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; 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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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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Friday Feelings; Buckling Down Edition

This week has been a real two steps forward, one step back kind of week. Actually, to be totally honest, it has felt more like two steps back, one step forward.

When I get close to the end of a draft, I like to do what I call a post-mortem outline, although outline might be a bit of a strong word since it’s more like a skeleton. Basically I just jot down the major plot points from start to finish to make sure everything still makes sense and contributes to the forward momentum of the story. I can honestly say that 100% of the times I have done this I have flushed out weak points or gaps in the narrative that I wasn’t able to see before.

The same was no different for this freelance project. Today I drew up a post mortem and I identified a few places in the soupy middle area that needed shoring up. No big deal, right? Re-edit a few chapters here, add an extra chapter there. Easy. Well, my deadline in *checks calendar* one week says otherwise. I still have about 9000 words and most of the third act to finish drafting, and about half the manuscript to edit.

Honestly? I’m starting to panic a little. I’m hoping that, in this case, panic is a good thing that kicks my ass into some sort of hyper-productive mutant for the next seven days. I have always said I work well with a deadline, and, well, now is the time where we find out if I was just bullshitting myself all along.


And then, guess what? I get to do it all over again. That’s right, I get to start my second freelance project immediately after. Then, there’s a third one after that. Then it’ll be pitching time again, when, barring some sort of magical mental unlock/upgrade, I will not be pitching three stories again. I mean, probably. I don’t know. Part of me still thinks that I actually could slay this kind of work, but the last week has really dampened my self-confidence.

I just really want to prove that I can do this, but I also think I under estimated the time consumption and let myself off the hook one too many times, and now I’m here in crunch. Maybe next time, now that I know what to expect, I’ll be able to plan better and it won’t feel like running a marathon at a sprint every day.


One good thing to come out of this week (although, in retrospect, it is partially contributing to my time squeeze now) was that I got a shit ton of reading done. I made a goal on Monday to get to 50% of the book, and by Wednesday I blew right past that. I’m in the build up to the climax now and I so wish I had time to just sit down and just consume the rest in one go, but it’s just not possible with this book. Even at 63% I still have over 250 pages to read. I’m also getting to that dreaded point in a novel where the characters start making really dumb, groan worthy decisions that I know are necessary for tension or whatever, but still give me the worst case of second hand embarrassment in history. It’s still really good though and I can’t wait to finish.


Me: fusses about being extremely short on time to get actual paid work done.

Also me: spends an entire hour writing a blog post nobody asked for.

See yall next week, pals! Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Belated Edition

Hello friends! I’m a bit belated this week because I had a scheduled day off yesterday from work and I decided to apply that to all types of obligations on my time.

That being said, the end of my week last week was a bit of a shit show that completely threw off my routine, and I am ready to get back to the familiar, even if that means a Monday Motivations on Tuesday. Let’s get to it, shall we?

I am now officially 10 days out from my first deadline and I’m starting to feel the pressure. I still have about 13,000 words to pound out and while that doesn’t sound like a lot, I still have to edit them as well. I did a shit ton of editing over the weekend, though, and am feeling really good about the state of the manuscript, unfinished ending notwithstanding. I just need to stay focused and keep grinding. I’d like to focus on edits during the day and new words at night, that way I can keep an even balance of forward momentum and necessary revision. I would also like to reserve the final two days before deadline on copy edits and formatting, which gives me just over a week. Gulp. But, this is what I signed up for and now is the time to find out if I am equal to it.

I did a lot of reading yesterday during my downtime which I really enjoyed, I just wish I could read faster. I’m starting to feel a bit down on myself for letting my reading schedule get so off track, but I really like this book. I’m not likely to discover new time to read, however, with my next freelance project already lined up after the first wraps up. I just need to keep plugging away and stop feeling guilty. Ha! Easier said than done, right?

So, even though I did workshop a one sentence synopsis for my Snowflake project last week, I wasn’t really satisfied with any of the results. I just found it really hard to to distill the concept down to 10 or 15 words. In a way, it feels like I failed the creative exercise it was meant to be. I would like to keep working at it this week. There isn’t any rush for this, it’s purely a vanity project. I want to make sure I get it right.

Okay, so concrete goals:

  1. Reach 30,000 words by Friday.
  2. Edit 3 chapters
  3. Get to 50% of my current read
  4. Relax with an episode of Bridgerton

Is it a sign that you’re overworked when you have to set a goal to relax? Actually, on second thought, don’t answer that.

I’ll be back on Thursday (hopefully, barring any other day job fires to put out) with your regularly scheduled blog post. Until then my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations, Fresh and Ready For Success Edition

Good morning friends and happy Monday. I hope you all are ready for another fun filled creative roller coaster, because I sure am!

Last week was a learning process. As it was my first official week on the “job” I wasn’t quite sure how much work writing I was going to be able to achieve, nor did I know how much time and energy I would have left after all the work writing was done for the day. That said, even though I got sick Wednesday and tainted the sample, I feel I was able to get at least a workable understanding of my capabilities (and my limits) and I’m ready to set myself some reasonable goals.

Last week I wanted to hit 10,000 words on my first work project, and I did that on Friday. So, this week, I’m going to challenge myself to hit 21,000 by Friday, so an extra 200 words a day. I’m going to accomplish that by getting up a half hour earlier every morning and starting my day off in the creative mindset. The great news is: I’ve already accomplished that for today. In fact, I managed to get 500 words done this morning, leaving me in great shape for the rest of what is looking like a very busy Monday (as always).

My other goals are easy and simple:

  1. Read 3 chapters of my current read, Throne of the Five Winds
  2. Workshop a one sentence synopsis for my Snowflake project
  3. Start mentally prepping my second work project

I’m really feeling the time squeeze today so I better get after it. I’ll be back on Thursday (hopefully). Until then may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Friday Feelings, Sick as a Dog Edition

Man, what a week it has been. My routine has been thrown all out of whack, largely because I woke up on Wednesday with a terrible head cold. It’s been a serious battle to get my words done each day whilst feeling like crap, but yesterday I took a shit ton of meds and pounded out 2500 words to (mostly) get myself back on schedule.

Oh, yeah, I have a schedule now. With the contracts that came in on Friday, I officially have a deadline for my very first freelancing projects. Now, I happen to think that I work really well on an external deadline. My own personal timelines, on the other hand, I tend to pretty much ignore. Holding your(my)self accountable can be tough when you’ve never had to practice it.

But, give me someone who is counting on me to hand in my work on a very specific day? The fear and shame of the mere prospect of letting them down is enough to get me thrashing the keys, random allergy driven sick days be damned.

So, at long last and behind the band wagon as always, I started Bridgerton this week after hearing, and seeing (looking at you Regé-Jean Page, yum), plenty of good things about it. While I’m not tripping over myself to binge it, partially because I’m saving it for when I need inspiration on my historical romance, I did find the first episode enjoyable. And let me just come right out and say it: I am loving the diverse regency setting. Love it. Not sure I would be watching were it any other way, to be frank.

Funny story though, here I was thinking this should would be akin to, for example, the BBC Pride and Prejudice adaptation, and so fired up the first episode while at my desk at work.

Those of you who have seen the show will know why that was not the finest idea I’ve ever had.


On Monday I set a few goals for myself for the week. Let’s see how I did.

  1. 10,000 words by Friday – Well, not quite but pretty damn close. I clocked out last night at 9400 and am looking forward to hitting 5 digits this evening.
  2. Complete Step 1 of the Snowflake Method for my new personal project – Sadly, no. Staying on track with the above goal took most of my bed-ridden spoons. But, the week isn’t over until Sunday night at 11:59, right?
  3. Transcribing written words for The Nexus – again no.

  1. Read 1 chapter from my current read – Yes! I got done writing early last night and managed to squeeze in not one, but three whole chapters. A whopping 5%. Did I mention this book is dense as hell? Can’t wait to review it, honestly.

Okay, so a 25% success rate isn’t great but, hear me out… Hey look, is that Regé-Jean Page right over there?! *poof*


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

Kerry Share

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Testing: Friday Feelings

Hello friends. Today I come to you with something entirely experimental. Pursuant to last night’s post about putting more of myself out there, I’m going to try and do just that. A blogger and writer I enjoy (Maggie Slater) does a weekly roundup every Friday, and I really like the idea of reviewing my week and talking a bit without needing to have a specific topic in mind (unlike my Thursday posts). So, I’m gonna test it out and see how I feel.

img_9339
tfw you feel like you don’t even deserve to feel imposter syndrome

Yesterday (and today) I got some great news regarding the freelancing opportunity I applied for in February. The pitches I submitted were accepted by the editor and all that’s left to do now is to sign the contracts and start writing. I’ve got some complicated feelings on this (though I’m obviously both excited and nervous), mostly about how… well, how easily this opportunity came to me. It literally appeared in my Twitter feed right when I needed it most, within days of me starting to explore freelance writing. There was no struggle in the trenches, as I have often heard freelancing described. Not even a rejection. It has been a very smooth process thus far, and while I am still in the early stages (I have yet to write anything heartier than a synopsis), it just hasn’t jived with what I expected landing a gig as a freelancer might be like.

Which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong. The anxiety brain always makes things sound worse than they inevitably are. But, to be honest, has given me a modicum of imposter syndrome. Like… do I really deserve to have gotten this far? Then I remember, that I’m barely off the starting line. I’ve made no money, I’ve written no words. So… do I really even deserve to claim imposter syndrome?


I bit the bullet and opened up an Instagram account. That, too, was fraught with second-guessing. I mentioned in my New Year’s Resolutions post in January that I have been thinking about this since last year, but ended up not doing it because the idea of sharing images of my personal space grinds my anxiety button. And that’s still true! The thing about Instagram is that it’s designed to be pretty, and my life aint pretty. I mean that literally. I don’t have these neatly curated writing spaces, or carefully posed props. What I have is a mess. Again, literally. But also figuratively.

But… isn’t that kind of a reason in and of itself to just go for it? For better or for worse, this is the low-income writing life and others living it deserve to see (and show) that it’s not always the ‘gram level ideal.

At least that’s the soapbox I stood on to convince myself to sign up. We’ll see if it bears out.

(eta: if you’re on Insta as well, please add me and validate this choice! I’m @justanotherstrugglingwriter)


snowflake
snowflake

I’m in the very, very early stages of planning a personal project, and the nature of it requires extensive planning. Even more so than I usually like. So, I decided I would take this opportunity to re-examine the Snowflake Method of plotting a novel. I have tried it once or twice in the past, but found it was too rigorous in it’s planning, (which, for me, is weird). However, that high level of forethought might be just what I need for this new project. I look forward to exploring it and sharing with you all how it goes.


I think that’s everything from me. I’ve got to get started on my very first freelance writing project wtaf. It’s still strange to say. Should I tell my family? Or should I wait until the draft it accepted? Or should I wait until I have payment in hand? It’s all new and exciting and also wow I hope I don’t screw this up.

See you all next next week! Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

Twitter || Instagram || Ko-Fi

Leap of Faith

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

It’ll be a quick one today, friends, since I’m short on time.

I’m not a religious person, nor a big believer in fate, or serendipity, or karma. But last month, I was in a real pinch financially thanks to the devastating winter storm that displaced me and my family from our home for almost three weeks. Desperate, I went online looking for ways to monetize my writing and the results were… disappointing to say the least. Breaking into freelancing seemed impossible for someone like me with no college degree or relevant experience. I was looking into other gig work when, quite by chance, while absentmindedly scrolling through Twitter, I came across a tweet advertising a freelance writing opportunity.

What could it hurt, I thought, to send an email to the attached address and just ask.

Well, as it turns out, it couldn’t hurt. In fact, it could help a lot.

I won’t say anymore since things are still very much in the early stages, and, who knows, maybe it’ll turn out that I won’t be good for this kind of work after all.

That said, just applying for the opportunity has given me a fresh perspective into the life of a working writer, and my own capabilities. I’ve never done this kind of work before. I’ve never had to submit writing samples or pitches, or work on a deadline that wasn’t of my own creation. Every response to every step I have taken, I have convinced myself that this will be the email that tells me I’m not a good fit.

Yet that hasn’t happened. And as I approach the point of no return, the moment of real commitment, I find myself confronting a new emotion about the whole endeavor: hope.

Wish me luck!

Continue reading “Leap of Faith”