Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Page of Cups

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.

And that’s my motivation this week.

Kerry Share

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Thursday Words

Zero Draft

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

Since turning in most recent, and possibly last for the year, romance novella last week I have found myself with the most curious thing: spare time. Wild, I know. Of course, I took a few days off to let my brain unclench a little after I struggled hard with that last romance, but now it is back to the grind.

I had just started what I am, for now, calling a cozy fantasy (though I am starting to doubt that label) when I got my contracts, which meant I had to take a two-month break from the idea. This week when I hauled out my notebook again, I’ll admit it was pretty darn tempting to just lay it aside and dive into something new or different, especially since I’ve been doing some world building on the Border Towns rewrite (more on that later).

But, my better sense won out in the end (for once), and, honestly, it felt really darn good to write until my pen ran out again. 

If you’re new around here, it might come as something of a surprise that I prefer to write my first draft entirely by hand. When I’m on deadline I have to switch to typing simply because of the time factor, but absolutely given my druthers, longhand is the most effective method for me to push through a first draft. 

Think about it, first drafts can be pains in the anatomy. If you’re like me and many other writers, the propensity to doubt (or even hate) what you’ve written can often lead to just wiping the slate clean and starting fresh. And while I’m of the opinion that no words are wasted as long as you’re learning from what came before, moving backward is rarely helpful when you’re trying to tell yourself the story, like in a first draft.

For me, writing longhand helps stem the tide of backspacing. Part of that is simply because I’m so neurotic, I really don’t like seeing a bunch of big ugly scratch outs on my page, and I really, really don’t like wasting paper and pens. So, when I’ve written a few paragraphs that I don’t necessarily love, where it would be easy to erase them and start over on a computer, when I’m drafting on paper I pretty much have to decide if it’s worth it or if I should just move on. Most of the time, I move on.

Because it’s the first draft. It’s not supposed be pretty and perfect. 

Actually, in a way, I consider my longhand writing to be the zero draft of a project. My scribbles are often indecipherable to any second set of eyes, littered with shorthand and misspellings, repeated words are rife, and description is thin on the ground. Then, when its time to transcribe the pages into my computer, I take things nice and slow, fixing errors and rewording things as I see fit. That’s when I identify the places where I’ve written myself into a corner, or repeated a scene idea. That’s when I evaluate what lessons I’ll take into, what I consider, the real first draft. 

Plus, writing longhand gives me an excuse to buy sparkly gel pens I’ll actually use and pretty notebooks I’ll actually write in. And what writer doesn’t love that? 


But, the cozy fantasy (working title: Pieces of Eight) isn’t all I’ve been spending my creative energy on. Nope, you read that right: I, Kerry Share, have been world building. And its not just any world building. Its world building for a story that long time readers might recognize as Border Towns, my erstwhile WIP that I took to Nano, finished just days before my 30th birthday, and then proceeded to struggle with in subsequent drafts because, as I later realized, it needed major revisions.

That said, revisions isn’t quite the word I would use to describe what I’m doing with the project. Complete overhaul is more accurate. While the premise, characters, and general plot threads will remain the same, pretty much everything is getting a massive makeover. I’m even changing all the names, including the title. Henceforth, Border Towns will be known as Tyranny of Titans.

And the very first lesson that I’m taking from its predecessor is: I can’t just leave the world building for later. I’ve got to have a really clear picture of the space around the characters, the cultures they exist in, and the broader scope of the conflict at the heart of the story, before I can start writing in earnest. So, in the creases between the day job, the child rearing, housekeeping, and drafting Pieces of Eight, I’ve been doing some world building.

I’m starting off slow with just the custom language of the setting. I used the VulgarLang tool to plug in the phonemes of the language I wanted to base mine off of (a secret, in case you were wondering), and generated a few examples until I found one I liked. Then I skimmed through the dictionary (I paid for the full version of VulgarLang years ago and is still one of the best purchases I ever made) provided and chose about 100 words that I liked the sound of and plugged them into an excel spreadsheet. From this list I am coming up with the names for my cast of characters.

I’ve always been really bad at coming up with names in my stories and one of my chief dissatisfactions with the original Border Towns was that everything felt so uncreative because the world had no uniqueness to it. So, this process has been actually kind of fun and inspiring in its own way. I definitely recommend checking out VulgarLang if you’re a fantasy writer, like me, who might need or want a fantasy language for their story but can’t figure out how to make one.


That’s all from me. I’m still trying to think of ways to fill the Friday blog spot, so I may post something random or experimental tomorrow. Until then, my friends! May your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Knight of Cups

Help friends and welcome to another wolfish week of writing.

Friends, I am back after yet another unexpected week off thanks to yet another of my children coming down with appendicitis. For those keeping track at home, that’s two in two months.

Fortunately, everything went well and I am back to the grind. Best of all I was able to use some of the down time to at last finish the romance novella that had been giving me fits for the last five weeks. I’m hoping I can squeeze one last pitch in before the cut off but if not then that is a wrap on romance writing for the year.

Which puts me in the position to, for the first time in months, focus on my fantasy writing for a while.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t of two minds about this prospect. Romance writing is what helps pay the bills after all and with Christmas right around the corner, it sure would be nice to have some padding in the bank account.

On the other hand, fantasy is where my heart is at. I can scarcely pick up a book, watch a tv show or movie, or play a video game even tangentially related to a fantasy setting without getting inundated with dozens of new ideas for stories. So, having a few months break to really focus on a fantasy draft should be exciting.

If I can finish, that is.

Because that’s always the rub, isn’t it? I have too many ideas in my head to properly keep track of but not enough time, focus, energy, or some combination of the three to actually bring those ideas into existence.

So, while it sound like fun to take these next few months to blow off writing in the interest of recharging my batteries before romance pitching opens up again, I think it’s actually more important than ever to really focus on finishing up this cozy fantasy draft. At 900 words a day, less than the output I strive for when I’m under contract for my novellas, I can knock this sucker out by New Year’s. And wouldn’t that be something?


Until next time, friends!

Kerry Share

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Thursday Words

Just Keep Swimming

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. 

Me to my WIPs

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.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Nine of Wands

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.

Phew.

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.

Wish me luck friends!

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Three of Pentacles

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.

Let’s see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Kerry Share

Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Four of Wands

Welcome friends and welcome to another wrung out week of writing.

I’ll admit I’ve been in a weird headspace ever since my daughter’s surgery forced me to take a week of from work and writing, partially because I went off my meds by accident and my brain chemistry has been jacked as a result.

But the good news is my next deadline is looming large (next week, gulp), which always has a funny way of kicking my ass into high gear. I don’t know if this is the farthest behind on a manuscript I’ve ever been, but if not it’s damn close.

And though I’m certainly stressed about it, I’m coming into this week determined not to overwhelm myself worrying about what’s happens tomorrow, or the next day. Instead I’m going to focus on what I can do today.

The laundry at my feet.

Good luck this week friends in all your writing endeavors.

Kerry Share

Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; The Fool

Good morning and welcome to another winsome week of writing.

Friends, I’m gonna go a little old school today. Instead of talking about what’s going on with me or the general vibe, or even what is specifically motivating me to get up off my butt and actually write words, I’m just going to get into what my writing goals are for the week.

  • 10000 words toward my current freelance novella project
  • 10 longhand pages toward my current cozy fantasy project
  • Catch up on Drabble Rock prompts (I think I’m two or three behind now)
  • Start semi-weekly Mercy May posts in Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • Actually blog on Monday and Thursday

Phew that’s… a lot. But I’m back on my meds and I’m settling back into my routine and I’m ready to be the writer I almost was before things went topsy turvy at home.

Wish me luck!

Kerry Share

Monday Motivations

Monday Motivations; Ten of Pentacles

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.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Kerry Share

Thursday Words

I’m Angry Writing Isn’t My Actual Job

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.

Kerry Share

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Scribd subscribers can read my romance novellas here! Coming soon to Patreon!