2024-01-08 My plans for 2023 - final report

At the beginning of the last year I wrote about my plans for 2023. As 2023 came to an end, it’s a good moment to look back and reflect on them a bit.

While 2022 was sort of disappointing, 2023 was definitely not. My day job continues pretty uneventfully (which is of course good). I started doing “weekly reviews”, which is still not very easy for me (and I hope to learn to do them better next year). I didn’t yet start with quarterly and yearly reviews (well, this post doesn’t really count, since I only talk here about things I’m doing “in public”), but I hope to learn to do those, too. Last 10 years or so taught me that it is possible (and even not extremely difficult) to instill new habits, so I’m pretty confident this will go fine.

As I wrote (almost) a year ago, I wrote the booklet about personal accounting in Ledger. As expected, it is not exactly “popular”, but Leanpub tells me that 19 people found it worth buying, and even if it is (just a bit) less than I hoped for, it’s still fine with me. And of course big “thank you” to all the readers who trusted me with their money and (hopefully) time they spent reading what I wrote!

My plan to work regularly on the Elisp book was, I have to admit, a complete failure. Well, I really hope it’s going to be better this year. As I mentioned previously, I started to devote my Monday “writing slot” to this, and it seems to work pretty well. The main issue with this is that the changes I’d like to make are going to be more time-consuming than I expected – but I’m not in a big hurry, so that’s ok.

Next comes my “secret project”. Last time I told the story of how I became a Whovian. For the past 3 years I diligently translated subtitles for way over a hundred episodes to Polish (which took me over 400 hours!), improved Emacs Subed mode and later (in July 2023) started my Doctor Who-related blog, called Crimson Eleven Delight Petrichor. The blog took off both very well and very badly. How is that possible? Let’s begin with the bad news: I really hoped for getting some support from readers, both financial or moral (like letting me know that someone is actually reading it). I admit that I didn’t do much “advertising”, but I dropped a link here and there in hope that this is going to be enough. Well, it wasn’t. I did consider spending some cash on Facebook advertising, but it felt slightly wrong to use Facebook to advertise a website which strives to respect the readers’ privacy. I will still try to publicize it, but I have much less hope than I had half a year ago. This also means that I’m not going to write one post every two weeks there – it turned out to take more time than I expected, and this pace is difficult for me to sustain. My current plan is to write at least one Doctor Who post every four weeks and come back to publishing here more frequently, so that I will still write one blog post per week. The only thing to change is the proportion of posts on both blogs.

On the other hand, I am very happy with what I wrote in the last 6 months. I am, of course, aware that I am not a great writer, although I hope that I’m at least a decent one. But rewatching Series 1 of Doctor Who and thinking about it in depth was a fantastic (!) experience, and I’m looking forward to analyzing the later series, too. Quite a few episodes contained even more interesting material to think about than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. Also, I did a word count (well, more like estimation than count – I write the blog in Org mode, and various markup elements like #+begin_quote block delimiters count as words, too), and it turned out that I wrote well above 30 thousand words. Obviously, quantity does not translate directly to quality (especially in my writing which tends to be rather verbose…), but it is a pleasant thought that what I wrote is an equivalent of a (more or less) 80-page booklet.

Also, the engine I used to write on Crimson Eleven Delight Petrichor, Org Clive, turned out very well. It’s still not 100% feature-complete (there are at least two features I’d like to add: page modification times and exporting only the pages that actually changed), and it has a few rough edges, but overall it turned out to be very nice to work with. If you want to set up a simple website or a blog, controlled from Org mode, give it a try (and make sure to let me know)!

As for the “two new books”, those didn’t work out at all. The booklet documenting the process of my studying documentation about browser extensions was fun to write, but I’m afraid it’s less fun to read than I hoped for. At least, only two people considered it worth their money (thank you both, anonymous readers!) Also, what I learned aling the way about browser extensions makes the other project – an actual book teaching to write them – less appealing than I expected. I am still on a fence – I might try to write that textbook – but even if so, it will have to wait a bit.

You may ask, what about 2024? One year ago I wrote that 2023 was going to be a writing year, and it definitely was. Well, as I said above, I’m not abandoning writing at all (of course!), but I’ve decided that 2024 will be a learning year. There are a few things I’d like to learn. For example, I’d like to make a deeper dive in PostgreSQL, I’d love to learn a bit about some frontend technologies, and some other stuff. Since this is more private-oriented (it’s not going to result in a lot of blog posts, for instance), I won’t write more about my 2024 plans here (nor will I make regular updates) – but maybe I’ll try to do that again in a year. We’ll see!

Anyway, even if not everything went as I hoped it would, I’m still thankful for 2023. My side projects I write about here are not everything for me – this year was pretty good profesionally, and I also had some very good things going on in my private/family life, so I’m overall very happy with it. In fact, I’m looking forward to all the great stuff God has prepared for me in 2024!

CategoryEnglish, CategoryBlog