2012 In Review: Writing and Blogging

Last week I started looking back at the year 2012 by reviewing how I did against my goals for the year.  I started with looking at the books I’d read.

But I wasn’t just trying to read last year.  I was also trying to step up and write.

What were my writing goals last year?  I had four writing-centric goals: first, to write for at least 2 hours each week for at least 45 weeks out of the 52 weeks of the year.  Second I’d intended to have finished the background work and worldbuilding and plotting for my current WIP January 25th of last year – or roughly almost exactly a year ago (which gives you an idea of how far behind I am on reviewing last year and getting to my goals for this year).  Third, I intended to write at least 2,000 words of new first draft for each week that I spent writing after the completion of my background work.  Finally, I’d intended to have written at least two short stories written, each theoretically 8,000 words or less.

How did I do against the goals?

Well, to start, I never did track the number of hours I spent writing each week.  The only thing I’ve been tracking is my total writing productivity – relating to the third goal.  But based on the idea that 2 hours a week gives me 2,000 words, I figure that’s a good enough figure to count for both those goals.

Around the mid-point of the year, I’d checked up on my progress toward these goals, and at that point, things weren’t looking to bright on the writing front.  Well, here, after the old year has ended, things still aren’t super-bright.

Out of the 52 weeks in 2012, I actually wrote something, anything, on 34 of them – or roughly 65% of the time.  That means that I wrote nothing at all on 18 weeks.  However, I actually met my goal of 2,000 words per week only nine times last year.  If I treat my goal a little flexibly – say I count it good if I got within 75% of my actual 2,000 word goal – then my success rate rises to only twelve weeks.  Even looking at the year with a rosy outlook, I failed to meet my goal 77% of the time last year.

As for the short story goal… I started writing one short story, though I didn’t finish it in 2012.  I figure I’m about three-quarters of the way through that story as of the end of the year.

All told, I wrote a total of about 48,902 words in 2012.  That’s not nothing, but it’s not where I wanted to be, not by a long-shot.  If I’d met my goal of writing 2,000 words a week for at least 45 weeks of the year I’d have written 90,000 words.  Which means I’m sitting at around 54% of my writing goal for the year.  I’d hoped to be some 50-65% done with “The Book of M” by the end of 2012.  Instead, I’m sitting in the just-over-16% range.  At this rate, I won’t finish “Book of M” for another 3-4 years.

None of which is very encouraging for me, as a writer.

Sure there were lots of good reasons why I didn’t write very much in 2012.  But the fact remains: I didn’t really write very much.  And at the rate at which I’m writing, I’ll never have written much.  This isn’t a rate of writing that is conducive to me developing a career as a writer.  If I’m ever going to be successful at writing, I’ll need to be a lot more prolific than this.  Someday, I still hope, that will be possible.  But for the immediate future, as I consider 2012 in retrospect, I know that’s just not in the cards.  2012 was a busy year in non-writing.  Looking ahead to 2013 doesn’t looks pretty much the same: different things going on, but still extra-busy in the non-writing part of my life.

Now… as to my Blog… well… I’ll invite you to take a look at my 2012 Annual Report.

The long and short: I had 14,000-ish hits in 2012, which is down from 16,000-ish hits in 2011.  That’s not surprising considering I wrote only 122 posts in 2012 (just over 2 per week) compared to 189 in 2011 (just over 3 per week).  Fewer posts means fewer hits.

Interestingly, my highest trafficked posts in 2012 were all posts I’d written in 2011 or earlier, among them my series of posts in which I analyzed Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, or the post where I uploaded some of my pics from the 2011 Dragon*Con parade, the one where I talked about some research I did on the relative lengths of books in popular fantasy series, and the one in which I leveled a fairly strong critique against those people in the self-publishing universe who seem to be hoping for the demise of traditional publishing (and  have the most to gain from it).  In fact, of the top ten posts in 2012, only one of them was actually written in the year 2012: my post on genre explorations and “Post-Tolkien Fantasy“. 

After that, next in popularity among the posts written in 2012 was a follow-up genre article called “Epic Fantasy: Archetypes and Window Dressing” in which I continued the discussion I started in “Post-Tolkien Fantasy”.  I’ve got more ideas for topics in that same vein, but those articles are pretty meaty, and take a lot of time to write – and time has been a commodity in increasingly short supply around these parts.  The next most popular post written in 2012 was one in which I discussed the business side of being a writer, from my perspective not as a published writer in the business, but as an aspiring author with business experience and an MBA (and highlighted some of the systemic problems with the industry as it is currently structured).

So that was the year (2012) in writing and blogging for me.

How was your year?  Did you meet your goals for the year, or fall short?  Tell about it in the comments, or link to your own year-in-review posts, if you’d like.

8 thoughts on “2012 In Review: Writing and Blogging

  1. Ah, indeed, I really liked Post-Tolkien Fantasy, and I think it’s the post that made me find your blog. On my end, I had no writing goals last year, as preposterous as this may sound. 🙂 I had a rigid research program, however, which I planned to finish by January 2013. I’ll be late on this goal by about a month. Not too bad. My goal this year is to complete a full chapter-by-chapter outline of my book. It’s certainly going to change and evolve afterwards, but I never, ever work without an initial direction. It just goes against my DNA.

    • I’m like you in that regard: I outline, I figure out where I think the story is going, and then I start on my way there. As with you… some things may change. But as long as I’ve got my map to guide me, I know I’ll be okay.

      I’m really glad “Post-Tolkien Fantasy” was as popular a post as it was. It was one of my favorites to write last year. 😀

  2. Never can predict which posts get popular 😉 Hmm maybe it wasn’t as much as you originally planned, but it was still forward movement. I didn’t set any goals last year except to finish things that I started. Not super ambitious, considering I’d started those projects all in previous years. I did manage to do that, which is something.

  3. Damn, you mean I was supposed to have goals? Maybe I’ll make that a resolution — next year: goals!

    Seriously, my main goal last year was to write Stevie One, which I did (approx. 30,000 words, so you’re ahead of me). I also started rewriting the mystery stories, which wasn’t supposed to happen until this year (I got impatient).

    You got more blog hits than me, but that’s cool. I only post once a week, and I write about both writing and movies (and sometimes other things). Most things I’ve read indicate that blogs with a clear focus tend to do better. But I’d rather write about what interests me, and for me writing and movies are inextricably connected.

    I think the thing to remember about the word count is that you basically wrote a novel last year. You just happen to work in a genre where books tend to be much bigger. But 48.9k is nearly a novel, so that’s something.

    • I wouldn’t say that my blog is “focused”. (And I don’t know that I buy the advice that a blog should be focused.) Sure, I usually write about writing when I write about anything. But I’ll stray from that core mission whenever the fancy strikes me.

      That’s a good point about the total volume of my output. On the other hand, however, only about 28,000-ish words of what I wrote was actually first draft fiction. The rest of that was background notes and other bits and pieces that are unlikely to ever see the light of day. So I almost wrote a very short novel (by some defintions). (Except for the part about having a beginning, middle, and end. I just have a beginning.)

  4. Pingback: 2013: Goals, Plans, Dreams « The Undiscovered Author

  5. Pingback: Writing Progress: Week Ending February 16, 2013 « The Undiscovered Author

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