Reading Wrap-Up – April 2016

This has been a fairly slow reading month for me, but I did work my way through a stack of old magazines about the history of Belfast, as loaned to me by my partner’s father.

I also read The Servant, a short story by the same author as The Horologicon, which I read last year. And I started We Were Liars by E Lockhart.

Just yesterday I got a paperback copy of Career of Evil – the new Robert Galbraith book – which I’m mega excited about (maybe even too excited!), but that’s pretty much it.

Goodreads Update: 15 books into my 45 book goal for the year = 1 book ahead of schedule.

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A Literary Audit

Literary Audit 2016The tax year just having ended, I’m taking stock of my business from the past twelve months – doing accounts and such – but, seeing as how my business basically boils down to a lot of words in a lot of places, I thought it was time to crunch some numbers on those, too.

I’ve done this before, but the results of that literary audit weren’t very organized and are now massively out of date.

But what exactly is a literary audit? I hear you ask.

Well, it’s the process of looking hard at everything you’ve written/created/had published, and putting together some facts and figures based on what you find. The purpose of this is two-fold: to see how far you’ve come, and to give you a better idea of where you might want to go with your work in future. You might find, for example, that you have written a lot of short stories, but that you’ve only ever submitted a tenth of them to journals, blogs, or competitions. Knowing that leaves you with the obvious next step of going out and making a fresh round of submissions.

SIDE NOTE: While I’m on the topic of submissions, have you heard about Submittable? It’s a website that lets you submit your work to relevant publications quickly and easily. I can’t recommend it highly enough (read more about it here).

How does one conduct a literary audit? I used a spreadsheet with several tabs, and way too many midnight hours.  Continue reading

Death by Literature (Flash fic)

A piece of flash fiction I wrote, a few months ago. Loosely inspired by my experience of reading Illuminae on the train home.

Comic by Grant Snider
Comic by Grant Snider

I was reading about a spaceship being attacked; being blown up, with thousands of people on board, some of which I’d spent the previous three books growing attached to. The final missiles were fired towards them, and my heart clenched. They bore down on them and… the train I was on shuddered around me, throwing my thoughts off the rails.

Was the engine that loud when I got on? I shook my head, deciding it didn’t matter. I needed to know what happened, and I needed to know now!

Turning the page, I jumped right back in.

The fallout was devastating, but things weren’t over yet. It seemed the attackers were now heading after the rescue ships, sent in to patrol the area.

Bang, bang, bang! The first fleet of emergency vessels went up in a ball of fire. Heart clenching again, I didn’t notice that they’d called my stop. Only when the train started to slow did I realize I needed to get off. If I didn’t get off, I’d be stuck in the middle of nowhere for the rest of the night, but there was just half a paragraph left, and I couldn’t leave it.

Distressed, I snatched up my bag and ran to the carriage doors, glancing back down at the page after every step.

The doors shut as I reached them, and I looked up.

Heart clenching one final time, the last three words went unread.

Productivity, Procrastination, Deadlines, and Goals

Before I get onto the main point of this blog post, I really recommend watching this YouTube video about procrastination. (Yes, I mean that all irony aside.)

I agree with the conclusions of the video – that there are no such people as non-procrastinators, and that procrastination falls into two main types: short term (in which there are set deadlines) and indefinite (in which there are not).

I suffer from the latter.

Now, that isn’t exactly news to me, but what has changed is my approach to the issue.  Continue reading