A Year in Review and a Look Ahead

Hello friends and welcome to the very first Thursday blog post of 2022 here at Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

I feel like I could say this every year, but it is especially true of this last one: 2021 did not go at all the way I expected. 

At one time I had aspirations of completing the Nexus (laughable in retrospect), reading 22 books (a pittance to some, but a mountain to me), and consistently blogging. 

Well, one out of three isn’t… bad… Okay, it’s pretty bad.

But that’s okay! Because I did something in 2021 that I definitely did not expect: I became a professional, published author. I signed up as a freelancer with Bryant Street Shorts, a romance imprint with the subscription service Scribd. I wrote six novellas in just as many months, and I got paid for my work.

Holy shit, if that’s not worth skimping on a few New Year’s resolutions, I don’t know what is. 

2021, though exceedingly challenging, frustrating, liberating, amazing, and unexpected all at once, was a year of monumental growth for me. I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of given the opportunity and motivation. 

But I’m not done yet. As much as I have loved my freelancing gig and plan to continue writing romance novellas in the coming year, there is still so much more I want to accomplish, particularly as it relates to my personal, passion projects. The fantasy novels that have been percolating in my brain, some for years, and, unfortunately, took a back seat while I through myself headfirst into the novellas. 

And that’s what got me thinking about what goals/resolutions I should set for 2022. Now, admittedly, I have a horrible track record with resolutions. I always get way too ambitious and usually give up on everything, instead of eyeing one or two realistic goals to take on. That being said, I don’t necessarily think that ambition should be discouraged. As long as it’s pushing me to achieve more than I did before, even by only a modicum, then it’s still serving a purpose, right? 

To that end, I’ve decided to split my goals into three categories:

  • Do or Die – self-explanatory. These are things I must get done this year if I want to retain any sort of respect for myself. 
  • Nice but Not Necessary – Things I probably could and should do, but I won’t be totally humiliated if I don’t. 
  • Preposterous Pipe Dreams – Things that are so ludicrous, perhaps even outside the realm of possibility for someone in my position, yet still fun to think about and aspire to. 

So, without further ado: Kerry’s 2022 Resolutions!


Do or Die

  1. Write 160,000 words towards fantasy projects.

The biggest thing I would like to accomplish this year, as alluded to earlier, is a return to personal writing, and by that I mean my fantasy ideas. Originally, I had planned to draft an entire novel this year, but the thing is… none of my standard novel ideas (aka: not the cluster fuck that is the Nexus) is ready yet. I’ve got one simmering right now that still needs half a year or more before I’m ready to commit to it. Which is fine. I have the Nexus to work on (that will likely be true for years to come) and at least that project, though lengthy and time consuming, is fun to work on, because I have no expectations for it. 

That said, as much as I enjoy writing that particular story, I am clear eyed and realistic enough about the industry to know that its not the most likely vehicle to advance my writing career, which, to be clear, I really, really want to do. So, I don’t really feel like spending an entire year on a project that may never see the light of day is the best use of my time. 

And that’s the thought that led me to my Next Big Idea.

This year, I’m going to write an urban fantasy novella, the first in a planned series.

The concept, codenamed Wonderland for now, is one I’ve been ruminating on for a few years, but only in the last 10 months have I started to consider it as a novella series rather than a novel. The structure I would like to pursue is more like a monster-of-the-week TV series, which is obviously more short form. I had a lot of fun writing romance novellas this year and I think the shorter word count lends itself well to my writing style (thin as hell). And while this may not be the idea that launches my fantasy career either, it scratches the itch of wanting to work on something new while also not being too much of a time suck. 

So, this is how I envision my word count breaking down (in any order of completion): 

  • Story Path #2 of the Nexus: 50-60,000 words
  • Story Path #3 of the Nexus: 50-60,000 words
  • Wonderland #1: 40-48,000 words

Honestly, even looking at it now, I know it’s a big ask to make of myself. It will mean working every damn day. It will mean not giving up even when I’m tired or bored or busy. It will mean taking what I said about attacking this year with gusto deadly seriously. I can do it. I will.

  1. Write 8 novellas for Scribd

Last year I started freelancing in April. I wrote six novellas in eight months. It was a wild ride that exhausted me to my very core, and I loved every minute of it. This year, I’m upping the ante. My plan this year is two novellas a quarter, with every third month off to catch my breath. 

Each novella has a target word count of 35,000 words, so if I have my math right, between freelancing and personal writing, my goal for the year is almost half a million words. 

I think my heart just stopped looking at that. 

But I’m not going to ask for luck. I’m not going to say “hopefully.” I’m just going to get after it. 


Nice But Not Necessary

  1. Finish every book I start this year – absolutely no DNFs. 

This is an odd one, because usually my approach to reading is that I just don’t have time to slog through a book I’m not enjoying. However, the plain truth of the matter is my taste is notoriously difficult to satisfy. And I think that is to my detriment. I’m tired of being embarrassed that I haven’t read a lot, I’m tired of not understanding references in writing circles, and I’m damn tired of worrying over whether or not I’m going to know enough books to have comps to my own writing whenever it comes time to query. There is something to be learned about writing from every book pick I pick up, even if I don’t like them. So, I’m reading cover to cover this year. How many I finish, well…

  1. Read three books a month

Last year I set a goal of reading 22 books for the whole year, and only ended up with… six? I think? So, maybe this goal belongs in the below category, especially since my favorites are epic fantasy. But I don’t want to set my sights lower because then I’ll somehow find a way to not even meet that goal, so at least if I am high maybe I’ll read ten books this year and that will be an improvement Right? 

  1. Figure out how to sell my novellas on my own

My exclusivity period with Scribd only lasts twelve months, and after that I am able to vend my novellas on my own (through Patreon, or what have you). I think this is totally rad and especially cool of Scribd, but the thing is… I haven’t the faintest idea how to go about it. Part of the reason I’ve never seriously considered self-publishing before is because it seems like so much work that I don’t know how to do and am kind of afraid to learn? It was easy to make the choice not to pursue back when it was still just a hypothetical, but now that I actually have written work available to self-pub… I don’t know, it seems like leaving money on the table to not do it, right? So, I guess I’m going to have to learn about e-book formatting and cover art, and how to run a Patreon. Gulp


Preposterous Pipe Dreams

  1. Dabble in podcasting

I’ve mentioned wanting to this maybe once or twice before, and I still kind of laugh about it because… I can’t imagine anyone tuning in to listen to what I’m sure would just be an audio version of this blog, but I also think it would be kind of fun.  I mean, I’m published now, right? That means people might take what I have to say seriously. They shouldn’t, but they might. 

  1. Release a serialized novel

This idea started with the Pillar Verse I briefly wrote in last year (remember my Short But Sweet vignettes?) and I sometimes return to it when I’m laying in bed dreaming about what other sorts of writing endeavors I could undertake to help build my career. I could release a chapter a month to Patreon or something and it wouldn’t be edited as a completed novel would be, so it would be a bit of a mess, but that’s okay because it’s a fun thing to do with the writing community. Right? I don’t know. I doubt I have time what with my other more realistic goals, but… the idea has merit. Sometimes. Maybe. Does it? 


Well that’s a total of seven goals, ranging from the ludicrous to the outrageous. I’m under no illusions that I’ll accomplish even half of them, but that’s not the point. The point is the motivation. The point is the seizing the desire of the moment to propel myself to greater heights, even if they aren’t as high as I imagined. 

But, if I’m being completely truthful, my only real, true goal is just to have fun writing again. At times in years past, at the lowest low points with my mental health struggles, writing was the complete opposite of enjoyable. It was a slog. It was painful. It was exhausting. And it was the source of a lot of internalized guilt.

I am pleased to say that I’m so much better today than I have been at any time in the previous three year. For the first time in a long while, I feel like I’m in a really good place, with the strength and determination I need to climb the mountain before me. And, more than that, I’m excited about it.

I hope you all are excited to come along on the journey with me.

Until next time friends. 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!

Your Mileage May Vary: Queen of the Tearling

Hello all and welcome to an unscheduled edition of Your Mileage May Vary, the blog series where I talk about books I actually finished. This week I veered off the reading schedule I laid out for myself at the beginning of the year, and picked up something not on my list at all: Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen.  

Before we get started, as always: 

Spoiler alert!

Continue reading “Your Mileage May Vary: Queen of the Tearling”

Monday Motivations; Deadline Edition

Good morning and welcome to another fun filled writing week!

Honestly, I had a hard time writing this post, because I am feeling seriously UNmotivated this morning. I think I worked myself into a small burnout this weekend. Which, don’t get me wrong, needed to be done. I needed to push myself over the hump and prove I had the work ethic necessary to do this whole freelancing thing.

But, man, I’m tired.

And I can’t stop now. Deadline is Friday and while I am no longer pulling my hair out worried that I’m going to miss it, I still have some work to do. A chapter and a half to write and about half the manuscript to edit. The editing I’m less stressed over, since I know it’ll get an edit on the other side too. I would just really like to turn in a clean, cohesive draft.

Then, no rest for the wicked, because I immediately start work on the second project. Which means I really need to be working on the outline now. I keep reminding myself that no one forced me to submit three pitches in three months. I’m not sure I’ll be doing that again, but at least I’ll have the measure of my mettle as a writer by the end, right?

I’d also like to finish this damn book. I know I’ve been saying that for two months now, but I’m finally over the midpoint hump and I always tend to binge the climax. If I can carve out time between editing, outlining, drafting, and Mass Effect (sorry, saving the galaxy comes first, I don’t make the rules), then I should be able to finish. But it’s not looking good.

So those are my big goals: edit, finish, format, and submit this first project, and outline the second, maybe even get the first 2k words down toward it. Read if I can, and get a nap. Preferably soon.

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

Kerry Share

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Friday Feelings; Buckling Down Edition

This week has been a real two steps forward, one step back kind of week. Actually, to be totally honest, it has felt more like two steps back, one step forward.

When I get close to the end of a draft, I like to do what I call a post-mortem outline, although outline might be a bit of a strong word since it’s more like a skeleton. Basically I just jot down the major plot points from start to finish to make sure everything still makes sense and contributes to the forward momentum of the story. I can honestly say that 100% of the times I have done this I have flushed out weak points or gaps in the narrative that I wasn’t able to see before.

The same was no different for this freelance project. Today I drew up a post mortem and I identified a few places in the soupy middle area that needed shoring up. No big deal, right? Re-edit a few chapters here, add an extra chapter there. Easy. Well, my deadline in *checks calendar* one week says otherwise. I still have about 9000 words and most of the third act to finish drafting, and about half the manuscript to edit.

Honestly? I’m starting to panic a little. I’m hoping that, in this case, panic is a good thing that kicks my ass into some sort of hyper-productive mutant for the next seven days. I have always said I work well with a deadline, and, well, now is the time where we find out if I was just bullshitting myself all along.


And then, guess what? I get to do it all over again. That’s right, I get to start my second freelance project immediately after. Then, there’s a third one after that. Then it’ll be pitching time again, when, barring some sort of magical mental unlock/upgrade, I will not be pitching three stories again. I mean, probably. I don’t know. Part of me still thinks that I actually could slay this kind of work, but the last week has really dampened my self-confidence.

I just really want to prove that I can do this, but I also think I under estimated the time consumption and let myself off the hook one too many times, and now I’m here in crunch. Maybe next time, now that I know what to expect, I’ll be able to plan better and it won’t feel like running a marathon at a sprint every day.


One good thing to come out of this week (although, in retrospect, it is partially contributing to my time squeeze now) was that I got a shit ton of reading done. I made a goal on Monday to get to 50% of the book, and by Wednesday I blew right past that. I’m in the build up to the climax now and I so wish I had time to just sit down and just consume the rest in one go, but it’s just not possible with this book. Even at 63% I still have over 250 pages to read. I’m also getting to that dreaded point in a novel where the characters start making really dumb, groan worthy decisions that I know are necessary for tension or whatever, but still give me the worst case of second hand embarrassment in history. It’s still really good though and I can’t wait to finish.


Me: fusses about being extremely short on time to get actual paid work done.

Also me: spends an entire hour writing a blog post nobody asked for.

See yall next week, pals! Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Belated Edition

Hello friends! I’m a bit belated this week because I had a scheduled day off yesterday from work and I decided to apply that to all types of obligations on my time.

That being said, the end of my week last week was a bit of a shit show that completely threw off my routine, and I am ready to get back to the familiar, even if that means a Monday Motivations on Tuesday. Let’s get to it, shall we?

I am now officially 10 days out from my first deadline and I’m starting to feel the pressure. I still have about 13,000 words to pound out and while that doesn’t sound like a lot, I still have to edit them as well. I did a shit ton of editing over the weekend, though, and am feeling really good about the state of the manuscript, unfinished ending notwithstanding. I just need to stay focused and keep grinding. I’d like to focus on edits during the day and new words at night, that way I can keep an even balance of forward momentum and necessary revision. I would also like to reserve the final two days before deadline on copy edits and formatting, which gives me just over a week. Gulp. But, this is what I signed up for and now is the time to find out if I am equal to it.

I did a lot of reading yesterday during my downtime which I really enjoyed, I just wish I could read faster. I’m starting to feel a bit down on myself for letting my reading schedule get so off track, but I really like this book. I’m not likely to discover new time to read, however, with my next freelance project already lined up after the first wraps up. I just need to keep plugging away and stop feeling guilty. Ha! Easier said than done, right?

So, even though I did workshop a one sentence synopsis for my Snowflake project last week, I wasn’t really satisfied with any of the results. I just found it really hard to to distill the concept down to 10 or 15 words. In a way, it feels like I failed the creative exercise it was meant to be. I would like to keep working at it this week. There isn’t any rush for this, it’s purely a vanity project. I want to make sure I get it right.

Okay, so concrete goals:

  1. Reach 30,000 words by Friday.
  2. Edit 3 chapters
  3. Get to 50% of my current read
  4. Relax with an episode of Bridgerton

Is it a sign that you’re overworked when you have to set a goal to relax? Actually, on second thought, don’t answer that.

I’ll be back on Thursday (hopefully, barring any other day job fires to put out) with your regularly scheduled blog post. Until then my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Ch-ch-changes

Hello and welcome to another rambling, existential, content-packed edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Today I’m going to unveil the NEW CONTENT that you can expect to see on the blog going forward, but before I get into that I first want to talk a little bit about what I hope to achieve with these additions and why I’m making the change in the first place.

When I started this blog – yikes, almost two years ago – I had two goals: the first was to establish a place where I could scream into the void about all the parts about writing a novel that weren’t sunshine and rainbows (okay, so like 90% of it). I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on that, even if the screaming has been sporadic. The second goal was to, maybe, possibly, hopefully, form friendships or a community of fellow writers who were like me: near to the very beginning of their author journeys, and having to fight tooth and nail for every tiny success.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best at making connections. I’m shy, riddled with anxiety, and possessed of fluctuating mental health that often times means I’m a bit of a flake. So, that’s on me. With that said, I’m ready to make a change, not just to my own internal mindset and habits, but my exterior activities as well. So, while these additions to the blog were first conceived of with the goal of getting myself engaged in the writing community even when I’m between projects, the more I thought about it the more I realized that it can use this newfound desire for growth to forward along that original ambition, the one where I’m no longer just another struggling writer, but Just Another Struggling Writer.

Ultimately, I hope that one day this blog will stop being “the lamentations of yet another person struggling to write a novel” and start being a rallying point, a safe haven, a creative sounding board for those of us who just can’t do this thing alone. More than anything, I hope you join me on that journey.

So, without further ado, behold the new content schedule for Just Another Struggling Writer.


tuesday
Tuesday

Tuesdays:
Your Mileage May Vary 
or Reasons I DNF This Book.

Guilty confession #1: I am not a great reader. I am slow, easily distracted, and tend to put off reading for other leisure activities, a bad habit I am desperately trying to correct.

Guilty confession #2: I am also really discerning when I read. Actually, that’s too charitable a word. I am fucking picky. I don’t even know why. All I know is most books tend to turn me off by the second act, and even the ones I end up binge-reading to the end don’t really stay with me. Doesn’t mean they’re not good, of course. Just that… well, I’m evidently really hard to please. Sorry.

So, in an effort to broaden my library (and maybe figure out whatever the hell my taste in books is), on alternating Tuesdays I will post book reviews of different persuasions.

The first, Your Mileage May Vary, will cover books that I read to the end, loved or hated. Take these reviews with a grain of salt; because I’m thinly read I honestly haven’t the faintest clue how to write a “proper” book review. Most of the time, I imagine, I’ll probably just be word vomiting my thoughts and feelings without direction or structure. Please look forward to it.

In Reasons I DNF This Book I will dive into specific moments that turned me off of a novel. Whether it’s due to my inner editor not shutting up and letting me enjoy something, or a protagonist I just don’t get along with, or a cringey awkward moment that forces me to put it aside until the second hand embarrassment subsides, these posts will explore what makes a picky reader (me) so damn picky.


thursday
Thursday

Thursdays:
Your Regular Weekly Blog Post

Thursdays you can expect to remain pretty much the same, with random topics and thoughts on the struggle that is being a writer. In the past I talked about the progress of my manuscript, and revelations I was having along the way, but now that I am (at least for the moment) project-free, the discussion might trend more toward current issues in the book world. This is the least “content” like of my three planned weekly posts, and mostly will just be a continuing chronicle of my experience in the writing community. One thing I do plan to do every week is include a one-sentence writing prompt for….


sunday
Sunday, Sunday Sunday

Sundays:
Short But Sweet Sunday, flash fiction or vignettes

Well, I couldn’t go this whole time without doing a little bit of fiction writing. Can’t let these razor sharp skills get rusty, can I? Now where did I put that sarcasm font? Anyway, at the end of my weekly Thursday posts I will include a one-sentence prompt, and on Sunday I will post my answer to that prompt. All pieces will be less than 1000 words and I intend to limit them all to the same setting and group of characters, which I am tentatively calling the Pillar-verse. The Pillar-verse was once an old fantasy novel idea of mine that was undoubtedly destined for the trunk, and though I still think it is too unfocused a concept to be drafted and revised, I would still like to share it in some way. (Hell, maybe if I dabble in it often enough I’ll get that spark I need to actually write the damn thing.) But going beyond that, I hope that others might eventually partake in Short But Sweet with their own takes on the prompt.


In addition to the extra content, I also will be doing a bit of site maintenance, including adding a page for writerly resources. Most of these will trend toward fantasy writing, since… that’s what I do and all, but hopefully writers of any persuasion will find them useful. Be on the lookout for those updates in the next day or two.


One last thing before I go. That’s right, OUR VERY FIRST SHORT BUT SWEET PROMPT. A reminder: the goal is to write some flash fiction or a vignette, less than 1000 words, and post it Sunday for all to enjoy. It can take place in a world you already created, or it can be something entirely new. If you decide to participate, please feel free to tag #shortbutsweetsunday on Twitter, or even just drop the link to your own post in a comment here. However you get it out there, the goal is just to boost your creativity with some extracurricular words. Hope to see lots of great pieces on Sunday!

This week’s prompt: It was fall, the season of knowledge, but nobody knew that.


Well, I honestly think I’ve yakked enough for one post. I’ll be back on Sunday with my answer to this week’s Short But Sweet prompt, and again on Tuesday for the first Your Mileage May Vary review, where I plan to discuss City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty. Until then, as always, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few. 

Kerry Share

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The Poppy War

Welcome to Just Another Struggling Writer’s very first book review! I have no idea what I’m doing, so lets just get right into it.

First of all…

Spoiler alert
You’ve been warned.

So, I’m just gonna get it out of the way first: a book this dark isn’t to my taste.

I probably should have done my research before cracking this puppy open. If I had, then I would have learned that The Poppy War is a fantasy retelling of real world events, particularly those of the Second Sino-Japanese War. If I had more than a passing knowledge of that horrific period of Chinese history, I might never have read this novel. But I didn’t, on both accounts, and so I turned each page, particularly after the start of Part II, with increasing horror. By the end, I was glad it was over.

Don’t get me wrong, though. The Poppy War is really, really good. Despite my discomfort with the naked depictions of war time atrocities, it is to R. F. Kuang’s credit that she did not soften history for her readers. The fact that I was ignorant to what I was getting into is proof enough that a novel like this is critical for Western audiences.

There were moments when the grit was fascinating rather than stomach-churning. A moment that particularly stuck with me was when our young heroine, Rin, gets her period for the first time and immediately decides to have her uterus chemically destroyed because it is getting in the way of her military training. Her choice wasn’t shocking to me, it felt absolutely appropriate. That Kuang didn’t shy away from answering this question was both impressive and memorable.

Also, though I don’t have particular interest in these types of stories myself, I thought Rin’s journey from abused shop girl, escaping a forced marriage, to a hardened anti-hero who willfully commits genocide not only believable, but inevitable.

Putting my writer’s hat on, I was left a little disappointed in a few areas. Some of the relationships between the characters didn’t feel earned. I never found myself particularly compelled by Altan and that left so much of the second half feeling like a slog, especially when the war took a turn for the worse. The role of the Gatekeeper, both as part of the pantheon, and his place in the physical realm, I don’t feel was clearly defined and left a gap in my understanding of the narrative. Nezha’s apparent death was also a blow, not just because I was becoming attached to him as a character, but because I thought we were about to get an interesting arc about him having shamanistic abilities with fast healing. I also wish more attention had been paid to the political side of it: why the flying fuck would the Empress betray her people?

Perhaps these threads are picked up in the sequel, The Dragon Republic, rendering my complaints moot, but it might be some time before I feel emotionally equipped to embark on that journey. I finished The Poppy War shortly after midnight last night, and despite the late hour, I immediately had to get up and go hug my kids in their beds. It’s not something I’ll forget soon, and though that is to the book’s credit, I just don’t have the stomach for it.

The Poppy War is good, absolutely, but it was not for me.


Phew. That took a lot out of me. Three hours into drafting this blog post I realized I haven’t the faintest idea how to review things. Which meant that I just word vomited a bit.

In any case, I’ve got to get back to my own writing woes (I’ve decided to write the second half of draft two as if I’ve already made the revisions to the first half because I realllllly don’t want to start all over). I’ll tell you all about it next week. Until then, my your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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Past vs Present

Manuscript News

This last weekend I had the most perfect opportunity for writing. My three littles were spending a few days at my mom’s, leaving my partner and I with a freakishly quiet house. There was also a terrible cold front Friday night, encouraging us all to stay in where it was warm, and, more particularly, in my favorite writing spot, also known as my bed.

I decided I was gonna get a hell of a lot done with this precious time. I challenged myself to write 5000 new words by the end of the weekend. I was feeling inspired, having finally reached the point of the manuscript where events start rolling downhill toward the climax, so 5000 seemed lofty but not unattainable. Not at first anyway.

So I settled into bed with my ambient noise app, a soda, and a bag of candy and was ready to work. I booted up my laptop and, well, thirty minutes later after troubleshooting why the darn thing was running so slow I realized it had probably caught a virus and needed a reformat.

In the end, I saved all my documents, but lost a lot of time. I wound up with about 2000 new words instead of 5, but I’m okay with that, really.


The Weekly Struggle

tense

Here’s another fun little tidbit about me: one of my writing hobbies of my younger years was roleplaying. I used many different mediums over the years, but where I really found my stride was in online gaming. I won’t bore with the details, but one thing that I took away from it was a love of writing in the present tense.

Present tense made sense in the context of roleplaying in these games, because the things we were writing were supposed to be playing out in real time. However, even as I phased out of that hobby, present tense permeated my other creative writing projects. I really loved how it injected a sense of urgency into my writing. If these things are happening right now, then they require one’s immediate attention. It didn’t even occur to me, at first, how jarring it might be to someone who is has never experienced it before.

When I first began work on Border Towns, I didn’t even think about it. Present tense just flowed out of me. However, somewhere toward the end of November, I stumbled on a Twitter thread discussing the pros and cons of past and present. In that order. And then, suddenly, this was me:

panic.gif

I’m used to self-doubt, I think all writers are to some degree, but this was a new facet my anxiety-riddled mind hadn’t explored on it’s own. Yet.

I’m comfortable writing in past, I’m just more comfortable in present. I don’t feel particularly strongly that this story must be told in present, that’s just what I happened to use by force of habit. Now I’m clocking in close to 60,000 words and wondering if revision is going to require a change of tense, along with everything else.

Okay, maybe “require” is a strong word. But I do find myself wondering more and more if this will be a manuscript that will be passed on out of hand simply because of its tense. Or, perhaps, the arguments I was reading are out of date and not keeping with modern publishing trends. I don’t know. But I didn’t wonder before, and I now I do.

The net result of all this has been constantly telling myself “carts and horses,” because the reality is the tense of the manuscript is just a fart in the wind until the whole damn thing is finished and ready to go.

Carts and horses, Kerry Ann. Carts and horses.


What I’m Reading This Week

51qM6b02EUL__SY346_.jpg

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I put out a call this week on Twitter for some help finding some potential comp titles for whenever I finally get this monsterpiece finished. And lordy, did yall deliver.

I’m starting with Six of Crows, a fantasy heist novel set in the Grishaverse. With multiple POVs and worldbuilding to make a fellow fantasy writer (hello, me) jealous, Six of Crows is a book I’m annoyed to have missed the bandwagon on. Definitely grateful to have been rec’d it and pleased to be able to rec it to anyone else in return.


That’s it for me for this week. May your struggles be few and your words aplenty!

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Writing with a Day Job

Manuscript News

It took me a while to really get back on the wagon with writing. Even though I promised myself I would start up again on January 2nd, I didn’t actually get any words down until the 5th. Without the enthusiasm of a fresh start or the punishing schedule of NaNo to have to adhere to, I found it all too easy to make excuses not to write (some of which is the topic of today’s post, see below).

Honestly, I think I was a little bit nervous about burning myself out again. NaNo was pretty brutal for me, and had the unintended side effect of getting me to believe that I had to do five pages a day for it to count as progress. When I realized I could just do five hundred words and be done for the day, I felt the cloud kind of lift.

While I do think I need some of the more rigorous writing workouts to keep me on schedule (a self-imposed, completely arbitrary schedule), I wasn’t ready to jump into the deep end quite yet. So, for now, I’m content with a page a day. And when I’m ready, I’m gonna run for the hills again.


The Weekly Struggle

work work work

Unless you’re lucky enough to write professionally as a full-time career, you probably have a day job, so I hope many of you can relate.

Let’s all agree right now: writing when you have a full time day job can be really, really hard.

Winter is the busy season in my industry, to the point where my company actually has a vacation day blackout between November-January. This year, my office had it’s busiest November/December since I’ve been in this job (we’re on pace for a similar January, something I’m very excited about).

The sum effect of all this has been a great deal of take home stress. This was a large part of why I decided to take a short writing hiatus last month, and I think it’s the entire reason why I have so little energy for writing at the end of the day even now that the holidays (the other motivation for my hiatus) are over.

Stress isn’t the only thing throwing off my groove either. Before things picked up at the day job, I was able to sneak in one or two hundred words on my breaks, more on my lunch. Since I’ve been pretty much working through those, I’ve lost some of my most productive pockets of time, leaving me with pretty much just the time between my kids getting in bed and when I finally faceplant into my own bed. Yesterday, a particularly hard one at work, that time was approximately 37 seconds.

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Mine is not a unique situation. We all, at some point, have to find a work-writing balance that works for us, and one person’s method might not be helpful to someone, or maybe even anyone, else. I’m still trying to find that midpoint. I’m also trying to determine where Not Writing stops being laziness and becomes self care, and vise versa. Coming off my hiatus, which I needed, and still struggling to write isn’t something I had anticipated.

Best I can do, for now, is try to take these difficult times, these stressful work days, and turn them into motivation to complete my novel so that one day I can quit my effing job.


What I’m Reading This Week

I’m finishing up my semi-yearly reread of my favorite book of all time, Pride and Prejudice. I know one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to read a bunch of new books, and I did sign up for a Book Bub account pursuant to that, but I really needed old faithful last week with all that was going on. I’ve got a couple of fantasy novels lined up, so I’ll have something more interesting next week, I promise.

What are you all reading, and, more importantly, which Bennett sister are you?


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