Highlights and Disappointments for 2012

It’s that time again: time to take a look back across 2012 and see what I’ve managed to do (or not do) as a kind of overall assessment for the year. I’ve decided, this year, to evaluate things in a single “highlights and disappointments” post instead of several separate posts so that I don’t flood people with too much stuff that may not be all that interesting to them.

This morning, upon waking (with a mild headache thanks to a cough that plagued me all night) I reviewed my “goal” posts for last year. I had five of them and if you insist on beating yourself up the way I did first thing this morning, they are:

  1. Fiction writing goals for 2012
  2. Blogging goals for 2012
  3. Short fiction reading goals for 2012
  4. Novel reading goals for 2012
  5. Conventioneering goals for 2012

Since this is how I organized my goals last year, this is how I will review and evaluate them in this post.

Fiction writing highlights and disappointments

  • Highlight: Sold “Lost and Found” to Daily Science Fiction. (October 2012)
  • Highlight: Sold “Flipping the Switch” to the Beyond the Sun anthology. (Forthcoming, July 2013)
  • Highlight: Sold “The Negative Impact of Climate Change on the Unusual Beasts of the World” to Analog. (Forthcoming, 2013)
  • Highlight: Sold “Situational Awareness” to Blue Shift. (Forthcoming, November 2013)

This was by far my best year in terms of selling stories. I was absolutely delighted to sell my story “Lost and Found” to Daily Science Fiction, which prints such terrific short fiction. I was equally delighted to discover a good review of that story in Diabolical Plots. I’d mentioned selling to Daily SF in my goals last year, although I acknowledged that in itself was an unrealistic goal because it was out of my control–there is no accounting for editorial tastes and timing. But I fared well. But I apparently went above and beyond, selling three more stories, including a second story to Analog under its new editor, Trevor Quachri.

  • Disappointment: Write 500 words of new fiction every day.

It seemed like such a simple goal, 5o0 words of new fiction every day. Indeed, at the outset of 2012, I worked hard and completed or nearly completed three or four new stories, but things fell by the wayside rapidly thereafter. What with the blogging and the additional nonfiction work I picked up throughout the year (see below), it became more and more difficult to find the time to write new stories. I’m still struggling with what the right mix should be in 2013.

Nonfiction writing highlights and disappointments

This wasn’t on my radar at the end of 2011, but quite a few opportunities presented themselves in 2012 and I took advantage of them.

  • Highlight: Interview column for InterGalactic Medicine Show
  • Highlight: Book review column for InterGalactic Medicine Show
  • Highlight: Guest editorial commissioned for Analog (Fortcoming, 2013)
  • Highlight: Nonfiction column commissioned for Blue Shift (Forthcoming, 2013)
  • Highlight: Nonfiction article commissioned for another magazine.

I had a lot of fun with the two interview columns I did for IGMS this year. I also had a lot of fun writing the science fiction book review column. I was both surprised and pleased with Analog’s editor, Trevor Quachri, asked me to write a guest editorial for the magazine. That was really, really cool. Like I said, the nonfiction writing wasn’t even on my radar for 2o12, but I’m glad I did it.

Blogging highlights and disappointments

It’s easy to fall into the trap of using blog stats at the sole measure of success of a blog. But all those numbers really tell you is how many people (approximately) view your site. The trends probably say more so that if you continue to increase your audience, you are probably doing something interesting that people want to read. Last year, in my goals, I was pleased that I’d exceeded the previous year’s goal of tripling the visits to my site, but cautioned,

I’m not sure it would be realistic to think that I could triple my visits again in 2012. So my focus this year is less on increasing my readership and more on providing interesting and entertaining content to the readers I already have.

As it turns out, I underestimated yet again:

  • Highlight: More than quadrupled the visits from last year (670,000 visits at the time of this writing).
  • Highlight: My Going Paperless series of technology posts

Not everything was rosy, however:

That was a very tough decision. I really love doing those posts. But the schedule began to get to me. I had to stick to a rigorous 10 pages/day reading scheduled (~10,000 words) of just Astounding and if I fell behind, my stress level grew and made it difficult to get other work done.

  • Disappointment: Wayward Time Traveler column for SF Signal on hiatus.

This, too, was distressing, but it looks like it was only temporary. The Wayward Time Traveler column, at least, will be returning in early 2013.

Overall, my blogging has continued to be one of the most enjoyable forms of writing that I do, and has continued to lead to new and interesting opportunities. I hope this continues in 2013.

Short fiction reading highlights and disappointments

  • Disappointment: Short fiction reading has suffered due to other time commitments

It was my goal to read a short story each day, on average, but I am nowhere close to that goal. Indeed, I am very far behind my short fiction reading, mostly because of other commitments fighting for my time. At best, I try to read stories by friends and writers whose stories I’ve admired. But even that has suffered to some extent.

Novel reading highlights and disappointments

Looking at my goals from last year, you might think I had mixed results for my novel reading in 2012:

  • Highlight: Almost caught up on George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire.
  • Disappointment: Didn’t re-read Stranger In a Strange Land
  • Highlight: Re-read Stephen King’s It and liked it even better the second time
  • Disappointment: Couldn’t get into King’s Gunslinger series.
  • Highlight: Surpassed the 500th book I’ve read since January 1, 1996

Conventioneering highlights and disappointments

Let me start out with the big disappointment first:

  • Disappointment: Couldn’t attend Readercon this year

I had to choose between Readercon and Worldcon. Since I’d never been to a Worldcon, I chose the latter. I was glad I made that choice, but I love Readercon and the people I’ve gotten to know there, so it was hard not being there this year.

And now, onto the highlights:

  • Highlight: Attended the Nebula Weekend
  • Highlight: Presented the Nebula Award for Best Novelette to Geoff Ryman
  • Highlight: Accepted the Nebula Award for Best Short Story for Ken Liu
  • Highlight: Attended my first Worldcon
  • Highlight: Got to meet and hang out with Robert Silverberg
  • Highlight: Attended Capclave
  • Highlight: Gave my first public reading
  • Highlight: Moderated a panel that included John Scalzi and Nick Mamatas

When all is said and done, I think the highlights far outweigh the disappointments this year, and I once again feel very fortunate for the small successes that I have had. I am eagerly looking forward to what highlights 2013 will bring.

One thought on “Highlights and Disappointments for 2012

  1. Congrats on your success this year Jamie! That is quite a list to be proud of. It gives me hope that great things can happen in a year’s time. I hope 2013 is even better.

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