Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Top 11 of 2011: Memories

In my previous post, I listed my top 11 "finds" of 2011. But there was something else I wanted to pay tribute to. Memories. 2011 was a spectacular year, and life-changing, year. I have so many incredible memories that it was really hard to chose from. But here they are, my . . .

Top 11 Patronus Moments of 2011:

*** Patronus Moment: A moment so wonderful it would evoke a Patronus. (For those of you who don’t know what a Patronus is, you should be deeply, deeply ashamed. Go read Harry Potter. Immediately.)

1. One of the best things that happened in my life during 2011 was meeting Julie, Terry, Jay Jay and Kristi. Up until this year, I didn’t have very many “writing” friends. Now, not only do I have four AMAZING writers who push me, support me, and make my writing better, I also have four new friends who I just flat out enjoy being with. Occasionally when we meet to critique one another, we get so caught up hanging out with one another that it takes us an hour before we even get to our writing. Each time I meet with them is a Patronus moment.

2. In May I attended (along with my awesome writer friends), the Houston Writer's Conference. There I met some amazing editors and agents. It was perhaps the very first time I felt like a "real" writer. Furthermore, one of the editors I befriended the first night of the conference over obscure garden gnome, Princess Bride and The Terminator references invited me out to dinner with another editor and two agents (including the agent who eventually signed me as a client). Though it was obviously an incredible – and fortuitous – networking experience, it was also just plain fun. They enlightened me with lots of insider literary gossip (which sadly I cannot share), and gave me tons of advice and encouragement (which I’m more than happy to share). It was one of the best weekends of my life.

3. I must admit that when I attended the writing conference, I had not yet completed my novel (shameful, I know). After pitching it to four different agents, all of whom asked to see more, I realized that I had to finish it as soon as possible. I waved goodbye to all my friends, locked myself in my room, and nearly a month later, surfaced with a COMPLETED novel. My first completed novel! And no though no one who has never completed one can understand exactly what that means, it was, without a doubt, one of the most euphoric feelings I’ve ever experienced.

4. So, if you’re still with me here, in May I went to the Houston Writer’s Conference, on June 1st I finished my novel (and subsequently sent it to the our agents I pitched to), and on August 15th, my agent Josh emailed me back and told me he wanted to sign me as a client. To this day, I still cannot believe it. I AM AN AGENTED WRITER. Since people often say a picture is worth a thousand words – something which, as a I writer, I have qualms with – here’s a pictorial depiction of my emotional state as I signed my agency agreement:

5. If getting an agent wasn't amazing enough, my friends' reaction to the news would have itself been a Patronus moment. They sat with me while I cried (happy tears of course), they bought me champagne (and even thought to buy me sparkling grape juice because I don't actually like champagne), bought me cake from my favorite dessert café, and showed me in every way a friend can how proud they were of me. As amazing as getting an agent was, my friends' reactions following the news might have been even better.

6. Shifting away from writing related moments, another one of the best aspects of this year was spending time in the kitchen with my friends. I’ll admit, I have NEVER thought of cooking as a pleasurable pastime . . . until this year. My friends Annie and Tina, who unlike me are quite culinarily talented, roped me into helping them cook. And I could not believe much fun we had doing it! Some of the best evenings of 2011 were spent with the three of us chopping, dicing, and sauté-ing in my teeny, tiny apartment kitchen.

7. And speaking of my apartment, moving into it was yet another Patronus moments – one which acted as the springboard for many, MANY others. Including, but not limited to: dancing around the apartment with my amazing roommate Tina. Staying up until 3 in the morning gabbing with my semi-second roommate Annie. Friendsgiving . . . and so many more.

8. In June I went to New York with my mom and cousin Allie. We had the BEST time! We visited the Harry Potter exhibit, went to a zillion museums, Stayed in the Marriott Hotel on Times Friggin’ Square, and went to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying . . . where we met and got the autograph of Daniel Radcliffe aka. Harry Potter. I’ll never forget that trip.

9. For the past three years running my birthday has been pretty amazing. And this year kept the tradition rolling. My amazing friends all took me out for a wonderful dinner at Olive Garden (a tradition which began when we were in college), and then came back to my apartment where they showered me with cupcakes (thanks Annie!), cookies (thanks Julie!), powdered sugar covered treats (thanks Tina!), festive party hats and some of the best gifts I’ve ever been given . . . including a printed and bound copy of my novel with “critical praise” excerpts from each of them. I’m not ashamed to admit that I bawled like a baby when they gave me that one. And then we watched Die Hard. It goes down as one of the best birthdays in the history of time.

10. Beginning in December, Lifetime Television started airing a series of truly spectacular made-for-TV Christmas movies. My mom and I recorded ALL of them, and spent our free afternoons mocking them. What started out as a funny pastime turned out to be one of my very best memories of 2011. The two of us, camped out on our living room couches by the fire, enjoying the cold weather and Christmas spirit. While most of the movies were spectacularly awful, a few of them wound up being pretty amazing; I even ordered two of them on Amazon. It’s a tradition which I hope we continue in the oncoming years.

11. Last but not least, my blog. I started Pensuasion in May after the writing conference as a way to stay connected to the writing community, with little expectation. I had no idea how to gain followers (thanks Julie for giving me some tips), or what all to write about. Now it’s been eight months, forty-six posts (or forty-seven including this one), and ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-NINE FOLLOWERS (I was hoping for 150 before the end of the year, but since my real goal was to reach 100, I’m going to consider this one a win)! So thank you to all my followers and readers for the much, MUCH needed support and comments.


  1. How great that your writing life has grown so dramtically in 2011 - onwards and upwards for 2012!!

  2. Congratulations on a fantastic year! 2012 should be just as spectacular. Happy New Year!

  3. What a great 2011 for you! I hope you have an even better 2012!

  4. Congratulations! Sounds like an amazing year full of Patronus inducing moments.

  5. One of my patronus moments of 2011 was watching you unwrap the book. You weren't the only one bawling-Tina and I were right there with you :)

  6. What an amazing year you've had. I'm so glad we met so I can celebrate your successes with you. So wonderful!!!

  7. First - Your blog name is INSANELY AWESOME!
    Second - if the blog name wasn't enough awesome you go an add Patronus in your blog (I die)...
    Third - YOU'RE AGENTED! Holy pancake... you certainly had a great 2011! Here's working towards the rest of your goals!!!

    I am hopping over from Alex's blog where you signed up for the Insecure Writers Group! New blog buddies... I love!

  8. Um, blushing here, since I made like 3 or 4 of your Patronus moments... Eeeek! That definitely deserves a....

    [happy dance!!]

    and possibly a...

    [head bobble]

    just for good measure ( : Haha!

    And for the record, if I were to actually go through my year and figure out my Patronus moments of 2011... you'd DEFINITELY be in the top five too!! You don't have a choice, deary, you're stuck with me now. BWFF!!

  9. Holy amazing Patronus moments! Congrats on it all!

  10. WOW!!! What an incredible year! And it's just the beginning!!!

  11. It really was a great year! I can only hope that 2012 is just as wonderful. Annie and Julie - thanks for both being a big part of 2011...more Patronus moments to come!!!

  12. Great year! I can't wait to hear even better news for you this year--publishing news? Keeping my fingers crossed for you!