So, it is almost the end of 2013.
This has been a year that has been very much interrupted. Looking back at my goals for the year, I have achieved very few of them. I’ve made progress, which is something, but completion? Not so much.
The Australian Women’s Writer’s Challenge
I aimed to read at least ten books and review at least six. Looking at my Goodreads page, I read and reviewed nine. Which looks on the surface as though I didn’t complete the challenge. But! In my reading for the Aurealis Awards, I’ve read far more books that technically count for the challenge (though I didn’t formally review them). As of today, I have completed reading 44 books, of which 26 are (on a quick skim) by female writers. So, challenge completed?
I’m actually not certain if I’m going to sign up for the challenge again next year. I’ve done it the last two years, and I’ve enjoyed it, but I’m not certain how much energy I want to devote to reviewing work. I really like being able to promote good books, and I’ll keep on tracking my reading through Goodreads, but I’ve gotten somewhat disillusioned with reviewing in general (and in the nature of some of the types of reviews I keep seeing posted to the site). We’ll see, anyway.
Looking at the bare bones of the year, I didn’t accomplish as near as much as I’d wanted to writing-wise. Health issues interrupted me several times (nothing that ended up being serious, mind, just flare-ups of the usual chronic illness stuff, with a few new things that got investigated). I’d planned on getting at least one novel to a submittable/publishable level, and that didn’t happen.
However, I did spend a good five months working on something that was entirely for fun, and not for publication. And it made me really step back and look at the career that I want to have, and what I want to achieve with writing.
Long story short, I have a whole lot of Plans for 2014. Not sharing them in public yet, but I feel like I have direction now, and I’m hoping that I can get a lot accomplished next year. It helps that the kidlet’s going to be going into kindy next year, so I’ll have a few days of undisturbed time to work in.
If you care to, you can see all of the books I read over at Goodreads.
There will be more added by the time the new year officially comes around, thanks to Aurealis reading, but as of right now, I’ve read 222 books, which is the most I’ve managed since I had the kidlet. Kids getting older and being able to entertain themselves more = awesome.
I can’t talk about any of the Aurealis books yet (well, I can with disclaimers, but I’m not going to), but I can mention some of the books I particularly enjoyed out of that group. And yes, you will see a lot of mountaineering books in that list if you go and look. I developed a bit of a fascination with the sport and the people who do it over the year. I have a story forming with the men in the basement based on it – either a novella or a novel, I’m not sure yet.
My picks of the year’s reading:
Joe Hill – NOS4R2
Laurie Edwards – Life Disrupted
Mira Grant – Parasite
Helen Marshall – Hair Side, Flesh Side
Nancy Kress – After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall
Neil Gaiman – The Ocean at the End of the Lane
M.T. Anderson – Feed
Paul Cornell - London Falling
Rainbow Rowell - Eleanor and Park
Kate Forsyth - The Wild Girl
Karen Healey - When We Wake
Andrew K Host - And All the Stars
Kaaron Warren - Through Splintered Walls
One thing I did fall down on was keeping up with my reviews of galleys from Netgalley. I want to keep on top of them a bit better next year – and especially give myself permission to just put a book down if I’m not grabbed within 50 pages or so. I want to extend that permission to reading in general. I have more than 1000 books on my to-be-read pile (both real and virtual) and I’m not going to have all the time in the world to read everything. It’s time to give myself permission to not like things that other people do, and not have to justify to anyone why I didn’t finish it.
I have a lot of goals for 2014, but I’m not going to share them in public. I’m looking forward to a more productive year, however.