The Year in Review

Posted on Posted in Weekly Report

It’s the final Friday of the year, which means it’s time for me to look back on everything I accomplished in 2012. And that means it’s time to talk about my crowning achievement: my Avatar: The Last Airbender rewatch.

I don’t think I truly understood just how much work this was going to be when I first started amassing a buffer at the tail end of 2011. There were many panicked Sunday where I ended up in front of the television before 8 a.m. in the desperate hopes that I would somehow manage to be coherent, entertaining, and on time for the next day’s post. I easily spent at least four hours on each installment, and it was common for me to put more than six hours in when we hit the meatier episodes in seasons two and three.

And all that work paid off. I never missed a scheduled post, and I finished out the year with over 310,000 words of summary/commentary that people besides me actually read. I had a small, but dedicated, group of commenters and a larger group of regular lurkers (or so Google Analytics tells me). It was a lot of work—but it was a lot of fun, too. Overall, there are four key points I learned from my rewatch: 1) make sure I have a buffer at all times, 2) I can always find something interesting to talk about even if I hate the episode/topic, 3) I should always respond to comments, and 4) I can write a lot and still hit deadlines. The vote is still out about whether or not I actually learned to be funny.

That fourth item is the most important point to me—it’s an amazing confidence booster for me. I wrote the equivalent of three novels, more or less, in a little over a year. While it’s true that summarizing and commenting are different types of writing than the fiction I want to produce, if I can write over 310,000 words about a cartoon aimed at twelve-year-olds, surely I can manage to write one novel (~100,000 words) in 2013 that’s all my own.

As for the novel I tried to write this year, Uncanny Valley was an absolutely flop, and I’m glad I abandoned it. While it hurts to have to toss aside the 38,321 words (and the associated time) I spent on it, I learned a lot from the exercise. Namely, no matter how much I love the ideas behind a story, ideas alone aren’t enough to carry me through the actual writing part. I can skate by on ideas alone when I’m reading something, but unless I love the characters I’m writing about, I can’t sustain any kind of momentum.

As for my reading list, I finished up with 19 books (unless I buy a book at the airport). That’s shy of my goal for the year, but it’s more than I read in 2011. I hope to put such a shamefully low number behind me next year—2013 is going to be the year in which I read, goshdarnitall.

So what does that mean for my output goals for 2013? You’ll have to come back next Friday, when I’ll announce my creative goals for the new year.