The Grass Is Always Grayer…

I know, I’m mixing metaphors, but bear with me.

As my faithful readers know by now, I’m not a froofy girl.  I’ve been known to answer the door in my jammies–at noon.  My make up bag consists of eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara.  If it takes longer than 20 minutes to go from pj’s to out the door, I schedule an appointment with the hair salon.

As my husband says, I’m pretty plain.  To this day, I don’t know which definition of pretty he’s using. 

Enter a trip to the grocery store.  While ringing up my spaghetti ingredients, the check out gal kept looking at me.  She was a cute, little thing with naturally blonde hair and caramel highlights.  The poor girl was also about sixteen years old.

Finally, she leaned over and said, “What color is your hair?  I love it.”

To which I leaned my unhighlighted-in-five-months head close and said, “It’s gray.”

“No really, I’m not kidding.”

“Neither am I.”

I clearly pictured her mind racing as she slid the mushrooms across the scanner.  I would love to dye my hair that color.  It’s so unique.  Much better than my every day blonde.

As writers, and humans, we tend to gaze longingly over the fence–or check out counter, as it were–with great regularity.  We compare ourselves and our situations to other’s and think, Wow, Whatshertoes is so lucky.  She’s got it made.  I want what she has.

But I’m here to caution you.  Things are not always as they seem.  The grass is not always greener and the hair might be a little more gray than you’re willing to live with.

“I love your hair.  It’s such a pretty platinum.”

“Honey, someday you can have it too.”

I wanted to give Cute Check Out Girl a hug and tell her to enjoy what she has now.  But she wouldn’t have understood.  We never do.

We simply gaze into the lives of our peers and lament what is missing in our own.

Writers, do you realize that snagging an agent is the easy part?  It is not the end of your hard work.  In fact, several of my repped writing buddies often discuss the endless edits and the reworking of their entire manuscripts.  Only to be rejected by publishing houses.

Did you know that a publishing contract is not the end of our work?  More edits will be made prior to our release dates.  New stories must be written.  Marketing goes into effect. 

Publishing a novel is hard work.  It involves time, motivation, energy and perseverence.  We could live our whole writing careers wishing we were at the next fork–the one that will take us to fame and fortune.  However, this makes me want to hug you and remind you to be careful what you wish for. 

Enjoy where you are now.  Earn your “platinum” naturally.  I would hate to wake up one day with a solid head of gray hair and realize I missed the experiences that made it that way.

Think about all you’ve learned so far and the friends you’ve made.  The conferences, the forums, the waffling over sentence structure, query letters and tying up loose ends. 

If given the choice of staying the path or instantly having your book on the shelf, what would you choose?  Why?

12 responses to “The Grass Is Always Grayer…

  1. I hear ya’. It’s all about the journey. There are days though, where it feels as though you’ve been trudging that same road endlessly and I think, ‘can’t I just click my heels and get there already’, sheesh. 😉 But yes, it’s a process. A long grueling one but a process nonetheless. Just kidding on the long, grueling…sort of. Have a great weekend!

    • Lisa,

      There are many days I wish I could just wave the wand, however, I know that in the past, I wouldn’t have been ready for the demands of publishing at that time. I guess it takes time to learn the ropes, hone the craft and understand the industry.

      Not that people haven’t had sweetheart stories that turn out just fine. But it is nice to know I haven’t quit this yet.

  2. I want to be published very much, but I’m definitely enjoying my journey. I’m learning a lot and I wouldn’t change anything about my current journey! This path will make me a better writer and more prepared for the destination… and then for the journey after I reach that ultimate goal!

    • Laura,

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the journey. I’ve learned so much about myself along the way that it was well worth the wait. IS worth the wait : )

      Agreed, there is always another journey just waiting to be taken after each success. So, our writing lives will never end unless we decide to stop walking.

  3. I’m sooo ready for publication. I’m ready for the hard work. Put me in, Coach!

  4. Great post – it’s hard work at all levels as we’re seeing with some of our buddies at AQ and elsewhere.

    I wouldn’t wish a single moment of my life away – it goes too quickly as it is – and I like earning my way 🙂

  5. Um, I want my stuff up on the shelf! When it’s done, of course.

  6. Okay, I’ve got to say I am amused that grey hair is so frequently covered up, that some people don’t even know what it looks like anymore. Good post, Cate.

    • Layinda,

      Crazy true. In her defense, my hair is blonde, so between nature, highlights and gray, it’s a unique color. But certainly not worthy of getting put on a teen’s wish list!

      Hugs~ cat

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