What I've Been Working On
Most of my work over the last couple of months has been for a brand. This is a bit of a change from my usual work, so it’s good to get some different experience and it’s been a refreshing change of pace to work on lots of shorter documents rather than spending weeks working through one manuscript.
I’ve also done a couple of sample edits for self-publishing clients and am looking forward to getting those booked in. And a client whose novella I proof-edited over the summer sent me a copy of their book! It really made my day to see the finished book in print – it's brilliant to see it all come together.
What I've Been Reading
I’ve read a lot over the last couple of months – too many books to go through here, but I wanted to share some highlights:
I flew through The Stranding by Kate Sawyer before Christmas and it felt like a perfect book for the end of the year – so deeply hopeful.
I’ve been reading some longer fantasy books recently, and I’m enjoying being absorbed in the book’s world for such a long time. I thought Ava Reid’s The Wolf and The Woodsman was richly imaginative and picked up on several important areas really well – fantasy is such a brilliant space to explore big topics in.
I absolutely loved The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, and am kicking myself for being so late to the party with this one! Still, it means I now have a nice long series to catch up on. The Bone Season felt incredibly strong for a debut and I’m so excited to see how her writing develops over the next couple of titles.
I was totally fascinated by Katie Ives’ Imaginary Peaks and since finishing it have found my mind regularly drifting back to it.
What I've Been Doing
I’ve been busy checking the long-term forecast slightly obsessively, hoping for a hint of some decent winter conditions on the mountains. Although the snow hasn’t really arrived yet, we’ve been lucky with some stunning days in Snowdonia recently. One glorious mid-December weekend had constant inversions and T-shirt weather on the summits; it felt like such an absolute privilege to be up in the hills.
I’m also trying to stick to a sea swim once a week (when it’s not too rough). I’d love to be able to keep dipping all through the winter, but my feet are definitely struggling with the cold and last time I ended up with the worst hot aches I’ve had for years! Still, only a couple more months until the water temperature starts to warm up again…
What I've been working on
I’ve had a nice mix of genres and manuscript lengths this month. I started with a proofread of a fantastical short story – the concept was really intriguing so I’m still turning it over in my head and trying to untwist it! I’ve also proofread a nonfiction book, and copy edited a lovely progressive children’s book. It’s really great to see norms being challenged, and to see stories and books being used to help move things forward.
I’ve spent a lot of this month working in US English and have been relieved to find that this didn’t fry my brain quite as much as I’d feared it would! It’s certainly given me a lot of confidence to do more work in US English in the future.
I’ve also been working through the CIEP’s course on editing fiction. I’m enjoying this a lot and really looking forward to doing more fiction editing.
What I've been reading
It’s been a brilliant month for reading. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advanced copy of Julia Armfield’s Our Wives Under the Sea, which was just outstanding and easily the best fiction I’ve read for a few months. It’s a creepy, haunting, twisting story about the sea and love and grief, and Julia’s writing is consistently lyrical and mesmerising; I absolutely loved every word of it.
I also liked Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You, although I wasn’t quite as wowed by this as I expected to be given the massive marketing push for its release. I did, however, really enjoy discussing the book with a group of women afterwards. I’m always keen to hear what other people think about books I’ve read, so it was great to talk about the parts of the story that did or didn’t work for each of us.
In terms of outdoors literature, The Vanishing Ice by Iain Cameron was a really fascinating look into the history and importance of snow patches in the UK. I found Alex Roddie’s The Farthest Shore to be a really enjoyable, thought-provoking read and thought he navigated some tricky and complex topics well. I’ve just started Imaginary Peaks by Katie Ives which I’ve been so excited for, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into that.
What I've been doing
Autumn and the change of weather always seems to mean a (slightly reluctant) return to regular running after spending most of the summer climbing. It’s nice to feel some fitness coming back, and I do really love running in October when it’s so easy to catch the sunset from high up in the hills after work.
The last few weeks have also involved a lot of rain-dodging. I’ve only lived in Snowdonia for a few months and still feel like I’m getting to know the local crags and the best places to head when the forecast looks damp or unpredictable. Quite often we’ve ended up legging it back to the car feeling very soggy, but occasionally we’ve got it right and been rewarded with some unexpected dry rock and sunshine.