Monday Motivations; Eliminating Waste

Happy NaNoWriMo everyone, especially those who are choosing to participate this year. Regular readers of this blog may be aware that after a lot of internal debate, pained agonizing over my busy schedule, and possibly against my better judgement, I have decided to go ahead and at least attempt NaNo.

With as much on my plate this month, with a manuscript due in two weeks, my partner going out of town for the holiday, leaving me with child care and housekeeping to take care of, and some other additions to my schedule, it honestly seems ludicrous, even to me, that I would even consider adding yet another time consuming, energy sapping, creative obligation to my list. That said, for the first time in four years, I’m under no illusion that “winning” NaNo is likely. But if I’m to have a prayer of crossing that 50,000 mark, time management is going to be critical.

I often think about time like currency. It can be spent wisely or wastefully. Too often, when I find myself scrambling to meet a deadline, or when I am feeling completely overwhelmed by my To Do list, it’s because I frittered away my balance of time in a decidedly unproductive fashion.

We all have our favorite time wasting activities. For me, it’s usually video games, although lately it’s been true crime TV and nonagram puzzles (I just discovered them and to say I’m obsessed is…). Sometimes I try to tell myself I am capable of multi tasking. That I can write and watch that basketball game, or that it’s okay to reward myself for a paragraph by scrolling Twitter. Sometimes it’s true, but mostly it’s just a comforting lie.

This month, I can’t afford to deceive myself. While self care and moments of leisure will be important to avoid burn out and over work, eliminating those moments when I know better than to open the AITA sub Reddit or mindlessly click through my newsfeed or do just one more puzzle, because all it is is a time sink that feeds my worst impulses.

So, that’s my motivation this week. Identifying and eliminating wastes of my already stretched thin and precious time.

It’s gonna take discipline I’m not sure I have, but I’ll never know unless I try, right? And, anyway, even if I don’t “win” NaNo, every word I do write is one more I didn’t have before this month, and that matters. In that regard, I’ve already accomplished the goal.

Until next time, my friends!

Kerry Share

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Scribd subscribers, click here to find my romance novellas!

Chekhov’s Gun, My Personal Arch- Nemesis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Time for a Mental Health Check In. 

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

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


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

Kerry Share

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Scribd subscribers, click here to find my romance novellas!

Monday Motivations; I’m Not Special

Good morning friends. I am back after a long week during which the perfect storm of stressful life events and a deadline conspired to keep me from meaningfully blogging, or even thinking about anything extraneous.

While last week may be an outlier in terms of demand on my time and attention, it got me thinking yet again about the difficulty of balancing a writing career with, well, everything else.

Because it seems impossible and yet, empirically, it is not. Plenty of other writers have found a way to have a day job, fulfill familial obligations, and write. Even my hope to maintain my freelance writing whilst working on personal passion projects is not unique to me.

So, if all those other writers can do it, why not me? What do they have that I don’t?

Under normal circumstances I would consider thoughts like these counterproductive. Comparing another author’s success to my own (or lack thereof as it were) is a recipe that the anxiety brain simply salivates over.

That being said, I need to know that it’s possible. I need to look to those who came before and realize that they too had to struggle with balancing their checkbook of time, and that if they did it so can I.

My struggles aren’t special, and they sure as hell aren’t an excuse to give up.

That’s my motivation this week.

Until next time friends!

Kerry Share

Monday Motivations; A Day Late and a Dollar Short

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

Yesterday was an off day for me. From start to finish I just didn’t feel like myself. Mondays, weirdly enough, is usually when I’m at my most motivated (hence this blog series) and freshest, and I usually feel ready to attack the week. Not so yesterday and I’m still not sure why. Couple that with a tough parenting situation in the evening, and I pretty much lost the whole day.

I’m obsessed with time. How much of it I have, whether or not it’s being spent wisely, the whole nine years. I almost think if it like money, and, like money, I worry that if I am not using it in the most efficient way possible then it is a waste.

Bearing that in mind, days like yesterday are tough for me to swallow. In times gone by, they’ve managed to ruin my entire week. But I’m working on getting better about that, mostly by reminding myself that operating at peak efficiency at all times is something we ask of machines, not people. That I’m not just a vessel of productivity, but a human who is allowed and sometimes has off days.

So that’s my motivation this week: not getting too down about not hitting my word count yesterday and just focusing on what I can do today.

Until next time my friends!

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; The Grind

Hello friends and welcome to another fun an exciting week of writing.

At least, I wish it was exciting. Actually, today I’m finding myself a little caught up in the doldrums of the daily grind. When sitting myself down to write this post I found that I didn’t have much in the way of motivation, other than the usual “you’re under contract and you definitely don’t want to put it off like last time” feelings.

It’s funny, because for the last several years my main goal has been to become a working writer. And though I knew writing as a job would at times be just as tedious and unfun as a regular day job might be, knowing something abstractly and experiencing it practically are two different beasts altogether.

All that to say, I have nothing new to add this week. No special pearls of insights that came to me as I set about my day, no wisdom to expound upon as I look forward to another week of just grinding out those words. The only thing I have is the reminder to myself, cold comfort though it may feel at the moment, that I wanted this. I still do, of course, no matter how unexciting it feels this morning. This is what it means to be a working writer, in some respects. The knowledge that it’s just like any other job.

Until next time my friends.

Kerry Share

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Character Driven Fantasy

Hello friends and welcome to another self-reflective and, may I say, stylish edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

This last weekend I finally conceded defeat to the book I had been attempting to read for the last five or six weeks, a big name book by a big name author that I just… couldn’t get into. Though the writing was good and the premise interesting, I ultimately put it down because I never connected with either of the POV characters.

I then picked up a different book and immediately tore through it in less than two days (looking forward to getting a review out of it on Tuesday). 

Perhaps something sort of weird about me is whenever I finish a book, I like to and look at some of the reviews other readers gave it, particularly reviews that hold the opposite opinion I did. If I loved the book, I seek out one stars. If I hated it, I look for the glowing ones. I don’t know why I’m drawn to this activity, but maybe it’s just because I want to understand how people read and enjoy their stories. 

Today, after I finished my latest binge, I did what I always do. I googled the title, and clicked around, looking for the most scathing reviews I could find. As with all novels, I found plenty and though some had good points I had not considered, I noticed a trend with a lot of the unfavorable comments. They didn’t like how much of the narrative spent inside the main characters head. 

While I’ll get into the details during my review next week, it is true that this particular story was balanced more toward the characters than the world building and the vitriol that engendered made me sad a little. Because that’s how I write. 

I have long expounded on my own weak worldbuilding and how I am much more of a character driven writer than a setting based one, but this book and those reviews kind of drove home for me how difficult it might be to take that approach in the fantasy genre. Certainly, many fantasy readers enjoy fantasy because the setting engages them, the characters moving through that setting are secondary to that pleasure, which is why there is such a broad market for sci-fi/fantasy IPs (think Forgotten Realms, Warhammer, Star Wars, Dune, etc.). And while I would never say there’s no market for character driven fantasies, I do wonder if it’s a smaller niche than I previously thought. 

Is it possible to be excellent at both? And be succinct? I wonder. I guess I have a new higher ideal to aspire to.

But first, I gotta fix my worldbuilding problem. Anyone got tips on how to change their entire writing style? 


As I mentioned in my Monday Motivations post this week, I’m (hopefully) heading into some brighter days with my mental health. Which, in turn, I hope, means that I will be getting back into the swing of writing weekly blogs. Please look forward to it. 

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

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; TMI

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

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

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

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

Until next time my friends

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Just Keep Swimming

Hello friends. Last week was another exceedingly busy one at my day job and this one is looking only marginally better.

I don’t like to talk about my work too much, mostly because there’s an element of privacy involved and because, though my specific job is administrative and desk bound, the industry in which I work can sometimes off put people when I talk about it like, well, a job. Suffice it to say it is health care adjacent and, as such during this pandemic, busy. The burnout among industry professionals has been very real and the emotional toll for those of us left has been quite taxing. I love my job. I do. But I do not love the position my extremely understaffed firm has been left in.

Last week, even though I had just come back from vacation, I found myself rather quickly short of patience and goodwill thanks to the overall vibe of negativity in the building. We none of us had the time to be especially considerate of each other as we went about our respective duties, some of which strayed far beyond our original job description. By Tuesday I had already begun to feel as though I had had no time off at all.

It was that morning that I made a conscious choice. Although my coworkers were stressed and even at times taking that stress out on me, I realized that responding in kind would help no one. No matter how justified I may have felt (or even been) to react negatively, it would in no way change the situation we were all faced with but would simply serve to sour the mood further. So, I decided that no matter the difficulties I faced, I would simply approach what at times felt like an insurmountable and never ending list of tasks with a positive attitude.

It sounds so simple and even a little woo woo, especially to someone who’s brain chemistry so often betrays them, but… it worked. Though each day proved just as stressful and frantic as the last, by simply refusing to let the negativity into my heart, at the end of the day I just felt better. Tired, certainly, and weary to face it again the next day, but less inclined to brood and bitch about that which was outside of my control. And with the extra mental space that cleared for me, I was able to spend my off duty hours actually relaxing rather than working myself up in anticipation of another slog.

How does this all relate to writing? Well, truthfully, it doesn’t. But as my freelancing hiatus is due to expire on Friday, meaning a lot less free time and a lot more work, I expect this pointedly positive outlook to be more important than ever going forward. I don’t imagine it will be easy, but it will be necessary.

Here’s hoping I have it in me.

Kerry Share

Monday Motivations; Never Not Working

Hello friends! I’ve been absent these last two weeks thanks first to being absolutely slammed at my day job, and second to a planned and much needed vacation. The fall and winter seasons always tend to be the busiest for me both at work and in writing, so a break from both was just the respite I needed to get my mind right for the blitz.

But I’m back now and thinking about that shampoo commercial with Troy Polamalu and Patrick Mahomes. You know the one. More specifically, I’m ruminating on its signature phrase: never not working.

I had a lot of downtime this last month, the most I’ve had since (still miraculously, to me) landing my freelancing gig in April. And while I definitely needed a bit of a breather, I still found myself feeling… restless. Itchy. Like I needed to be doing something. Writing, preferably. Drafting, even more specifically.

As someone who has struggled a lot as an adult with anxiety and depression, who slips all too easily in time wasting but oh so comfortable activities and bad habits, the desire to use my limited free time to work came as something of a surprise to me, but a welcome one at that. It has long been a goal of mine, impossible it though had seemed at times, to turn that itchy part in my brain that makes me write into a career, yet my worst nature to deprioritize that which is not strictly necessary in my day to day life has forestalled meaningful progress toward that goal for as far back as I can remember.

Yet, the distinctly unsettled experience I have been — ahem — enjoying this last month tells me that maybe I am ready to take that step. To think of writing not as a hobby or a passion project, but as a job that deserves to be taken every bit as seriously as my 9 to 5. And if that is the case I need to prepare myself for the hustle. Because if I’ve learned anything about professional writers, freelancers, self-published, and agented a like, it’s that they are Never Not Working.

So today, that’s my motivation.

Speaking of which, time to get back to it. Until next time!

Kerry Share

O Story, Where Art Thou

Friends, it has been a week of ups and downs. My mental health has been all over the place, it’s been insanely busy at the day job, I’m stressing hard about sending my kids to public school in a state where masks have been forbidden from being mandated. 

But it hasn’t been all bad. I pretty quickly on Monday got an idea for one of my two pitches I plan to submit next month, and on Tuesday after some serious thinking, I finally decided which idea I wanted to tackle for my next attempt at a fantasy novel. 

It’s an idea that’s been in development in my brain for about a decade now and I even attempted to write it at one point, but didn’t manage more than about 10,000 words before giving up.

The reason for that is pretty simple. While I have, I feel, a really great cast of diverse characters and, I hope, a setting with fairly interesting deep lore, what I do not have is an actual… plot.

I mean, sort of. Like I said. I have the characters and I have the rough outline of their quest. I know how it ends. But actually getting there… that’s another, heh, story.

With every other idea I’ve ever even attempted at writing, I’ve known the general path the plot would take from the opening scene to the end. The middle, as always, is a bit murkier and tends to develop as I outline and experiment, and even then new ideas crop up while I draft. But, planner such as I am, I do not start writing until I have a firm grasp on the lay of the land.

So the fact that I still don’t really know how to bring these great characters through this interesting world to reach this particular climax… is concerning.

(“But wait,” I hear some of you say, “just pants it! It’ll be fun to discover what you never knew you had in you!” To which I reply…)

no

Now, it could be that this idea (or, perhaps more accurately, this hodge podge of characters and setting) just isn’t meant to be. If, after all this time, I still can’t come up with a way to move the characters through the world, then maybe I’m just looking at the whole thing through the rose colored glasses of nostalgia.

And if that’s the case, I’ll take my medicine. I mean, that’s why I shelved it in the first place. But I’m older and a bit wiser since I last critically looked at this idea. The way I approach my craft is radically different than when I was a 25 year old baby writer making her first attempt at writing a grown up novel. Rose colored glasses or no, I think these characters and the world they reside in deserve a fair shake.

But this will be the last one they get, because I’m not getting any younger.

So, in the wise words of one Lin-Manuel Miranda:

Come on brain. Think of things. Come on brain. Be so smart.

Kerry Share

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