2015 Writing Stats

Screen Shot 2014-12-25 at 7.50.25 PMWell, this year, for the sixth year in a row, I exceeded last year’s wordcount. I wrote every day. I wrote more than two hours a day, on average. And I wrote about 2,100 words a day. And I did it without a corresponding reduction of time associated with reading. All that is good. However, my output wasn’t amazing. I finished five short stories and two novels. Where did all the other words go? I honestly have no idea, but my guess is that it went into lots and lots of false starts: hundreds of thousands of words of false starts. I’ve written the first 1/4th of so many novels this year. I’m not really sure what happened. I think I’m undergoing some change in my process and in my aesthetic standards. I’m writing differently, and I’m writing different stuff. Hopefully, this is just a bumpy period and next year’s writing will be a little more self-assured.

 

 

 

Reading statistics for the first eleven months of 2014

I felt this year like I didn’t read that many books, but it turns out that I read almost exactly as many books (and put in almost exactly as many hours of reading time) as I had by this time last year. So I guess I’m pretty much holding steady on that. In total, I read 137 books this year and put in about 593 hours. As the title notes, this is just my eleven month statistics since, obviously, December hasn’t really happened yet.

Looking at my book list in broad strokes, I’m seeing more contemporary literature than normal. Normally, I’m not too big on reading fiction published in the last twenty years, but this year, I read novels by Jonathan Dee, Jonathan Franzen, Jenny Ofill, Donna Tartt, and Edward St. Aubyn. There are also way more YA novels than there usually are. I really liked books by Tim Tharp, Leila Sales, and, especially, Siobhan Vivian. I think her book The List was one of the most purely enjoyable YA novels I read this year and it was a complete surprise to me, since I plucked it randomly off Amazon.

I also read lots of Japanese literature, including a number of works by Tanizaki and by Yasunari Kawabata, and a bunch of Ancient Greek and Roman writers (Suetonius, Tacitus, Plutarch, Herodotus, and Seneca). Oh, and I went through a period where I read a number of 18th and 19th century French novelists as well. I thought that was going to be a bigger thing than it was, actually, but I ended up really enjoying de Laclos’ Dangerous Liaisons and Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. The latter was unbelievably fun.

I’ll go into more detail on specific books in subsequent posts, but here I’m giving some summary statistics. Mostly, this year’s statistics were pretty in line with my overall stats, except that I read more female authors this year. The percentage of books that I read which were by women was about 34% this year, as compared to 25% across the last five years.

Genre Number % Overall 2014 % This Year
Novel (All Genres) 545 53.38% 76 55.47%
Novel 385 37.71% 54 39.42%
Nonfiction 232 22.72% 38 27.74%
Memoir 73 7.15% 12 8.76%
Stories 47 4.60% 3 2.19%
Crime 49 4.80% 6 4.38%
Play 40 3.92% 0 0.00%
Graphic Novel 40 3.92% 3 2.19%
Speculative Fiction 34 3.33% 4 2.92%
Young Adult 40 3.92% 10 7.30%
Magazine 17 1.67% 0 0.00%
Poetry 13 1.27% 1 0.73%
Thriller 13 1.27% 2 1.46%
Chicklit 10 0.98% 0 0.00%
Paranormal 9 0.88% 0 0.00%
Epic 7 0.69% 0 0.00%
Children’s 5 0.49% 0 0.00%
Total 1021 137
Ethnic / National / Identity # of Bks # of total 2014 % This Year
British 165 16.16% 14 10.22%
French 81 7.93% 5 3.65%
Greek 29 2.84% 1 0.73%
Queer 24 2.35% 3 2.19%
Russian 46 4.51% 4 2.92%
German 22 2.15% 1 0.73%
African-American 17 1.67% 0 0.00%
Japanese 29 2.84% 7 5.11%
Jewish 19 1.86% 4 2.92%
Indian 13 1.27% 0 0.00%
Asian-American 10 0.98% 0 0.00%
African 10 0.98% 1 0.73%
Austrian 8 0.78% 0 0.00%
Carribean 6 0.59% 1 0.73%
Latin American 6 0.59% 0 0.00%
Canadian 5 0.49% 0 0.00%
Hungarian 4 0.39% 0 0.00%
Roman 7 0.69% 3 2.19%
Czech 3 0.29% 0 0.00%
Spanish 9 0.88% 0 0.00%
Australian 2 0.20% 0 0.00%
Hispanic 2 0.20% 0 0.00%
Iranian 2 0.20% 0 0.00%
Irish 2 0.20% 0 0.00%
Pakistani 2 0.20% 1 0.73%
Polish 3 0.29% 0 0.00%
Bangladeshi 1 0.10% 0 0.00%
Belgian 1 0.10% 0 0.00%
Byzantine 1 0.10% 0 0.00%
Chinese 1 0.10% 0 0.00%
Egyptian 1 0.10% 0 0.00%
Icelandic 2 0.20% 0 0.00%
Korean 1 0.10% 0 0.00%
Lebanese 2 0.20% 1 0.73%
Medieval 1 0.10% 0 0.00%
Native American 1 0.10% 0 0.00%
Swedish 1 0.10% 0 0.00%
Total 539 52.79% 46 33.58%
# of Bks # of total 2014 % This Year
Female 235 23.02% 47 34.31%

Got my thirteen hundredth short story rejection

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I normally keep very close tabs on how many short story rejections I have, but this one slipped past me. I just happened to notice it when I was glancing at my spreadsheet. Mostly, this is because I’m not really focused on short stories anymore. I have so many unrevised stories left over from my MFA program that it almost seems pointless to write new ones. And, at the same time, I’ve been finding that novel-writing is taking much longer and using much more of my brain than it used to. And, finally, I’ve been having a bear of a time writing anything science-fictional and, actually, have not been able to complete a work of SF since this time last year.

But I do still go through submission sprees (I currently have 47 submissions out), and I am still happy when I sell a story.

Since my last rejection centennial, I have (I believe) sold three stories. One to Clarkesworld. One to the literary magazine Birkensnake. And another, still forthcoming, to the Indiana Review. All told, I am pleased with all of these, but I am probably most pleased with the Indiana Review, since that’s not only my most formally atypical story (it’s told in the form of a time-usage chart) but it’s also fulfills my long-standing desire to have a story in a [Place Name] Review.

As always, previous rejection milestones are listed below:

As you can see, this represents a severe slackening of rejection pace. One that’s due, almost entirely, to a smaller submissions volume. A large part of that is because I trunked about twenty stories that I’d been submitting for awhile (some of them as old as four years ago) which I could no longer really stand behind.