Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Ace of Cups

Hello friends and welcome to another wet and wintry week of writing.

You find me today in somewhat of a limbo. Due to ~reasons~ my most recent romance manuscript is on hold pending instructions from my editor. After struggling all month it feels like with illness both physical and mental, I finally emerged from the haze of emotional exhaustion and realized with perfect clarity that my due date would not be met.

I don’t like being that person. I pride myself on my work ethic, but even more than that my punctuality. I know that these sorts of extensions (and possible postponements) happen all the time in publishing, but after eight novella manuscripts turned in on time, I hoped I would manage to avoid it. Alas. Strep throat (twice) and a depressive episode collaborated to ensure that I swallowed that point of pride.

So, here I am, waiting on guidance for the next steps and trying to use this moment (however brief it might turn out to be) to, well, first relax, but also reflect on just how lucky I am to get to do this whole writing thing (semi) professionally.

I will admit I’ve gotten a bit complacent with my arrangement. More than eighteen months in, some of the shine was worn off. I’ve forgotten just how truly awesome (in both modern and original senses of the word) it is that stories I wrote are out there in the world for people to read and hopefully enjoy.

Yes, it is a lot of hard work. Yes, there are times when I come home after a long day at the day job and extra curriculars and the only thing I want to do is get in bed or veg in front of the TV instead of write. Yes, there are times when I get so frustrated because the words aren’t coming and I just wasted two precious hours staring at a blinking cursor.

But it is also an incredible privilege. One that I’ve likely been taking for granted of late.

So while I have a moment to do so, I choose to reflect upon this opportunity with gratitude. I am so fortunate that I get to call myself a (semi) professional writer. I am blessed that I get to advance my craft in such a practical way. I am lucky beyond all comprehension that I get to share my words with you all.

And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; High Priestess

Hello friends and welcome to another wishful week of writing.

Last week my carefully laid plans to settle back into a routine were, of course, duly disrupted by the news that I would, in fact, have another romance novella to finish before the end of the year. Which is not to say that I can’t/won’t have a routine while writing it, but it does through my ideas for the last few months of the year askew (so long NaNo dreams).

I have the habit of biting off more than I can chew and then chastising myself for not getting everything done.

Friends, this week is no different. Because, while I do tend to overstretch myself, I also have the annoying habit of folding like a house of cards the moment my mood takes even the slightest turn. I’m still not treating writing as the job I want it to be, unless and, inevitably, until my back is up against the wall.

Frankly, I know I am capable of more than I achieve on any given day, because my proclivity is to do the bare minimum in flagrant spite of my actual desires and hopes. It’s a battle I’ve been fighting for years and I genuinely don’t know that it’s one I’ll ever win.

But I do know the answer is to just give in and opt for smaller goals. Because, apart from the fact that I’ll just find a way to not meet even those, the last thing I want to do is regress. I want to move forward. I want do more, bigger things. I want to really push the limits of what I can do right now, and then I want to see if I can expand into a space I’ve never dreamed of.

So, yes, I am under contract again which means the main thrust of my creative focus needs to be on my paid work. But I will not accept just putting my other ideas and projects on hold for the next five weeks. I know that means more hours and less sleep. I know that means fewer chances to just lay around or play video games. But, the truth of the matter is, my well is full — and historically I’ve been to leery to truly draw from it.

But if not now, when?

Kerry Share

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Thursday Words

Deadline Withdrawal

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

Friends, I’ll admit I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts of late. Very tired, but also restless. Bored, but also completely lacking in energy. As a person who is regularly depressed, this feeling is not totally unknown to me, but I did not think – for once – an accident of brain chemistry was at fault for my present malaise. 

After a great deal of pondering, it occurred to me that the reason I was feeling so discombobulated was because I no longer have anything pressing to work on. Of course, I have my personal fantasy projects I could be writing, but, honestly… I haven’t really felt motivated to tackle any of those ideas, even my current WIP, Pieces of Eight. 

The question this led me to ask was: why is it easier to write romance, a genre I am admittedly less versed in and certainly less passionate about, than the fantasy ideas I’ve had brewing for a decade or more? Why is it that I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words for pitches I came up with in about two weeks, but can’t string 90k together for an epic fantasy I’ve been building since 2015? 

Well, friends, I’ve cracked the case. 

It’s the deadline.

I don’t know what it is, I don’t know why my own personal dreams and desires aren’t enough to motivate me the way the expectations of others can, but for some reason I just work really, really, actually kind of phenomenally well under pressure, specifically time pressure, even more specifically external time pressure. 

Without that pressure, I honestly feel kind of adrift. When I’m not under a firm deadline, more than just leaving the option to procrastinate under my own discretion, I actually feel sort of useless. Lost. Worst of all, giving myself a deadline doesn’t seem to have the same effect as someone else giving me one. Its too easy to ignore, or make excuses for missing. 

Which then begs the question: how do I simulate external pressure that I cannot easily blow off? 

As much as I’d love that answer to come from within myself, uh, that hasn’t worked. So, my accountability partner on Twitter came up with a solution: get my kids involved. 

In short: promise them something fun and exciting, but only if I am able to meet a writing goal by a specific time. That way they can pester me when they see me loafing and it’ll actually feel motivating, because I certainly don’t want to let my babies down (even if I don’t really want to go the trampoline park).

Would I prefer that I not need to stoop to such tactics? Sure, of course. But something I have come to realize (even if I’m not sure I’ve accepted it) is that when you’re working, raising a family, keeping a house, maintaining a relationship, and writing, finding the time, energy, and reason to write can be thoroughly exhausting – even before you’ve had a chance to open your laptop (or, if you’re like me, notebook). Sometimes, we’ve gotta take whatever works and roll with it. 

And off I go.


Okay, so here’s the thing. I actually wrote all that last week, and that got overwhelmed with other stuff and didn’t end up posting it. Since then, I have actually learned that my most recent (last minute) pitch I submitted to my editor has been accepted and I’m once again under contract for another romance novella due next month. 

Up until yesterday when I got that email, I had been laboring under the aforementioned funk. Struggling to be productive and prioritize my time wisely. My anxiety dial was on eleven and even with the deal with my kids in place, I had trouble focusing on my work. 

Today, knowing I have five weeks to churn out another novella, I woke up energized and excited. If ever my deadline withdrawal was in doubt, this sequence of events proved it. 

I just work better under pressure. 


Hey its been a minute since I reminded yall that my first romance novella release, The Dutiful and the Disfavored, is available now on my Patreon for just $0.99. If you’re a fan of regency romance, know someone who is, or just want to support indie creators, please consider checking out my page. 

The Dutiful and the Disfavored

That’s all from me this time. I’ve got some new ideas brewing, though now that I’m under contract and under pain of child disappointment, they may have to wait until the new year. I can’t wait. Until next time friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few. 

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Knight of Pentacles

Good morning friends and welcome to another woozy week of writing.

This week the name of the game is routine. Last week I really struggled to stay focused and on track, largely because my anxiety decided it was a good time to take me on a little trip round the bend.

Routine is important for me to feel grounded when my brain does funny shit like that.

Take this blog for instance. Every Monday (most Mondays anyway) I write the little motivations post. I just do. Even on days like today when I don’t feel like I have anything particularly insightful to say or any updates to share, it’s important to me to write this post anyway because otherwise my week is getting off to a shaky start. If I don’t do it then something has interrupted my flow, either externally or internally, and it takes me an annoyingly long time to get my head back in the right space.

I learned last week that the ritual of posting my daily tasks on Twitter for all to see (those who haven’t muted me yet anyway) is actually really important to my motivation level. It’s not just the dopamine hit of checking off my tasks. I mean I do that anyway in the physical planner I carry with me. It’s the public nature of it. Sure, there are few people who see these posts, and fewer still who care about them, but something about the knowledge that my successes (and failures) is on display for all to see is somehow more meaningful to my mess of synapses I call a brain.

Last week I changed my routine in the interest of being concise and private, and my productivity suffered for it. So, today I am giving myself the space to not care if it doesn’t make sense. What works for me works, and I should just take that for what it is.

So, that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Page of Cups

Hello friends and welcome to another wry week of writing.

Friends, by now you know the drill. Every Monday, I come here and talk about my hopes for the week and how I plan to tackle my writing tasks. Sometimes my motivations are external (like deadlines) but most of the time I try to draw my own experiences and thought processes.

This week, my inspiration isn’t especially creative. Its not grounded in my love of writing, and its not something I’m exactly proud of.

The thing keeping me on track this week is stubbornness.

See, I’ve been struggling the last several days, a week or more even, with staying on task. Which shouldn’t be the case. Without a romance novella to labor over, I should be hyped to take advantage of the extra hours in my day and get some writing done. I’m in the middle of a cute standalone cozy fantasy, that I’m drafting in longhand no less. The project is supposed to be fun, no stress, and designed to help me get back to fantasy writing after what has been a kind of disappointing 2022.

So, why do I feel so meh about this project?

Friends, I’ve been suffering from that troublesome writer condition that makes every current idea seem Not Good, Worthless, Boring and every future idea seem Perfect, Exciting, The One.

Actually, if I’m being honest, I’ve been struggling with this issue ever since I put Border Towns on the shelf. For those keeping track, that’s coming up on three years ago now.

Border Towns was the first manuscript I ever finished (even if it was just a first draft), and even to this day I think of it as the story I will query agents with one day. I think some part of me believes that everything else I do in the meantime is just… filler until the real story wends its way back into my brain.

And, frankly, I don’t have time for that shit. I’ve got way too many ideas to waste prime writing hours on just waiting for my fickle muse to decide to cooperate.

So, even though I’m no longer passionately in love with Pieces of Eight like I was when first put pen to paper, I’m going to keep on toiling away at it. Because right now I think the most important thing for my long term health is a writer is proving that I can stay focused and finish a story.

And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Nine of Wands

Hello friends and welcome to another wacky week of writing.

Friends, I come to you this morning with quite a few balls in the air. In addition to my World Con-turned-staycation starting this week, I also am preparing for the official launch of my very own Patreon page. I’m also still hard at work on my current romance novella, due in a week and a half, and have two new pitches to prepare. Also drabbles and fantasy writing. And blogging. And sleeping somewhere in there too.

Phew.

Overwhelming as that all sounds (and feels), there is something sort of gratifying about having such a full plate. I am moving into the next stage of my growth (and/or career) as a writer and that is something to be proud of. Even celebrate.

Later though, I don’t have time to celebrate now.

In addition to all those tangible goals and tasks I have this week, I’m going to add one more mental one: stay focused, don’t procrastinate, and work hard. This is what I signed up for and I’m not going to waste this moment in time.

Wish me luck friends!

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Three of Pentacles

Good morning friends and welcome to another windswept week of writing.

Last week, even if I didn’t say so out loud, one of my big goals was to catch up on the sleep I lost over my last deadline. Well, friends, I definitely accomplished that.

Which means I have absolutely no excuses left when it comes to what I need to get done this week.

I’ve been thinking a lot this morning about goals and motivation in a bid to boost my writing output and efficiency. Okay, I sounded a little bit like a robot just then, didn’t I? Beep boop.

Something that I have realized over the last eighteen months writing for Scribd, is that I am much more productive when responding to a need. Pressure of a deadline or someone expecting a result from me sharpens my focus and I’m able to tune out distractions.

However, absent that pressure, a vacuum forms and my ability to stand strong against the temptations of procrastination and relaxation folds like a house of cards.

I have been playing for some time with different ideas on how to perhaps manufacture a sense of pressure in order to keep me on task, but so far I’ve been unable to trick my brain into doing its job.

Which is not to say I’m giving up. There is a way out there that will help me stay productive on days when I’m not on a deadline, I just have to find it.

This week I’m trying out stretch goals. After my do or die tasks for the day are done, I’ve given myself some bonus tasks that will make my life easier down the road if I do them now. But I also don’t need to beat myself up if I don’t get to them.

Let’s see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Kerry Share

Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Four of Swords

Hello friends and welcome to another winning week of writing.

Today, for yours truly, is deadline day for my most recent novella contract. And, I know I say this literally every time, but this time I really pulled out all the stops to try and screw things up for myself. By Friday, I was only half done with the manuscript.

Since I’m here and not curled up under my desk with my laptop, eyes bloodshot and words flowing nonsensically, you may surmise that despite the incredible time crunch, I managed to bang out the the last 17000 words I needed in just 48 hours.

That isn’t a brag. I never want to do that again. I’m pissed off at myself for putting myself in such a horrible position. Instead of spending my precious few leisure hours relaxing, I worked all friggin weekend. Instead of catching up on sleep (sorely needed) I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning. Instead of enjoying my writing, I forced myself to do it until my brain felt like a wrung out sponge.

I have got to get better at time management. I have got to learn how power through the natural urge to procrastinate. I have got to figure out how to write every day, so that I’m not stockpiling the stress for later.

I owe it to myself to do better next time, which conveniently starts — uh — tomorrow. Gotta love back to back contracts.

Honestly, I don’t subscribe to write every day as a rule, but it’s clear to me that if I don’t, I’ll more often than not done myself in sticky spots like this past weekend. Which, I remind you, sucked ass.

If that can’t motivate me, I don’t know what will.

It’s a new day friends, a new week. Let’s get after it together.

Kerry Share

Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; The Moon

Hello friends and welcome to another wacky week of writing.

It’s the third week of Drabble Rock and I still feel really good about this fun little project. It’s keeping me creatively engaged without taxing my limited time. And by splitting the idea into two forks — one a contiguous story, the other unconnected, “random” snapshots — I’m able to scratch multiple itches at once.

I look forward to posting them so much, that I started wondering over the weekend if there was a way I could do Drabble Rock every day. At once I chastised myself. I have actual WIPs I could (and should) be working on, after all. As fun as Drabble Rock may be, it can’t be my main focus.

Trouble is, I have come to realize that part of the thing that is so fun and motivating about Drabble Rock is the public nature of it. That’s by design, because apparently the biggest influence on my daily productivity is the expectation — or even just the illusion of expectation — of others. That’s why I work so well on deadline and have no trouble (okay, maybe not no trouble) completing NaNoWriMo.

Personal goals and deadlines are more or less no good to me. I’m used to disappointing myself (thanks anxiety brain), so falling short of a target word count or failing to make writing daily, even just a little bit, a habit isn’t that surprising or, nay, motivating to me.

So, the idea I’m toying with now is reviving Friday Feelings and perhaps adding a mid-week check in. WIP Wednesday’s. It feels a little egotistical to have a blog post every day of the week, but I’m willing to set that embarrassment if it helps.

Whether it actually helps remains to be seen. Until next time, friends.

Kerry Share

Uncategorized

Finding Your Why

Hello friends and welcome to another wily week of writing here at Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

I got to thinking a little bit this week about motivation. Not the kind that takes the shape of great ideas, nor the type of external stimulus that pushes someone onward. I was thinking much more along the lines of one of the most basic questions we as creative individuals must necessarily ask ourselves:

Why do I write?

What reason do I have to write?

When I asked myself these questions, my answer came easily: because I want to be a writer, duh. But that, in turn, asked a brand new question: what, to me, does “being a writer” entail, exactly?

Because, plainly just writing isn’t enough to satisfy that goal. Even writing for money isn’t exactly what I want, because I’m making money (not a lot, but still) with my freelancing deal. Do I want to be famous? Certainly not, I tremble to imagine the kind of unwanted scrutiny fame would invite. Well, then, is it ego? I didn’t even know I had one to speak of.

But I do. And that’s what brought me to my answer. My why do I write.

Its community. Its people. Its you (yes, you, person reading this right now). Because as much as I shrink against the idea of attention (even positive attention), I do very much desire to bring together a community. That’s why I started this blog, really. That’s why I continue to log onto Twitter every day. Though my anxieties and natural inclination to guarding my privacy have often meant a sort of distance between myself and those I wish to connect with, I do want to make friends. I do want to be surrounded by people who care about my successes. I do want to help others with what meager knowledge and experience I possess.

All this time, I’ve been trying to motivate myself to write with all the wrong reasons. Maybe not wrong, exactly, but incompatible. I thought that I want to write to make money, and well, I do, but that’s not the reason I write. I thought that I want to write because, well, I’m making up stories in my head anyway, I may as well jot them down. And, yeah, that’s also true. But as far as inspirations strong enough to kick my ass out of slow, weary complacency, those things just aren’t going to cut it.

But you are (again, you). You, who cares about me long enough to still be reading this blog after four years of inconsistent posting and a sort of meandering identity. You, who is interested in what sort of fiction I may bring into the world, even though I have yet to produce any for consumption (novellas outside of my favored genre aside). You, who are just another struggling writer and who just wants to share in that experience with someone outside of your own head. Or wait, maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, finding my why has been a bit of a sore spot for me lately. Because, truthfully, I didn’t want to plumb that well too deeply in case the reason actually was just “I want to make lots of money from writing.” Again, I don’t necessarily think that’s wrong and if that’s your motivation, as long as it works for you and gets you writing, I’m good with it. But it definitely wasn’t working for me.

Of course, this new source of inspiration means that I need to actually overcome some social anxiety and the death grip I have on the information I’m willing to share with the world. Gulp. But I think you’re worth it. Yes, you. And you know what? So am I.

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

Kerry Share

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