End of Year Reading and Writing Audit 2016

Before I let myself get too carried away with excitement for the new year, I thought I should wrap up the one that’s coming to a close. For context and comparison, here is my ‘year in review’ post from 2015.

Earlier in 2016, you might remember I carried out what I called a “literary audit.” Since then, I’ve been keeping much better track of what I write. It’s been good to look back and it certainly makes posts like this a heck of a lot easier! Anyway, without further ado…

This month I wrote 4,000 words. During the entire year, I wrote over 100,000 – can’t say exactly because, like I said, I only started taking note part way through the year (it was 95,000 words total, April – December). I do know I wrote 55,000 words of fanfic (January – December) and a hell of a lot of poetry.

December saw me devouring four audiobooks, a Kindle short, and a novel-length fanfic, leaving my books read for the year at 54 (off a goal of 45). Goodreads have laid all my stats out in a handy chart, here.

Personal Highlights for Twenty Sixteen:

Finally, 2017 Goals:

  • Get married
  • Read 50 books
  • Join the Society of Authors
  • Get a literary agent
  • and a cat
  • Take an official proofreading course

Also: In a bid to catch up on my ‘to be read’ pile, I’ve decided to not buy any new books for the first six months of 2017. I can still loan out books from the library, however, and I’m allowing myself to continue getting one audiobook a month during this time.

I am so excited for this!

On having difficulty relaxing

“A poem is never finished only abandoned.” – Paul Valéry

I’ve really enjoyed yesterday and today, spending Christmas with my partner’s parents, and tomorrow we’re off to see my parents. I already announced that in my last blog post, when I said I was logging off. The thing is, I’m not sure I really know how to have down time. Not properly, and definitely not for an extended period of time.

Now, I’m quite hard on myself. I know that logically, but it still doesn’t stop me doing it. I can spend whole days being busy – doing lots of really small things, spanning client work, housework, taking care of myself, and/or my partner – but when it comes to the end of those days, I feel like I’ve achieved nothing.

Productivity very much ties into my self-worth (again, this is despite knowing logically that there’s no point). If I don’t feel like I’ve done enough, I feel bad. Simple as that.

But where does relaxing come into this? Continue reading

Logging Off…

This past year has been crazy, and this whole month has been crazy-busy.

Right now, I’m logging off for three days over Christmas. But I just wanted to wish everyone very happy holidays, wherever you are, or whatever your situation.

If you’re alone and you need help, know that there are people and services out there for you.

If you kinda wish you were alone? Well, you have my sympathies. Families can be… tough, shall we say. But you’re tough, too. You can totally get through this!

See you on the other side  🙂

My Shadow (Poem)

Recently, I shared a piece of flash fiction about shadows. Now I have a poem for you, on the theme. It was inspired by this video.

Now, normally, I shy away from prompts. I have so many story ideas, I already can’t keep up, but poetry’s different. Because it’s so much shorter, I can have an idea for a poem and jump on it right away. They don’t build up, so I have none in reserve.

Since I’ve been writing a lot of poems lately, and I want to keep that going, I have been actively looking for inspiration for poems. As such, I’ve found this site which is quite good.

But that’s enough preamble. Here is my poem.

My Shadow

Light slips through
the dark cracks
They are substance
in themselves
Forming a mosaic

Cold parts are next to warm
there is every shade of color
Everything that is me

My shadow is what I will
leave behind

NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up 2016

Four years ago, yesterday, I had the joint book launch for Still Dreaming and Wake. That was also the first year I won NaNoWriMo (and won it properly, by working on a novel and not just lots of smaller writing projects).

This November? Well… let’s just say it’s been very different, and not just with the many, many small projects, either.

Main point: I didn’t win. I got sick for three weeks and went on holiday (not in that order), but I also managed twenty-two thousand words and I’m really happy with that.

November =

  • 1 Holiday
  • 7 boxes of tissues
  • 6 blog posts (1,100 words)
  • 20 micropoems (800 words)
  • 4 bottles of cough medicine
  • 3 and half fanfics (17,000 words!)
  • numerous squares of chocolate
  • despair about a lack of client work, followed by…
  • a lot of client work
  • 3,000 words towards my novel
  • a partridge in a pear tree 

While I’m here, I should also probably get my reading update out of the way – not that there’s much to report!

Books Finished: Diary of a Wimpy Vampire by Tim Collins, A Choice of Emily Dickinson’s Verse

Books Started: White Night by Jim Butcher, No Life But This by Anna Sheehan, one fanfic novel

Books Bought: The Female Line: Northern Irish Women Writers

(Okay, so that was a little more than I actually remembered. Go me!)

How was your November?

Bright Spot in a Bad Week

I’ve been having a really bad week. And I know this year, in general, has been hellish for a lot of people.

Generally, I don’t have the best health. I don’t shy away from that fact. I’m in pain often and get sick a lot. But since I came back from my holiday? Wow, have I been bad!

This heavy cold has been going around – my partner got it before I did – but I have the added bonus of chronic sinusitis and asthma, which makes the whole thing worse. I’ve been struggling to breathe, and sleep, and lie down. Last night I coughed so much I threw up.

Okay, maybe I’m bordering on TMI territory here, but I’m getting around to my point, which is this: things have been sucky, but there’s also good things in the world. Generally and personally.

After a particularly hard night last night and having to cancel an event today, last minute, I woke up from a much-needed nap to see a new, unprompted, five-star review on the Facebook page for my business.

I also had an email telling me one of my poems has been accepted into an anthology. After submitting more pieces than ever before and not having a single poem or short story appear anywhere all year.

So, somewhat fittingly for this time of year, I am thankful.

May bright spots on cloudy days ever continue!

Ellie Rose Recommends: Blasty

Ever since I first heard about my books being offered (or supposedly offered) for free across the internet, I’ve been looking for an effective way to deal with piracy.

I issued an official takedown request to a website, once, but it went ignored. Now, I use Blasty.

Blasty doesn’t delete offending web pages from the internet, but it does alert Google, who then stops linking to them which essentially has the same outcome.

As tasks go, looking through all the offending links and ‘blasting’ them is annoying but important. Something you have to keep on top of.

I’m not being paid to promote the app, but I do have an invite link that will allow you to access it without having to wait.

It’s in beta testing at the moment (and therefore free, for the time being).


malcolm-reynolds-quoteSince I was a little kid, I’ve been kind of obsessed with the USA.

Most of the TV shows I watched with my brother, growing up, were American. Ergo, pretty much all of my pop culture references are American.

All my writing is in American English, most of it implicitly set in the states, because it just seemed natural to me.

It’s been my life-long dream to emigrate. To visit all the main cities and tourist sites, and to take a road trip down Route 66.

If I believed in reincarnation, I would have guessed I was American in a previous life.

But, well, that was before. This past week has killed a lot of my enthusiasm for the country, and – in case you can’t guess – I’ll tell you why, in two words: Donald Trump.

I’ve heard some people say he should be given a chance and that we shouldn’t condemn him yet, but the thing is, even if he never does a single one of the racist, misogynistic, homophobic things he promised? A great deal of the country I once loved voted him into power based on those promises. That is terrifying, and it says a hell of a lot about what those people think and feel.

I read about the attacks and hate crimes people have suffered just in the last few days, since some people felt validated in their hate by the result, and I’m disgusted. Horrified.

This is not the country I once fell in love with, and it’s certainly not something I want to be a part of.

My question to you, however, is this: if you live in the states, is this really how you see the nation becoming “great again”? And just what are you going to do about this injustice?

Don’t be quiet. Speak up. Speak out.

Let love guide you instead of fear, and let’s really get back to the liberty America’s supposed to be based on.

Holiday Update: Meeting James Marsters

Meeting James MarstersI used to travel all around the UK and Ireland a few times a year, catching trains, sleeping on people’s living room floors, and going to events.

I’d call the trips ‘Ellie Adventures’ and they would often involve missed connections, little money, very little sleep, and a hell of a lot of photos.

That craziness was great when I was in my early twenties. Not so much, these days. ‘Low Key’ is very much becoming the theme of my life, and I’m happy with that. I’ve settled down.

(Settling down sounds boring, when you’re young, but in truth? It’s relaxing. It’s bliss.)

Anyway, I got back yesterday evening from my first and only trip of 2016, and it was great. So good not to be going places on my own anymore!

My partner and I went to Wrexham for Wales Comic Con (via Manchester) mainly so I could meet my favorite actor: James Marsters. (See photo. I’m so happy!)

This is the life! #GoodTimes

Reading and Writing in October

2016-reading-challengeI’ve been quite busy, this month, but the main thing to report is that I completed my 2016 Goodreads Reading Goal. That’s a total of forty-five out of forty-five books read, several weeks early.

Books Completed in October:

Words Written in October: 12,000

  • 5,500 words of Novel Work
  • 3,500 words of Fan Fiction
  • 1,300 words of Poetry
  • Piece of Flash Fiction (1,000 words)
  • 2 Blog Posts (700 words, combined)