2018

Other goals and aspirations for 2018

1/06/2018 02:13:00 pm

In my last post, I talked about my writing goals for 2018 (which I consider a bit lofty for having not written much since 2015 but I digress) but I've spent the past few days thinking about the things I'd like to accomplish personally in 2018. Last year was a really tough year for me personally and I'd like to make some big changes this year to help improve myself both physically and mentally.

1. Read more. This is probably my biggest goal and something I really want to do for myself. I haven't read a huge amount since leaving university in 2012. While working toward my degree, I was reading several books a week and I think it took a lot of my love of reading away from me. I don't regret my degree and I consider it one of my biggest and best accomplishments but I haven't read much since. I decided to take the Goodreads Challenge this year and attempt to read 25 books this year. It doesn't seem like that much but I know I probably read about half that amount last year. It's time to start reading again.

2. Write and publish my first crochet/knitting patterns. I learned to crochet and knit in the summer of 2014 before moving to the UK and starting my master's programme. Since then, knitting and crochet have become a central theme in my life. I carry my yarn with me wherever I go. Without it, I'd probably be losing my my with stress and anxiety. After making all of my gifts for Christmas this year (a massive goal of mine since beginning to crochet), I've started dabbling in pattern creation and writing. So far, I've made up a few patterns for small items but I'd like to work more toward my goal of being a more well-rounded yarn artist and I'll probably start documenting some of these activities in my blog (even though I had intended for this to be an author blog only... but it's my blog so I can do what I want.)

3. Do more yoga. Last year, my goal was to do the splits and I came SO close before nearly blowing out my knee and having to take time away from it. This year, my goal is to be more regular with my yoga practice. Breathe more, build my strength slower, and push myself mentally in the practice instead of trying to break myself in two. I think 2017 was a year of self-destruction for me. I'd like 2018 to be a year of self-discovery and I'm hoping a more regular and relaxed yoga practice will help in this. I know it sounds like a lot of bullshit but it's amazing what a few deep breaths can do on a bad day.

4. Eat less sugar. Jesus I eat A LOT of sugar. I think this was part of my self-destructive habits--a lack of giving a single shit about what I ate and how much I was eating. My goal is to be a bit more disciplined about junk food and impulse food purchases. Basically this goal is just me shouting "No, you don't need to eat a whole bag of cookies just because they're on sale, Amy."

5. Drink less. On the theme of self-destruction and overeating, I think I really overdid it with the alcohol last year. I could definitely see myself using it as a crutch and it led to a lot of bad decisions and handling my emotions in really unhealthy ways. I'd like to change that. I know a lot of people are doing dry January and, so far, I've abstained too. But I don't want it to be a 'do dry January and then drink like a fish the rest of the year.' I'd just like to be a bit more conscious of what I'm putting in my body, basically.

And on that, I think I've got enough goals for the year. Generally, I just want to be happier and healthier and I think these are things I can do for myself, over time, that will help with that.

2018

Don't call it a resolution: 2018 edition

12/29/2017 09:03:00 am

Well this blog has been dead for a while, hasn't it? And I can't guarantee that it'll be updated on a daily/weekly basis going forward BUT I've got a lot of exciting upcoming events in the new year so I figured what better time to resurrect my author blog?

I've taken a VERY long hiatus from writing. It's partially because I burnt myself out writing full time back in the day. It's partially left over burn out from reading so much doing my undergraduate degree (am I still allowed to use this excuse over 5 years since graduation? Probably not.) It's also partially because I got busy. I have a full time job and I'm trying to have an active life going out and just 'doing stuff' like visiting museums, travelling (!), and finally getting a chance to live comfortably instead of being broke all of the time.

It's been a good few years.

It's been a rough few years as well.

Particularly this last year.

This last year, I've gotten back into writing. I needed it. I needed a channel for a lot of the things I was going through. I wrote an actual shit load of poetry. I'm talking mountains of it. Folded up A4 pieces of paper with 8-10 poems scrawled in very tiny handwriting are all over my flat. I've got half a book of poetry written now. It's incredible.

So on that, let's talk goals.

I need to make some changes in 2018. Maybe I won't make them all, maybe I'll surprise myself and will make them all. Who knows? I'm a work in progress. Anyway, without further ado, the writing goals I want to accomplish in 2018 (small and large):


  • Publish 2 Novels. Honestly, I've got 2 in progress that are over halfway done. This is totally possible if I just it down and WRITE.
  • Publish a book of poetry. Also possible considering how much I've written in the past year. The plan is that it will be almost another verse novel but not quite. It needs A LOT of work. But I think I can do it. 
  • Progress with my Found Poetry project. One of my pet projects for the past year has been found poetry. It's driving my partner crazy as my source material is stacking up but it's a good way to get my brain working when I don't feel like 'actually writing' --whatever that means.
As you can see. BIG LOFTY GOALS. Honestly, I'd be happy if I published one book but I like to dream big. Here's to a big year of writing, publishing, and maybe even updating this blog. 

america

Where I Am Now

7/25/2016 11:04:00 pm

It was November 2015 the last time I posted on this blog. Probably because I'm the worst but actually because I got a full time job and moved and had a lot of life changes (in a really good way.) Here's a quick run down of what I've done:

I graduated. I have an MA. It's pretty cool stuff. I highly recommend getting an education.



I got permission to stay in the UK for another 2.5 years. Woohoo! It cost a shit load of money and was the most stressful day of my life but I'm here with my boyfriend and that's what matters in the end.

In publishing news, I work in publishing managing permissions for several big publishers and working with my company to build an online permissions tool. It's a pretty good gig.

I won a prize for my website at London Book Fair and got drunk on the free wine. It was awesome.

I moved to London. It's busy and crowded and chaotic. It gives me hay fever. It is frustrating (it took me three hours to get to work one morning...) But it's home. I love it.

My house. 
I bought my first brand new couch--which I am sitting on currently and lovin' it.

Me in my new flat before we bought our couch. So spacious.
I bought a lot of plants--seriously.



I crocheted some new things.


I've probably gained five pounds (that I'm trying to decide if I care about or not).

I've made a shit load of new friends.

I went back to America for a week and a half. (It was weird.)



And I'm happier.

So that sums it up.

-Amy

events

Photos from the Oxford Brookes Wellbeing Poetry Contest Prizegiving

11/03/2015 02:39:00 pm

I mentioned in my last post that I won second and third place in the Oxford Brookes Wellbeing Poetry contest and then completely forgot to follow up with some photos.

The reading was fantastic. I was in really good poetic company that night and the small audience was very receptive to all of us. I had a great time reading in front of people for the first time in a few years and my legs only shook a teeny-tiny bit.

Here's what the judges had to say about my poems, which you can read here:

Amy Ellis achieved the remarkable feat of being placed both third and second, and with poems which are radically different from one another in subject matter and tone. Her third-placed poem, ‘The Secret Keeper’ was an intense, shocking piece which the judges admired for its uncompromising approach but also for its craft - the deft use of rhyme and half-rhyme to insinuate and then stun the reader with the full force of the violence being described. The poem is constructed with considerable skill, the beginnings and ends of lines designed to complement the vivid and dynamic imagery.

Amy’s second-placed poem, ‘Stirring’, by contrast, depicts the warmth of a relationship between - what seems to be - a grandmother and granddaughter. It reflects with great tenderness upon a private moment as the speaker looks into the kitchen to see an elderly woman carrying out the everyday action of cooking. She does so selflessly, almost defiantly, making something to please the granddaughter, but in that unguarded moment, revealing her own fragility and age, offering the reader a tension between the grandmother’s repetitive action, and the knowledge of her mortality.

And as promised, a few photos of me in a probably too-short dress reading my poems:
 
 




events

Upcoming Poetry Reading in Oxford, UK

10/25/2015 02:20:00 pm

As always, I'm a bit last minute but I thought I'd post an invite on the blog. If you don't follow me on Facebook or Twitter, two of my poems placed in the Oxford Brookes University Wellbeing Poetry Contest which was announced on National Poetry Day. This week is the prizegiving and reading which means I will be reading my winning poems at Oxford Brookes University this Tuesday at 7pm in the Enquiry Centre of the John Henry Brookes building. Everyone is welcome to attend.

All of the winners of the poetry competition will be reading their winning entries and there will also be a reading by Dan Holloway, a local poet, novelist, and publisher.

If you're in the Oxford area, stop by and see me and my peers reading some awesome poetry.

Click here for more information and to read the winning entries. 

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