1. After talking to papersky at Pure Speculation last year, and also after spending three freaking weeks slogging my way through Steven Erikson's Toll The Hounds in October, I decided I needed to spend more time reading, or at least get more reading done. In the last two months of 2011 I set myself quotas in an attempt to get every book read in 3-4 days, in keeping with my previously-observed rough average of two books a week. I managed to get up to 81 books by the end of the year (17 of those in November and December, which is about 1/6 of 100 but 21% of what I actually read). So this year I resolve to read at least 100 books.
Just to be clear, because my counting method is a little odd--what I track here is prose fiction books. I track per volume, and not by any other unit, so I would count a standalone novel, a volume in a series, an omnibus, and a separately-published novella each as "one book". Also, I do tend to read a number of graphic novels, comic strip collections, non-fiction books, and other miscellanea--these do not count towards my total. This may seem a little arbitrary, but mostly it's because I maintain two parallel reading streams, one for prose fiction and one for everything else, and the "everything else" tends to be harder to track. I'll pick up one book and read it for a while, and then I may grab another one at the library and read that one, and if I lose interest in a book, it may sit around for months with a bookmark in it, but I could pick it up and finish it again, or just give up on it entirely. Whereas my fiction reading is more linear--I start the book, and I finish it before I start another fiction book.
With my quota, what it amounts to is that I count the pages in the book, decide whether I'm planning to read it in 3, 3.5, or 4 days (or possibly more or less, but I'd generally pair a longer book with a short one), then set myself a number of pages as a goal for that day. If I make those pages early in the day, then I will try to use any remaining reading time on one of my alternate-stream books, or play iPod games, or whatever. This means that I try to avoid doing those other things until I have finished my quota, which is the trickier part. If I can't finish my quota, for whatever reason, without staying up to some ungodly hour, then I try to just adjust my quota for other days, and be more strict with myself. So far it's been working, but I haven't read any outrageously long books under this system...I've got The Way of Kings, The Other Lands by David Anthony Durham, and another few thick-looking books sitting on my to-read shelf, so we'll see how those work out.
Since I am trying to make every third book or so a reread these days, I'm still counting those as well, even if they don't count as "progress" in the sense of reducing the number of unread books I own. (On the other hand, I do sometimes decide not to keep them after rereading them, so it can help that way.) I have another reread of the Harry Potter series planned soon, so with any luck I can match of some of the thinner ones of those with thicker books to read. The other books I read, I try to alternate between newer books and older ones, so it tends to go "reread--newer book--older book--reread" etc. I wouldn't necessarily claim that I'm going to make absolute progress on the number of books I've bought but haven't read yet, but maybe I'll fall behind more slowly...
2. Two of my Livejournal friends have recently taken part in something that at least one of them called WEDAY, "Write Every Day All Year", hwrnmnbsol this past year and crisper the year before that. I find it inspiring, but considering how many things I am trying to juggle in my spare time already, I don't think I could make it work. Instead, I am planning something on a weekly rather than a daily basis, which I am probably not going to call WEWAY because it doesn't resonate as well for me. I like the way that the French word for "weekly" is "hebdomadaire", so maybe I'll try to incorporate that somehow. Or I could just wimp out and call it A Story A Week or something. Suggestions welcome.
Anyway, these stories will probably be fairly random, probably around 1000 words in length, and probably posted on Saturdays, which will both coincide with the end of the first week of the year, and also alternate fairly well with the Vorkosigan Reread project where I'm posting on Tuesdays. I'll post the stories right here on this Livejournal, in all likelihood. I think I've passed the point where I'm particularly concerned about wasting my first publication by posting stories on the Internet, since I never seem to send stories out to magazines anyway, so I'm just going to be throwing them out there. I'll probably find this resolution a little harder than the reading one--and they might end up at odds with each other--but it's just once a week, I can manage that, right?