While we admire some more pictures from my favorite store, I thought we might discuss a few writing truths I know to be self evident. And when I say 'truth' what I really mean is 'hunch.'
1. You should: Take your work outside. Soak up the sunshine and write.
You should not: Take your work outside and proceed to have a full-on schizophrenic conversation with yourself to work out the kinks in your dialogue. Your husband may think this is cute at home when you argue in the bathroom mirror and shake your hairbrush at, well, yourself… but strangers will only become overwrought and concerned for your well being. Trust me on this.
2. You should: Write what you know, be inspired by your family and retell humorous stories.
You should not: Retell family stories which will force the ones you love to relive past humiliations in a public forum. Unless you’re me, and have family members that relish the spotlight and have no qualms with my beginning a chapter this way: My sister realized that she’d just farted in front of an entire panel of art judges. But she shrugged shamelessly, taking another bite of the free snacks and pointing at them accusingly. “What are you looking at?" she demanded. "There’s something wrong with this prosciutto.'” Whoops. Maybe that was too far.
3. You should: Carry around a notebook to jot down little thoughts and ideas throughout the day.
You should not: Use the notebook to vent your marital frustrations. “I cannot believe I had to ask him to pick up his underwear off the bathroom floor AGAIN. Note to self, hide this underwear in his briefcase before work.” Because… your husband will eventually read it and you might end up with underwear in YOUR briefcase.
4. You should: Send in your query letter and relax. You can’t control the outcome; you can only control the effort.
You should not: Bite your fingernails down to the nubs while you wait, mentally envisioning said agent reading your sample pages and making fun of you with their agent friends. This is what medical professionals refer to as ‘ paranoia.’ Take a deep breath, buy yourself a decaf cappuccino and work on your next book.
And no, I won’t show you a picture of my fingernails.