Self-Promotion and Anxiety: An Extreme Sport

Hello friends and welcome to another so-anxious-I-kind-of-want-to-throw-up edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Friends. Pals. Fellow writers.

This week I learned that two months ago, with little fanfare or promotion, or even a little note to yours truly, my first freelance project was published.

Now, I know I’ve talked little about my freelancing gig, partially because I wasn’t sure of how much I could or should say, so I feel compelled to explain now that I am currently engaged to write romance novellas for a subscription service called Scribd. Though romance is not my usual genre, I have found the work to actually be pretty fun, and I am enjoying it a lot.

That said, I do not begrudge my publisher’s lack of interest in boosting this first release. As the first novella I’d written and the first romance I sought to publish, the manuscript, I am sure, belies some growing pains. Further as I am an unproven author with no platform to speak of, it is not difficult to see why I was not afforded promotional resources.

However, that means that, if I want to get eyes on my work and potentially grow a platform, promoting is being left entirely up to me. As someone with pretty hefty anxiety, this is a task that, while I know is necessary, I’m petrified of undertaking. Showing people my work means opening myself up to the (damn near guaranteed) possibility that someone will hate it. Someone will hate the way I write, and, the anxiety brain tells me, therefore they will hate me personally, and they will trash me online and I will never recover from it emotionally.

But, nervous to the point of nausea though I may be, I am also perfectly aware that people not liking my work simply comes with the territory of being a writer. And so, to find an audience that does like my writing, I need to put in some work that might chafe at my anxiety a bit (read: a lot). It’ll be doubly important when the exclusivity period is up and I’m able to sell it myself, so learning how to promote myself without apology or, dare I say, shame is critical if I want my career to continue to grow.


To that end, if you’ve enjoyed my blog and are interested in reading some of my work, you can find my romance novellas at Scribd: here!

The first (and so far only) story out is called The Dutiful and the Disfavored. It’s Regency era and while I freely admit it’s not my best work (as I was still trying to find my footing in the genre), I would still really love if yall read it. If Regency isn’t your bag, don’t worry! I have strayed all over the romance spectrum, including suspense, fantasy, and straight contemporary. As soon as those stories are out I will of course share them here!

Meanwhile, check out The Dutiful and the Disfavored, or please pass the link on to someone who might enjoy it. You’d really be doing this struggling writer a huge solid.


Alright, that’s enough of that I think.

Tomorrow marks the first day of Prep-tober, and I’m honestly really sad, as it looks like for the first time in four years I will not be able to participate in NaNoWriMo. I will be writing, of course, but I think that my freelance schedule makes it just too tough to also try and get 1666 words toward a second project every day as well.

Although, shit, knowing me I’ll probably try it anyway.


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

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; The Grind

Hello friends and welcome to another fun an exciting week of writing.

At least, I wish it was exciting. Actually, today I’m finding myself a little caught up in the doldrums of the daily grind. When sitting myself down to write this post I found that I didn’t have much in the way of motivation, other than the usual “you’re under contract and you definitely don’t want to put it off like last time” feelings.

It’s funny, because for the last several years my main goal has been to become a working writer. And though I knew writing as a job would at times be just as tedious and unfun as a regular day job might be, knowing something abstractly and experiencing it practically are two different beasts altogether.

All that to say, I have nothing new to add this week. No special pearls of insights that came to me as I set about my day, no wisdom to expound upon as I look forward to another week of just grinding out those words. The only thing I have is the reminder to myself, cold comfort though it may feel at the moment, that I wanted this. I still do, of course, no matter how unexciting it feels this morning. This is what it means to be a working writer, in some respects. The knowledge that it’s just like any other job.

Until next time my friends.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Never Not Working

Hello friends! I’ve been absent these last two weeks thanks first to being absolutely slammed at my day job, and second to a planned and much needed vacation. The fall and winter seasons always tend to be the busiest for me both at work and in writing, so a break from both was just the respite I needed to get my mind right for the blitz.

But I’m back now and thinking about that shampoo commercial with Troy Polamalu and Patrick Mahomes. You know the one. More specifically, I’m ruminating on its signature phrase: never not working.

I had a lot of downtime this last month, the most I’ve had since (still miraculously, to me) landing my freelancing gig in April. And while I definitely needed a bit of a breather, I still found myself feeling… restless. Itchy. Like I needed to be doing something. Writing, preferably. Drafting, even more specifically.

As someone who has struggled a lot as an adult with anxiety and depression, who slips all too easily in time wasting but oh so comfortable activities and bad habits, the desire to use my limited free time to work came as something of a surprise to me, but a welcome one at that. It has long been a goal of mine, impossible it though had seemed at times, to turn that itchy part in my brain that makes me write into a career, yet my worst nature to deprioritize that which is not strictly necessary in my day to day life has forestalled meaningful progress toward that goal for as far back as I can remember.

Yet, the distinctly unsettled experience I have been — ahem — enjoying this last month tells me that maybe I am ready to take that step. To think of writing not as a hobby or a passion project, but as a job that deserves to be taken every bit as seriously as my 9 to 5. And if that is the case I need to prepare myself for the hustle. Because if I’ve learned anything about professional writers, freelancers, self-published, and agented a like, it’s that they are Never Not Working.

So today, that’s my motivation.

Speaking of which, time to get back to it. Until next time!

Kerry Share

Monday Motivations; No Rest For the Working Writer

I’ll admit it folks: I was pretty darn tempted to forgo blogging today (or this week, or even this month). After all, with no active freelance project to inform my writing needs for the next four or five weeks, what could I possibly have to talk about?

Well, as it happens, I’m still a working writer, even if I’m not “working” at the moment.

In fact, when I sat down with my journal this morning to outline how I would like to spend this non-working month, a surprising amount of writing related tasks came up.

For starters, my next pitch due date is September 6th. I’ve already determined that I’d like to do two pitches this quarter (three being too many and one not enough), which gives me two weeks (each) to put together and refine an idea into something sellable. Should be plenty of time, but I also wouldn’t be that surprised if I completely lost track of things and ended up with just a few days to throw things together.

Which is sort of the point I’m dwelling on here. It would be really easy for me to take a month long vacation from writing here. Spend my after day job hours loafing around playing video games or watching tv or all those lovely time wasting activities I do so dearly miss. But what good would that do me? Truly? None. I would only be putting myself in the unenviable position of having to get back into the habit of writing every day. Which, for me, a person who struggles mightily with habit formation and maintenance, would be… uh, shitty to say the least.

So I’ve got to keep after it. But I can’t expect two pitches to keep me occupied an entire month can I?

Which leads me the second big writing related task I want to tackle this month: figuring out what the hell personal project I want to try and tackle. I have so many ideas at so many different stages of development, and, truthfully, all of them and none of them feel like… the correct choice.

I’m sure there’s some analysis paralysis at play here. I would medal in the Overthinking Olympics. And I know that continuing to try and force it would only make it worse. But, with how much time and oxygen the freelancing gig has eaten up, I’m worried that if I don’t take this brief moment of downtime now to advance my personal writing, then those ideas will forever and always be on the back burner. And as much as I have loved this freelancing thing, my goals for my writing career extend far beyond it.

So that’s my motivation this week month. Sort through my feelings on each of these ideas I’ve got and figure out which one lies at the cross section of inspiration and aspiration. Then develop it. Nurture it. Prepare it. Outline it. And heckinf write it.

Oh, yeah. And I’d also like to finish this book I’ve been tryna read all summer.

Until next time friends.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; The Final Countdown

*cue guitar riff*

Friends, the time has come. In five days I will submit my fourth freelance manuscript, whereupon I will be not under contract for the first time since April, and I will take a very much needed break.

When I first signed up for this gig, I had an idea that it would be a bit of an ass kicking. I wasn’t used to writing that much that quickly with a hard deadline to adhere to, but… I also knew that I was capable of it. And so I was. I haven’t yet missed a deadline and all my edits have been not just complimentary, but educational, helping me improve my craft and building up my creative muscle with each new project I tackled.

It’s been an awesome experience, even when I was at my lowest moments (of which I had only myself and my penchant for procrastination to blame). I’ve gotten to work as a freelance writer, dabble in a genre I hadn’t touched since I left fanfiction, work with editors and practice working on a deadline. As much of a hustle that it’s been, I can genuinely say I’ve loved it.

But, friends, I am friggin tired. As much as I’ve enjoyed this gig, it has been an asskicking. Everyday day has felt like I have no time at all to relax, that every waking moment not otherwise engaged must be spent furthering whatever project I was currently working on, if not actually tapping out the words but brainstorming what I would need to do next.

It has made relaxing a guilty pleasure, having outside obligations a matter of stress, early bedtimes or days off nigh unthinkable.

In short, I’m ready for this break. God, am I ready.

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s only temporary. In six weeks or so there will be a new pitch period and I’ll dive back in headfirst, ready to further refine myself as a writer. But this time I’ll be smarter about it. I’ll pare back how many projects I pitch to give myself the breathing room my ambition robbed me of these last few months.

And I’ll keep rolling. Can’t wait.

But first, I’ve got some unfinished business:

  • 10000 words to round out the manuscript
  • Edit the first 3 chapters
  • Quick and dirty proofread

If all goes well, I’ll check back in Friday to let you know how it went. If you don’t hear from me, you may assume I was working right down to the wire. Either way, until next time…

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; 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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