

You find me today in somewhat of a limbo. Due to ~reasons~ my most recent romance manuscript is on hold pending instructions from my editor. After struggling all month it feels like with illness both physical and mental, I finally emerged from the haze of emotional exhaustion and realized with perfect clarity that my due date would not be met.

I don’t like being that person. I pride myself on my work ethic, but even more than that my punctuality. I know that these sorts of extensions (and possible postponements) happen all the time in publishing, but after eight novella manuscripts turned in on time, I hoped I would manage to avoid it. Alas. Strep throat (twice) and a depressive episode collaborated to ensure that I swallowed that point of pride.

So, here I am, waiting on guidance for the next steps and trying to use this moment (however brief it might turn out to be) to, well, first relax, but also reflect on just how lucky I am to get to do this whole writing thing (semi) professionally.

I will admit I’ve gotten a bit complacent with my arrangement. More than eighteen months in, some of the shine was worn off. I’ve forgotten just how truly awesome (in both modern and original senses of the word) it is that stories I wrote are out there in the world for people to read and hopefully enjoy.

Yes, it is a lot of hard work. Yes, there are times when I come home after a long day at the day job and extra curriculars and the only thing I want to do is get in bed or veg in front of the TV instead of write. Yes, there are times when I get so frustrated because the words aren’t coming and I just wasted two precious hours staring at a blinking cursor.

But it is also an incredible privilege. One that I’ve likely been taking for granted of late.

So while I have a moment to do so, I choose to reflect upon this opportunity with gratitude. I am so fortunate that I get to call myself a (semi) professional writer. I am blessed that I get to advance my craft in such a practical way. I am lucky beyond all comprehension that I get to share my words with you all.

And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Three of Swords

Hello friends and welcome to another whomping week of writing.

I’ve made it no secret that I’ve been going through it of late. Between being ill and caring for a sick child, a mental downturn that feels suspiciously like the beginnings of a depressive episode, and bank account related struggles, writing has been top of mind but low of priority.

Which means I have once again found myself in gut check time. Deadline in 10 days and the majority of the manuscript left to write.

Frankly, I don’t have time to brood about what got me to this point. I just need to put my head down and get my words.

Well? What am I waiting for?

LFG

Kerry Share

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Thursday Words

Deadline Withdrawal

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

Friends, I’ll admit I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts of late. Very tired, but also restless. Bored, but also completely lacking in energy. As a person who is regularly depressed, this feeling is not totally unknown to me, but I did not think – for once – an accident of brain chemistry was at fault for my present malaise. 

After a great deal of pondering, it occurred to me that the reason I was feeling so discombobulated was because I no longer have anything pressing to work on. Of course, I have my personal fantasy projects I could be writing, but, honestly… I haven’t really felt motivated to tackle any of those ideas, even my current WIP, Pieces of Eight. 

The question this led me to ask was: why is it easier to write romance, a genre I am admittedly less versed in and certainly less passionate about, than the fantasy ideas I’ve had brewing for a decade or more? Why is it that I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words for pitches I came up with in about two weeks, but can’t string 90k together for an epic fantasy I’ve been building since 2015? 

Well, friends, I’ve cracked the case. 

It’s the deadline.

I don’t know what it is, I don’t know why my own personal dreams and desires aren’t enough to motivate me the way the expectations of others can, but for some reason I just work really, really, actually kind of phenomenally well under pressure, specifically time pressure, even more specifically external time pressure. 

Without that pressure, I honestly feel kind of adrift. When I’m not under a firm deadline, more than just leaving the option to procrastinate under my own discretion, I actually feel sort of useless. Lost. Worst of all, giving myself a deadline doesn’t seem to have the same effect as someone else giving me one. Its too easy to ignore, or make excuses for missing. 

Which then begs the question: how do I simulate external pressure that I cannot easily blow off? 

As much as I’d love that answer to come from within myself, uh, that hasn’t worked. So, my accountability partner on Twitter came up with a solution: get my kids involved. 

In short: promise them something fun and exciting, but only if I am able to meet a writing goal by a specific time. That way they can pester me when they see me loafing and it’ll actually feel motivating, because I certainly don’t want to let my babies down (even if I don’t really want to go the trampoline park).

Would I prefer that I not need to stoop to such tactics? Sure, of course. But something I have come to realize (even if I’m not sure I’ve accepted it) is that when you’re working, raising a family, keeping a house, maintaining a relationship, and writing, finding the time, energy, and reason to write can be thoroughly exhausting – even before you’ve had a chance to open your laptop (or, if you’re like me, notebook). Sometimes, we’ve gotta take whatever works and roll with it. 

And off I go.


Okay, so here’s the thing. I actually wrote all that last week, and that got overwhelmed with other stuff and didn’t end up posting it. Since then, I have actually learned that my most recent (last minute) pitch I submitted to my editor has been accepted and I’m once again under contract for another romance novella due next month. 

Up until yesterday when I got that email, I had been laboring under the aforementioned funk. Struggling to be productive and prioritize my time wisely. My anxiety dial was on eleven and even with the deal with my kids in place, I had trouble focusing on my work. 

Today, knowing I have five weeks to churn out another novella, I woke up energized and excited. If ever my deadline withdrawal was in doubt, this sequence of events proved it. 

I just work better under pressure. 


Hey its been a minute since I reminded yall that my first romance novella release, The Dutiful and the Disfavored, is available now on my Patreon for just $0.99. If you’re a fan of regency romance, know someone who is, or just want to support indie creators, please consider checking out my page. 

The Dutiful and the Disfavored

That’s all from me this time. I’ve got some new ideas brewing, though now that I’m under contract and under pain of child disappointment, they may have to wait until the new year. I can’t wait. Until next time friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few. 

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; 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