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Out with 2023... In with 2024

Is it a bit cliche to do a post on the last day of the year? Of course. But definitely not going to stop me.

I’m really bad at making plans and lists and starting projects without finishing them. Which is why I usually try not to make New Year’s resolutions. It’s a bad habit of mine that I’ve yet to actually break. 

You know the saying, “My eyes were bigger than my stomach”? That’s me. I am the personification of that expression. But with life. (And often food.)

I have always had this idea in my head that I can do it all. Which has often led to over-committing myself. Something always falls by the wayside, and I don’t complete all the goals I set out to do. This then has me feeling like a failure despite the fact that I set goals that were pretty much impossible from the get-go.

Already, I’ve said that I was going to start posting “Apparition in the Attic” several times and have not followed through. And already, I’m feeling a bit defeated. Even though I know I need to be kinder to myself. If I’ve learned anything from my nearly year-long writer’s block, it’s that I need to stop being so hard on myself. And stop forcing myself to write.  

It’s better to let it come to me when it’s ready. Pushing it only makes it worse, and I don’t produce quality stories that I’m happy with. Which only further feeds the cycle.

In that regard, I think for at least the first part of 2024, I’m going to focus on publishing. 

For the longest time, I’ve only had one published book that I pushed - “Something Wicked,” which I published right before I left Korea in Summer 2022. I’m long overdue to publish again. And thankfully, I have two books that are ready. 

The first is obviously “The Whitehall Affair.” I’ve already completed the first round of editing, though I need to do some more work before I’m ready to unleash it to the world. There are still some repetition issues and a few other editing categories to work through. 

Sidenote time…

I know a lot of people in the writing community - both novels and content writing - are wary of AI. Trust me, I’ve been hearing ALL about it within the freelance content writing community for years. And also worried that I was going to lose my content writing job. (Newsflash - I didn’t. And not going to.) However, I can see the potential. Besides, Pandora’s box has been opened, so AI isn’t going away. 

There are ethical and legal ways to use AI services as a writer to produce higher-quality work. Now, before anyone comes at me - I’m not writing books or content completely through AI. Nor do I condone that. Notice I said “ethical” and “legal”. I use AI services to edit. And chances are, a lot of people are. If you use ProWritingAid or Grammarly, those are AI. I’m also using a new program called AutoCrit, which is saving my life right now.

I can’t afford a professional editor, so it’s an affordable option to get clean copy. And AutoCrit also has some great features to help with finding plot holes that I’ve missed and other development issues. As a self-published author, I’m making do with the resources I have around me. I don’t have any friends with experience in editing - I’m the editor in the group - so I have them read my work to give me feedback as a reader. And then I use editing programs to catch everything that I miss technical-wise. Because, damn, it’s hard editing your own work. Even with 15 years of copyediting experience. 

Sidenote finished…

My second project is honestly long overdue. 

You see, I actually have two published books. Back in 2020, I released an urban fantasy based on Greek mythology called “A Walk Among Goddesses.” It’s meant to be part of a trilogy, but as I’ve mentioned, I’m really good at starting things. Complete shit at actually finishing them. I haven’t really talked about “A Walk Among Goddesses” because I know it’s rough. It didn’t get the editing treatment that “Something Wicked” did (though that should probably undergo another editing now that I think about it) and definitely nothing like what I’m currently doing with “The Whitehall Affair.” I should have taken it down and re-edited it years ago, but I’ve pushed it aside to focus on writing.

Not anymore. 

I’m going to take it down from Amazon and breathe new life it in. Will it inspire me to finally get around to finishing Book 2 and 3? Maybe? Hopefully? Perhaps if people read it and it gets a following, that will provide further motivation. I do have a good outline going for Book 2, and I know what’s going to happen in Book 3. 

If anything, I’ll have something published under my new penname - Yvonne Monroe. 

So yea, those are my goals starting out the new year. I’m going to publish two books. And then I’m going to focus on writing new works, namely “Apparition in the Attic” and “Into the Flames.” Or whatever strikes my fancy. And stop making promises about books on social media because I obviously can’t keep them.

While I’m at it, I need to work on social media marketing. Another thing that’s overdue as well. I know I’m bad at it. And that I need to do more research and learning. I just haven’t had the time. (Or made the time...) I feel like I’ve entered a new stage of my life now that I’m back in my hometown and it’s time to start focusing more on building up a writing career rather than putting books out and hoping they’ll magically do well. 

You know, instead of sitting around taking notes on all the ways I need to improve and not actually doing anything. As mentioned - good with lists. It’s the follow-through I need to kick into gear. 

Here’s hoping I can get that figured out in 2024. I think it’s time to make Emily Crewse Kalka and Yvonne Monroe a priority. 

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