Hello friends and welcome to another wry week of writing.
Friends, by now you know the drill. Every Monday, I come here and talk about my hopes for the week and how I plan to tackle my writing tasks. Sometimes my motivations are external (like deadlines) but most of the time I try to draw my own experiences and thought processes.
This week, my inspiration isn’t especially creative. Its not grounded in my love of writing, and its not something I’m exactly proud of.
The thing keeping me on track this week is stubbornness.
See, I’ve been struggling the last several days, a week or more even, with staying on task. Which shouldn’t be the case. Without a romance novella to labor over, I should be hyped to take advantage of the extra hours in my day and get some writing done. I’m in the middle of a cute standalone cozy fantasy, that I’m drafting in longhand no less. The project is supposed to be fun, no stress, and designed to help me get back to fantasy writing after what has been a kind of disappointing 2022.
So, why do I feel so meh about this project?
Friends, I’ve been suffering from that troublesome writer condition that makes every current idea seem Not Good, Worthless, Boring and every future idea seem Perfect, Exciting, The One.
Actually, if I’m being honest, I’ve been struggling with this issue ever since I put Border Towns on the shelf. For those keeping track, that’s coming up on three years ago now.
Border Towns was the first manuscript I ever finished (even if it was just a first draft), and even to this day I think of it as the story I will query agents with one day. I think some part of me believes that everything else I do in the meantime is just… filler until the real story wends its way back into my brain.
And, frankly, I don’t have time for that shit. I’ve got way too many ideas to waste prime writing hours on just waiting for my fickle muse to decide to cooperate.
So, even though I’m no longer passionately in love with Pieces of Eight like I was when first put pen to paper, I’m going to keep on toiling away at it. Because right now I think the most important thing for my long term health is a writer is proving that I can stay focused and finish a story.
Hello friends and welcome to an underwater edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Friends, the last few weeks have been a little fraught in my world. Emotionally, financially, and writing…ly? I’ve had a lot of up and down moments, from launching my Patreon page to failing to secure a single Patron outside of my own inner circle, from having to cancel my trip to WorldCon because I could no longer afford the hotel to finally getting back to my romance novellas after a long summer off, from 7000+ word writing days to the stretch I’m in right now where flying a commercial jet seems like it would be easier than finishing this manuscript.
tenacity: the quality or state of being persistent
Something I’ve come to realize over the course of this journey, and its a lesson I am certain many authors have learned before me, is that determination is probably the most important quality in a writer — even more so than raw talent.
Because writing is going to be hard. There are going to be days (or several days in a row, or a week, or months) where it feels like there are no more words in your wrung out sponge of a brain. There are going to be periods where you think that you’re never going to make it. There will be deadlines you’re going to miss and you hate yourself for failing. It will feel like no one cares about your writing. It is going to be utterly demoralizing. And not everyone is going to be cut out for it.
I’ll be totally honest. I’ve thought more than once (often, even) that I’m one of those people. That, because my chronic depression and anxiety often rob me of creative spark, I’ll never be a professional writer. That, because I often find myself just too worn out from the other parts of my life that demand my time, attention, and mental energy, that I don’t deserve to succeed. And when the call is coming from inside the house like that, it becomes harder and harder to ignore.
There have been times when I “quit” writing. I just straight gave up. Told myself that writing was supposed to be fun, and I was making myself so miserable with guilt for not writing, that it was no longer an enjoyable activity for me. And if that was the case, what was the point? So, I walked away.
But, inevitably, a day or two later, I would miss it. I would feel the itch. I would be playing a video game and making up stories about the world or characters. I would be watching tv or a movie, and think about what I would do differently. I would hear a song and all sorts of ideas would come to life in my mind.
Then, just for shiggles of course, I would take a glance at the last thing I wrote before I rage quit, half expecting the words and ideas to be so terrible that they would actually affirm my decision to abandon writing altogether. Of course, they weren’t. Some of them were actually pretty good. And now that I looked at it again, I suddenly knew how to fix that trouble spot that made so frustrated before.
You get the idea. The point is this: I gave up. I stone cold quit. I was done. Writing was relegated to the long laundry list of failed endeavors.
And then I came back. ￼
Okay, so maybe I didn’t quit quit. I really just took a break. But, at the time I made the decision, it really did feel like I was walking away, with all the emotional turmoil that entailed. And, weirdly enough, I think that was ultimately a good thing. It showed me how much writing meant to me, how I couldn’t stay away from it even if I tried, that though times get tough I will always find my way back to what I’m supposed to be doing.
Which is unquestionably, unshakably writing.
My monthly suggestion box is live over at Patreon for the $3.00 and up tiers. This month I am asking my Patrons to let me know what their favorite romance sub genres are. Who knows, maybe I’ll write one or two in those genres in the future. If you are a fan of romance, or know someone who is, please consider becoming a Patron or sharing my page: Patreon.com/KerryShare
That’s all from me this week, sorry it was a day late again. I’ll be back on Saturday with another installment of The Ballad of Mercy May. Until then, my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Hello friends and welcome to another wrangled week of writing.
It’s officially back to real life this week and I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the routine. While I fervently wish writing could be my routine, it’s not and so I have to make hay with the one I’ve got.
Unfortunately, I have once again found myself in a pinch time wise. I’d like to make some sort of great excuse here about why I wasn’t able to write very much over the last month, but I can’t. The simple truth is I procrastinated. And now I’m in a hole.
At least the hole is familiar. Familiar enough that I’m not quite panicking (yet), though we’ll see how I feel after I’ve pulled three all nighters in a row to make deadline.
I’d also like to say that I’ll do better next time, but it seems like that too is destined to be a lie. So instead I’m just gonna be honest with myself: while it would be nice if I could make it a habit to write every day, so I’m not frequently putting myself in such a bind come deadline times, I recognize that am largely a binge writer.
Hello friends and welcome to another wacky week of writing.
Friends, I come to you this morning with quite a few balls in the air. In addition to my World Con-turned-staycation starting this week, I also am preparing for the official launch of my very own Patreon page. I’m also still hard at work on my current romance novella, due in a week and a half, and have two new pitches to prepare. Also drabbles and fantasy writing. And blogging. And sleeping somewhere in there too.
Overwhelming as that all sounds (and feels), there is something sort of gratifying about having such a full plate. I am moving into the next stage of my growth (and/or career) as a writer and that is something to be proud of. Even celebrate.
Later though, I don’t have time to celebrate now.
In addition to all those tangible goals and tasks I have this week, I’m going to add one more mental one: stay focused, don’t procrastinate, and work hard. This is what I signed up for and I’m not going to waste this moment in time.
Hello friends and welcome to another fanciful edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Friends, I am in full bounce-back mode after a difficult freelance period that saw a depressive episode, a serious crunch to meet a deadline, and the start of school for my three young kids. I am full of vim, vigor and a veritable wellspring of energy and ideas.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably know that more often than not my worst enemy when it comes to realizing my ambitions is, well, me. Or, more specifically, what I like to call my anxiety brain.
Whenever I stumble upon a new idea or decide spur of the moment to launch a new project, the moments thereafter are often rife with anxiety-brain. You don’t have enough energy, time, or stamina for something like this is one of the least offensive things it tells me. You’re going to get 10% of the way into it and give up. And, historically, that’s been true.
But, last night, after writing a page in my cozy fantasy draft, adding another 100 words to The Ballad of Mercy May, and getting to work on my latest romance novella for Scribd, it occurred to me like a bolt from the blue that the real reason I struggle to write consistently, complete projects, and grow myself as a writer with the intention of being a full time author is actually fear.
What for the longest time I thought was burn out or sheer laziness when it came to my creative endeavors was a pervasive fear that they would never amount to anything. The anxiety that I was spending so much time and energy on something that would not sustain me, not just financially but spiritually as well, has poisoned my creative well for so long I no longer recognized it as artificial.
More succinctly, I think I’ve been struggling to meaningfully commit myself to writing as a career I aspire to because I’m afraid I will fail.
Slowly, but surely, over the last 18 months I have subconsciously been at war with that misguided instinct, and, to be sure, I’ve made strides. I dove headlong into romance writing despite telling myself at every step of the process that I’m not good enough and I’ll be turned away. I launched two drabble projects last month just for the hell of it.
But I’ve also started and shelved two fantasy projects. I’ve taken weeks off at a time from my personal writing. I’ve made up excuses as to why I’m not writing today, or why now is the right time for that idea. I’ve even very, very seriously considered giving up on writing entirely. More than once.
Last night, I did something kind of crazy and possibly doomed for failure. Its pretty personal, so I won’t get into it here, but it was emblematic of my writing life as well and it was predicated on one simple question posed to myself: why not?
Why not research what it would take to open an indie book store? Why not launch a podcast to review fantasy novels? Why not take on more projects than there are time for in a day or even week???
In all seriousness, though, why not? What do I have to lose? Why not just… try?
After all, I may just surprise myself. In fact I’m counting on it.
In that spirit, just one last thing…
That’s right, folks, the exclusivity period for my romance novellas under Scribd is starting to lapse for my first few releases, which means I am entitled to share them with non-subscribers. If you are a romance fan or want to support my work, please consider becoming a patron when I launch next week.
Until then, my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Good morning friends and welcome to another windswept week of writing.
Last week, even if I didn’t say so out loud, one of my big goals was to catch up on the sleep I lost over my last deadline. Well, friends, I definitely accomplished that.
Which means I have absolutely no excuses left when it comes to what I need to get done this week.
I’ve been thinking a lot this morning about goals and motivation in a bid to boost my writing output and efficiency. Okay, I sounded a little bit like a robot just then, didn’t I? Beep boop.
Something that I have realized over the last eighteen months writing for Scribd, is that I am much more productive when responding to a need. Pressure of a deadline or someone expecting a result from me sharpens my focus and I’m able to tune out distractions.
However, absent that pressure, a vacuum forms and my ability to stand strong against the temptations of procrastination and relaxation folds like a house of cards.
I have been playing for some time with different ideas on how to perhaps manufacture a sense of pressure in order to keep me on task, but so far I’ve been unable to trick my brain into doing its job.
Which is not to say I’m giving up. There is a way out there that will help me stay productive on days when I’m not on a deadline, I just have to find it.
This week I’m trying out stretch goals. After my do or die tasks for the day are done, I’ve given myself some bonus tasks that will make my life easier down the road if I do them now. But I also don’t need to beat myself up if I don’t get to them.
Hello friends and welcome to another winning week of writing.
Today, for yours truly, is deadline day for my most recent novella contract. And, I know I say this literally every time, but this time I really pulled out all the stops to try and screw things up for myself. By Friday, I was only half done with the manuscript.
Since I’m here and not curled up under my desk with my laptop, eyes bloodshot and words flowing nonsensically, you may surmise that despite the incredible time crunch, I managed to bang out the the last 17000 words I needed in just 48 hours.
That isn’t a brag. I never want to do that again. I’m pissed off at myself for putting myself in such a horrible position. Instead of spending my precious few leisure hours relaxing, I worked all friggin weekend. Instead of catching up on sleep (sorely needed) I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning. Instead of enjoying my writing, I forced myself to do it until my brain felt like a wrung out sponge.
I have got to get better at time management. I have got to learn how power through the natural urge to procrastinate. I have got to figure out how to write every day, so that I’m not stockpiling the stress for later.
I owe it to myself to do better next time, which conveniently starts — uh — tomorrow. Gotta love back to back contracts.
Honestly, I don’t subscribe to write every day as a rule, but it’s clear to me that if I don’t, I’ll more often than not done myself in sticky spots like this past weekend. Which, I remind you, sucked ass.
If that can’t motivate me, I don’t know what will.
It’s a new day friends, a new week. Let’s get after it together.
Hello friends and welcome to another wary week of writing.
I am back after an extended, unintended hiatus and let me tell you I have never missed the comfort of routine more than the last ten days.
Routine has always been important to me. Even on weekends and during my leisure time, I like to kind of have a sense of what I want to accomplish beforehand, even if that’s just “play x video game” or “run y errand at z time.”
Which is why it is should not be much a surprise that my writing suffers when I don’t have a fixed routine in place for it. What is surprising, however, that after all these years of writing both as a hobby and as a paid job, I still haven’t settled into a routine yet.
Sure, when NaNo rolls around I’ve found ways to squeeze in my words, and I’ve never yet missed a freelance deadline, so getting the work is getting done, even if it is often stressful and down to the wire. The process, though functional in the barest terms, leaves plenty of room for improvement.
I need a writing routine. A place, a time, a method. Why, when I am so motivated and comforted by structure, is it so hard for me to put a schedule in place that encourages me to get my work done?
Solving this conundrum is my motivation this week. Whether it’s getting up early, staying up late, or even leaving the house for the library in the evenings to rob myself of distractions, some way, somehow, I’m going to find what works.
Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago and never got around to posting it. I ran out of time to write something new this week, so I thought I would recycle this post. Though the immediate situation has shifted (slightly), much of the sentiment is the same.
Hello friends and welcome to another irritable edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
I’ll admit it. I’ve been out of sorts this week. My boss of seven years at my day job was recently promoted, and her new position meant she unfortunately had to leave my firm. It had just been pretty much me and her for the last three years, so with her gone the responsibility for keeping the firm running has fallen squarely on my shoulders with the assistance of other company staff who have filled in as needed.
Suffice it to say, I’m stressed.
Compounding my frustration is the fact that because I’m so mentally drained by the end of my work day, writing is exceedingly difficult. I already have precious few minutes in which to squeeze drafting (I’m presently penning this blog post from outside my daughter’s guitar lesson), and when I do get some time the last thing I want to do is tax my brain any further.
Not being able to write has sent me spiraling down that lovely rabbit hole of self-doubt and depression. My ideas aren’t good enough. I don’t have what it takes. If I were serious about writing, I would make the words come out.
I know those things aren’t true. I know that if I could just get to a place where I could financially support my family with my writing, that I do have the discipline and forbearance to make writing my actual job. But I can’t do that unless I write now and write well. But I can’t do that under present circumstances. But these circumstances aren’t likely to change unless I write.
And round and round it goes.
My frustrations and anxieties aren’t new, nor unique to me. But it’s hard not to feel angry and not a little bit jealous of all those writers out there who get to do this for a living, while I and so many others struggle for just the few words we manage to eke out in the creases.
It’s petty and ultimately pointless to nurse these sort of hurts, I know, and I won’t much longer. I just wish I knew why I lacked the get-up-and-go mentality that seems to drive so many successful writers. There are so many lovely and talented authors out there, many of whom have had to struggle through the daily life of not-writing to realize their ambitions, why not me?
Why not me?
Alright, enough of that. I’m in a better-ish place now mentally than that first week, and though my day job continues to be stressful as sin, I’ve done a bit better motivating myself to write when I come home. I’ve also returned to bringing my notebook with me to my job so that I can squeeze in some sentences in the creases. Its not much, but its keeping me engaged. Now, if I can just figure out how to not go into zombie-mode the instant I get home, I’ll be in good shape.
Until next time, my friends. May your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Hello friends and welcome to another progress update on Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
It’s kind of hard to believe, but tomorrow marks the halfway point of the year. I’d like to say that the first six months of 2022 flew by, but honestly they’ve been kind of a drag. I’ve had ideas quit on me, freelance contracts fail to materialize, and a real sense of regression settle over me after what I felt was a really strong year in 2021.
There have been high points too, of course. The realization that I have the mental capability and creative stamina to be a stay-at-home writer was a big one. The launch of Drabble Rock has been a real mood booster as well. And lets not forget I still have World Con to look forward to.
That being said, it is more than fair to say that I am falling short of the goals I made for myself at the start of the year.
Among those lofty dreams were such aims as:
Write 160,000 words in fantasy projects.
Mid-year check-up: still possible, but unlikely. I haven’t written much at all this year, so I’m basically starting from 0. If I still want to hit that goal I’ll need to write almost 1000 words every day from now until New Years.
Write 8 novellas for Scribd.
Mid-year check-up: Not happening. This isn’t entirely my fault, as we had a change in editors this year that has not exactly been smooth. I’ve done one so far, waited almost two months on pitches only to be rejected, and submitted two more pitches that I’m still waiting to hear back on. Even if I manage to do one a month for the rest of the year, that will only give me seven. Sad, especially for my bank account, but what can you do?
Figure out how to sell my own ebooks.
Mid-year check-up: Working on it! I’ve asked about getting the ebooks from my publisher after the exclusivity period is up, next I just need to figure out how to release them successfully. I’m working on dolling up a Patreon for when I start getting the ebooks, but I’m still really unsure of how to go about it. Still, making progress.
Release a “serialized” novel.
Mid-year check-up: In progress! Granted, I’m releasing one hundred words at a time and only two entries in, but hey, I made the commitment and I’ve got the project going. It still needs some fine tuning (obviously I’ll have to post more than once a week if I want to finish the story before I’m dead), but its launched.
So a mixed bag, though it should be noted that my two “do or die” goals are the ones most certain to fail.
Bearing these various successes and failures in mind, I’ve been thinking about adjusting my expectations for the rest of the year.
Six months ago I intended to write two story paths of The Nexus, which has since been shelved pending deeper world building. Today I would like to commit to writing the first Seekers of Empyrean novella and one of the cozy fantasy ideas that was rejected by my editor. Completing both at their target word counts would bring total words written up to 135,000 (closer to 750 words per day if anyone’s counting). That’s not too bad a compromise, right?
Not to mention, that isn’t even counting the words I’ll be adding to The Ballad of Mercy May. Sure, it’s only 100 words at a time, but I figure I will start ramping up how many times per week I’ll be posting entries. By the end of December I would like to be up to three Ballad posts per week.
Lastly, I would like to have the majority (if not all) of my 2021 novellas with Scribd posted to my Patreon before the year is out. By then the exclusivity period will be up for all six published so far (I’m pretty sure, anyway) and I’ll be free to make some additional pennies off my hard work. Who doesn’t love that?
I think those are some fair and reasonable goals that I have complete control over. No one but me will be to blame if I don’t meet them.
As for things outside of my control I would like to see happen, I’ve got two things in mind:
write 4 more novellas for Scribd
reach 150 followers here on Just Another Struggling Writer
Taken as a whole, I think if I can nail most of these goals before the clock strikes 2023 I can count this year as a win.
I meant to write the first edition of WIP Wednesday yesterday but then I laid down on my couch at 8:00 and didn’t wake up again until my alarm went off. Oops. It works out though, since I still don’t have much to talk about seeing as how I really HAVEN’T WRITTEN ANYTHING IN THE LAST SEVEN DAYS.
We’ll kick it off next week, barring any unforeseen naps.
Look at me getting this blog post done early. Until next time my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.