All the Surprising Things That Happened in 2011

At the end of every year I look back at this blog to see what happened to me—what I made happen, and what I had no idea was even coming. I tend to forget things, and confuse time and reorder events in my memory, and often the novels I’m writing seem more real than the life I’m existing in, so having a blog helps to remind me that I did do things. Things did happen. There were twelve months that just went by and, after this year especially, I’ve been changed as a person.

I ended 2010 having worked very hard to complete the very last of my revisions for my debut YA novel Imaginary Girls.

Here’s what happens next in 2011…


I vanish into the woods… literally.


I faint from blurbs.


I recall my turning point as a writer—and why I began writing YA fiction.


I feel exposed.


I let go of old books.


My book comes out and I interview a real girl behind Imaginary Girls.


I admit how close I am to my book.


I crawl out of my cave into the sun for the big SCBWI summer conference.


I (finally) finish my first draft.


I tell you what scares me. (And ask others to tell you, too.)


I tell you what inspires me. (And ask others to tell you, too.)


I revise, and I revise, and I revise 17 & Gone. (And I get the above fortune at a fancy dinner.)

There’s so much more that happened beyond the public sphere of this blog—and that’s one important lesson I learned in 2011: I can’t share everything with the world anymore, now that I’m living this parallel life as an author. I’ve had to start keeping a private journal again. And I need to thank a few of my writer friends for listening during some of the more dramatic moments. Thank you, CS, CZ, LB, MO.

I know a little about what will be coming in 2012. I’ll be finishing my revision of 17 & Gone, and revising some more after that. I’ll be asking other authors to write about their own turning points—come back for those guest blogs in a new series starting this January. I know I’ll also be vanishing for a little while. I’ll be writing on a mountain in California for a whole month this spring. By summer I’ll be celebrating the paperback release of two books with new faces: Imaginary Girls in paperback and Fade Out, aka Dani Noir. I’ll be seeing what happens with this new novel proposal I’m working on, fingers crossed. And maybe in 2012 I’ll hear some yeses, maybe I’ll hear some nos, but I’ll be hoping for the yeses—for me, and for you.

So how was your 2011? What happened to YOU?

18 thoughts on “All the Surprising Things That Happened in 2011

  1. Claire December 28, 2011 / 12:00 pm

    Beautiful post, Nova! What did I do this year? I learned, and made lots of mistakes, and learned, and learned some more.

    • Nova Ren Suma December 28, 2011 / 12:13 pm

      Oh yes, the learning and the mistakes and the learning some more. I was right there with you… and I’m sure I’ll be there again next year!

  2. allreb December 28, 2011 / 12:07 pm

    This is a lovely post! I can certainly understand your need to keep a private journal, but I’ve always found the way you share frustrations and victories here very inspiring. It makes writing feel like a real thing that actual human beings do, instead of some distant idea of What Authors Are Like, if that makes sense.

    This year (in fact, yesterday, heh) I finished rewriting a manuscript. This is a big deal for me. I’ve finished (very) rough drafts before, but have always gotten lost, sidetracked, and given up as I tried to fix them up. And this… it still needs a lot of revisions, but I fought my way through the rewrite and actually got it done. It’s the first real step forward I’ve managed in a few years.

    • Nova Ren Suma December 28, 2011 / 12:12 pm

      Oh wow, congratulations on the rewrite! What an accomplishment at the end of the year! You must celebrate!

      (And thank you so much for the kind words.)

  3. Tiffany Schmidt December 28, 2011 / 12:45 pm

    Nova! What a wonderful year you’ve had.

    I spent 2011 watching in amazement as the Schmidtlets grew from tiny, frail preemies into mischievous toddlers. And dancing them around the room many, many times after Send Me A Sign sold to Walker. And snuggling them when I had stumped moments during revisions and copyedits.

    I can’t wait for 2012 — and it sounds like you’ve got a fabulous year planned too! I hope it’s full of yeses!

    • Nova Ren Suma December 28, 2011 / 1:04 pm

      Tiffany, it makes me smile to think of the wonderful, wonderful year you had… with the book news AND the boys! xoxoxo!

  4. reutreads December 28, 2011 / 1:15 pm

    I’m glad you’ve had such a great year! Imaginary Girls was well loved by many people and I can’t wait to read your upcoming book. Good luck with your new proposal and thanks for your blog series and wonderful posts this year.

    • Nova Ren Suma December 28, 2011 / 1:17 pm

      Thank you so much for reading this blog and for being so supportive! I hope you had a good 2011… and have an even better 2012.

  5. Mieke Zamora-Mackay December 28, 2011 / 1:29 pm

    What a great year for you, Nova. So much accomplished. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. I learn so much from your blog posts.

    • Nova Ren Suma December 28, 2011 / 10:06 pm

      Thank you so much, Mieke! Happy almost 2012!

    • Nova Ren Suma December 28, 2011 / 10:08 pm

      What an intense, enormous year you had, Jess! I’m amazed by you. I’m excited to see what 2012 has in store for you… and 2013… when your book comes out!

  6. simmone howell December 28, 2011 / 4:42 pm

    imaginary girls was one of my favourite books of 2011 – I took a long time to read it and then just loved it – am also really enjoying your blog. yes, the parallel life of author/person is weird – Ive had to pull back from the blog but have nearly finished my never-ending draft so it’s definitely been worth it – excited about your new release in 2013!

    • Nova Ren Suma December 28, 2011 / 10:09 pm

      Thank you so much for saying that about IG, Simmone! I’m thrilled that you liked the book so much. Congrats on nearly finishing your never-ending draft. I know those never-ending drafts well, and it’s the best feeling in the world when they reveal that they do indeed have an end. Hope yours finds you soon!

  7. Angelina C. Hansen (@AngelinaCHansen) December 28, 2011 / 9:53 pm

    Well, I met you in LA. . . and finished revisions on a novel, and completed first drafts on two others. Best wishes for 2012, Nova. Thanks for sharing what you can.

    • Nova Ren Suma December 28, 2011 / 10:10 pm

      Angelina, it was so wonderful to meet you in LA at the conference this summer! And you’ve written so much this year, I am in utter awe.

      A W E.

      Happy 2012!

  8. courtneysummers December 29, 2011 / 12:21 am

    Nova, you are wonderful. I am so glad to know you, and so proud of all you have accomplished this year. And all you WILL accomplish in 2012. You will always be one of my favourite writers to follow. ~*~ 🙂

    • Nova Ren Suma December 29, 2011 / 9:45 am

      Courtney, you are amazing. I absolutely can’t wait for 2012… and YOUR BOOK is one of the reasons why. I can’t wait to celebrate TINAT with everyone!

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