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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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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Monday Motivations, Fresh and Ready For Success Edition

Good morning friends and happy Monday. I hope you all are ready for another fun filled creative roller coaster, because I sure am!

Last week was a learning process. As it was my first official week on the “job” I wasn’t quite sure how much work writing I was going to be able to achieve, nor did I know how much time and energy I would have left after all the work writing was done for the day. That said, even though I got sick Wednesday and tainted the sample, I feel I was able to get at least a workable understanding of my capabilities (and my limits) and I’m ready to set myself some reasonable goals.

Last week I wanted to hit 10,000 words on my first work project, and I did that on Friday. So, this week, I’m going to challenge myself to hit 21,000 by Friday, so an extra 200 words a day. I’m going to accomplish that by getting up a half hour earlier every morning and starting my day off in the creative mindset. The great news is: I’ve already accomplished that for today. In fact, I managed to get 500 words done this morning, leaving me in great shape for the rest of what is looking like a very busy Monday (as always).

My other goals are easy and simple:

  1. Read 3 chapters of my current read, Throne of the Five Winds
  2. Workshop a one sentence synopsis for my Snowflake project
  3. Start mentally prepping my second work project

I’m really feeling the time squeeze today so I better get after it. I’ll be back on Thursday (hopefully). Until then may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Testing: Monday Motivations

Well, friends, I had so much fun with my Friday Feelings post that I thought I would try another kind of weekly update. If Fridays are for reflecting on my weeks, then Mondays will be when I speak my goals into existence. Ready? I am.

As I mentioned on Friday, my very first freelancing contracts came in and I woke up Saturday eager to get started. I knocked my first daily word count goal out easy peasy, but Sunday was another story. My two elder children were having a difficult sibling day, which meant I spent most of my time playing mediator and generally trying not to have a melt down myself. I’m not sure I succeeded. Suffice it to say, it was after bedtime before I got a moment to myself to write, but by that time I was fried. I’m proud of the work I got done, but it wasn’t even half of my daily goal.

But that just means I need to work a little harder today. My goal is to have 10,000 words toward this first work project by Friday, which means a NaNo-esque pace of 1600. That said, between my son’s allergy shot and daughter’s gymnastics practice, Monday is my best writing day (a lot of sitting around time without the usual distractions). So today I’m hoping for 2000.

But my work project isn’t the only thing I’m hoping to make progress on. As I mentioned Friday, I’m exploring the Snowflake Method as a way to plan a new personal project. The Snowflake Method suggests starting with a one sentence pitch for your novel. Which… is harder than it sounds. This week, I’d like to work one up.

I also have a little bit of transcribing for The Nexus to catch up on, as well as a ton of reading. I’m nearly a month behind in my reading schedule but I am stubbornly refusing to DNF my current read. If I can just get one chapter done this week, I’ll call it a win

Alright, so those are goals and I’ve spent enough time here yakking about them rather than getting after them. I’ll be back on Thursday for your regularly scheduled blog post. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Putting Your(my)self Out There

Hello and welcome to a reinvigorated yet anxious edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well, the creative slump that had been dogging me all last week lasted all the way up until this very morning, when, for whatever reason, I just felt ready to shake myself back to work. It’s been the single most frustrating thing about my writing journey: trying to accomplish my goals around the unpredictable cyclone that is my mental health. No matter how much I plan and schedule and set deadlines for myself, there is simply no accounting for a hiccup in brain chemistry that derails me off course, even if only for a few days or a week or a month.

But, it is who I am and, short of finding the right doctor and the right cocktail (unlikely in my present circumstances), it’s just something I have to live with.

So, enough of that. Back to work.

scribbling

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately (even struggling with, ha ha) is how hard I’ve found it to make connections with people in the writing community. It’s no secret as to why that is: I’m very shy and very private. But there have been moments, especially during the pandemic, where I have felt extremely isolated on this wild journey of mine. That’s not much of a revelation either. The act of writing is a solitary process. Sure, we can all commiserate before, during, and after the fact, but – unless you have a co-author (and more kudos to you if you do because, whew, I could never) – the actual penning of the words is something only you, yourself can do. Add in the pandemic, where we have all been cut off from each other in new and exciting ways, and it’s not any wonder that I’ve been feeling some loneliness creep in, despite my historic preference for mental hermitage.

(I know I’m not using that word correctly, but it feels accurate so let’s go with it.)

There’s also a measure of social anxiety baked into my predisposition for solitude. Will people unfollow me if I talk about my video game hobby or my kids or sports instead of writing? Will people like or respect me less if they learn more about my life? Will I be harassed if I share too much (it is the internet, after all). Will I say something I regret?

It’s hardly the first time I’ve wondered these things and it’s not at all the first time I’ve thought that my anxiety is crushing some of the life out of me. And while, again, that’s just part of my existence on this planet for the time being, over the last twelve months I’ve made major strides in pushing against some of my uncomfortably close boundaries and exploring what could lie beyond them. Turns out, if I want to make friends I’m going to have to be friendly. And part of that means opening myself up in ways I’ve been hesitant to before.

I’m not really sure what that means yet. But I think it’ll probably result in me talking a lot more. Maybe here on this blog, or in the comments of your own blogs (which I do read, but have been too nervous to meaningfully interact with). Or perhaps on Twitter or Instagram.

Please look forward to it.


I am trying really, really hard to get through my current read so I can review it for you all. Truly, I do like it and I do want to write a book sort of like it but… my god it is so dense. It’s like exercise trying to read it, and with everything else I’ve had going on I just haven’t had the energy. I will get through it one day, though, I swear.

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

Kerry Share

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Leap of Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wish me luck!

Continue reading “Leap of Faith”

Dream a Little Dream

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

Well friends, after last week’s profundity I thought it might be fun to go with some lighter fare today. But before we get started, a quick update: I am officially back in my home and sleeping in my own bed! I’m out two grand and still don’t have access to my washing machine yet, but who’s counting? Point is, I’m finally back in a place where I can actually relax and refocus on my writing and future prospects.

To that end, I want to talk about my dreams.

So, I was being chased…

Just kidding. I mean my dreams for my career as a writer.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. I can’t precisely pin down the exact age or year, but the first bit of “original” fiction I remember writing was when I was 11. And though I’ve flirted with other career paths since then, writing has been my through line from childhood to where I stand today. From that standpoint, I guess you could say I have achieved that dream. I mean, I am technically writing. Even if I’ve never been published or even taken a finished manuscript out to query. So, 11 year old me can rest easy.

But 32 year old me can’t just yet. For 32 year old me, the dream isn’t just writing, it’s making a living writing. It’s not just calling myself a professional writer, or a working writer, it’s actually being successful enough to be able to quit my day job to do the writing thing full time.

I’m not naïve. I know that it’s actually kind of a lofty goal. I’m perfectly aware that most writers maintain a day job because the sad truth of the matter is writing doesn’t tend to pay very well. Without a big name or a breakout hit, chances are you’re in the midlist and writing is a passion rather than a profession. I know all that. But that’s why we call them dreams, right?

daydreaming

It may not seem like it at times, but I’m actually a pretty private person. I’m shy and I’m anxious and I have a hard time meeting people. I don’t like talking about my day job and I’m reticent to share personal photos online outside of my approved social sphere.

But, despite all that, I long for a… I don’t know what the right word is. ‘Community’ seems too broad’ and I’ve never been a fan of the way ‘tribe’ has been used. But a close-knit group of people around me with similar interests and a common purpose. I had that once, back when I was really into fandom over on a popular blogging site that I won’t name. I had friends then, all over the world really. And, more than that, I was part of something that I contributed to, and people cared about those contributions. I’ll never forget the day I was on Twitter, years after I left fandom, and saw a gif I had made for a particular fandom used on a post for something completely unrelated. It was like… I had made a mark on the internet. It was a little weird… but also kind of cool.

I guess you could say I long for that sense of belonging again, except with writing as a focal point, instead of fandom. And if that writing happened to be my writing… well, I think that would be a little weird. But also kind of cool.

weird is cool

Now, lets get into the really off the wall stuff.

Last week there was a Twitter thread going around, asking people what they would name their indie bookstore. It was a cute little thread that low-key made me feel really dull because I couldn’t come up with a clever book store name.

Then I drove by a little strip mall that went up around the corner of my house right before the pandemic, and as such, hasn’t been able to rent out the storefronts – since opening a new business in 2020 was, well, not recommended and all. And then book store idea came around again.

A bookstore I owned and operated would be fantasy focused. Largely because it’s my favorite genre and there’s precious few (read: none that I’ve found in a reasonable distance) speculative themed indie bookstores in my metro area. I envision a section for YA, for sci-fi/fantasy blends, for paranormal romance. For sword and board, and for #ownvoices. For epic fantasy and political fantasies, and everything in between.

I’d host write ins, costume contests, dramatic readings of old classics. I’d write my own novel at the counter, and I’d partner up with my Friendly Local Game Store that happens to be right down the street for crossover events.

I’d call it Phoenix Feather Books and it would probably close within 6 months because I know jack all about being a book seller or running a business (how would I even get inventory???).

But it’s a dream, perhaps silly and not very well thought out or practical, and it’s mine.


I have other dreams too. People asking me in earnest about x, y, or z thing about my book, or telling me their favorite ships. Being on panels at conferences, or giving a workshop even. Seeing the cover of my very first published novel. Landing my ideal agent. Knowing enough about agents to have an ideal agent.

What are some of your dreams?


That’s all from me this week, now that my head is all light and airy and I can’t think of anything else. I hope to be back on Tuesday with a book review, but I’ve been slacking in my reading, so it may have to wait another week. Either way I’ll see you on Thursday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!

Kerry Share

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