Saturday, January 8, 2011

Top 2010... 10

2010 was actually a bit of a banner year for me. (What does that mean, anyway? Banner year? Anyway, it was pretty cool.) It's hard to prioritize all the awesome things that have made this year one of the best ever, but here's the list anyway, in no particular order.

  1. Finished writing my first full novel. Yes, I can write over 102,000 words on the same story—and most of those words were written this year. It’s still really bad and needs major surgery to make it really live, but it sure is cool to see all the bones, blood, and guts lying there, waiting to be stitched together.
  2. Went to my first writer’s conference (LDS Story Makers) in April, where I met a ton of really cool authors, including Dan Wells, James Dashner, and Aprilynne Pike. Jessica Day George was also there, and, though I’d met her before, it was still awesome to see her.
  3. Reunited with Susan Kennedy Jensen, my college roommate. Susan, who now runs a mean book blog, flew to Utah from Arizona to attend LDSSM with me. It was cool to hang out with her there, since every aspiring author wants to talk to the book blogger in the room!
  4. Met The Six. I’d been following Brodi Ashton’s blog religiously for a while and was thrilled when Brodi and four of her writer’s group agreed to meet Susan and me for dinner the evening before the LDSSM conference started. A funnier group of girls you’ll never meet. Then, in December, I also got to interview them for the Farland Authors’ Advisory.  I’m feeling a bit like the little sister that follows her older, cooler sisters around, but none of them have told me to get lost yet….
  5. Lost the LDSSM First Chapter contest—which would normally be a low point, except Brodi so completely deserved to win and I loved, loved, loved the comments from my judges. Especially the judge that scored me the lowest: he/she said that I was a “very, very, good” writer, encouraged me to keep writing, and said my story was as good as Aprilynne Pike’s Wings.  How can I feel bad about that? Wings is an NYT Bestseller! I’ll take criticism like that any day.
  6. Finally got a writer’s group. When David Farland announced on the Daily Kick that he was starting an online writer’s forum, I was thrilled! I immediately asked his brother, Jim Wolverton if I could help, wrote the Critique Guide, got to be Jim’s own group leader, and have been basking in the perfection that is the Pied Pipers ever since. They actually encouraged me to write crazy elaborate rules! I promise, many of them will be bestsellers soon, and everyone will be reading their books. Meanwhile, they’re willing to help me figure out and hone all the writing skills I’ve forgotten since I left college. I have no idea how anyone writes without a group. If you are not in a group yet, do yourself a favor and check out David Farland’s Writer’s Groups.
  7. Got to host Farland’s Authors’ Advisory. When Jim announced they were getting bestselling authors to give us free writing advice in conference calls, I resisted raising my hand for, oh, a week? Then I oh-so-casually mentioned that I’d be happy to help out and Jim was nice enough to let me. My co-host, Mike Shaffer, is a talented hoot and a half and our minds work just opposite enough to make sure things should never be boring. I’m still a bit starry-eyed that I get to interview such great authors, even if it’s just by phone. So much fun!
  8. I’ve read 138 books. Not counting the 5 full-length novels I critiqued or the books I started and didn’t quite finish. (Like the last half of my re-read of Breaking Dawn.) I’ve revisited old favorite authors, like Stephenie Meyer, Patricia Briggs, Robyn Carr, and Brandon Sanderson, and found new favorites like Gail Carriger, Dan Wells, and Janette Rallison. (I have too many favorites to list them all, truly.) If you ever need a book recommendation, I’m your girl.
  9. I started a blog. This is more of a time commitment than a cause for celebration, but it becomes more wonderful when you consider that the design comes courtesy of my friend Devoney Wolf, who sent out a very timely email asking if anyone needed a web page designed, since she had to do a school project for her web design class. Um, yeah! I love her design. Isn’t it great? Then, of course, my awesome sister-in-law, Paula Weeks, took some pictures that make me look amazing. (If I do say so myself--and you would, too, if you could compare them to my normal appearance.)
  10. My family is well. My brother John got married to a wonderful girl this summer, my sister Vanessa survived the wildfires in Utah with her house intact, and all my nieces and nephews are growing up—albeit too quickly—to be wonderful young men and women. My own children are growing and are such awesome kids. My husband continues to support me despite having no idea why I like books, and loves me even though he has to regularly turn my light out at night and take my book (or computer, as the case may be) away so I can get some sleep. He’ll never read what I write, but I couldn’t write anything if he didn’t make it possible. This year was our ten year anniversary and we still behave like newlyweds. My husband is always on my top ten list.
Oh, and I also lost 20 pounds! It can be done! Now I'll look so much better on my eventual book tours.... :) (See the last blog post about delusions....)

How was 2010 for you? Think 2011 can top it?


  1. That was a great rehash of your year! Having dinner with you and Susan was a highlight for me as well. Here's to a great 2011!

  2. Robin, great post. And thanks SO much for the heads up about LDSSM Conference. I've already signed up. I attended UVU's Book Academy in September and found it to be very informative, to say nothing of the interesting people I met.

  3. Brodi--alright, spill. You googled your name and were led to my blog, huh? (Yes! It worked!) :)

    One of the best things about 2011? You are now ineligible for the First Chapter contest, just as I predicted. Not only am I proven to be a brilliant prognosticator, but I now have a chance to win myself.

    Susan's planning to come up again for the conference this year--wanna repeat dinner?

    Donna--yay! Let's hang out together! Are you doing the boot camp? Boot camp was awesome!

  4. Aw, you're sweet. 2010 was not my best year (darn cancer), but hanging out with you at LDSSM was definitely made it better. Can't wait to do it again this year!

  5. Okay, that should read, "hanging out with you at LDSSM definitely made it better." Doh!

  6. Susan--I've always wanted a way to edit comments, IM's, etc after they are permanently posted on the internet.

    May is going to be an awesome month. :)

  7. Robin, I did sign up for bootcamp. I need all the help I can get.

  8. Wow! You had a very busy year! And yes, 2011 is going to be even better! :D

  9. Funny how 2010 didn't seem all that busy. I was too busy have fun to notice I was busy.

    Yay for bigger and better in 2011!