Celebrating the Victories, No Matter How Small

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

So, we are just over a month into my new content schedule and since I’m feeling a bit introspective today, I thought I would take a look at how I’ve managed those changes so far.

It honestly feels a little cynical to talk about, but the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the data the new content has yielded is trends in traffic. By and large, my book review posts are the most popular week in and week out. I continually get clicks and likes days and even weeks after the original post goes up. It’s encouraging, considering it was something I was very nervous about doing. I still don’t know if I’m reviewing things “correctly” but the fact that people are reading them (and even liking them) anyway means I must be doing something right… right?

Some other anecdata: posting at a certain time of day (evenings) tends to draw more views as opposed to afternoons. Misfingering a hashtag on Twitter meant (or at least correlated to) the post not getting any views at all. People from China really like my Short But Sweet posts.

But most important of all, keeping up a content schedule like this one has had, so far, the one effect I most desperately desired: it’s gotten me engaged. It’s given me something to work on every week. It’s motivated me to keep reading, keep writing, keep creating, even when I feel utterly uninteresting.

I haven’t been perfect of course. I missed almost a whole week of posts once, and just this past Sunday I failed to get my Short But Sweet done in time. Once upon a time, that might have been hugely discouraging to me, and made it harder to get back up on the horse. However, if I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that it’s okay to fail sometimes. It’s does me no favors to push myself past my limits and if I need to take breaks, that’s fine. As long as I’m not giving up entirely, what’s the harm?

If anything has driven this lesson home, it is the milestone the blog reached this week. 50 followers. Now, I realize that doesn’t sound like a lot but, at a time when I’ve been especially struggling to be creative, it matters to me. It matters that people have taken an interest, no matter how passing or moderate, in what I have to say. Since starting the new content schedule, I’ve gotten 13 new followers. 13 in about a month. Which means I gained 37 in the previous 23 months

So I’m going to take this modest, personal, meager victory and celebrate it. I’m going to be proud that I’ve kept up a three-post-a-week schedule with just a few hiccups. I’m going to, in this year of our lord 2020 where so much of our interactions, our relationships, our work, is, by necessity, online, look at this as a much needed positive.

Thanks to everyone who hit that follow button, even if my blog isn’t strictly in your lane. Thanks to anyone who liked (both in the digital and literal senses) what I had to say. Thanks for wordlessly motivating me to keep going. It’s seen and deeply appreciated.


This week’s Short But Sweet prompt (but for real this time):

Damnation, such obsessed faith and flawed education!


That’s all from me this week. Just a quick note, I am on vacation next week, so while I intend to put up a Short But Sweet post on Sunday as expected, there will be no new content after that until September 15th. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Crossing the Finish Line

Manuscript News

Wow, it’s been another long, unintended hiatus. I’m really, really sorry about that. However, my time away from this blog hasn’t been a complete waste. In fact, the reason I haven’t had much energy to write new posts here is because I’ve been spending pretty much every creative iota in my body on my manuscript. I finally hit the downhill slope going into the third act and my every waking thought was bent on getting it done.

I’m pleased to say the focus paid off. On June 1st I was able to write “The End.” I then promptly crossed it out and wrote “To Be Continued” because it is the first of a trilogy, but I also wanted to say that I wrote those two words to cap off a year long journey.

It’s still kind of crazy to me that it was only a short 365 (+change) days ago that I made the decision to really forge ahead with writing. Part of me thought I was going to flame out again, especially after I got sick and had to take a very sudden break, so soon after that choice. When NaNo rolled around, all I could think about was all the years before I had tried and failed before I’d even crested 10k.

But I made it. I won. For the first time in my life I won NaNoWriMo. And yet, still I doubted myself. After all, 50,000 words only put me at halfway. There was still so much work to be done, and with my mental health struggles rearing their ugly head, part of me was resigned to chalk this whole effort up to another failed experiment.

Even at the end, after I had reconnected to my story idea and the words were coming so easily, when my daily word count surpassed even my NaNo pace, it was still really hard. The last week or two I found myself close to tears when I sat down to write, simply because I was just so damn tired. I wasn’t creatively blocked, because, again, I knew exactly where I was going and how to get there, and the words were coming, but the labor of putting it all on the page took so much more out of me than I ever expected it would.

Writing is work, yall. Hard work. It’s draining emotionally, mentally, even physically (oh my god I don’t even want to talk about my hand and wrist). And I say all this knowing that this really is just the first step in a never ending cycle. I know that there is still so much to do if this manuscript ever has a chance of seeing the light of day.

So, in the end, is it worth it? Is it worth all the angst, the pain, the exhaustion? Is it worth the constant distraction from every day life? Is it worth pouring so much of yourself into something with every possibility of accomplishing so little?

My answer? Hell yes.


The Weekly Struggle

So, now what?

Well, that’s what I’ve been asking myself since Saturday. The obvious answer is revision, of course, but all signs point it being a very bad idea to start right away. Knowing how much drafting took out of me the last month or so, I figured I should probably give myself a break before diving straight into draft two. After asking and reading around, I decided one month should be sufficient time and space.

And yet, every day since I finished I have literally forgotten that there’s no writing to be done. I get my notebook and my pens out and… do nothing. Even knowing that some time off can only be a good thing for both me and the project, it still feels just plain wrong to allow myself to be idle. Couple that with some deep seated fears I have about the revision process, and… yeah. I’m extremely restless.

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Live footage of me all month.

 

I’m trying to combat all this nervous energy by doing some light MS-related work. I’ve sought out character and world building worksheets to play with. I’ve continued with transcribing my back log of words (seriously, I’m about 30k behind, it’s pathetic). I plan to create some new outlines based on the first draft and what I hope to get out of the second. All told, I hope I’m ready when July rolls around to really dive into revision.

Because, and this is important, I’ve decided that this year I’m going to continue to push myself in my writing. I have heard before and can accept the fact that my first manuscript is not likely to be very good (and it’s true, at least for now; this first draft is point blank terrible). I probably won’t attract agents or offers with it. I’m fine with that. I’ve heard before and can accept the fact that I need to write a whole hell of a lot more if I ever want to be good enough to be published, which means I can’t spend an entire year on every single MS I hope to write. I have heard before and can accept the fact that this is not going to get easier just because I now can say I have one completed draft under my belt.

Last year was all about accomplishing a ten year old goal. I have proved to myself that I can do it. So, this year will be about hitting new milestones and exploring the parts of writing that I’ve never been to before, like revision and juggling multiple projects at once.

I’ve drawn up a very ambitious schedule for myself. The gist of it is, by this time next year, I want to have both the second and third drafts of this current MS done. I won’t commit to being query ready by then, because I know there’s a lot more to revision and editing than just drafting and redrafting, but I would like to be at least ready to send out to betas.

I’m also going to dive into a new project for NaNo, which I’ll talk more about another time, but it will mark the first time I’ll have to divide my creative energy between two ideas. I’m somewhat nervous, but I’ve been nervous every step of this process, so really, what’s the difference?

And that’s the update. Thanks to everyone who’s followed along this far. Looking forward to another incredible year.


What I’m Reading This Week

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

What I look for in a book these days are things that inspire me to improve my own craft. Just a few chapters deep into The Priory of the Orange Tree and I knew I had miles to go in my world building. The history is so lush and rich in this story, I actually felt called out for not giving my own project that level of attention to detail. Every night I read a chapter so that I can get up in the morning freshly inspired to tackly my own lore’s shortcomings. Awesome, really awesome.


That’s all from me this week. Next week I’ll be back (I promise) with a new post discussing my ideas for my next project and what it means to write for yourself. Until then my lovelies, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share


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New Year, New Name, New Goals

Happy New Year everyone, and, for me, personally, it is not a moment too soon. To get personal for just a moment, 2018 — again, for me — sucked ass. And that’s all the looking backwards I will do.

Suffice it to say, spoons were in short supply this holiday season and so I made the judgment call to lay writing (including Twitter and this blog) aside for a few weeks to recharge and reprioritize.

I’m a sucker for new beginnings. I even have a phoenix tattooed on my back. I thrive at the New Year, but, like many (even most) people I tend to drop off after the initial fervor. So, this year, I’m going to take the lessons I learned from NaNo and apply them to all my goals for 2019.

Most pertinent of which: accountability. The idea of admitting that I hadn’t successfully completed NaNoWriMo was a huge motivation for me in the waning days of November, if I’m being honest. I wanted to give up so badly, watching my daily word count creep higher and higher, well past the point I thought I was capable of achieving, but the idea of letting down my writing friends, and certain family members who had been egging me on… that, to me, was unforgivable.

It’s funny how the human mind works, isn’t it? I set a personal goal that didn’t cost me anything (other than sanity), certainly didn’t cost anyone else anything. It was a commitment of time and effort, sure, but in turn I wasn’t sacrificing anything unreasonable. But I didn’t want anyone to think that I couldn’t do it. I’m still not sure if it was personal pride or anxiety. In any case, it worked.

Honestly, I know I’m just another struggling writer in a sea of struggling writers. But if one person cares enough to check in on me (and there have been more than a few since I’ve started this journey) then I know my own mind well enough to believe that’s enough to push me forward.

So, without further ado, here’s my list of GOALS for 2019. Help me slay ’em, yall.

  1. Finish Bordertowns, my novel.
  2. Revise.
  3. Revise again.
  4. Repeat as necessary.
  5. Start querying process.
  6. Blog once a week.
  7. Buy domain for said blog.
  8. Make more of an effort to establish relationships via social media.
  9. Read 25 new books.
  10. Say the words “I’m a writer” out loud to another human being.

Bonus: attend the SFWA Nebula Conference, finances permitting.


One last note: I wrote a few weeks ago about my struggle with deciding on a professional name. I realized after posting that I was probably overthinking it. So, I decided that when I came back from my little hiatus I would just bite the bullet and make the change.

So, sort of contrary to what I said just up there, I’m no longer Just Another Struggling Writer.

I’m Kerry Share.


Next week I plan to start playing with the format of this blog while I continue working to find my formula. Thanks to everyone who has followed me thus far and who sticks with me going forward. It really, truly means a lot.

NaNoWriMo Update – Week 2

This week’s update is going to be a short one, mostly because I don’t have much ground to cover that I didn’t talk about last week.

First, I’d like to share my jubilation on yet another platform that holy shit I broke 20,000 words.

This isn’t the first time I’ve done 20k on a project, I’ll admit, but those other times were mostly fanfiction series or stabs at my opus that usually fizzled out shortly thereafter. This is the first time that I’ve looked at my word count and been seriously, incredibly proud of myself. And that’s less because of the milestone itself than the labor and preparation that went into it, as well as the fact that I’ve gotten this far and I still have the creative energy and a vision to keep going.

That is what’s new to me. That is what has me beyond pumped.

That said, I had a really bad day yesterday. I had some pretty severe pain in my right ear that turned out to be an infection that kept me fairly well distracted most of the day. Even after it subsided, I struggled hard with getting words out. After two and a half hours and a net word count of 580, I closed my laptop and went to sleep.

And you know what? I didn’t feel guilty about it.

Maybe a year ago or six months ago I would have tried to wring another thousand words out of the bone dry sponge that was my brain, but this time I looked at all the successes I’ve had in just two short weeks. I remembered just this past Saturday when I wrote 3800 without really even batting an eye. I told myself that even if I remain helplessly stuck in this scene, I have a 20 page outline I can fall back on to find a place where I can start fresh.

I tell you what, I slept like a baby.

Then, I woke up this morning, listened to some of my favorite podcasts, daydreamed about what it would be like to be a full-time writer one day, ate my breakfast sandwich, and got to work.

I think we all, at some point or another, forget that self-care has to be an integral part of our writing process. I know none of us want to burn ourselves out, or work ourselves into stress related illnesses. And so we have to allow ourselves the ability to say, “No, not today,” without getting down on ourselves about it.

It was a lesson I didn’t even realized I learned, but I am all the happier for it.

Until next week!