The Squeeze

Hello and welcome to another anxiety-fueled edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

And what a struggle these last two days have been. You see, friends, I seem to have worked myself into a burnout.

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I have always had a hard time finding a sustainable balance between my day job, my family, leisure time, and writing, and that conflict is once again coming to a head. Largely because I’ve decided that adding a part time writing gig (on top of my personal writing projects), a new self-care regimen of diet and exercise, and some new home improvement/housekeeping routines all at the same time would be a fabulous idea!!!!! THINK OF ALL THE THINGS I’LL GET DONE!

Hah, except when I feel so much like a wrung out sponge that I can barely drag my ass into the shower, much less wash a load of dishes, walk the dogs, put my kids in bed, read three chapters of a dense as hell book, come up with a couple new pitch ideas, write 1000 new words toward my WIP, and unwind with a little basketball or video game all in the same evening, like I’ve for some reason convinced myself is possible.

Part of me is convinced I’m at fault here. Other people do all these things, what the hell is the matter with me for not being able to keep up? Or, that if I took myself seriously as a “professional writer” I would make it work and since I haven’t that’s just proof that I can’t hack it at my dream job.

Another part of me knows that one solution would be to make sacrifices. Like… while I’m writing a “work” project, my personal WIP should be on hold. Make reading my leisure activity (even though I don’t really find it all that relaxing). Wake up earlier and go to bed later.

Or maybe I can compromise. Do “work” writing Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and personal writing Tuesdays and Thursdays. Figure out how to listen to audio books (I have audio processing issues which has historically given me to bounce them) so I can get my monthly reads in on the commute.

Or, become hyper-obsessed with budgeting my time. At 5:45 walk the dogs. 6-6:30 is washing dishes and making dinner. From 6:30-7:15 do “work” writing. From 7:15-8:15 is daughter’s guitar lesson. 8:15-9 is putting the kids in bed. 9-9:30 work on personal writing. From 9:30-10 read. 10 until bedtime relax. Except for Tuesdays and Thursdays when I have to blog. Does that fall under personal or work writing at this point? And the local critique group meets on Wednesdays (whenever the hell this pandemic is over, that is), how do I block out time then?

None of these are perfect solutions, which means I should probably make an attempt to cobble them together into some kind of grotesque amalgamation of a work/life balance, and… you know, that’s fine. If only my anxiety would stop giving me a guilt complex for not being able to do it all in a single day, that would be great.

So, I’m curious, for those of you who are in similar situations to mine: how do you survive the time squeeze? I mean I’m all ears for any tips and tricks. I have accepted the fact that I’m probably going to have to sleep less going forward if I want to make this work, and that my comfortable routines are going to have to budge up and make space. But most importantly, the last two days have shown me that what I’ve been doing is not sustainable. That first rush of endorphins from landing this new writing opportunity may have carried me through the first week of working almost non-stop, but those have worn off now and I’m left trying to make sure I can actually do all the things I promised myself I would.

And so ends another day in the life of just another struggling writer.


I almost didn’t even write this tonight. But I’ve actually, for the most part, managed to keep my blogging habit going and I’m really proud of it. So, even though I’m tired and crabby and want to watch the Voice while I work on my latest cross-stitch pattern, I wrote. And, today, that’s a win.

So I’ll be back next week, hopefully unclenched. I will most certainly not be ready to review my latest read as it is dense. Normally that would be grounds for my brain to excuse DNFing it, but it has so many elements I wanted for my now shelved Border Towns project that I know I have to finish it. For research purposes. Yes. So, all of that to say, I’m going to be slightly off my reviewing schedule. Hope that’s okay. Until Thursday, my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Leap of Faith

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

It’ll be a quick one today, friends, since I’m short on time.

I’m not a religious person, nor a big believer in fate, or serendipity, or karma. But last month, I was in a real pinch financially thanks to the devastating winter storm that displaced me and my family from our home for almost three weeks. Desperate, I went online looking for ways to monetize my writing and the results were… disappointing to say the least. Breaking into freelancing seemed impossible for someone like me with no college degree or relevant experience. I was looking into other gig work when, quite by chance, while absentmindedly scrolling through Twitter, I came across a tweet advertising a freelance writing opportunity.

What could it hurt, I thought, to send an email to the attached address and just ask.

Well, as it turns out, it couldn’t hurt. In fact, it could help a lot.

I won’t say anymore since things are still very much in the early stages, and, who knows, maybe it’ll turn out that I won’t be good for this kind of work after all.

That said, just applying for the opportunity has given me a fresh perspective into the life of a working writer, and my own capabilities. I’ve never done this kind of work before. I’ve never had to submit writing samples or pitches, or work on a deadline that wasn’t of my own creation. Every response to every step I have taken, I have convinced myself that this will be the email that tells me I’m not a good fit.

Yet that hasn’t happened. And as I approach the point of no return, the moment of real commitment, I find myself confronting a new emotion about the whole endeavor: hope.

Wish me luck!

Continue reading “Leap of Faith”

Writing From the Bathroom Floor

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

As many of you surely know by now, I’ve been having a rough time lately. My family and I are still shacked up in the hotel (though, hopefully, our nearly 2-week long stay will be over tomorrow or Saturday, so long that the repairs to our pipes go well) which has made not just for financial stress but social stress as well. It’s not easy living with five people in the same room.

One of the hardest parts, for me, has been turning off the light at 8:30 and sitting in the dark. I have my laptop to entertain me, but I’ve worn out the few games I have on it and, as most everyone surely knows by now, I draft my creative projects longhand and so my computer is almost useless to me in that regard.

For the first week of our stay, I wrote as much as could while the lights were still on and settled in with my kindle, or played a video game on my laptop when the lights went out. The problem with that was: well, there wasn’t actually a lot of writing getting done during that lights-on time. Between eating our nightly takeout, the TV being on, and the kids – not having all their typical forms of entertainment – needing my attention more than usual, my nightly word output was… lacking. Half the time I didn’t get anything done at all.

Now, I don’t believe in any advice that deals in absolutes.

Always use ‘said’ or never use adverbs. Write every day. Only write what you know.

You get the idea.

So, it would have been really easy to just forgive myself for not being able to write during a really difficult few weeks. But, by the start of the second week, not only did I have a wealth of creative energy pent up, but I needed a way to vent my ever increasing anxiety (anxiety about how messy our room was getting, anxiety about the cost, anxiety about my dogs who have been staying at my mother’s, anxiety about how much longer it would be, etc). We were stuck in a holding pattern. There was nothing for me to do to make our situation better.

Monday evening ended up being really busy. My son just started a regimen of allergy shots and it was my daughter’s first day back in gymnastics after the gym shut down for COVID concerns last year. By the time I got a chance to take my shoes off, it was already time to tuck the babies in and turn out the lights.

And I still hadn’t done anything.

Exhausted, yet still unable to sleep and having worn out all my usual tricks, I mulled my options. I could drive back to my house for a few private hours only to return when I needed to pee or sleep, whichever came first. I could go straight to bed and catch up on sleep. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to write. And to write, I needed light. So, I went to the bathroom, notebook in hand, and sat down on the floor.

My phone was nearly dead so I had left it on the charger. I was completely without distractions for the first time in weeks.

I’d love to tell you I wrote 10,000 words without breaking a sweat and went to bed exhilarated. But my mama didn’t raise no liar.

Three pages, just over 1000 words, in about 90 minutes was what I managed before my aching back (and ass for that matter) told me it was time to pack it in. I was worn out mentally and physically, and I told myself it hadn’t been worth it for such a modest output.

Then, the strangest thing happened. I got up in the morning and felt just a little bit lighter. Not only had I gotten over a bit of creative block I’d had following a monster of a scene that took me weeks to complete, but I’d actually helped ease some of the tension I’d been carrying around. Writing had been a fresh distraction, with an added bonus of allowing me to feel productive for a change. It felt good.

So I went back the next night. And I’ll probably go back again tonight. Because sometimes, writers just gotta write.


I completely meant for this blog post to be kind of a generalized thing about how to write in the creases, even if your creases is just one big chunk on a bathroom floor, but… well. Here we are.

Hoping to have a book review for you on Tuesday but I honestly don’t know if I’m going to finish in time. If not I’ll see you next Thursday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Freelancing

Hello friends and welcome to a career-driven edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

As some of you may know, and for those of you who don’t, I am a resident of Texas and as such am one of millions who was affected by the winter storms last week. More specifically, my family was displaced as a result of a burst pipe in my home. This led to spending five days with my lovely, longsuffering mother, who, true to form, spent the extra hours together grilling me about my career.

I don’t talk about it much and that will continue to be the case going forward, but I am a rare individual who actually likes my day job. I would even go so far as to say I love it. It’s emotionally stressful at times, especially this past year, but I actually find it fulfilling. That said, it’s not my passion, (three guesses as to what is) and, more to the point, it doesn’t actually pay very well. Even worse, I’ve pretty much reached the ceiling in terms of earning potential.

Which got me thinking, not for the first time, about trying my hand at some freelance writing. A cursory Google search always seems to suggest that it’s easier than one might think to get into it, but I am loathe to believe Google, not just because I respect the hustle freelancers do, but also because, well, I guess I consider myself atypical of the average person looking to break into the business. I have no college degree, I have no practical experience (unless this personal blog counts), and I’m coming at this a little later than usual (early 30s).

But apart from that, I think I would make a good candidate. I work well on a deadline and I have a lot of pent up creativity.

Which still leaves me with the how? I keep reading about building a portfolio. Does that mean I need to draft pieces that I don’t put out on my blog? Do I need to start a whole new blog that is less about my personal journey and instead covers more generalized topics that I post to more than once a week? How do I even put together a resume when I don’t have relevant education or experience?

Is freelancing even right for me? Or do I just throw everything I’ve got into a Patreon and hope for the best? Should I lock my Short But Sweets behind a paywall? Do I hype my Ko-Fi page beyond what I have previously been comfortable with?

As it turns out, being a professional writer, and this is true, is hard.

writing is hard
writing is hard


I’ll keep looking into it, although advice from already working freelancers would be much appreciated. Until then, I’ll continue to plug away at my personal projects. I’ll write my novel and I’ll read books to review. I’ll rant and rave here every Thursday (weather permitting).

In the meantime, if you are able spare a few bucks to my Ko-Fi, I’d really appreciate it. My family and I are currently in a hotel (my mom’s house is too far a drive from my kids’ school to be a long term solution) and are facing a heretofore unknown repair bill. Every little bit helps.

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

Kerry Share

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Mental Space

Hello and welcome to a rare unburdened and optimistic edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Yesterday, I felt a weight lift off me. I honestly didn’t realize how much extra water I had been carrying these last four years. I wonder how much time I lost stressing about what was going on in the world outside my little bubble.

Some blue check I follow on Twitter said yesterday morning said that they’ll have so much more mental space now that the country isn’t on the brink of falling into fascism that they immediately plan to launch into three new projects. I couldn’t stop thinking about that sentiment all day, as I watched the proceedings with an increasingly light heart.

It would be too cheap and easy to blame my lack of productivity on world events, but, lets be honest, those events certainly haven’t helped the fickle and flighty being that is my muse stay on topic. And though I know myself well enough to say with confidence that I’m not gonna suddenly have enough vigor to write 10,000 words a day or start a bunch of new things behind the scenes even while I’m trying to write a novel, I can’t help but feel buoyed by this newfound optimism in all facets of my life.

It can get so easy to make excuses. Well, I wrote a blog today, that counts as writing so I don’t actually need to put words down. I had two doctors appointments today and now I just want to relax. My internet is blinking out and even though I don’t need it to write, now my ambient noise generator isn’t working and I just can’t focus.

It’s been so easy, these last four years, to convince myself that not only are all those things true, but that capitulating to those impulses is actually self-care. And it wasn’t until I was snuggled up in bed yesterday, with my heated blanket and a cup of hot chocolate, watching the fireworks, that I realized just how much I needed the release of tension it brought. That while things are far from being perfect, I don’t need to make excuses anymore. Because I’m going to wake up tomorrow lighter than I did yesterday. I’m going to be able to not worry about what nonsense the president has wrought and what it means for me and my kids.

Mental space. Its real. And it just multiplied tenfold.

So, now that I’m done writing this post, I am gonna put new words down, thank you very much. Because I’m not satisfied and there is so much more work to be done.


Book of the month side note: I am making very slow progress on Black Leopard, Red Wolf (read: 10% in two weeks). I keep telling myself that it’s not for me and I’m gonna DNF it, especially since I’m running out of time to review it this month as promised in my New Year’s Resolutions post. And yet… I keep coming back to it. I can’t get through more than a few pages at a time, but I’ve yet to convince myself to set it completely aside.

So I may be late with my next review, is what I’m trying to say. Please look forward to it.


The thing about blogging every week is it’s been hard to come up with topics, which is what has lead to these more free form posts of late. But I figure once I’m in the groove and habit of doing it every week, it’ll come easier to think of things to say. Thanks for bearing with me while I, once again, try to find my sea legs with this whole content thing.

Until next week! May your writing be plenty but your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Rolling With the Punches

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

Whilst fumbling around for a topic this week, I turned to last year’s January posts for inspiration. How was I feeling at this time last year? I had promised to blog once a week, just like I have this year, and I must have been motivated, right?

Funnily enough, it’s almost been a year to the day that I shelved Border Towns.

I didn’t know I was shelving it at the time, though. Back then, I had only just realized the fatal flaw of the novel and was optimistic that, with a little revision, the third draft would be an excellent launch point for eventually querying.

And then the bulk of 2020 hit and utterly drained my muse of it’s life force, and the revisions that I once held so much hope for instead withered on the vine. No matter how many times I convinced myself I would come back and finish that damn book, the spark for it just never materialized.

Coming to the conclusion that it had to be shelved was a laborious, at times even emotional process, but I later came to accept that it was for the best. In the months since, my creativity has blossomed once again, whereas every time I sat down to brain storm Border Towns revisions, I felt smothered. Perhaps this shouldn’t have come as a surprise – this is, after all, the second time I’ve had to trunk a project I had pinned a lot of hopes on.

Yet, that fact alone, in turn gives me pause. Am I really the kind of person who can’t revise? Who comes up against flawed but fixable stories and just… folds? Do I have any creative willpower at all?

Logically, I know that many, even most, writers have a stack of unfinished or unrevised novels underneath all of their published and perfectly good ones. So, logically, I’m right on pace. But, still, it doesn’t feel good to leave projects I once felt held so much promise, and still do feel could be whipped into shape given the right motivation, languishing in the trunk. 

That being said, I’m not gonna let myself dwell on that too much. I have a new project to shed blood, sweat, and tears over, after all, and besides, if I’ve learned nothing else these last few years of trying to be a writer, it’s that you’ve gotta take whatever stories come your way and roll with the punches they deal you. 

Nothing ever goes according to plan. Isn’t that what makes writing so much fun? 


That’s all from me this week, thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back next time with another look into the life of a struggling writer. Until then may your writing be plenty and your own struggles be few. 

Kerry Share

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2021: Second Verse, Same as the First

Hello friends, and welcome to a somewhat shell-shocked, everything-is-fine.gif edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

And struggling is exactly what I am doing today. Struggling to remain focused, struggling to maintain my resolutions to write every day, struggling with whether or not it’s even appropriate to pretend like my little writing blog matters. Funnily enough it’s the same sort of struggle I experienced writing my first blog post of the new year last year, back when I was worried we were about to go war with Iran.

What a time to be alive, but unironically.


For me, writing is not an escape. It’s not a distraction. It’s not even fun. It’s work. I love it – my god do I love it – but I think we all know that it is hard. It’s a job that one shows up to, day after day, for the promise of very little pay or no pay at all. And, just like my day job, I can’t just shut out the world when I want to get cracking.

I write fantasy, epic fantasy, full-fledged at-no-point-ever-even-in-the-same-universe fantasy. But what I write is still colored by what I experience, what I see in my daily life. How can I write about saving the world, when ours seems more than ever on the brink?  What does my story matter? Not just my fictional story, but my actual story. The story of just another struggling writer?


I’m okay, really I am. This isn’t some sort of mental health crisis. When that happens, I’m sad internally. Today I’m sad externally. I’m sad and I’m furious. I’m sad and I’m diminished. I’m sad and I’m just… tired.

I didn’t write yesterday. I probably won’t write today. But eventually I’ll find my way back to the page and get back to the business of making stuff up, because someday my words might be someone else’s escape. I should be so lucky.

Kerry Share

New Year’s Resolutions: 2020 Edition

Hello friends, and welcome to a special New Year’s Eve edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well. 2020, huh?

I’m not gonna harp too long on it. Suffice it to say: I did not meet a single one of my writing goals this year. Not one.

Some of that can be blamed on the pandemic (failing to attend critique group, for example), but most of them were just me giving up. It’d be easy to say “Well, 2020, give yourself a break,” and I am in some ways. But I want to be a professional writer, and that means holding myself to account when I let that goal drink itself stupid and pass out in the back seat of my car.

One thing I did start this year that I’m really proud to have kept up is journaling. It’s been a major boon to my mental health and it has really helped me kind of examine in a semi-external way the particular turns of my mind that leads me down certain paths. Which is an overly verbose way of saying, I think I know why I fail at so many resolutions, year after year.

First, and it so ding dang obvious now that I’ve thought about it, is that I get so amped up for the potential new lifestyle I’m about to embark on that I just get too ambitious. Like last year, I said I wanted to dabble in podcasting. I mean… even just dabbling in something like podcasting means a monumental amount of effort, that even if 2020 hadn’t been a complete trashcan would have totally eaten up spoons I frankly just don’t have. Or even something simple like starting an Instagram account. If I’d given it more than a moment’s consideration I would have realized that I have no use for an Instagram account. The idea of having pictures out there in the ether of my personal space pings my anxiety like nobody’s business.

Last year I listed eight (8) resolutions and failed every single one of them. This year, I’m scaling down. I only have three. They are ambitious in their own ways, but very achievable and much more in my time and mental energy budget. They are:

  1. Finish the first draft of The Nexus by July 31st
  2. Review the 22 books currently in my TBR list
  3. Resume the blogging schedule I outlined in August (with minor alterations)

Simple, really, and yet things I have struggled with in the past: reading and writing on a consistent basis when I don’t have the deadline of NaNo whipping me along. These things are habits that I need to form, not just goals I would like to achieve. So, the real question is: how do I, someone notoriously resistant to change, go about altering my everyday behavior? Because, honestly, simply wanting to hasn’t been enough.

The answer I keep coming back to is accountability. I need the spectre of embarrassment from failing to spur me on. I need a structure to work within and deadlines to meet. And while I can’t ask someone to care about my writing as much as me enough to push me when I won’t push myself,  I can publically announce my intentions and imagine for myself a crowd of people who would be let down if I don’t follow through. So here we go. I’m not just going to vaguely say I’m going to meet these goals. I’m going to detail how and when I’m going to do that.

As for drafting the Nexus. I have a total of 6 story paths, one already drafted during November and three more outlined. So I’m giving myself seven months to plot, outline, and write the remaining paths. The path I drafted for NaNo was ostensibly the longest, so it’s not outside the realm of plausibility that I can draft one path a month. Having the first draft completely done will give me time to think through the revisions and outline draft 2 so I can start drafting that in November. Easy peasy.

Note that my second goal for 2021 was to review the 22 books in my TBR. Not necessarily finish. I’m actually giving myself the mental space to DNF some of them. Fortunately, I have a blog series specifically for these kinds of books, so even if I don’t read as much as I’d like… I can still get some content out of it. Further, after giving it some thought, I realized it would really help me stay on target if I actually named the books I plan to read (and review) and in what order. That way, if inspiration fails me or if the depression monster diverts me off track, I have a roadmap to find my way back. So without further ado: Just Another Struggling Writer’s book review schedule!

January
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

February
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

March
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
The Throne of the Five Winds by S.C. Emmett

April
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

May
The Bone Ships by RJ Barker
Radiance by Grace Draven

June
We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

July
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

August
Jade City by Fonda Lee
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

September
Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
Legacy of Ash by Matthew Ward

October
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock
The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso

(Break for NaNoWriMo)

December
Nocturne by Kat Ross
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Yes, before you ask, I’ve never read any of these, despite their fame and popularity, particularly within the genre. I’m also a little bit ahead of the game and pleased to say that I’ll most likely have the first review done as soon as Tuesday as I’m more than halfway through The Obelisk Gate and plan to spend my holiday weekend finishing it up. As I’ve mentioned before, my book reviews tend to get a surprising amount of traffic and I’m looking forward to bringing you all more of them in the coming year.

And speaking of the blog schedule… Look, 52 solid weeks of blogging is a lot. I very much doubt that I’m going to be able to keep up with that kind of production consistently. That said, I’m gonna do my best, but I’m also not gonna beat myself up about it if I don’t manage it. I also am planning to have Short But Sweet Sundays make a comeback. I’m still really enamored with that story and that setting, and it’ll be nice to have a break from the Nexus every once and a while. It won’t be weekly, but the last Sunday of the month please look forward to a little vignette in the Pillar-verse. 

See? Simple! She said sarcastically.

In all seriousness, after the trainwreck of 2020 I’m not sweating even these modest goals. Really, on a micro level, if I’m reading and writing every day then it’s a win and that’s all I have to say about that. 


So, that’s it from me for this week. I’ll be back on Tuesday for a YMMV review of The Obelisk Gate and then on Thursday to check in and see how that whole writing-every-day thing is going. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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NaNoWriMo 2020 Post-Mortem

Wow okay so it’s been a minute. I had intended on doing a pre-NaNo check in post before I dove headfirst into hell month but I frankly just ran out of time. Then I thought maybe I’ll do a mid-month check in and, well, didn’t have time for that either. In the past I had managed to get a lot of my writing done during the day at my day job, but this year that just wasn’t possible and so my evenings were spent making word counts.

That being said…

I actually think this year was the easiest NaNo ever came to me. Maybe it was because I was tackling something totally fresh, or that I was going into the project with a freer perspective than I had in the past, or because I just knew what to expect and what I was capable of. Even with all that, it was kind of remarkable to me how little stress I felt throughout the month. I never fell behind, and at some points got far enough ahead that I was able to take mental health breaks as needed.

Or maybe it’s just because this is what I’m supposed to be working on right now. Wouldn’t that be nice? To feel connected to the work beyond a sense of obligation? Or maybe it just feels that way right now because it’s new.

I don’t know, but for the first time since I started doing NaNo I almost had fun with it. It was still a lot of work that meant I had 0 time for leisure on my writing days, but I was enjoying the process of discovery. And for that reason alone, regardless of my completion status, I can call it a win.

So, just for fun, here’s some of my NaNoWriMo stats:

  • Words: 50,0076
  • (Handwritten) Pages: 57 and change
  • Pens killed: 14
  • Non-writing days: 8
  • Story paths completed: 1
  • Highest single day word count: 4740

I’m excited to get back to being a regular every day writer rather than an ALL OUT BLITZING writer with no time for chores, reading, leisure time, or anything else really. I took a few days off and then dove into outlining the next story path, which I’m very excited and even more nervous about since I’m genre blending with horror, an area I have no expertise in at all.

I was going to try and get a book read, too, so I can get back to my regular blog schedule but it wasn’t in the cards this week.

That all being said, I’m gonna spend some time brain storming some future blog posts and ideas for the blog going into 2021. New beginnings are my favorite after all.

Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Dancing With Disappointment

Hello and welcome to another fussy, self-indulgent edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

This week has been an ass-kicking for me at my day job, and so I find it to be something of a miracle that I’ve had any mental energy to do blog-stuff at all. That said, I’m gonna do a bit of whining in this post, so… consider yourself warned.

We writers are no strangers to disappointment. Your dream agent responds to your query with a form rejection. You spend months on submission with no offers. Your self-pubbed title doesn’t return the numbers you had hoped. Being a writer of the handful-of-unfinished-ideas and-exactly-one-completed-first-draft-of-a-trunk-novel-and-that’s-about-it persuasion, my disappointments are a bit smaller in scope, but I feel them keenly all the same.

The thing getting me down of late has been the realization that I probably won’t be able to compete in NaNoWriMo this year.

I’m a planner, not just in writing but in every facet of my life. Every Monday morning, as soon as I get to my desk, I fill out the week’s events in my planner. I write in my schedule, I make a list of tasks, both work related and home related, I fill out a handy habit-tracker chart. Throughout the week I tick off the boxes of completed chores, and add new ones. I adjust my schedule as needed. I make little notes about my successes and failures. Even on my commute home, I’m organizing in my head what the first, second, and third things I need to do when I get there. I largely dislike surprises because a lot of my mental health is wrapped up in being prepared.

So believe me when I say, when it comes to NaNo, I can’t just wing it.

September is the month I typically spend brainstorming a NaNo project. My ideas usually need years of percolating before their ready to be developed, so when I choose one to blitz-write in November, it’s already somewhat matured.

This year, however, the fruit of my muse is woefully unripe, leaving me with three less than optimal choices.

  1. Take another, exhausting crack at Border Towns. Spend September and October mentally working through the necessary revisions so I can dedicate my THIRD NOVEMBER IN A ROW to this WIP.
  2. Un-repurpose the Pillar-verse, the setting I’ve been writing my Short But Sweet vignettes in, despite the fact that I know it’s a mess, I know it’s a trunk novel, and I’m having more fun with it in its current format.
  3. Allow my “opus,” the novel I labored over for 10 years without ever getting beyond the 10k word mark, to resurface. I’ve matured a lot as a writer since I last took a crack at it and it could be fun. But I’ve already spent a decade of my life on it only for it to flop back into the depths of my brain.
  4. Or. Just… forgo NaNo entirely. Spend this year percolating and brainstorming and be ready with a fresh project.

None of these choices feel great, honestly. And that’s disappointing to me. I enjoy NaNoWriMo. I mean, I hate it, but I enjoy it (much like writing in general). It succeeded two years running in actually getting me to put words on the page when I would otherwise procrastinate. I also like the feeling in the community in November. The rush, the exhaustion, the elation, the motivation. It would be a bummer to miss out on that because of poor timing with the tide of my creativity.

But, I also have to accept that it might be the right thing to do. It’s a disappointment, sure, but as far as disappointments go, it’s one I can live with.


This week’s Short But Sweet prompt:

Damnation, such obsessed faith and flawed education!


Or maybe… I’m just performing some Olympic level procrastinating and this is all my way of rationalizing it. So says the anxiety brain. In any case, thanks for joining my pity party. I’ll be back on Sunday with my answer to this week’s Short But Sweet prompt, and again on Tuesday with a Your Mileage May Vary review of N. K. Jemison’s Fifth Season (I’m at 63%, I think I can make it!). Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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