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; Back in the Saddle

Good morning! I am pleased to say that I am feeling much, much better now, the fog of depression at last lifting on Friday. After a weekend to recoup and relax, I am back to tackle another fun filled week of writing.

Okay so the “fun” part might be a bit of a stretch, because, thanks to the aforementioned depressive episode I am now in dire straits writing wise. How dire, you might be wondering? Well, 27000 words in less than two weeks dire.

Yeah, it’s bad.

I’m lucky that this project was my most thoroughly planned of the three pitched. I even have a solid outline. I feel pretty sure I can pull this off, but it’s going to be a harrowing two weeks to be sure. It’s really going to test my abilities in a way they never have before. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. In fact it feels like lying to use the word nervous instead of “scared shitless” for example.

But I’m just gonna go for it. No telling what I’m capable of until I try, right?

Wish me luck!

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; The Laundry At Your Feet

Good morning friends.

Let’s start off with a confession: last week was rough for me. My depression and anxiety were pretty severe which made it hard to do anything writing wise beyond the absolute minimum to get my freelance manuscript turned in. The great news is: it got turned in! Damn straight, I finished the edits, submitted, and sent off the invoice as well. I spent all weekend relaxing, trying to get my groove back, as it were, so I could tackle my next project, plus all the other writing related tasks I have on my docket.

Sadly, I’m not feeling much better today. I want to be able to say that I’m going to write 10,000 words this week, and do my requested edits on my first freelance submission, and start working on my pitches for next quarter. I’d like to say I’m going to read and blog and all that stuff that I really want to do. But I know over promising and ultimately under delivering, even if the only expectant party is myself, will just make me feel worse in the long run. Yet… all this work has to get done somehow.

Fruits Basket is a Japanese manga by author and illustrator Natsuki Takaya, and is one of my favorite stories in the whole world.

So, instead of setting myself up for failure and contributing to an already pretty down mental state, I’m going to try and do the opposite to maybe help lift myself out of it. I’ll do this by setting tiny, realistic and very achievable goals and, hopefully, meeting them. I won’t think about the next task until the first is complete. I won’t stress that I’m not working hard or fast enough.

At least I’ll try, anyway. Isn’t that what matters in the end, that I try?

Kerry Share

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Writing With Depression

I’ve written and erased more words than I can count trying to compose this blog post. My mood has swung from defensive, to apologetic, to ashamed, with plenty of pit stops in between. One moment I feel emboldened to share my experiences, so that others who might be going through something similar can feel seen. The next, I tell myself that strangers on the internet care not a whit for my problems, and that I’m only opening myself up for negative attention by talking so frankly about something so raw and personal. In the end, I hope I’ve found some middle ground.

To put it frankly and simply: I, like many others, suffer from depression. Mine manifests primarily as major depressive episodes, which I experience three or four times a year. During these times, which usually last around three weeks, my chief symptom, apart from an emotional cocktail of all the usual suspects, is exhaustion. A normal day of waking up, taking my kids to daycare, a 9 hour work day, then coming home to care for my three littles literally feels like being in a state of perpetual motion designed to drain every last iota of energy from my body. As such, any waking moment of spare time I have not being used to keep up appearances at my job or to my family is spent in bed.

If I could form a list of all the activities that are sacrificed on the altar of my depression, creativity would be at the very top. It’s not a choice, but, logically it make the most sense. Writing is work, hard work at that. Squeezing it to a full schedule of work, kids, and a social life is a labor in and of itself. Trying to maintain it while your brain chemistry is trying to convince you of how worthless you are… well, I don’t pretend to know how other depressed creatives feel, but for me it’s damn near impossible.

It goes without saying that it sucks having to take a break in this way. It feels like I’m giving up on my dream, even if I know rationally that’s only temporary. At a time when my mind is already fertile ground for self-loathing, writing becomes yet another catalyst for guilt, which then turns into a sort of resentment for my project, which then morphs back into guilt and the cycle continues. In the end, the title for this post becomes a misnomer because in reality, for me, there simply is no writing while depressed.

Eventually the fog starts to clear and I feel a little silly for all the things I did and felt during the episode. I go around and make my apologies to my kids, my partner, anyone who I let down or was short with. And then I get on with my life, knowing that in a few months we’ll all be going through it again.

I wish it was different. I really do. Who knows what I could have accomplished this month off if I my brain hadn’t decided it was time to venture down the rabbit hole. Even now that I feel ready to get back to it, I’ve found myself having difficulty reconnecting to the project after such a long and mentally trying hiatus.

Ultimately, the only answer is to just… keep fighting through it. I have to pick up my pen and write the next word, the next sentence, paragraph, page, and chapter until it’s done. No matter what obstacles I face, that goal has ever been the same.

Thanks to those who read this, even though you don’t know me or perhaps can’t relate to this particular difficulty. And to anyone who’s going through something similar: I don’t have any advice, but I see you. And I believe in you.

 

Kerry Share