A Year in Review and a Look Ahead

Hello friends and welcome to the very first Thursday blog post of 2022 here at Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

I feel like I could say this every year, but it is especially true of this last one: 2021 did not go at all the way I expected. 

At one time I had aspirations of completing the Nexus (laughable in retrospect), reading 22 books (a pittance to some, but a mountain to me), and consistently blogging. 

Well, one out of three isn’t… bad… Okay, it’s pretty bad.

But that’s okay! Because I did something in 2021 that I definitely did not expect: I became a professional, published author. I signed up as a freelancer with Bryant Street Shorts, a romance imprint with the subscription service Scribd. I wrote six novellas in just as many months, and I got paid for my work.

Holy shit, if that’s not worth skimping on a few New Year’s resolutions, I don’t know what is. 

2021, though exceedingly challenging, frustrating, liberating, amazing, and unexpected all at once, was a year of monumental growth for me. I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of given the opportunity and motivation. 

But I’m not done yet. As much as I have loved my freelancing gig and plan to continue writing romance novellas in the coming year, there is still so much more I want to accomplish, particularly as it relates to my personal, passion projects. The fantasy novels that have been percolating in my brain, some for years, and, unfortunately, took a back seat while I through myself headfirst into the novellas. 

And that’s what got me thinking about what goals/resolutions I should set for 2022. Now, admittedly, I have a horrible track record with resolutions. I always get way too ambitious and usually give up on everything, instead of eyeing one or two realistic goals to take on. That being said, I don’t necessarily think that ambition should be discouraged. As long as it’s pushing me to achieve more than I did before, even by only a modicum, then it’s still serving a purpose, right? 

To that end, I’ve decided to split my goals into three categories:

  • Do or Die – self-explanatory. These are things I must get done this year if I want to retain any sort of respect for myself. 
  • Nice but Not Necessary – Things I probably could and should do, but I won’t be totally humiliated if I don’t. 
  • Preposterous Pipe Dreams – Things that are so ludicrous, perhaps even outside the realm of possibility for someone in my position, yet still fun to think about and aspire to. 

So, without further ado: Kerry’s 2022 Resolutions!


Do or Die

  1. Write 160,000 words towards fantasy projects.

The biggest thing I would like to accomplish this year, as alluded to earlier, is a return to personal writing, and by that I mean my fantasy ideas. Originally, I had planned to draft an entire novel this year, but the thing is… none of my standard novel ideas (aka: not the cluster fuck that is the Nexus) is ready yet. I’ve got one simmering right now that still needs half a year or more before I’m ready to commit to it. Which is fine. I have the Nexus to work on (that will likely be true for years to come) and at least that project, though lengthy and time consuming, is fun to work on, because I have no expectations for it. 

That said, as much as I enjoy writing that particular story, I am clear eyed and realistic enough about the industry to know that its not the most likely vehicle to advance my writing career, which, to be clear, I really, really want to do. So, I don’t really feel like spending an entire year on a project that may never see the light of day is the best use of my time. 

And that’s the thought that led me to my Next Big Idea.

This year, I’m going to write an urban fantasy novella, the first in a planned series.

The concept, codenamed Wonderland for now, is one I’ve been ruminating on for a few years, but only in the last 10 months have I started to consider it as a novella series rather than a novel. The structure I would like to pursue is more like a monster-of-the-week TV series, which is obviously more short form. I had a lot of fun writing romance novellas this year and I think the shorter word count lends itself well to my writing style (thin as hell). And while this may not be the idea that launches my fantasy career either, it scratches the itch of wanting to work on something new while also not being too much of a time suck. 

So, this is how I envision my word count breaking down (in any order of completion): 

  • Story Path #2 of the Nexus: 50-60,000 words
  • Story Path #3 of the Nexus: 50-60,000 words
  • Wonderland #1: 40-48,000 words

Honestly, even looking at it now, I know it’s a big ask to make of myself. It will mean working every damn day. It will mean not giving up even when I’m tired or bored or busy. It will mean taking what I said about attacking this year with gusto deadly seriously. I can do it. I will.

  1. Write 8 novellas for Scribd

Last year I started freelancing in April. I wrote six novellas in eight months. It was a wild ride that exhausted me to my very core, and I loved every minute of it. This year, I’m upping the ante. My plan this year is two novellas a quarter, with every third month off to catch my breath. 

Each novella has a target word count of 35,000 words, so if I have my math right, between freelancing and personal writing, my goal for the year is almost half a million words. 

I think my heart just stopped looking at that. 

But I’m not going to ask for luck. I’m not going to say “hopefully.” I’m just going to get after it. 


Nice But Not Necessary

  1. Finish every book I start this year – absolutely no DNFs. 

This is an odd one, because usually my approach to reading is that I just don’t have time to slog through a book I’m not enjoying. However, the plain truth of the matter is my taste is notoriously difficult to satisfy. And I think that is to my detriment. I’m tired of being embarrassed that I haven’t read a lot, I’m tired of not understanding references in writing circles, and I’m damn tired of worrying over whether or not I’m going to know enough books to have comps to my own writing whenever it comes time to query. There is something to be learned about writing from every book pick I pick up, even if I don’t like them. So, I’m reading cover to cover this year. How many I finish, well…

  1. Read three books a month

Last year I set a goal of reading 22 books for the whole year, and only ended up with… six? I think? So, maybe this goal belongs in the below category, especially since my favorites are epic fantasy. But I don’t want to set my sights lower because then I’ll somehow find a way to not even meet that goal, so at least if I am high maybe I’ll read ten books this year and that will be an improvement Right? 

  1. Figure out how to sell my novellas on my own

My exclusivity period with Scribd only lasts twelve months, and after that I am able to vend my novellas on my own (through Patreon, or what have you). I think this is totally rad and especially cool of Scribd, but the thing is… I haven’t the faintest idea how to go about it. Part of the reason I’ve never seriously considered self-publishing before is because it seems like so much work that I don’t know how to do and am kind of afraid to learn? It was easy to make the choice not to pursue back when it was still just a hypothetical, but now that I actually have written work available to self-pub… I don’t know, it seems like leaving money on the table to not do it, right? So, I guess I’m going to have to learn about e-book formatting and cover art, and how to run a Patreon. Gulp


Preposterous Pipe Dreams

  1. Dabble in podcasting

I’ve mentioned wanting to this maybe once or twice before, and I still kind of laugh about it because… I can’t imagine anyone tuning in to listen to what I’m sure would just be an audio version of this blog, but I also think it would be kind of fun.  I mean, I’m published now, right? That means people might take what I have to say seriously. They shouldn’t, but they might. 

  1. Release a serialized novel

This idea started with the Pillar Verse I briefly wrote in last year (remember my Short But Sweet vignettes?) and I sometimes return to it when I’m laying in bed dreaming about what other sorts of writing endeavors I could undertake to help build my career. I could release a chapter a month to Patreon or something and it wouldn’t be edited as a completed novel would be, so it would be a bit of a mess, but that’s okay because it’s a fun thing to do with the writing community. Right? I don’t know. I doubt I have time what with my other more realistic goals, but… the idea has merit. Sometimes. Maybe. Does it? 


Well that’s a total of seven goals, ranging from the ludicrous to the outrageous. I’m under no illusions that I’ll accomplish even half of them, but that’s not the point. The point is the motivation. The point is the seizing the desire of the moment to propel myself to greater heights, even if they aren’t as high as I imagined. 

But, if I’m being completely truthful, my only real, true goal is just to have fun writing again. At times in years past, at the lowest low points with my mental health struggles, writing was the complete opposite of enjoyable. It was a slog. It was painful. It was exhausting. And it was the source of a lot of internalized guilt.

I am pleased to say that I’m so much better today than I have been at any time in the previous three year. For the first time in a long while, I feel like I’m in a really good place, with the strength and determination I need to climb the mountain before me. And, more than that, I’m excited about it.

I hope you all are excited to come along on the journey with me.

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

Kerry Share

Twitter | Instagram | Ko-Fi


Scribd subscribers, click here to find my romance novellas!

Monday Motivations; The Chariot

It’s 2022, and guess what? I’M BACK BABY!

After I turned in my last manuscript of the year in early November (and struggling mightily to get creative momentum for NaNo or, well, literally anything else) I decided it was in my best interest to take a bit of a hiatus to recharge my batteries. The freelancing gig, as much as I love it, had really worn me out and with the holidays, other non-writing obligations to oversee, and the day job being slammed, I didn’t really have the bandwidth for any other sort of demands on my time.

Yet, while I enjoyed the break, I also really missed the hustle. I missed the creative surges, the rush to meet deadline, the dopamine hit of seeing my word count tracker creep toward the end goal. But most of all, I missed the feeling (the fact) that I was being productive with my time.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been chastising myself for not using this break from freelance work to more seriously tackle personal writing projects. My excuse, every single time, was “Well, none of my ideas inspire me right now.” And that’s true. Perhaps it was creative burn out, but at no point did I reflect upon the at least six novel ideas I have percolating and think that I needed to write any of them right now. So I didn’t. And now hiatus is over and I didn’t accomplish a single damn thing.

That got me thinking, and as I was mulling over my writing goals for the new year, and once again lamenting that none of my ideas are really jumping out at me at the moment, I realized that waiting for fickle inspiration to strike to write is some straight bullshit.

If there is one thing I have learned about writing, is that there is no such thing as the “perfect time” to write a story. There is no such thing as inspiration that lasts all 120,000 words of a novel. There will never be a moment that is ideal beyond description to start writing, and even if there is it only lasts just that long: a moment.

So, I want that energy to be what I take into 2022. No more waiting, no more passively sitting by and hoping my muse shows her face, no more blaming her absence for my lack of work ethic. Let this year be the year I chase my dreams down with a lasso and laser like precision.

It’s happening. And even I won’t stop me this time.

Kerry Share

Twitter | Instagram | Ko-Fi


Scribd subscribers, click here to find my romance novellas!

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

Twitter | Instagram | Ko-Fi


Scribd subscribers, click here to find my romance novellas!

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

Twitter | Instagram | Ko-fi

Monday Motivations; Late But Feeling Great

Hello friends and welcome to another wonderful writing week. I am off to a slow start thanks to a first-thing-in-the-morning dentist appointment for my daughter. But I’m at my desk now and ready to get to it.

Last week, I am pleased to say, I started off pretty strong. Then Thursday hit and along with it a pretty serious anxiety attack that derailed my schedule. I’m not panicking though. I got off to a great start today and I’m looking forward to getting back on schedule.

But while I’m thinking about it, I always seem to start off a new week great and tend to flame out by Thursday, even on days I can’t blame mental health. Which gives me to wonder if I’ve front loaded my writing schedule a bit too much.

To be fair, Mondays are my best writing days because, thanks to the way my kids’ extra curriculars work out, I have a surplus of sitting around without access to all my usual distractions time. I figured out years ago that I can use that time to write, and it’s been a big help now that I’ve got deadlines to adhere to.

Tuesdays I have a little bit this same sort of time, but Wednesday evenings I’m at home and have to keep myself on task. Thursdays are the tough ones because I have on out of the house activity smack in the middle of the evening that I have to stay mentally engaged in. Then I get into the weekends, when I inevitably find myself playing catch up from not writing (enough or at all) on Thursday and Friday.

I’ve been wondering for a while if there is a way to rebalance my workload, to take a little heat off the end of the week. Obviously, in the life of a working mother who also happens to be a writer, all days are not equal, and trying to treat them as if they are is giving me some pretty skewed expectations of myself.

So, that’s my motivation this week. Figure out how to ease some of the pressure on my less productive days by utilizing my time more wisely at the start of the week when I’m feeling fresh and have more time in the first place.

As for last week, while I didn’t make my word goal (working on playing catch up at the moment) I did get my reading done. Working on correcting my thought patterns so that whenever I pick up my phone to check Twitter, I open my kindle app instead. It’s a slow process, of course, but every little bit matters.

Alright I better get back to it. Concrete goals for this week are almost identical as last week:

  • Add 8500 words to my current project, bringing the total to 15000 by Friday
  • Read 5 chapters
  • Blog, darn it, on Thursday and Friday

Crazy to think that in two and a half weeks I will be without a freelance project to work on for the first time since April. What the hell am I going to do with myself?

Kerry Share

Twitter | Instagram | Ko-fi

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

Twitter | Instagram | Ko-fi

Monday Motivations; Crunch Edition

After a long awaited and much needed staycation, I am back to work and ready to meet those goals.

And such goals they are, the biggest, of course, being the manuscript I have to finish by Friday. I had hoped to be done with it by now and have the chance to spend this week doing some editing, but my mental health did not cooperate at all last week and I’m staring down the barrel of 8000 words or so. It’s a big ask, especially with returning to the day job, but I think I can get there. If only I can get my brain chemistry to play nice for a change.

I also got my first ever edits back for the first manuscript on Thursday and, thankfully, they went easy on me. I’m hoping to tackle them this week, if I can get this manuscript done in time.

But wait, there’s more: the pitch deadline for next quarter is coming up in a couple of weeks which means it’s time for me to really evaluate the time I’ve spent so far doing this freelancing thing. I think I may only submit two pitches this time, to give myself a month to regenerate. But that still means crafting two new ideas, complete with synopses. Thankfully, I have a little bit of time there.

Lastly, I need to get back to my reading schedule. I just haven’t been excited about books the last two or three weeks, no doubt thanks, at least in part, to my mental health struggles, but I’ve also had other hobbies distracting me. So I want to read three chapters this week.

So much to do, so little time, yet I want to take a moment for a mental health aside. The short of it is I am not doing great right now. I’m struggling a lot with the loss of enjoyment of my favorite activities, which I rely upon to relieve every day stress. This isn’t new to me, so I don’t want anyone to worry that I’m suddenly deeply depressed in a dangerous way. I’m not. But I am struggling. The only reason I’m even able to still write, when normally creative pursuits are the first thing my depression disrupts, is because this time it’s literal, actual work. Even still it’s been hard to get words down which has resulted in a bit of a crunch period this week.

Take care of yourselves everyone. As a special favor to me.

Kerry Share

Twitter | Instagram | Ko-fi

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

Twitter || Instagram || Ko-Fi

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

Twitter || Instagram || Ko-Fi

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

Twitter || Instagram || Ko-Fi