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.