Friday, December 24, 2010

Dirty little secret

Isn't it kind of the cliche that every lawyer really wants to be a writer?

I've wanted to be a writer ever since I was a kid.  I wrote my first book when I was in junior high and gave it to my mom for her birthday.  (She told me it sucked, in not so many words.)  I won a Reflections contest in 9th grade with a short story.  I hacked away at a never-ending novel through high school.  (A grim vampire-historical-psychodrama ... such a disaster.  And to think I thought of it pre-Twilight.)

Freshman year in college and another short story had my professor convinced I could be published ... and that I needed to seek help for an eating disorder.  (He took a lot of things in that class too seriously.)

The funny thing is, even with his encouragement, I never submitted that story anywhere.  I have no idea why.

(That's a lie, and I'll get back to it later.)

Another novel in college, and this one I actually let people read.  All of them claimed they thought it was funny, and I'm pretty sure most of them were telling the truth.  I also wrote a bunch of opinion columns for The Daily Utah Chronicle which were subsequently eaten by an InternetLand Monster.  (It happens.)

Off to law school then, even though I still knew I wanted to be a writer, even though my Pops told me that even he (the Eterna-Pragmatist) thought I could be a writer.

And guess what?  I really liked law school, even if the primary reason I went (after "I want to help people," of course) was so that I wouldn't have to be poor when I inevitably attempted the whole getting-published-thang.

During law school, I prepared myself for the onslaught of getting rejected repeatedly by signing up for more OCIs than any person in their right mind ought to.  (Actually, that was because my dad's lawyer buddy told me to -- and I quote -- "Apply for everything!  It doesn't matter!")  Forty-one first interviews later, I had two callbacks and two offers.  If that gives you any idea of how good a first impression I can make.

However, law school is not conducive to starting new writing projects and seeing them through.  I was able to edit down college-novel to a reasonable level.  (Sorry, people who had to read it when it was still 130,000 words long.  But how impressed are you that it's now 84,000?)  But mostly I started a bunch of things that remain unfinished on my loyal MacBook Pro.  I also wrote a bunch of papers and edited two textbooks, and rationalized that this was the same thing as working on my own writing.

After law school, the economy imploded and my lawyer-job was deferred until January.  My friend Paul (I'm starting to lose track of some of these pseudonyms, fyi) got me a gig working as a marketing assistant at the Deseret Book after the bar exam that fall.  (Paul also once gave a copy of my novel to one of the readers at Deseret Book -- not to consider for publication, but just to get some objective feedback.  She liked it ... though obviously the plethora of swears made it non-DB material.  Still, I like that someone who wasn't my friend and who does this for a living also thought it was funny.)  I did some research on how one goes about trying to get published.

Note that in 2002, someone was willing to help me with this process in person, and in 2009, I'm still relying on Internet to help me procrastinate the day of my ultimate rejection.  (See, I told you I'd get back to explaining my lies.)

So I moved to Fake Austin, and actually started giving it a shot.  Writing more.  Querying agents.  The whole shebang.

The funny thing is, I tend not to tell many people all this.  But then, TODITDRR (hopefully I don't have too many more opportunity to use this new abbreviation), a funny thing happened.

Two other lawyers cheerfully admitted that they also have partially finished novels on their laptops.  So apparently it's not the weird secret I thought it was.

A few days after that, my friend Rodrigo (multi-talented a-hole that he is ... but he knows I love him) got some good news from an agent.  He and I agreed to do a book swap -- the first time I've done such a thing with a Lawyer Friend.  (Not that this is a particularly big deal, it's just that we tend to be judgier than other friends.)

And then out of the many, many rejections came one request for a partial manuscript.  (Don't get too excited, it was almost six weeks ago and I've heard nothing since, so I'm guessing that's a no.)  But still, one ray of hope is sometimes all it takes to realize, Well, maybe this isn't such a disaster after all.

In case you're wondering, this blog isn't going to turn into some sort of chronicle of my adventures of publishing land rejection.  Nope, it's still the adventures of Lawyer Girl, Bad Mormon Girl, Social Anxiety Girl, Ranty McRanterton Girl, etc.

But I was just thinking, Hey.  Some people have entire websites dedicated to their potentially pathetic dreams.   

I ought to have at least one post.

1 comment:

  1. Ru, as one of those people with an entire website dedicated to my potentially pathetic dream, I enjoyed this post:) And your credentials are way better than mine, since I never won a Reflections contest.

    P.S. I noticed you grew up in Kaysville. I am also a Kays-villain and a proud Davis Dart (graduated in '02). Maybe we actually sort of know each other in real life!