On a Personal Note

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

And I have been struggling of late. I’m pretty sure it’s the same old story: my brain chemistry acting funky again, and while that’s not very interesting to talk about, it’s a reality of my life that I resist coming to terms with. Suffice it to say, I have been waylaid by an unshakeable listlessness over the past week, an utter lack of desire or motivation to do anything with my precious time. Which is frustrating, because I very, very badly want to institute some changes to my life, via my routines and habits, but, for some reason, I just… can’t. It’s frankly horrible. Imagine knowing cerebrally that you have the strength and ability to accomplish your goals and dreams, yet not doing it anyway for reasons you don’t understand. Having immense power, yet feeling utterly powerless against a force you can’t see or name or even truly describe.

After sitting with these feelings the last four or five days, I’ve been able to come up with one just one answer to the question, “How do I do it when I feel like I can’t do it?”

And that’s to talk about it. Talk about how I’m feeling and talk about what I want to do once I’ve conquered the worst of it. So, I’ve done the first part. What about the second?


Scrolling idly through twitter yesterday, I stumbled upon a job posting for an editorial assistant with a famous imprint. It’s remote and requires no degree. I don’t make a lot of money in my current day job so the pay would actually be an increase. My first thought was that I am direly unqualified to work in publishing, having never set foot inside a college classroom before, despite the no degree required and the explicit encouragement from the poster that even those who don’t think they’re qualified should apply anyway. My second thought was, wasn’t I just sitting in the car three days ago thinking about how I wanted to give the publishing industry a go? My third thought was, I assumed I wasn’t qualified to write romance novellas but I applied anyway and I just turned in my seventh completed manuscript.

Lastly, I thought, I what’s the harm? The worst thing that could happen is they say sorry, but no. So, I’m going to do it. I’m going to dust off my resume and figure out how to write a cover letter and I’m going to go for it.

But that’s not the only thing I’m going to do. About a month ago, on a whim, I applied to the local community college. I went through a few of the steps to proceed with admission and then I stopped and wondered to myself what the hell was I doing? I’m almost 34 and the only thing I can imagine studying would be writing, and I obviously don’t need a degree to do that. So, what would be the point of spending my limited financial and time resources on classes that probably won’t do me any good?

It’s those sorts of thoughts that deterred me from going to college in the first place. The thing is though, I’m not twenty anymore and I’m frankly sort of tired of being stuck in an outdated way of thinking. The point of taking classes right now isn’t necessarily to further my career (lol what career) and make more money, but to enrich myself, which is something I do want. So I’m going to do that too. I’m gonna finish the enrollment process and get started on learning.


And all of this sounds awesome, and, yeah, it is, but working in publishing and getting a degree, while both certainly achievable and worthy goals in their own right, are not exactly what I want to do. What I want to is write. I want to write a lot. I want to have millions of words and dozens of books to my name. I want to be a writer not just in aspiration or on a technicality, but in a sustainable, life-long career sort of way.

The great news is I don’t need to apply, or pay tuition, or count on the grace of good fortune to do any of that. I just need willpower and a little bit (or maybe a lot) of time. Ironically, the time is the easy part. The will… that’s what I’ve been struggling to find.

I’ll keep searching for it. And I’ll keep trudging along in the meantime, writing what I can when I can.

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

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Queen of Pentacles

Hello friends and welcome to another wild weekend of writing.

I decided almost as soon as I sat down at my desk this morning that the word (and mood) of the day would be: proactionary. I have no clue if that even is a real word, but the idea is the opposite reactionary.

With as hectic as my life has been these last few weeks/month (what year is it again?) I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time on my back foot. I’ve heard many people thrive in such chaotic environments, and while I am proud of myself for keeping my head above water, I’m ready to lean forward now. To stop reacting what life has been throwing at me and start tackling things my way.

What does that mean? What is “my way” anyway? I’d be lying if I said I really knew, though I do have some ideas.

Firstly, I’m going to stop waiting for opportunities to fall in my lap and start creating my own. The freelancing gig I landed last year I stumbled across purely by luck, and I honestly think that spoiled me a bit. It’s not always going to happen that way and it’s high time I remember that. If that means swallowing my irrational anxiety about Patreon and selling my own e-books, then that’s what I’m going to do.

In a similar fashion, I’m giving up on the “slave to the muse” lifestyle, especially since mine likes to take long, extended vacations when it is least convenient. For too long I have waited until inspiration struck (or NaNoWriMo rolled around) to buckle down and bang out a draft, and, as a rather unsurprising result, I haven’t written many books. It’s time to take a proactionary approach and, hopefully, finally break out of the cycle.

Lastly, I’m through with excuses. I’m always finding a reason to abandon my carefully laid productivity plan for the day. Sometimes those reasons are good, like my child had a difficult day and needed to be consoled. Sometimes, they are dubious, like I had a tough day at work and deserve an evening free of obligations to recuperate. Sometimes, they are downright bad, like I forgot or just didn’t feel up to it.

Take this blog post, for example. I usually write them Monday mornings. But today, there was just so much going on that I could only write one sentence at a time before being pulled away to something else. Then, after I got home, there was a bad storm that kept me distracted. Then, once the kids were all in bed, I opened my phone and saw the half written post still waiting to be finished. I thought… does it really matter? Is it really important for me to write and post this blog today? What would I really be sacrificing if I skipped out?

Only the chance to flex my willpower. To keep a promise made to no one but myself. To take another step in the formulation of a habit. To stop accepting such flimsy excuses as acceptable. So, here I am, at almost nine o’ clock, writing out a blog post that wasn’t supposed to be that deep but took a surprising look into my mental health.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t imagine that changing my entire mental outlook on work and opportunity will be something I can do simply because I made up a word and wrote a blog about it. It will be hard and it there will be failures. But every challenge, every stumble, will only be proof that I took a step forward.

And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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Scribd subscribers, click here to find my romance novellas!

Monday Motivations; Queen of Wands

Hello friends and welcome to another woeful week of writing.

As regular readers may have noticed, I’ve been a tad absent of late, and as regular readers might surmise, that absence is due in large part to the first depressive episode since starting my anti-depressant showing it’s ugly face.

I won’t harp on it too long since there is no new ground to tread, but I continue to be so, so grateful to those who have and still stick by me even when I am at my lowest. If that includes you, dear reader, your energy is not missed and is deeply felt and appreciated.

The good news is I’m starting to come around again, and not a moment too soon because after a three month hiatus, I finally have a freelance contract and accompanying manuscript to work on again. Though I still have to fight off all the normal gremlins that come with starting a new project (why are beginnings so haaaard), my mood noticeably improved the other day when I opened my laptop and started a new Scrivener doc. Which is odd because historically writing when I’m depressed doesn’t go very well and tends to bring me down even lower.

And yet despite having an incredibly stressful year in 2021 with difficulties in my day job and as a parent, I still managed to turn in six novellas last year. Wilder still is that every single one of them was on time. While I can easily say I was depressed the majority of the year, I still got my work done.

It makes me wonder sometimes if my path to being published is not meant to take the “bang my head against an idea or three until a good enough manuscript falls out to edit and query and get rejected and try again until the right one lands an agent” route.

I like to think I write really well to spec, and while I wouldn’t say I thrive on a deadline, I’m certainly very comfortable writing with a due date in mind (and actually meeting it). While my personal projects languish in first draft — or even worse, worldbuilding — hell because I have no outside pressure to stimulate me, my freelancing projects have never been late nor been so bad as to be unpublishable.

Is there a place for someone like me in the writing world? Well, duh, of course there is. That’s why I have this freelancing gig in the first place. But beyond that there are ghost writers and those who write for IP. It’s not really a matter if the kind of writer I apparently am has a space in publishing and literature, the real question is am I comfortable occupying it? Do I have the fortitude to accept that perhaps that writing my original ideas is not the path I was meant to take?

I don’t know. Obviously, this isn’t an either/or situation. There’s nothing stopping me from doing both, except, well, me. And the confines of time stubbornly refusing to accommodate how much work is physically and mentally possible during the day. But I digress.

It’s just something else to think about. In the short term, I’m going to keep freelancing and squeezing in the personal work where I can. At least that way I can be sure I’m always moving forward.

And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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Scribd subscribers, click here to find my romance novellas!

Chekhov’s Gun, My Personal Arch- Nemesis

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

A few weeks ago I was thinking about why I have the tendency to write really thin, why my descriptions are always lacking, and why I struggle so much with world building. I made a comment on someone’s Twitter thread about these issues, and another user pointed out that my style of writing might by better suited for screenplays. 

Then it hit me: she was exactly right (that I don’t actually want to write screenplays is neither here nor there).

Much of my teens and twenties could be defined by fandom. The friends I made and the activities we enjoyed were predominantly informed by whatever I was Into at the moment, especially as a teenager. As I grew into adulthood, moved away from home, and started a family, the way I enjoyed fandom, by necessity, shifted to largely online interactions and communities. It was during that time period I got really into meta-analyzing my favorite TV shows. TV was my preferred media at the time and I spent much of my considerable free hours engaging with it. 

One of the key principals when analyzing TV (and other shorter form media) is that of Chekhov’s Gun. The idea being that in one hour of scripted television, a screenwriter has roughly forty three minutes in which to tell a story (accounting for commercials). Meaning that there simply isn’t enough time to go into detail about anything that isn’t going to directly contribute to the narrative. If the writers are using precious seconds and minutes showing you something, it’s for a reason. It’s important. 

Obviously, this is not so with novels. In fact, in many ways it’s completely the opposite. While it would not be prudent to bog down a manuscript with too much detail, since books lack a visual component it makes describing the characters and world in depth essential. Whereas on a TV show time needn’t be spent telling me a character’s eyes are brown because I can see them, taking a sentence or two to do so in a novel helps bring a hazy mental image into focus. 

I mean, this sounds obvious, even to me, as I’m typing it all out but, genuinely, in the moment when I am drafting I completely forget about it. Because, in my mind, my character’s eyes being brown has absolutely no bearing on the story, so why should I waste time mentioning it? 

I completely blame my years in fandom, my many hours meta-analyzing TV when I should have been reading instead, for this. I wish I knew how to shake it off, but hopefully simply being aware of the bias will help me correct it going forward. That and reading. A hell of a lot more reading. 

In short, Chekhov’s Gun can to go to hell. 


Time for a Mental Health Check In. 

This last month has been a rough one for me. I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life, at least three different major issues to manage – any one of which would be stressful enough to deal with on its own – all while going back on my meds to try and get my anxiety and depression under control. It’s not been fun, and I’ve struggled a great deal at times (including this very week) to remain productive during my writing hours. 

To be totally transparent, it’s fucking sucked. And there’s no way to couch that. It just blows to feel like this all the time. I know I’m going to make it, I have amazing support, but I urge everyone to just check in with their friends once in a while. It makes such a massive difference when you’re down the rabbit hole to know that someone is thinking about you. 


Well, that’s enough out of me for this week. I’ll (hopefully) be back next week with more profound and/or frustrated thoughts on writing conventions I’ve conveniently forgotten since high school. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Scribd subscribers, click here to find my romance novellas!

Monday Motivations; TMI

Hello friends. Last week was exceptionally trying for me. Not long after writing that blog post about rising above the difficulties I had been facing at my increasingly stressful job, I had the opportunity to put my newfound determination to the test.

Suffice it to say I failed, and was afforded a discomfiting look at how poorly I had been managing my mental health, not just of late, not just since the pandemic, but for years. The good news is, I’m taking steps to address it now. However much that means for my writing, I can’t wait to find out.

Speaking of which, I am officially back in the saddle again with the freelance writing, and as much as I enjoyed the break, I think the routine of writing every day is important for me to maintain. But this weekend, as I settled into the first few pages of my new project, I was reminded of how… dissatisfied I would be if my writing career never evolved beyond my current output. And how, even though time is a precious resource I never seem to have enough of, it is ultimately up to me to squeeze whatever personal writing I want to do into the creases.

So that’s my motivation this week. At the end of the day, after I’ve gotten my freelance words done but before I completely shut off my brain, do a little bit of writing on my personal project. Even if it’s just a few sentences or jotting a few story ideas down in my notebook. A little bit every day.

Until next time my friends

Kerry Share

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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

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Putting Your(my)self Out There

Hello and welcome to a reinvigorated yet anxious edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well, the creative slump that had been dogging me all last week lasted all the way up until this very morning, when, for whatever reason, I just felt ready to shake myself back to work. It’s been the single most frustrating thing about my writing journey: trying to accomplish my goals around the unpredictable cyclone that is my mental health. No matter how much I plan and schedule and set deadlines for myself, there is simply no accounting for a hiccup in brain chemistry that derails me off course, even if only for a few days or a week or a month.

But, it is who I am and, short of finding the right doctor and the right cocktail (unlikely in my present circumstances), it’s just something I have to live with.

So, enough of that. Back to work.

scribbling

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately (even struggling with, ha ha) is how hard I’ve found it to make connections with people in the writing community. It’s no secret as to why that is: I’m very shy and very private. But there have been moments, especially during the pandemic, where I have felt extremely isolated on this wild journey of mine. That’s not much of a revelation either. The act of writing is a solitary process. Sure, we can all commiserate before, during, and after the fact, but – unless you have a co-author (and more kudos to you if you do because, whew, I could never) – the actual penning of the words is something only you, yourself can do. Add in the pandemic, where we have all been cut off from each other in new and exciting ways, and it’s not any wonder that I’ve been feeling some loneliness creep in, despite my historic preference for mental hermitage.

(I know I’m not using that word correctly, but it feels accurate so let’s go with it.)

There’s also a measure of social anxiety baked into my predisposition for solitude. Will people unfollow me if I talk about my video game hobby or my kids or sports instead of writing? Will people like or respect me less if they learn more about my life? Will I be harassed if I share too much (it is the internet, after all). Will I say something I regret?

It’s hardly the first time I’ve wondered these things and it’s not at all the first time I’ve thought that my anxiety is crushing some of the life out of me. And while, again, that’s just part of my existence on this planet for the time being, over the last twelve months I’ve made major strides in pushing against some of my uncomfortably close boundaries and exploring what could lie beyond them. Turns out, if I want to make friends I’m going to have to be friendly. And part of that means opening myself up in ways I’ve been hesitant to before.

I’m not really sure what that means yet. But I think it’ll probably result in me talking a lot more. Maybe here on this blog, or in the comments of your own blogs (which I do read, but have been too nervous to meaningfully interact with). Or perhaps on Twitter or Instagram.

Please look forward to it.


I am trying really, really hard to get through my current read so I can review it for you all. Truly, I do like it and I do want to write a book sort of like it but… my god it is so dense. It’s like exercise trying to read it, and with everything else I’ve had going on I just haven’t had the energy. I will get through it one day, though, I swear.

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

Kerry Share

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Character Driven Road Trip

Hello and welcome to another introspective, wakeup callish edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about my heretofore WIP (now trunked) Border Towns. If you’ve been with me on this journey since its inception, you might be familiar with my struggles with it (and subsequently a little bored of hearing about it). Well, strap in, because we’re taking another cruise through Border Towns.

bad trip

About a year ago, I was approximately 8000 words into the second draft and I was stuck. No matter how many times I rewrote it, no matter how many ways I approached it, no matter how long I spent bashing my head against it, I could not get the inciting incident* right. I got distance from it, I came back to it. I told myself I was overthinking it and moved on from it. I came back to it. I stopped writing entirely. I came back to it.

Eventually I just scrapped the scene and wrote a hollowed out version of it just to get me through NaNo, but I was never quite satisfied. I told myself, and others, that I just couldn’t figure out why this scene was so difficult to write.

But… well, that was a lie. I’ve always known what was wrong with it. I just also thought I could force myself to make it work anyway.

The thing is, my main character, L, turned out to be a spitfire. She was spunky, she was decisive, she took absolutely no shit. I thought, as I wrote, hell yes this is a female character I want to read. The first version of that scene was no doubt its best iteration.

Then, I remembered that her inability to take charge and make hard choices was sort of the whole narrative thrust of the book. Getting the point where she would make a stand in the face of adversity was her entire character arc. If I let her be a spitfire now, what the hell would the rest of my story be about?

And the thing is, I’ve realized, is I should have just let myself… find out.

I’m a planner. I’ve expounded on that at length. I love outlining, and I love having my roadmap, and I absolutely fear the unknown. Despite that, I always thought that if presented with a case of the story taking on a mind of its own, I would let it. Yet here I was, resisting with all my might the idea that my character was going to be this way, from the beginning, whether I liked it or not. Would that change really have altered the trajectory of the story that much? Maybe, maybe not. I’ll never know now, because instead of letting L take the reins, I forced myself to remain inside the extremely rigid box of what was, in my own mind, canon.

Man, I was an idiot. But that’s what first novels are for, right? Making mistakes and, if you’re good enough, learning from them.

I find myself wondering now if Border Towns can be salvaged by starting fresh with this new perspective in mind. But, even if it can’t (after all, my struggles with Border Towns did not begin and end with L’s characterization), I’ve learned a valuable lesson I could have sworn I already knew.

On this winding, wandering, wild road trip I call writing, let the damned characters do the driving.


Mental Health Check-In: Last week turned out to be the perfect black hole for productivity. Busy day job, doctor appointments, birthdays, and my main hobby coming out with some attention grabbing things. The anxiety brain was loud as each day passed without any blog-work getting done, telling me I failed and this is why I will always fail, because I won’t prioritize writing, yadda yadda yadda. That said, one of the biggest hurdles I’ve overcome with my mental health this year, is knowing that no matter how many times I fail, I can always get up and try again. So here I am, back on track, and with a reminder to be kind to yourself. Thanks for reading.


This week’s Short But Sweet prompt:

And now the star is dreaming.


That’s all from me on this Thursday Words Day. As always (or as near to always as life allows) I’ll be back on Sunday with my answer to this week’s Short But Sweet Prompt, and watch this space Tuesday for my next installment of Why I DNF This Book. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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