Writing, Scary Law School Professors, and a Gratuitous Yankees Reference



Hey, guess what. I am writing.

What am I talking about?

Last May, I started querying my novel PAINTED HANDS. I had read enough to know the quest-for-publication process might be rough.  But I didn't realize what would be so bad about it. I had been through stressful things before. I had survived three years at a competitive law school. It would, at its worst, be like that, right?

Trying to get published, it turns out, is not like law school at all. In law school, everything felt very controllable. I could read. I could think. I could analyze and apply. God knows I could argue. I could even stay up all night with my study group, jacked up on Mountain Dew and cold pizza, wearing my favorite navy blue running tights and my "Smith College: A Century of Women on Top" tee shirt.

For the most part, I could control what happened, what grades I got, where I would be able to interview, what city I wanted to work in. (Wherever Andy Pettitte was.)

Not so with publishing. You can work hard. You can write a good book. You can pen an effective query letter (even if you have four pov characters). You can get an agent. You can do all this and more, and still, there is no guarantee.

Sometimes, it gets to you, this out-of-control way of being. Despite having children who say adorable things like, "But why can't we watch "Bridesmaids? We've had 'the talk'," or friends who match you curse word for curse word or an iPod full of ridiculous running music like "Sexy and I Know It," --despite reading Augusten f*cking Burroughs, who makes you laugh for real, out loud, even when other people are looking--sometimes  during this process, you will actually yearn for the glory days when your Civ Pro professor routinely made people cry. (Mostly boys.)

At these times, it's easy to forget why you're doing this. That the year you spent writing your novel--when the kids left the house each day for hours and your husband followed them and you ignored the uptalking chirping of PTO operatives--was one of the best years ever.

I'm at the beginning of one of those times where I have very little control over the publication process. The best advice I've gotten? Write the next damn book.

And so I am, Stephen Parrish. So I am.



22 comments:

  1. Woo, yay! If you hurry then I can read two of your books IN A ROW. I mean, no pressure or anything. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This still makes me glad that I didn't go to law school! :-)


    I have all of my fingers crossed for you! Keep us posted, ok?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wendy, you are too funny. Also: I can't wait to read one of yours!

    Cath, law school is really crazy the first year, on purpose, and then it's pretty cool. (But I'm not kidding about the people crying.)

    I will definitely let you know if something happens.

    ReplyDelete
  4. well well well it's been a while

    ReplyDelete
  5. This post reminded me a) I do not have anything even CLOSE to Zobair hair; b) the origin of your Dew addiction; and c) Stephen Parrish is a wise guy in the WISEST sense of the word. Remember the great year it gave you and KEEP WRITING!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Parrish is not as stoopid as his taste in art would have one believe.

    I love the pic: love, love, love. And you're no longer allowed to make disrespectful comments towards your hair. My big hair is downright frizzy with envy.

    VERY happy you're working on the new book, too. You've pinpointed exactly why this process is so frustrating--we're totally in the dark. Nothing left to do but try and make our own light, I guess. And keep one eye on the email inbox. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey wait a minute Stephen Parrish loves my art. Hmmm....

    And yeah the next book! I hope that somehow a discussion of all this hair largess gets in the pages of this newest work. I can't wait to hear test chapters in our DAWGS hangouts girl! Oh sorry, lady!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Isn't that the title of her new book? It's a sequel called PAINTED HAIR!

    ReplyDelete
  9. June, only one of these things is worth remembering. :) And I am channeling that year as we speak...

    Sarah, Parrish is a genius. It doesn't hurt that he's slightly funny, too.

    I always have one eye on the inbox. Well, not when I'm driving. Unless there's traffic. (Kidding!) I wonder what is was like when everything was snail mail that came ONCE a day. Seems like it would free up some time...

    ReplyDelete
  10. (Notice how I am avoiding any nonsense about the hair?_

    ReplyDelete
  11. Cat and Wendy,you are brilliant. A character with enormous hair. And highlights--painted hair. Ha!

    ReplyDelete
  12. (So there was a little nonsense about the hair.)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Trivia: 'Painted Hands' when literally translated to Hindi means the phrase that when translated back to English means 'Red Handed'.

    These are the problems I'd love to face one day. At least you got a book done. And since even YOU managed to get a book done, imagine how that makes ME feel.

    And it just feels that a story involving Painted Hair would be much more fun than one with Painted Hands. Though it also does matter how you got the painted hands in the first place. One could use paint in .. umm.. interesting activities.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Aniket, RED HANDED will figure prominently into the title of your biography. As in "Caught". As in Sarah and I are halfway through the first draft.

    So really, even I have written 1.5 books.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks, Precie. It's good to go forward!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I suggest PAINTED HANDS be the first in a series called PAINTED BODY PARTS.

    Srsly, you wouldn't have gotten this far without sufficient talent to punch through. All you need now is patience and good looks. You've got one of them down.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The wise man showeth his face. Well, sort of.

    Where were you with your brilliant series ideas when I was querying, Mr. Parrish? Oh yeah. Busy climbing Amazon's charts. I guess that will do, as excuses go.

    Srsly, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I hope you are able to have fun writing the next book too. Hold on to the joy! Hold on to the joy! Glue it to your forehead if you have to!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Second best piece of advice: Glue it to your forehead.

    Thanks, Davin!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. No wisdom in my head. But good wishes abound.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks, Richard. Good wishes are just as good!

    ReplyDelete