My 2016


What a year. Good, bad, and indifferent, and everything in between. This is slightly long, but I’ll put in plenty of cat photos to compensate, and there’s some serious meaningful stuff at the end, OK? OK.

January came along, and we re-named our kittie (who was called Starbuck) to Tiny because she was, ya know… A TINY SMOL DIDDY BALL OF FLOOFNESS. This was all fun and games at the time.

I did Veganuary and loved it so much I made the transition permanently. I encourage anyone to try it.

I went to That London with my dearest mother to watch Noah Gundersen live, which was amazing. We lived it so large we were in our beds by midnight with a glass of wine and our books.

February, and THE X FILES WAS BACK ON MY TV! iyewkhasfjfdahsfadf. OK, so only two out of the six episodes were any good, but still, it was a revelation. I got my friends round every week and we all screamed and ranted and rejoiced in equal amounts.

March. Who the hell knows what happened in March? I had a birthday? I don’t remember much else. There’s just a bunch of cat photos on my phone. Though I did find this glorious thing:

My best friend (and also birthday-twin) got me this amazing birthday card.

April: I decided, seriously, to do a big scary hike in March 2017. Angel’s Landing. I vowed to hike my butt up something big at least once a month in preparation. I am as surprised as anyone to tell you I stuck to this.

This was the end of six months writing and editing a novel that I automatically trunked because my judgement is completely shot.

April, I went to Naples with my dad and we basically became a comedy sketch. He’s gluten intolerant, and I’m vegan, and neither of us can speak Italian. Fresh fruit was our friend. The trip was AMAZING. I got so many lovely photos. I ate a whole lot of pasta. NOM.

April, I went full time with my Day Job, working the horrendously unsocial days of Thursday to Monday. With a big commute. Life gets a lot thinner from here on out: less rich, and more bland. Eleven hour days does not a happy Emily make.

May: I went to Scotland for the first time. I drove a boat for the first time in a loch. I MET DAVID FRICKIN DUCHOVNY and made googly eyes at him.

At the end of May, my Tiny cat was still tiny and this, in fact, was a Very Seriously Bad Thing. She stopped eating and responding. She was dying. She got rushed into surgery. Her bowels were all twisted up because of something she ate when she was a baby. It was a terrifying time, and it blew all our savings but I’d pay it all over again in a heartbeat. Afterwards, she wore her shame-cone and we snuggled. The dogs (AKA her best friends) learnt that her cone was a great place to find left-over food, and they constantly kept her warm and comfortable and broke my heart in the best way with their bond.

By the end of June, Tiny had grown tremendously. Tiny became the normal-sized cat she was always meant to be. During this time, as Husbind is learning Italian, we accidentally-without-realising-it changed her name again to Piccolo — Tiny in Italian — CIAO, PICCOLO! — then eventually, over time, this became Pickles — CIAO, PICKLES! — So, from Starbuck, to Tiny, to Piccolo, to Pickles… My cat is now called Pickles.

Pickles.

Anyway, August: I provided my wedding photography services to my sister-in-law and had a blast. It was a wonderful family time and I so enjoyed experiencing the whole day through my lens. It sounds odd, but I’m a bit of an introvert and I got way more involved this way than I would have otherwise. Many tears were shed. The day made my heart swell.
I made a vow of my own, that day, with my photography partner Martin, to do this shizz full time in the very near future. The grind is still grinding, along with the Day Job, and the writing. It’s all exciting and terrifying.

I got addicted to Pokemon Go and walked 100km in the space of 4 weeks. Lost some weight. I’m quietly confident these two things correlate somewhat.

Also August: Me and Husbind went to the Isle of Man and walked up many hills and around many coasts. I got a coldsore on my nose. It hurt. We had Skittles cocktails with actual Skittles in them. This helped with the pain.

I got my first ever ARC in August. I got Tana French’s new book, THE TRESPASSER, two months early and oh-my-god I was the happiest person in the world. She’s my favourite author and I felt all kinds of special. It did not disappoint.

I shot a wedding at a Welsh castle that had a ton of peacocks on the grounds. I snuck up on this dude, and the concept of sneaking up on a peacock made me laugh too much. It resulted in my favourite photo of myself in 2016. He sort of glared at the camera — the peacock, I mean — all disgruntled and stuff, like he was a posh peacock and I was being terribly common.

September: I took my love of Tabasco sauce to the next level by christening every bottle and giving the old one a good send off.

Wedding anniversary. We went for a walk around a lake, and went to an amazing vegan restaurant for the first time. Fifteen years together, and five years married, and as I’m 29, that’s officially over half of my life. WOAH. I think that’s pretty cool. I like to be living proof that YA love can last long term.

I had work training in an actual castle (lots of castles this year?) and we had to do yoga and stuff. It was really odd. The day after they made us do circuit training outside — ya know, team building and such? — except I didn’t pack a decent bra and it was all just uncomfortable. And what makes an uncomfortable experience worse? Why, FILMING IT ALL WITH BLOODY DRONES, OF COURSE! Thanks, Day Job.

October, when my husbind went to the bathroom at a get together, me and my friends dressed up in the same clothes to see how long it would take for him to notice. It took about ten minutes.

Sainsbury’s brought out an entire range of vegan cheese so needless to say we panic-bought the entire lot like complete freaks.

We went walking round a lake in the Peak district (incidentally, we walked up a peak in the Lake district a few months prior…) and we met loads of sheep. They thought we had food. We did not. They expressed their displeasure through the medium of BAAA.

I demolished yet more Tabasco sauce. Wrote a lot on breaks and on trains.

November, I completed Nanowrimo! That was lots of fun and heavily documented over at my YouTube channel. I learnt — by necessity — that short writing sprints are the future.

December, I went to the Skylark Literary Christmas party and met up with all the amazing authors of #TeamSkylark. While I was there, one of us signed their contract to join the agency, and one of us got a very exciting phone call. The image of my agent climbing under the table — yellow christmas hat still on her head — to go outside and return the call was one I’ll never forget.
We had a combination of so many different writers at different stages of their journey, all sharing stories over drinks and dinner. Lovely. Absolutely lovely. It rekindled the fire in my belly for this crazy dream of mine. Made it feel more real, somehow. The rest of the year, when I’m back in my room, or my train, or my staff room — when it’s just me and this bewildering wall of work — it all seems so far out of reach. That day, I could feel it on the tips of my fingers.

I totally blame/thank that day for me accidentally doing Nanowrimo again in December. It was a manuscript I’d dumped at 18k earlier in the year. On the train home from London, I realised my protagonist’s goal – chasing an improbable dream with all his heart – aligned with my own. I got into his head again. I wrote an entire diary entry, and I could have signed it from either one of us, our stories are so alike. The dream its self is almost irrelevant; it’s the striving, the yearning, the hope we both share.

And so I slotted back into Freddie’s head. And I realised I’d missed him. I realised my trunker manuscript earlier in the year had shaken my ability to see up from down, let alone good from bad. A lot of this year has been me searching, spinning my wheels, trying to find the next direction to take. I think on that journey home, I might have finally found it. Freddie suddenly made sense to me again. More sense than ever before, even. So the rest of his story poured out of me in the weeks that followed. And I’m not one to judge — I’m way beyond being able to tell, honestly — but I think it’s a story that needs to be told, and maybe one people need to hear.

Writing tally for 2016: one book edited to shining perfection and sent out into the world, one book written and trunked, one first draft in November, one first draft in December.

ALSO… Drum roll… In December, with Freddie, I finally completed my ONE MILLION MANUSCRIPT WORDS! It’s a goal that’s taken me nine years to complete: 12 manuscripts and 1 novella. I’m so pleased. Here’s to the next million.

So there we have it. My 2016. Thank you so much for reading. Let’s hope 2017 will be brighter for all of us.