Sophomore Slump

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

Friends, let’s get right down to it. My struggles this week begin and end with this new freelance project I’ve been working on. Suffice it to say, after successfully turning in my first manuscript and getting to generate an invoice for that work, work for which I will actually be paid, I thought that I would easily be able to slide into the next project. I mean, I had just proven that I am capable of this job after all, hadn’t I?

Turns out one success is not a sufficient bulwark against burn out. Or writer’s block. Certainly not both working in tandem.

Also working against me is the fact that my annual staycation from my day job is coming up next week, putting me in that distinctly “high school senior in the last two weeks before graduation” sort of mindset (did anyone else call that senioritis or was it just local slang?). Trouble is, while I won’t be working at my day job next week, I still very much have to work on this freelance project if I want to turn it in on time. I might have been able to get away with not writing (or at least writing very little) if I had just frontloaded my word count burden onto this week and last week, but, uh, I did not do that.

I’m trying to look at this as a learning experience. My writing isn’t always going to adhere to the same patterns as my day job. My life is going to look a little bit different now that I have additional obligations outside of my 9-5. And, most importantly, I can’t just decide that playing video games is a better use of my time than writing. Not when I’m on deadline.

No matter how much nostalgia Mass Effect Legendary Edition brings with it.


The good news is if I do 2000 words a day starting tomorrow, by the time vacation is over the manuscript will be completely done.

Now I just gotta convince myself to write 2000 words a day while on vacation.

I’m not sure I’ll be doing a Friday Feelings post tomorrow, but if I do I’ll see you then. If not, I’ll be back June 8th with post-vacation Monday Motivations. Until then, friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; Second Verse, Same As the First Edition

A little late to the game this week, but better late than never, right?

Which is fortunately not something I had to tell my editor when submitting my first completed manuscript on Friday. Nope, though it came down to the wire with edits, I was able to submit my very first freelance project before I left my office on Friday.

When I tell you I felt so light driving home that I thought I might float away… not an understatement!

That easy breezy feeling, however, lasted about 15 hours, because the next morning I woke up and remembered that my very second freelance project is due in just four weeks, and it was time to get back to work.

While such a realization might make me panic, after the hair on fire sort of week I’d just survived, I actually felt… pretty damn good still. I’d just proved that I can do it! I can write (and edit, bless) a 35000 word manuscript in 28 days and actually turn it in on time. Of course, there was some crunch in there that I’d like to avoid this time around, but that’s a simple matter of sticking to my schedule and stop making excuses to not write for a day or three.

Capping it all off, I even had the pleasure of submitting an invoice for my work this morning. Imagine! Getting paid to write! /swoon

Honestly, I worried about how well I would do in this sort of scenario: a tight deadline and set parameters to adhere to. But I did it, and, you know what, more than that, I actually enjoyed myself. Sure, the self doubt and editing anxiety sucked, and I miss being able to waste my evenings on video games, and maybe it’s just the clout of saying I’m officially a working freelance writer now, but… it was kinda fun.

(Don’t at me in a year to ask if I still feel that way. Just in case.)

So, here we are. Back to square one. And I ain’t mad about it.

Goals:

  1. Reach 12000 words by Friday
  2. Edit first three chapters
  3. Read at least 1 chapter of current read
  4. Continue workshopping Snowflake project
  5. Have fun

I’m still a little scared of that 2000 words a day goal, but I’ve just seen that when my back is to a wall I can do it. So why don’t I shoot for that number when my back isn’t to a wall, so that way I have time to relax when it matters and not burn myself out? This week will be the first test. Can’t wait to check back in and let you know how I did.

That’s all from me, friends. I’ll be back on Thursday with your regularly scheduled post. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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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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Finding a Bad Place to Stop

Hello and welcome to a late but actually craft oriented edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Some exceedingly stressful situations at my day job last week sucked up some spoons I had reserved for blogging, which is why I went radio silent last Thursday and Friday. This week brings new stresses, but I’m determined to get back on track. That’s what pro writers do, right?

I am coming up now on the climax of my current freelance novella, a little behind schedule. There’s a couple of real life things I can blame (second COVID shot side effects and the aforementioned work drama for example), but I have noticed a niggling little craft thing that has given me to start slow on occasion, including a lot last week.

In reading, we are all familiar with the idea of finding a good place to stop. It’s why I tend to read straight through to the end of a book whenever I reach the climax. It would be easy to apply that concept to writing. When you’re in the middle of a juicy scene, or really fast moving sequence or chapter, and the creative mojo is really flowing it might be tempting to write straight through until you’ve resolved whatever tense moment you’ve started.

What I have found lately is that impulse is to be ignored. Soundly. Friends, when you’re writing, I recommend finding a bad place to stop.

On the days this last week when I have struggled to get started, invariably those days were the ones when I had to start with a fresh scene or chapter. And though I could always reread the previous few pages, I still found that I had to create new momentum from a cold start. It, in a word, sucked. On the other hand, whenever I had to stop mid scene (sometimes mid-sentence) for whatever reason, it was much easier to pick back up again the next day. Then, once I was able to finish the scene, starting up the next one was much easier as well.

Yes, there were times when I was lying in bed, still thinking about the scene I’d left behind in favor for sleep, and I would get an idea for the next few sentences that were too good to let sit overnight. In those cases, I would jot them down in my iPhone notes app, just like I would with any other idea that struck in the middle of the night.

Since making this realization, I’ve made a conscious effort to end my writing session for the day in the middle of a scene, and it’s really helped me stay productive.

This isn’t a new concept, nor is it foolproof. But now that I’m on deadline I’m finding out all sorts of new and, ahem, exciting things about keeping up a steady flow of new words, so I expect more of these not new, not foolproof tips and tricks in the future.


I’m not gonna lie friends, I almost axed this post for this week yet again. I rushed it and after rereading it, I decided I hated it and thought no post would be better than a bad post. But then I remembered that routine is super important to me. If I let myself cop out again for the third week in a row, I’ll be setting myself up for yet another year of sporadic blogs and shitty content. So I decided: not this time. I’m growing. For now you’ll just get shitty content. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll evolve into producing something quality. The struggle of a working writer never ends. Until next time dear friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Learning To Love the Hustle

Hello and welcome to another embarrassed and more than a little self-conscious edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

I took last week off from blogging, simply because my brain was a complete desert of ideas on what to talk about. I’m pretty proud of my blogging habit this year, in that I’m finally managing to maintain a consistent posting schedule. So, I’m not going to beat myself up over missing a week, even if there wasn’t much of an excuse for it.

So, this morning, as I was bemoaning in my journal my rather sluggish word count pace for my first “work” project, I came to a stark realization about myself. An uncomfortable one. Dirty, even. Something I’m not even sure I should admit in a public forum. But this blog is about the struggle of writing so here we go.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few days about how quickly I burn myself out whenever I try to cram extra writing into my days. Which lead to the realization that the cause is that I am giving up my typical leisure activities in favor of getting my words in. Which then got me wondering why don’t I consider writing a leisure time? I mean, it’s work, obviously, never let it be said that it’s not work, but… why isn’t it fun for me? Isn’t it my passion? Shouldn’t time spent writing invigorate me? Which then had me asking myself the age old question: why do I write? This morning, I think I found the answer, and it was a major disappointment.

I was 11 years old when I started my first novel (a surprisingly dark Harry Potter knockoff, for those curious), so to say I’ve always been a writer wouldn’t be that much of a stretch. But almost nearly as long as I’ve been a writer, one of my chief concerns regarding my creative passion was how to monetize it. I grew up poor and have lived below the poverty line multiple times as an adult, and constant worry about having money is still deeply ingrained in me today. It’s a sad, sad thing to attach to one’s passion, but I did it without even realizing it. Though my dreams of making a living off my writing have tempered somewhat as an adult, and especially over the last few years as I have taken it more and more seriously, the point remains that my goal has never (or at least rarely) been to create something that people love, but something that people buy.

Okay, to be fair, that’s not entirely true. I wrote fanfiction for fifteen years on the back of my desire to create and fueled solely by the people that read it and loved it all along the way. So I know I can do it for the sheer joy of the thing, but it’s just been so much harder to start from the ground up with completely original material and no sure audience waiting. The anxiety and self-doubt, and the imposter syndrome stemming from my successful fandom years, has really weighed on my creative ambition. And in the void left by friends and strangers telling me that my writing is good, I turned back to money for motivation.

Word to the wise: money is a shitty motivator.

The answer to my question about how to avoid burn out is really to rediscover how to love writing as a past time rather than a career in potentia. It’s learning to let go of my fears that I won’t succeed as a writer, because I’m measuring success by the wrong metric. It’s relaxing the intense sense of urgency I feel, like I’m running out of time to be a professional writer, because… I’m 32.

Letting go of all these neuroses isn’t going to be easy. But the first step of solving a problem is recognizing that it exists, right? So, here’s me taking that first step.


As the blog continues to creep toward another major follower milestone, let me take a moment to thank everyone who has followed my extremely ponderous journey. Thanks to everyone who has offered encouragement, insight, and advice. But most of all, thanks for reading.

Kerry Share

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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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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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Ramping Up

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

Well, friends, loathe as I am to admit it, the post-NaNoWriMo slump got me but good this year. The normal burnout, plus all the bad wrong going on in the real world, plus an unusually long and intense depressive episode has meant my writing has been limping along forlornly in the background.

Which is not to say I’ve done nothing (19 pages!), which is already an improvement over years past where December and January are complete black holes of productivity. But as the days drag on and I am still often struggling to get more than 200 words a day done, I find myself looking for something, anything, to motivate it me to do more. I am still amazed at how easy I found this last NaNo to be, yet as soon as the clock struck December 1st, all those good vibrations just… flew out the window. Am I really a person that needs that communal struggle to propel me forth?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am not looking to work at that sort of breakneck speed more than once a year. But something closer to 1000 words a day would keep me on track to get this mammoth of a book done by July.

Something got me thinking. Last year (or was it the year before last? 2020 time flowed at a completely different rate, didn’t it) in the run up to NaNoWriMo, Mur Lafferty on her excellent podcast I Should Be Writing talked about how, if one is anxious about their capability of writing 1666 words a day in November, they can ease themselves into it by starting in October with a much lower daily word count and slowly build up to that magic number.

As far as ideas go for the motivation-starved writer (read: me), it’s as good as any, right?

My word count yesterday was 260. So, I thought, what if today I do 280? Maybe tomorrow I could do 300. Then Saturday 325. And so on. Just a little bit extra than I did yesterday, every day, until I’m routinely hitting the mark of 1000. I could knock out 50 or 100 words on my lunch break. I could dictate 100 more on my commute home. I could do 75 while the kids are in the shower. Here and there, nothing too overwhelming, until I build my – uh – tolerance back up.

Like flexing a muscle, right? Every day, a bit at time.


I’m projecting the first draft of this novel to be around 300k words, so at my current rate of writing I will be approximately… dead by the time its ready to query.

Better get to it, shouldn’t I?

Take care friends! Until next week, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Writing With Intention

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

Well, I am happy to report that I am finally coming out of the fog that has been clouding my brain for the last six weeks or so, and that means I am ready to attack my current project, The Nexus, with gusto.

I type with purpose.
I type with purpose.

I write fantasy, and one of the best things about writing fantasy is that the writer has a level of freedom that authors of most other genres do not enjoy. There is no history you need to keep in mind, no conventional values to adhere to. Not even the laws of nature are necessarily safe. With magic and fantastic creatures and pantheons of gods that can shape reality to their will at an author’s fingertips, literally anything is possible.

One of the things I am strongest at with my writing is developing characters. Even when I play roleplaying games, I tend to take the text and supplement it with background information of my own imagining, for no other reason than I find it more entertaining that way.

I am also a white, cis-gendered, straight passing woman who grew up surrounded by white, cis-gendered, straight media telling white, cis-gendered, straight stories, so when I create characters they usually start from a white, cis-gendered, straight template. However, as I started developing not just my craft but my social conscience in my early 20s, I realized that books strictly about white, cis-gendered, straight characters were no longer interesting to me – to read or write. And so I made a conscious decision to be extremely intentional to be as diverse as possible with my own casts.

I’m disappointed (in myself) to say that I’ve not done as good a job as that with The Nexus. For background, The Nexus came into being when I decided to round up a handful of unused or discarded character concepts from past projects. That means that though the story itself is wide ranging, most of the characters still more closely resemble the template upon which they are based.

There is still time to adjust this, of course, and I have no doubt that as I get deeper into the trenches (I’ve only completed 1/6 story paths after all) more ideas on how to diversify will come to me, but the realization that I hadn’t done as well as I’d hoped served as an important reminder that resisting one’s internal biases, even if it is unintentional and non-malicious, is an ongoing battle.


fThat’s all from me this week. I miiiiiight be back on Tuesday for a book review, depending on how much time I have to read over the weekend, but 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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