July 2024 Writing Update

Happy July, everyone!

I hope that June was great and that July is just as good or even better! June was a busy month for me. Why? Because…

Cover of "Bloody Fantasia" by Claris Lam. The font is yellow with a purple background. The background image is sheet music layered on top of each other.

“Bloody Fantasia,” Book 3 in the Harlow Mystery series, released last month!

“Bloody Fantasia,’ the third book in the Harlow Mystery series, officially released on June 24th, 2024! Thank you so much to everyone who supported the new release by preordering or ordering a copy, as well as spreading the word!

I also want to thank everyone who picked up copies of “Winner Takes All” and “Engagement To Die For” while they were 50% off last month! I hope you enjoy reading them. I’m really grateful for all the love and support you’ve given to my books, whether you’re new to the Harlow Mystery series or returning for the third book.

If you haven’t ordered your copy, you can click here to check it out!

Now that that the Harlow Mystery series is over, you might be wondering…

What’s next for me post-Harlow Mystery series?

If you’ve been following me since the beginning of this year, you’ll know that I have multiple WIPs, ranging from novels set in duologies and trilogies to a poetry chapbook and a short story collection.

I also mentioned, back in my first author newsletter in June, that I was grappling with a lot of questions about my writing journey. The questions I asked myself ranged from “What book do I want to share next?” to “How intense do I want to go with the writing and publishing process?”

Fortunately, I’ve taken all of June to really think about this. So…

The stock photo shows an open notebook. The quote written on it reads: "New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings." The painful endings part of the text is in red, while the rest is in black.

1. I’m not going to be a full-time author and poet at this time. 

It’s not sustainable for me to do so, unfortunately. I know it’s a dream of many authors and writers to be able to write full-time, but I realized that’s not something I want to do. I’m grateful that I’ve had plenty of time throughout the past years to just spend on writing. I’m grateful that there are various people in my life that support me, from fellow writers and readers to friends and family. But there are other aspects of life (and other career paths) that I want to focus on at this time.

I also need to focus on myself outside of being an author and poet. I haven’t really done that until starting this past June. Despite claiming to be writing part-time whenever I talk to others about writing, the reality is that I’ve been acting like it’s a full-time job. Focusing so much on trying to “make it” as a writer was a detriment to me mentally, emotionally, and in other ways. I forgot how to have fun with the process – and I think this led to my burnout last year.

It’s very easy to be stuck in a specific idea of how you should act and function as an author/poet. It’s often emphasized in various writing circles and even the wider community that you have to eventually go full-time if you’re serious about your writing, that you have to be part of some official writers’ union or constantly joining prestigious contests to be seen as “legitimate,” or you have get a degree in creative writing and make it big somehow.

I realized last month that I don’t want to be part of that, and that’s okay. 

To take care of myself outside of writing, I have to scale back my overall activity.

I need to focus less on trying to keep “progressing” with writing and “keeping up” with other fellow indie authors and poets. Everyone has their own idea of success when it comes to writing and I need to completely figure out mine.

One way I’ve been working on this is trying to take actual days off from writing for the sake of work/novels that I want to publish. For nearly every day since 2019, I’ve been writing novels, poems, etc. The only time I took days off was, quite literally, whenever I was too busy to be present near a laptop to type at during the day.

I’d even write during weekends – which doesn’t sound so bad at first. But when you do it for every weekend possible over the past five years, that’s way too much. I also suspect that my lack of taking breaks is what contributed to my brief burnout last year. And because I started seeing my writing as something I do for “work,” that messed up my entire work-life balance. There was almost never a day when I wasn’t “working,” a.k.a. writing.  

I will also be scaling back how often I post on socials.

Don’t expect two-to-three posts a week like I did last month – maybe I’ll post one a week, or two at most. Some of my fellow authors might be screaming about how it’ll mess up an algorithm if I suddenly do that. However, I think scaling back on socials will help me not just focus more on getting the actual writing done, but also give me a break from constantly churning out content, thus making me feel less rushed and more satisfied with the creative process.

If you’d like to keep up with my most up-to-date news on what I’m writing and so on, please subscribe to my newsletter. I’ll still maintain sharing newsletters every 2nd and 4th Tuesday per month.

I still also plan to continue posting monthly writing blog posts on this website, too! Those won’t be going away anytime soon and I think they’re a great way to keep up to date on this site for what I’m currently writing. 

There are probably also other things I’ll do to make my writing-life balance be a bit more balanced. Whatever changes may happen, however, I hope all of you can support me in this journey as much as you have so far.

2. I’m switching from writing mysteries to writing poetry and fantasy!

I’d like to self-publish my two poetry chapbooks, “Refiling The Well” and “24 Hours,” as the next projects to share with all of you. 

“Refilling The Well” focuses on themes of hustle culture, burnout, recovery from burnout and self-care. “24 Hours” focuses on the concept of time and what might go through our minds during a single day – which, I promise, are a lot of things.

I’ve always enjoyed writing and reading poetry, and I’ve had individual poems published in lit mags and other projects before. I’m confident to say that writing for both chapbooks is already complete. It’s just a matter of formatting and doing all the other prepwork that goes into publishing them in the future!

Some things I want to do differently for my poetry chapbooks include:

1. Having the books available in both paperback and ebook versions for initial publication. 

This is important for my chapbooks because I know of many poetry readers that prefer reading physical books. Having physical copies available to readers will, therefore, be vital.

Since I am new to figuring out how to publish physical copies of books, however, it’ll probably take me longer to figure out publishing the poems versus publishing my murder mysteries.

2. Release dates that aren’t in June!

Sticking with a June release date for my past three books has been good for me – especially when I first started self-publishing. It gave me a good mid-year goal to accomplish in general, and gave me a solid deadline between books. However, with all the books I keep coming up with and drafting, editing, and refining, I realize that I need my publishing process to match up better with the actual flow of my writing process. Maybe it might take one and a half years between books, or less time than that. It depends on the project.

I’m not saying that I’ll never publish during June again. However, I do want to publish at times of the year outside of the beginning of the summer season, starting with at least the first poetry chapbook. I don’t have a confirmed release date for either of the poetry chapbooks at the time. However, I hope to share more news about them later this year when it comes to publication dates!

Stock image of flowers and a postcard piled on top of two books.

I’ve also mentioned, repeatedly in the past months, that I’m writing a cozy urban fantasy duology.

I discussed this in my newsletters during June, but the duology has been fused with the world of two other books I’m writing to become a longer cozy urban fantasy series!

At this time of writing, I have 6 books planned, with a possible Book 7. The two books that were originally a duology are now Books 2 and 3. I also finished drafting Book 1 last month, so I just need to outline and write the first drafts of Books 4, 5, and 6.

The current plan is to complete first drafts all of the books. I do want to get them done in a timely manner. However, I don’t want to give myself a solid deadline on this yet. My first focus, outside of writing the series, is formatting and eventually self-publishing my poetry chapbooks. 

After writing all first drafts, I would start editing/revising each of them for continuity/development purposes.

Granted, all of this is going to take a while to get done. I’m one person running this website, the socials, newsletter, and everything else that goes into being an indie author and poet. And as someone who is also trying to really scale back my activity as an author/poet to have a more sustainable life outside of writing, it’ll probably take longer than I expect to get projects done. 

I hope you look forward to reading my future projects and supporting me in this new step of my writing journey!

Stock photo of someone writing in a notebook outdoors by a river. The writer's face is not seen, just the hands writing in said notebook as they rest the notebook on their lap.

3. Ending Book Reviews:

If you’ve followed me for a long time, you know that this website used to be a book review blog before I turned it into a proper author website.

Since 2017, I’ve been posting book reviews almost every month. Previously, up until a few years ago, almost every week. I’ve realized, back in April 2024, that I no longer am passionate about writing book reviews. I still love reading books and writing my thoughts about them.

However, I’ve reached a point in my writing and reading life where writing book reviews isn’t working for me anymore. I am open to the possibility of returning to writing them later if I want to again, but definitely not at this time. With that in mind, I will stop posting regular book reviews after August 2024. 

Thank you to everyone who read my book reviews and found them helpful! I appreciate all of your support, and I hope you enjoy reading what else I have featured on this site.

4. Future Blog Posts:

As for future blog posts, monthly writing progress posts will remain a staple of this site.

Depending on how busy I get at times, however, I may have to skip a month or two of writing progress posts.

I also would like to share other types of related blog posts. Some could be reflecting deeper on my writing journey so far, others being some cool things I learned during the process that I think would benefit you. So if you’d like some more advice-styled posts, let me know!

Also: I may skip posting a writing update blog post in August 2024. This is mainly because I want to take July to relax a little bit and enjoy the summer season, especially after spending all of June promoting “Bloody Fantasia.”

I’ll let you know closer to August 1st later this month, on socials and my newsletter, whether a new monthly writing update will happen. Keep an eye out for those!

Thank you for following my writing journey!

I appreciate all of you supporting my writing journey as I make these new adjustments moving forward. 

If you like this post, please share it with your fellow writers and readers! Also, feel free to follow my site and/or other socials listed in this Carrd for more reader/writer posts, fanfics, book reviews, and other updates! Also, subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here or entering your email below if you want updates coming directly to your inbox!

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