Friday, 4 January 2013

Reflections and Resolutions 2012/2013

I generally like to do a reflection post with resolutions for the coming year. Since this is my main blog at the moment, I figured I might as well do it here.

Reflections


First up, I had three short stories come out in minor markets. Which is a record for me within one year.
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Next up, reading progress. I like pie charts and statistics. I've been keeping track of all the books I've read, made easier by having reviewed all of them here. In 2012 I read a nice round 120 books, not counting 4 which I didn't finish. One of those was a collection from which I read the one story I bought it for then moved on and forgot about it. I might get back to it later. The other three were novels I got about half way through before putting them down in frustration. I want to get back to one of them (...eventually), but I can't see myself bothering with the other two.

For my statistical calculations, I included the books I didn't finish, since I did spend a significant amount of time reading them.

What countries were the authors I read from? Overwhelmingly from the US and Australia, with a few British, New Zealish and misc (Canadian, South African, Norwegian) authors thrown in. I'm glad I managed to read so many Australian authors, and I don't have plans to read fewer Aussies, but I'd like to read more widely outside of the US. I think I'm starting to run up against my limit of slightly generic US YA (not that all US YA is generic, but I've definitely read some that is), so that might be a place to start.


 What format (dead-tree, ebook, audiobook) were most of my books read in? Almost two thirds of the books I read were ebooks, which isn't entirely surprising given my current geographical location (much cheaper to buy Aussie ebooks than to pay postage), impending lack of space and aquisition of eARCs. Comparing this with my 2011 formats, the second biggest change is the dearth of audiobooks. This is primarily thanks to my finally unsubscribing from Audible (it was an ordeal, let me tell you), and a little bit due to getting sick of Ben Bova who makes up the majority of my backlog.



What ratings did I assign the books I read in 2012? I'm fairly good at choosing books to read that I know I'll enjoy, so I'm not surprised that 4.5 and 4 star ratings are the most common.


What were the genres of the books I read? I surprisingly, mostly fantasy and almost a third science fiction. Not a bad ratio. In future I'd like more of those science fiction books to be, well, not YA dystopias. Variety is good.


Finally, the gender breakdown. 83% of the books I read were by women, with 40% overall being by Australian women. Not an entirely surprising result. The genre distribution of Aussie woman-authored books followed the overall genre distribution fairly closely.




Resolutions


One of my standard New Year's resolutions is to write more and finish whatever novel I'm currently working on. However, right now I am not in the right mental place to do that, and I'm OK with that. Writing (especially novels) requires obsession, which means a lot of brain time spent thinking about it, even while doing other things. The other things I'm doing right now include a PhD in astrophysics, which itself requires periods of obsession. And it has to come first. It's the think with progress deadlines that will lead to bad things if I ignore them. Writing isn't.

2012 ended with a very busy period for me, work-wise, which isn't over. I'm not sure when it will be over, maybe mid-year, maybe when I hand in my thesis (though hopefully there'll be a break sooner than that). In the mean time, I'm travelling a lot and having all sorts of experiences which will prove to be good story fodder later on.

I would like to write/finish/submit more short stories, though. I started a few in 2012 that I didn't finish for various reasons and there are some I'm part way through editing or rewriting. I would definitely like to do more of that. And obviously, more acceptances would be nice (can I top 3 stories out in 2012? Can I place one in my mental list of goal markets?), but that's not the kind of thing one can plan for.

I'm still going to try to work on the current novel, I just don't anticipate finishing the draft I'm currently on. But maybe? The main thing is, I'm going to try to feel less guilty about not writing when I can't.

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Reading resolutions are a bit easier, since I've already set myself some challenges. To summarise: read more Australian science fiction and read more Australian horror. Continue reading books by Australian women (more a default than a challenge).

And I'd like to read more of my existent paper books because that shelf isn't getting any larger to accommodate them. I have a tendency to prefer ebooks because they're easier (less RSI*) and more suited to more situations. I should also make at least a bit of an effort to get through my backlog of audiobooks, though I admit I'm not giving that a very high priority; it's good to have a few up my sleeve for sudden long drives or perhaps glasses fails.

*Yes, I get RSI from reading. Not from typing like a normal person.

Book-buying resolutions

This year, I stuck fairly well to a read-three-buy-one scheme (inspired by Tansy). It backfired a bit, though, with all the eARCs I read, which I counted as books read but which didn't count as books bought. My TBR shelf is more overflowing now than it was at the start of the year. Whoops. So in 2013, I'm going to not count eARCs as books read towards unlocking purchases. It's going to be read-three-paper-or-purchased-ebooks-buy-one. But I'm going to allow myself to buy books when they're on sale (which I already did, but felt guilty over), within reason. That last point might need a bit of fine tuning; I can see it backfiring. I'm also going to try to save up achievement unlocked books and spend them only when I'm intending to read the bought book immediately, so as to reduce TBR clutter.

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On a non-bookish note, I'd like to do something interesting with some of the copious amounts of photos I've been taking. I'm not sure what, though (other than making banners and other decorations for the blog, which I've already been doing and doesn't really count anyway).

On an academic note, my goal is to have two papers written by mid-year. Hopefully nothing goes terribly wrong and upsets that.

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What resolutions have you made? Have you perhaps also conducted an analysis of your reading habits? Let me know in the comments.

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