Writing Through the Night

It’s 6.27am. I haven’t slept yet and, at this point, it’s unlikely that I will sleep before I head out to my last creative writing class for the [academic] year. I’m considering walking into the city centre instead of taking a bus. It’s the kind of mood I’m in.

One of the reasons I’m still up, aside from being an insomniac/nocturnal and having a criminally early class, is that I was writing a short story that’s been playing on my mind/heart for a while. It’s inspired by a conversation that happened in my aforementioned writing class. And it’s a story that, I think, could be developed further. It’s one that I’m tempted to turn into a short stage play. One that I’m considering having sequels to. I don’t know yet, and that’s okay. It’s not the point of the blog post.

I just wanted to say that, in times like these when I don’t have the time or energy to write much, writing is still what I come back to. It’s still what I love.

Perhaps it’s cliche, but I feel like there are so many stories in me. I want to write them all. And not even in the way of overworking myself that I’ve previously written about. I just mean that I am certain that telling stories – whether by poems, or plays, or novels – is what I want to devote my life to, ultimately. (Well, that and love, but that’s a different blog post.)

It is one of my sincerest goals to be considered prolific – to get as much down on paper in my lifetime as humanly possible. I don’t know if I’ve said that before or not, but it’s 6.38am and that’s what I’m thinking about.

Conquering Chips

Don’t be fooled by the title. This is not a post about dieting.

I know I set out some new year’s goals for myself here yesterday, but I’ve been thinking about how I want to develop my writing specifically, and none of them were really about that.

So, my plan, cunning and complicated as it is, is to write (at least) a little bit of fiction every day. Poetry and blog posts are great (I mean, really!), but I want to start chipping away at the big mass of novel ideas that are in my head.

‘You know how you conquer a mass?’, I remind myself, ‘One little bit at a time’.

More practically than that, though, I’m thinking of getting something (anything?) down in a Word document before I open my web browser for the day.

Yeah, I know, cunning and complicated it is not. Maybe that’s why it stands a chance of success. Either way, I feel the need to keep track of my progress, so I might pick up a diary or calendar to mark off as I go.

And, of course, I’ll still keep posting end-of-month writing wrap-up posts here. Let’s just see if I can make the total wordcounts a bit bigger!


A little gift from Day One – new short story: Blast Zone.

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!

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?

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)

Poetic Waves (Writing Review – Sept. 2016)

shortlisted-poet-certificateMaybe it’s because it’s the run up to National Poetry Day (in the UK) and the FSNI National Poetry Competition (in Northern Ireland), but September seems to be a fairly poetry-focused month for me.

It was last year, and is even more so this year – no doubt spurred on by me starting a poetry class and having a poem shortlisted in a local competition. Regardless of the reason why, though, the fact remains that I wrote a shed-load of verse last month, and I’m still writing a lot now, as I near the end of October.

I’ll get into the nitty gritty of stats in a moment but, first, I’ve been having some thoughts about this whole poetry lark…

The way I figure it, I’m on my fourth wave of poetry. Maybe (/probably) that’s a weird way to look at it, but what I mean is that I see a clear distinction between the poems I wrote as a child (which I’m counting as wave one – anything written up to the age of about 16), the poems I wrote growing up (16 – 24, as summed up in Juvenilia), the poems I wrote in the last few years (as featured in Still Dreaming, Wake, and The Love Poems), and the ones I’m writing now.

I could be deluding myself, but I really think my new set are at a much higher standard than ever before. It makes sense, after all, that I would improve with practice, I’m just impressed with how much and how sudden it all is.

Obviously, I’m not the most objective person to judge that, but the feedback I’ve been getting in class has been really encouraging. Plus there is the fact that I’ve been able to finish poems that have been sitting, half-drafted, on my hard drive for years.

All in all, I wrote thirty new pieces and added to five more (totaling two thousand words). Also in September, I wrote three and a half blog posts (eight hundred words), a synopsis of a new story (one hundred and fifty words), one short story at a thousand words, a second short story at one thousand, eight hundred, a piece of flash fiction (seven hundred words), and two thousand words towards my novel.

What’s all that? Eight thousand, five hundred words, also known as a successful month!

A Seasonal Summary

At the launch of the Bangor Poetry CompetitionFirst years at university often fall foul to what’s called ‘fresher’s flu’ – a really bad cold resulting from coming into contact with so many new people and their accompanying germs.

I managed to attain this affliction for three years running. (Thanks, immune system!)

This September, I seem to have defied the odds once more. The cold that seemed to have vanished at the end of August, returned during the night last night. Maybe it’s only fitting, seeing as I’m due to start a poetry course this semester. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been really busy, meeting a lot of (wonderful) people.

Last night I was at the launch of The Fourth Annual Bangor Poetry Competition, and the night before that I coordinated my second Women Aloud & FSNI Poetry Recital.

In five months – to this day, exactly – I’m getting married.

…needless to say, things are crazy, and exciting, and amazing, and scary cool!

The season has changed, and I’m trying to set myself up to make this new one a good one, knowing that good things are coming at its end.

Going forward, I’m once more gonna try and implement a weekly work schedule in which I spend two complete days a week writing for myself, completely disconnected from the internet and phone.

But before all that, let me catch you up on last month…

Last month, I finished reading To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han, I read Belonging to Myself (a poetry collection) by Jenny Cleland, Why I Write by George Orwell (review here), and I listened to Summer Knight (fourth book in the Dresden Files series) by Jim Butcher. As such, I’m 31 books into my 45-book goal for the year.

What I wrote during August? A bunch of blog posts, a piece of flash fiction, notes for a novel I have on the backburner, five poems, and two pieces of fan fiction. Total words: just over four thousand.


Read about my recent client work over on my work blog.

Writing Review – July 2016

Camp NaNoWriMo is over for another year and, honestly? I’m a little sad about that. The writing event is usually a bit hit and miss with me – sometimes with me achieving more than I planned, and sometimes coming nowhere near my goal – but this time around I stayed about the middle, getting further than I did in July and being happy with all the resulting words, but still not finishing. Given how my health has been the last two weeks, though, I’m satisfied with that.

But Ellie, I hear no one ask, how many words did you actually write?

  • 10,500 words towards my novel draft
  • 10 Blog Posts (totaling 2,000 words)
  • 3 pieces of Fan Fiction (2,500)
  • 1 Short Story (4,800)
  • 2 Poems (200)

Goal for August? 15,000 words total – across all projects.


To read about what work I completed for clients this month, click here.

Fan Fiction Milestones 2016

FanFic AnniversaryNow three years from when I started writing fan fiction, it’s time for another round-up of statistics. For comparison, you can see last years post here.

One thing that’s happened since my last update that I should mention is that I’ve joined Archive of Our Own.
So, I’m currently going through all my fanfic, re-editing and crossposting it there.

Basic Stats:

  • Over 8,500 Profile Views | Fanfiction.net
  • Received over 500 Reviews | Fanfiction.net
  • Received over 1,500 Reviews* | Elysian Fields
  • 107 Followers | Fanfiction.net
  • On the Favorite Author List of 99 Members | Fanfiction.net
  • On the Favorite Author List of 67 Members | Elysian Fields

I Have Written:

  • Over 270,000 words of Fanfiction for Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series
    (70,000 in the last year)
  • About 5,000 words of Fanfic for Other Fandoms
  • Over 850 Reviews, Totaling 40,000 words | Elysian Fields
  • Over 150 Reviews | Fanfiction.net
  • 13 “Challenges” | Elysian Fields

I Have Currently:

  • 44 Completed Stories for the Buffy Fandom**
  • 6 Completed Stories for Other Fandoms
  • 42 Works in Progress for Buffy Fandom
  • 1 Works in Progress for Other Fandoms

Awards Since Last Year:

  • Runner Up: Best Beta | Sunnydale Memorial Fan Fiction Awards (Round 32)
  • Best Crossover (with a TV show) | SunnyD Fanfic Awards (Round 32)
  • Best Quickie Fic | SunnyD Fanfic Awards (Round 32)
  • 2015 Challange Month Participant | Elysian Fields
  • 2015 Holiday Fic Challange Participant | EF
  • 2015 Holiday Review Challange Participant | EF

*This is calculated to the best of my ability. There were a lot to count, and there might be a small degree of human error, hence why I’ve rounded numbers down.

**For this statistic, I’ve combined series and counted them once.

Writing Review – June 2016

Camp NaNoWriMo Participant BagdeDuring June, I wrote 8,500 words, consisting of:

  • 7 Blog Posts
  • 1 Poem
  • 6 (short) Chapters of Fan fiction
  • 1 and a Half Parts of a Short Story

I also edited and reformatted five short stories, submitted two poems to online journals, and entered The Love Poems into a chapbook competition.

Goal for July: 30,000 words of a first draft of my new novel, as part of Camp NaNoWriMo.


To read about what work I completed for clients this month, click here.