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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Monday Motivations; Prove It

Good morning friends and welcome to another week in the writing trenches

Well, last week you didn’t hear from me at all here because I had once again put myself in a pretty horrible position with my latest freelance deadline. Suffice it to say, I had a pretty hefty word count deficit and just one week to play catch up. And though I did manage to get submitted on time, it was not an experience I would like to repeat.

Which has gotten me thinking. I’ve now been at this freelancing thing three months and with each progressive project it feels like my time management has gotten worse. Of course, I had a depressive episode to contend with, which interfered with my productivity on each of the last two projects, but that doesn’t completely account for my poor time investments across the board. That’s something I have always struggled with (read: my several posts lamenting my time budget and how I always manage to overspend).

Those struggles reached their natural climax last week. And though I did not end up at my worst case scenario (emailing my editor in embarrassment asking for more time), I worry that if I do not take my time management pitfalls more seriously, I will find myself in that position sooner rather than later.

So, I’ve decided to issue an ultimatum to myself. I have one more project under contract (thanks again to my poor time management I wasn’t able to get another pitch submitted for the quarter on time). If I can’t figure out how to make my schedule work without sacrificing things like day job performance, housekeeping responsibilities, etc., then this will be the last time I do it. Four months should be plenty of time to work it out and if I can’t… maybe it’s just not meant to be.

Which would suck, because I really love writing as a job. That part hasn’t worn out it’s welcome yet. My second check hits my bank account this week and it’s still so cool (yet surreal) to think I’m getting paid for work I’m passionate about. So it’s time for me to prove that this isn’t just some gig I took up for shiggles. This is an important moment in my career and a major stepping stone for my aspirations to make writing a living.

So, that’s my motivation this week. Figure out how to balance writing against my other time commitments or give up writing as a part time job until I can.

Concrete goals:

  • 1500 words a day, 7500 by Friday
  • Blog on Thursday and Friday
  • Read 5 chapters of current read

Wish me luck. I’m working against 15 years of bad habits.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Second Verse, Same As the First Edition

A little late to the game this week, but better late than never, right?

Which is fortunately not something I had to tell my editor when submitting my first completed manuscript on Friday. Nope, though it came down to the wire with edits, I was able to submit my very first freelance project before I left my office on Friday.

When I tell you I felt so light driving home that I thought I might float away… not an understatement!

That easy breezy feeling, however, lasted about 15 hours, because the next morning I woke up and remembered that my very second freelance project is due in just four weeks, and it was time to get back to work.

While such a realization might make me panic, after the hair on fire sort of week I’d just survived, I actually felt… pretty damn good still. I’d just proved that I can do it! I can write (and edit, bless) a 35000 word manuscript in 28 days and actually turn it in on time. Of course, there was some crunch in there that I’d like to avoid this time around, but that’s a simple matter of sticking to my schedule and stop making excuses to not write for a day or three.

Capping it all off, I even had the pleasure of submitting an invoice for my work this morning. Imagine! Getting paid to write! /swoon

Honestly, I worried about how well I would do in this sort of scenario: a tight deadline and set parameters to adhere to. But I did it, and, you know what, more than that, I actually enjoyed myself. Sure, the self doubt and editing anxiety sucked, and I miss being able to waste my evenings on video games, and maybe it’s just the clout of saying I’m officially a working freelance writer now, but… it was kinda fun.

(Don’t at me in a year to ask if I still feel that way. Just in case.)

So, here we are. Back to square one. And I ain’t mad about it.

Goals:

  1. Reach 12000 words by Friday
  2. Edit first three chapters
  3. Read at least 1 chapter of current read
  4. Continue workshopping Snowflake project
  5. Have fun

I’m still a little scared of that 2000 words a day goal, but I’ve just seen that when my back is to a wall I can do it. So why don’t I shoot for that number when my back isn’t to a wall, so that way I have time to relax when it matters and not burn myself out? This week will be the first test. Can’t wait to check back in and let you know how I did.

That’s all from me, friends. I’ll be back on Thursday with your regularly scheduled post. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Deadline Edition

Good morning and welcome to another fun filled writing week!

Honestly, I had a hard time writing this post, because I am feeling seriously UNmotivated this morning. I think I worked myself into a small burnout this weekend. Which, don’t get me wrong, needed to be done. I needed to push myself over the hump and prove I had the work ethic necessary to do this whole freelancing thing.

But, man, I’m tired.

And I can’t stop now. Deadline is Friday and while I am no longer pulling my hair out worried that I’m going to miss it, I still have some work to do. A chapter and a half to write and about half the manuscript to edit. The editing I’m less stressed over, since I know it’ll get an edit on the other side too. I would just really like to turn in a clean, cohesive draft.

Then, no rest for the wicked, because I immediately start work on the second project. Which means I really need to be working on the outline now. I keep reminding myself that no one forced me to submit three pitches in three months. I’m not sure I’ll be doing that again, but at least I’ll have the measure of my mettle as a writer by the end, right?

I’d also like to finish this damn book. I know I’ve been saying that for two months now, but I’m finally over the midpoint hump and I always tend to binge the climax. If I can carve out time between editing, outlining, drafting, and Mass Effect (sorry, saving the galaxy comes first, I don’t make the rules), then I should be able to finish. But it’s not looking good.

So those are my big goals: edit, finish, format, and submit this first project, and outline the second, maybe even get the first 2k words down toward it. Read if I can, and get a nap. Preferably soon.

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

Kerry Share

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