Thursday Words

The Plight of the Shy Writer

Hello friends and welcome to another mental-health adjacent edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Friends, I have enjoyed a pretty darn good week. I’ve gotten a shit ton of writing done, I’ve kept up my daily blogging habit, and I’ve managed to explore new ways to continue growing as a writer and content creator. I’ve also done some things offline that have really inspired me and boosted my confidence level.

Basically, I’m thriving.

But, there is one area of my writing life that is still lacking. I’ve been paying lip service to the idea of improving this area, but I was never in the right mental space to actually take it on, whether I liked to admit it or not. However, now that I’m feeling much stronger mentally and I’ve seen the kind of progress I am capable of when the stars align like they have the past few weeks, I feel like its time to finally tackle the issue head on.

Friends, I don’t really have many friends.

Riding Solo

Okay, let me start off by saying first that this isn’t a pity party I’m throwing here. This isn’t a woe-is-me post, and I’m not looking for sympathy engagement. Seriously.

Writing, in and of itself, can feel like a lonely endeavor. Unless you have a co-author, so much of the labor is done within the confines of your own head. To pare down from distractions while hard at work on writing, we often isolate ourselves, or seek solitude. And though we may share parts of our process or our stories with our friends or loved ones, ultimate it’s up to us to do complete the job.

In that regard, being a shy writer doesn’t seem like such a raw deal. You mean I get to do the thing I love AND I don’t have to deal with people? Sign me up!

And that works out well until you need someone to vent to about learning that this already published book used the idea you’d been writing about. Or when it’s time to find beta readers. Or when you’re looking for comps. Or when you could really use an accountability partner to make sure you stay on top of your writing goals. That’s when the reality sets in that writing isn’t such a solo venture after all.

Shy, Anxious, and Private – A Lonely Combination

The internet is a great resource for writers. There are blogs and podcasts and websites galore dedicated to every aspect of writing one can imagine. From traditional publishing to indie, all manner of genre, refining your query, best ways to market yourself… All of it you can find somewhere online. That’s the really beautiful thing about the writing community – the majority of it is there to help one another.

However, for someone just starting out, who has a hard time making new friends and feels super anxious even when people try to engage one-on-one, the #WritingCommunity presents a unique challenge. And, thus far, it has been a challenge I was not quite up for. Though there were times when people reached out to me and commented on my work, I rarely knew what to say in response or how to keep the conversation going. And thus those opportunities to make new friends were lost.

Opening up to people just isn’t easy for me. I often stumble over responses, because I am anxious they don’t care about what I have to say. I withhold information because I tend to be intensely private. And I struggle to continuously engage with people I want to be my friend because I am shy. (So, if you’re one of those people who have tried to talk to me only to receive silence – it’s me, not you. I want to get to know you, I just don’t know how.)

We Neither of Us Perform To Strangers

There’s a scene in Pride and Prejudice wherein Elizabeth and Darcy are talking about their first encounter at Netherfield. Darcy comments on his past behavior that he is ill qualified to introduce himself to others, and Elizabeth counters that she is not as skilled at playing the pianoforte as some other ladies because she does not take the time to practice.

Social skills, like any other kind of skill, requires practice in order to master. Up ‘til now, I’ve been afraid to practice because I didn’t want to appear (or feel) foolish. But, I feel like I’m reaching a turning point where the ratio of fear to loneliness is shifting toward loneliness. Or maybe the successes I’ve built over the last few weeks have simply started to replace the fear with confidence. Or maybe I’m just getting too old to be worried about that stuff. Or maybe my anxiety medicine is kicking in, I don’t know.

But I’m going to keep trying to put myself out there, no matter how hard breaking into the community might seem. I literally have nothing to lose.

Well, that’s all for me on this chilly, friendly Thursday. Until next time my dears, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Not Today, Bad Vibes

Hello friends and welcome to another low energy week of writing.

Y’all, I’m not gonna lie to you. I am not feeling it this morning. While I usually like Monday mornings as I tend to feel refreshed and hyped for the week, dragging my bones out of bed to go to work while my partner and kids slept in to enjoy their day off was a major mood killer.

But, I’m certainly not going to accomplish anything by complaining about it. Tired and mildly crabby though I may be, I’ve got words that need writing. I’ve got blogs to post and books to read. A RedBubble shop to promote. (I also have actual work to do but don’t let anyone tell me that.)

I just ran the numbers and to hit the 30k words I wanted for January, I have to maintain a NaNo pace for the next two weeks. Absolutely doable.

Before the new year hit I thought about maybe rewarding myself for each goal I hit every month, but couldn’t come up with enough ideas in time to make them part of my resolutions. But, I’ve got some ideas now. Just a few mostly inexpensive things that I don’t necessarily need but would like to have, and wouldn’t normally buy for myself for no reason.

For January, if I hit the 30k mark, I’m going to get myself a keyboard case for my tablet so I can write on the go without having to haul my laptop everywhere.

If I get 15k (this hitting my baseline goal of 500 words a day), I’ll buy myself some speciality chocolates that I usually only get around Christmas.

Well? What am I waiting for?

Kerry Share

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Thursday Words

The Grindset

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

Friends, I am still in the throes of the New-Year mindset. Every morning when I wake up I think about all the things I want to accomplish for the day. Many of the tasks I put on my to do list are stepping stones along the path toward the larger goal, like writing 500-1000 words every day so I can finish Daughters of Necessity on schedule. That, in turn, feeds into the ultimate goal, which is, as I have said and will continue to repeat until it manifests, becoming a full time writer.

I feel like I’ve done pretty good so far this year (less than two weeks in, I know). I’ve blogged now for twelve days straight, I’ve written at least some words every day, and I’ve carved out time to read.

But there is still so much more I want to do. I want to rejuvenate my Patreon. I want to launch a Redbubble page. I want to dip my toes into podcasting (yes, still). I want to be active and friendly in the writing community. I want to return to freelance romance writing.

So much to do, yet so little time. Often times I find myself wistfully thinking that I’m not working hard enough. There are hours in my day when I can squeeze in more work. I see plenty of other people doing it. So why can’t I?

Everyday I’m Hustling

Well, here’s the thing. I recently had to take a break from freelancing because I was very seriously behind on a manuscript and just as seriously mentally blocked about it. Every time I opened the document to work on it, I would get so stressed out I could barely get a few sentences out before I was exhausted. My editor was great in allowing me to take time away and hopefully come back to it later, and since then I’ve been focusing on trying to enjoy my creative process again.

Part of the reason I fell behind, and the biggest reason why I was so damned stressed about it, was because there just wasn’t enough time over the course of the holiday season to give the piece any more than a cursory glance most days. Winter is my busy season at my day job, plus there were school functions for my kids, family in town, Christmas shopping to do, funky custody exchanges.

Most days by the time I got home I just wanted to relax. Watch a basketball game, or a true crime documentary. Take a bath or hit the sheets early. Then, I had to get up and do it all over again. On the days when I forced myself to use my evening hours to work, I was miserable in the days (yes, multiple) that followed. Without time to play video games or veg out, I became even more depressed than I usually get this time of year (thanks SAD).

I sometimes think this means I’m just a naturally lazy person. I’ve beaten myself up more times than I can count. Plenty of people in this industry are working a job (or more than one), going to school, raising a family, or any combination thereof and still find time to forge a successful writing career. So, then, I “reasoned,” what does it say about me that I can’t go a few nights a week without TV or video games or extra sleep?

Type What Personality?

Are you starting to see a pattern here? Far too often, I am holding myself up to someone else’s standard.

It occurred to me that maybe there are people out there, perhaps those I am trying to emulate, that get emotional satisfaction from always being on the go or juggling multiple projects. Maybe they go to bed after a long work day and look back on what they accomplished with joy. Maybe they can reward themselves with a bottle of champagne or a weekend away or a club night with friends, and that is enough to rejuvenate them to do it all again.

And if that is a personality type that some people are just born with, well… I’m one of them. I often want to be, but I’m just not. I’m not bored when I go home and have nothing to work on. I’m not stimulated by new challenges or changes to routine.

Does that make me lazy? I don’t know. I hope not. Does it mean I lack ambition? I don’t think so, I’ve got plenty of goals I want to meet. Does it mean I don’t have what it takes to be a writer? Certainly not.

I think what it really means is that if I stop trying to be someone I’m just not for a change, and actually accept that my own pace is what it is for a reason, then maybe I’ll actually start getting somewhere. I mean, who knows what I am capable if only I just start spending the mental energy I have been using to berate myself for not working hard enough instead on writing and creating and growing.

I want to find out, though. I want to find out what my real potential is, not just what I invented for myself based on a metric that is incompatible with who I am and who I am meant to be.

I am not broken after all.

Yall, I don’t think I can stress this enough, I am having fun writing again. I didn’t realize how much weight I had put on myself with the constant churn of deadlines and output, but I am really grateful that I have this opportunity to find my way again. I can’t wait to talk about craft again. Maybe next week. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Words, Words, Words

Hello friends and welcome to another verbose week is writing.

Last week I had just a few too many things on my plate, and one particular item was causing me a boat load of stress. I’ve sadly had to abandon that commitment, not because I didn’t want to do it, but because it had become such a point of contention in my own brain that it had become point blank impossible to work on it.

I’m disappointed in my failure, but I do feel like I’m able to breathe again without its specter looming over me.

With this new lease on my creative life, it would be shameful to do anything less than my absolute best. I struggled to complete my pages last week because I was so stressed about the other project, which means I’ve got some significant catching up to do.

Can I do five pages a day?

watch and see

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; January 2nd, 2023

Hello friends and welcome to another refreshed week of writing!

My routine is starting off all out of whack this week thanks to a certain holiday. It would be easy to choose to wait until everything is settled to get back into the swing of things, but it occurred to me that if I want to be successful with my numerous goals for the year, I need to stop accepting easy excuses to get out of doing the work.

So, even though it’s a day off, and I’ve got my kids around me playing the video games I want to be playing, I’m going to make sure I get my stuff done first.

My goal:this week are simple: establish my new habit of writing two pages a day. By the end of the week I want 15 pages.

Also, I can’t forget my reading goal! This week I’ll delving into The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso.

I’m full of that New Year energy and ready to get after it! Until next time, friends, when I hope to tell you I’ve nailed my goals, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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The Year of Why Not

Hello friends and welcome to the first 2023 edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

First of all, let me say it is good to be back after taking a much needed break for the holiday season. It’s been a rocky winter thus far to say the least, and I definitely needed to unload some things from my plate while I navigated the various stressors.

But, it’s a new year and regular readers and friends know that new beginnings are a source of creative energy for me, and even though these boosts tend not to last as long as I’d like, I’m still going to make the most of the moment while it lasts.

A Year In Review

At the start of 2022, I outlined 7 goals for myself ranging from the extremely basic to the ludicrous. They were, in order of importance:

  1. Write 160,000 words for fantasy projects
  2. Write 8 novellas for Scribd
  3. Finish every book I started (no DNFs)
  4. Read three books a month
  5. Start selling my non-exclusive novellas
  6. Dabble in podcasting
  7. Release a serialized novel
big yikes

Yeah, I managed to accomplish all of two of these (launching my Patreon to sell my novellas, and starting The Ballad of Mercy May as part of Drabble Rock).

I honestly have no idea how many words I wrote toward fantasy projects but my estimate is south of 30,000. I also did not even come close to my eight-novella goal for Scribd, though in fairness new editors and new pitching processes contributed to that. I came close to not DNFing anything – I only DNFed two books by my count and both of those I actually wanted to finish. However, I neglected to read them in a timely fashion, so they were returned to the library before I could. My bad.

As for reading three books a month – well, that was never going to happen. And podcasting was well and truly the most outrageous idea I’d had, so I’m not surprised nor even remotely disappointed that that didn’t occur.

All told, it wasn’t a tremendously productive year, but considering everything my family and I have been through over the last six months especially (not to mention the toll my mental health has taken), I’m going to take my two successes and run with them into 2023.

Looking Ahead

However, if you think I’ve learned from my mistakes of aiming well beyond my limits, you’re sorely mistaken, because I’ve got a whole new slate of ideas and goals to not meet by the end of the year! Dive in with me as I set myself up for failure yet again:

1. Blog Every Day

Alright, so this one seems a little crazy and maybe it is, but I’ve actually been building up toward this goal for the last several weeks, even months (aside from this December hiatus that is). And the word blog might be a little broad; many posts will be Drabble Rock related for example.

Basically, I just want to get myself on a schedule so that I have something to post every day.

  • Monday: Monday Motivations
  • Tuesday: Drabble Rock prompts/drabbles
  • Wednesday: Mercy May installment
  • Thursday: Topic-centered blog
  • Friday: Freeform Friday – which is to say I don’t have any ideas for this day, so it’ll be a little random, at least to start
  • Saturday: Mercy May installment
  • Sunday: Weekly Writing Roundup

Mostly I just want to get into the habit. Posting once or twice a week was not rigid enough and made blogging less of a priority. By making my blog part of my daily routine, I hope to grow my page and boost my motivation, which has always been structure and accountability based.

Sub-goal: Double the blog’s followers to 250 by the end of the year.

2. Write 500 Words of Fiction Every Day

This is pretty straightforward. I have long wanted to get into a daily writing habit, but have often succumbed to the pitfall of setting too high a word count. So, I’m setting my sights a bit lower. Do I hope to write more than 500 a day? Of course, and it will actually be necessary during my deadline periods.

Speaking of which, this year, I am not going to delineate between paid writing and personal writing. As long as I’m being creative, I will count it toward my words for the day. By the end of the year, if I keep up this goal, I will have written almost 200,000 words. That’s pretty dang good, if you ask me.

Stretch goal: Finish Daughters of Necessity by March 31st. I estimate I’ll need about 90,000 more words to finish, which would double my daily word count to 1000. Tough, considering everything else on my plate, but I think I can do it.

Stretch goal #2: Draft the first installment of my urban fantasy novella series, Seekers of Empyrean, during April’s CampNaNoWriMo IF Daughters of Necessity is finished.

Sub-goal: Maintain a daily word count tracker.

3. Read 1 Book a Week

Alright, I admit this one is a little crazy, especially considering I didn’t even come close to my three-book-a-month goal last year. But, I’m gonna try it again. Why not?

First book on my list: The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso.

4. Diversify Revenue Streams

Its almost a meme at this point, right, but its something that has been on my mind of late. I want to be a fulltime writer some day and the majority of fulltime writers have multiple sources of income. I took a big step in launching my Patreon last year, but I’ve still got a lot to learn and a long way to go in making it successful. Expanding my content there is going to take some more thought and care, so I’ve decided to add another potential brand-builder to my repertoire.

I’ve also decided to launch a RedBubble page. I’ve been mulling over designs and things for several weeks now, and though it might be yet another venture that doesn’t go anywhere, I’m still gonna try.

Sub-goal: Attract at least 5 non-family/friend Patrons.

Why Not?

Of course, these aren’t the only goals I hope to accomplish this year. Some are personal, some are unquantifiable, and some are too small to list out, but they all add up to one mission statement for 2023. When I am doubting myself, when I am struggling, when I am wondering if what I am trying is worth the effort, ask myself, “Why not?”

Why not try to read fifty books this year, when I usually only get though five?

Why not launch a RedBubble when I barely know what’s involved and how to market myself?

Why not commit to writing three books this year? I mean, I’m not, but… why not?

Why not?

Because I’m sick of asking myself, Why not me?

Well friends, starting tomorrow I’ll be back on my regular content posting schedule. I look forward to finding out what 2023 has in store, and what sort of opportunities I am capable of creating for myself. I hope you all join me for another year of writing. Until next time, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Knight of Swords

Hello friends and welcome to another workloaded week of writing.

It’s back to real life this week after a holiday that I really did try to work through, yet, alas, uh, didn’t. Which means I’ve got plenty to do this week (isn’t that every week?). At least I won’t be bored, right?

Something I have sort of been struggling with of late is focusing. I can’t seem to just sit down and complete a task from start to finish. If my goal is to write 1000 words for the day, I might knock out 250 in ten minutes, feel overly proud of myself, and then decide that since those first 250 were so easy I’ll just get to the rest later. Because there is always something else I need to do that needs my attention more. Which inevitably gets interrupted by the next thing. And so on. Eventually I end up looking at my planner at the end of the day with five or six half completed tasks.

There are times when I can look at that and say, well at least I got something done. Times when my kids are sick and dishes are piling up in the sink and my partner is working late and I’ve got bills to pay and only five minutes’ peace.

But after a nice long holiday weekend in which I did absolutely nothing productive (unless playing the new Pokémon counts), now is not one of those aforementioned times.

So today, and for the rest of the week I hope, the plan is to sharpen my focus. Complete my daily tasks, one at a time, until I run out of time. Will there still be distractions? Of course. Will I still be pulled away from my pages by something infinitely more urgent? Probably. But it is up to me to return to the task at hand in those instances. And it is definitely up to me not to create new interruptions where there weren’t any before.

Off we go! Happy writing!

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; The Emperor

Hello friends and welcome to another winged week of writing.

Friends, I am in a great mood this morning. I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s because the kids are on Thanksgiving break which means I got an extra twenty minutes to lay in bed. Maybe it’s because I know I have fried turkey and baked three cheese macaroni and cheese to look forward to in a few days. Maybe it’s because for the first time in weeks I feel confident again in my writing.

I don’t know. But I am going to take advantage of it.

Last week I had a lot of success with posting everyday, some of which was fiction content. I hope to continue on that this week while getting better about getting my words down. A big ask, I know, with the holiday and all but I feel really… clear. I don’t know if last week was an eye opener or what, but I just feel really self assured that I can do all these things.

Until next time my friends!

Kerry Share

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Thursday Words

90 Days

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

Write every day. We’ve all heard that age old refrain, haven’t we? The idea that, if we want to be successful writers, we must practice our craft every single day. And, on its face, the suggestion seems sound. Musicians probably play their instrument every day, runners likely go for at least a jog every day, right? (Caveat: I am neither a musician nor a runner so I don’t actually know.) So, why shouldn’t we writers do something similar?

Well, first of all, lets address the fact that writing advice (much like any advice on any creative endeavor) is not one size fits all. For some writers, the chronically ill or disabled for example, the poor and working multiple jobs for another, getting one uninterrupted hour of writing a week might be cause for celebration. Some others might get their best creative work done in binges, and find it difficult to get into the write (hah, see what I did there) mindset when they only have an hour. To put it simply: write every day might work for you, but it’s hardly the only way one can become a successful writer.

That all being said, I’d really like to get into the habit myself.

*record scratch*

I am a chronic procrastinator. It’s a byproduct of my anxiety. I even procrastinate doing things I know I will enjoy (I’m still three episodes behind on Andor). In truth, I have found that in about 75% of the obligations, tasks, and activities I encounter or plan for over the course of my day I just never feel mentally prepared for. Of course, I often have to push through that feeling and when I do I realize that it wasn’t that big a deal to begin with, and yet the cycle continues with the next task. 

For years I have been trying to stymie the worst of these mental block with healthy habit forming to mixed success. The reasons why are best left to therapy, but one of the biggest hurdles has been maintaining the habit long enough for it to actually become ingrained. Often times, when I’m trying a new routine, something will come up a week or two in to interrupt it (appendicitis twice in two months for example), and then after things settle down I just give up. But, more often than not, a new routine that starts off strong just… fades until I’m back to the way things were before I started.

This week in casual conversation about changes we were implementing at my day job, my boss mentioned that it takes about ninety days to form a new habit.

Reader, I was floored. For some reason, I think maybe I read something online somewhere, I thought that habit forming only took three weeks. Now I’m being told it’s actually three months?! 

So much makes sense now about my failures to form new, healthy habits, and the ones that did manage to take were largely by happy accident. I haven’t been trying to keep the new routine up for nearly long enough. 

And now I’m thinking about all the things I would like to turn into habits, if I can make it the three months. Obviously writing every day, sure, but blogging also. Reading. Making an effort to connect with the community (via Twitter, Instagram, etc). Suddenly my growth, not just as a creator but as a person who doesn’t want to go home and sit in her recliner and doomscroll the news or veg in front of the TV like I have been doing, seems… actually possible?

Ninety days. If I started today on these habits, by roughly Valentine’s Day I might see everything about the way I spend my free(ish) time radically transformed. 

And if that’s not something to get excited about, then I don’t know what is. Here’s to trying.

Well, that’s all from me today! Until next time my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few. 

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Ace of Pentacles

Hello friends and welcome to another winning week of writing.

Friends, I’m not going to lie. I’m feeling on the weary side this gloomy, rainy Monday morning. Last week was an abject failure thanks to a big day job meeting that totally wore me out and a bout of colds that ran through my house that culminated in my daughter coming down with strep throat. My routine was completely decimated and writing was a hopeless endeavor.

Piling on to that let down is the fact that I am undertaking a brand new (non-writing related) venture starting today that is certain to demand a sizable chunk of my limited free time. Why did I sign up for something like that, you might ask, knowing that I already have difficulty balancing all the projects and obligations I already have?

Friends. I truly do not know.

Alas, this new thing is not something I can easily back out of, nor do I even want to. To me, it is as important and necessary as going to work and paying rent. So, it is what it is. I’m just going to have to make it work.

Just like the manuscript I am under contract for, due in three weeks. I agreed to the terms, knowing what it meant for my schedule. It doesn’t change just because I had a rough few days. The only thing that shifts is how much I have to do every day from here on out to play catch up.

On days like today, it’s important for me to remind myself that I chose these obligations. Writing professionally and this new endeavor are important parts to the whole future I am trying to build. It isn’t like they were foisted on me. Will they be stressful? Certainly? Will it be worth it?

Only if I keep up my end of the bargain. And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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