2017 reading and writing goals: a mid-year review

Well, it’s kinda mid-year, right? It’s close.

Time to check-in with how the goals I set for myself at the start of the year are at now that we’re a bit past the mid-way point.

Writing goal

Mr writing goal for this year was to try for 100 rejections. The idea was to motivate myself to finish more things and submit more things to more markets.

So far I’ve finished 5 things, sent out 24 submissions and collected 21 rejections.

This isn’t stellar compared to the goal, but it is almost the same amount of submissions I had across the entirety of last year, so I’m still on track to double last year’s efforts. I’ve also branched out into submitting to different things – I’ve entered competitions (and done ok in some of them!), signed up for workshops and prizes, and generally tried to diversify where I’m submitting my work.

I’d still really like to up my game on finishing things and sending them out and I’ve been having some success with writing for an hour and a half before work lately, so I’m hoping to see some positive movement coming out of that soon, which should show up in my progress on this front by the end of the year. I’m not likely to hit the full 100 by December 31 at this rate, but I think I can comfortably aim to get to over 50 (double last year) and be proud.

Reading goal

My reading goal, on the other hand, is rocking!

I aimed to read 70 books this year and noted at the time that, if I achieved it, it would be the most books I’d ever read in a year to date.

Guys, at the time of writing – in late July – I’ve read 64 books.

I’m on track to crack 100 books this year. Certainly the most books I’ve ever read in one year since I started tracking it.

So what’s changed?

As part of my transition away from working through the unread books on my shelves I had to look at how I was going to buy books in the future. I was worried that if I just went back to buying things ad hoc I would end up with a bunch of cheap fantasy novels that I found at an op-shop and keep putting off buying the next instalment of a great series I was partway through or a new shiny thing that was getting a lot of hype. The end result is a super nerdy system that I might go into in more detail in a future post, but it covers four reading formats and is geared towards making sure I’ve got a constant in-flow of books across all the genres I like to read and puts some structure around my book buying so that I don’t put off buying something I really want to because it’s frivolous.[1]

I’m still not quite done with clearing out the amount of books unread on my shelf. But my final resting number is looking to sit around 12-15 and I’m at 18 currently, so it’s not far off.

So, I’m not only reading a lot more in different ways, I’m reading lots of different sorts of things. Things I’ve read more of this year than I ever have previously:

  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Memoirs and biographies
  • Graphic novels and comics
  • Novellas

My great boyfriend bought me a Kindle for my birthday. I had an older one that I didn’t use as much[2] and when he suggested a new one I was sceptical. Turns out all I needed to turn into a Kindle reading fiend was a Kindle that had wireless connectivity. People, it is a dangerous thing to be able to click the shop button in your device and have the book the next minute. Dangerous!

This whole super-charged reading thing has also resulted in an uptick in my interest in and engagement with book reviewing.

I even accidentally got onto one of those ridiculous Goodreads top reviewers in your region’ lists![3]

Goodreads top reviewer

I’ve also signed up for NetGalley to start reviewing advance reader copies. I’m planning to do a more comprehensive blog post about my change of attitude and approach to reviewing and the place it’s going to have on the blog soon. Watch this space.

This year has been an accidental revolution in my reading approach and quantity and I’m really enjoying it. I don’t know how long-term sustainable it is, but I’m enjoying the ride.

 

[1] And then spend the equivalent or more on cheaper, trashier things I’m probably not going to enjoy as much. Is the idea.

[2] Read: at all.

[3] For one week when I was clearing a backlog. But shhh.

 

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