Literary Consolation Prizes

The highlight of my very nerdy week is always the Sunday New York Times. I technically got a subscription for Boyfriend for our anniversary, but I get just as much enjoyment out of it as he does. Thankfully we never go for the same sections (I take Real Estate, Sunday Styles, the Book Review, and Arts & Entertainment, and he takes the front section, Business, Metropolitan, and other snooze-y sections), and this weekend while we were eating breakfast, I flipped through the Book Review and found this hilarious and charming cartoon at the back. Given that I’d spent most of the weekend holed up writing (or, err, trying to, anyway) I found it especially fitting.

Grant Snider for the New York Times

I really got a giggle out of the Unnecessary Punctuation Ribbon. So I did what any dork would do: I clipped it out of the paper and framed it (I happened to have one of these frames laying around, obviously. My house is like an IKEA auxiliary warehouse). It’s hanging on the wall in my bedroom as inspiration.

My friend Iain is a published author and I was picking his brain at a party we went to a few weekends ago for any advice he had for someone starting out. “Check your ego at the door,” he said. He also gave me a terrifying (but realistic) timeline of how this is actually going to play out: “This is a five or six year process.” Oh. I explained to him that I was really having a problem with the act of actually writing and he said that the book is truly written in the rewrites, so the best thing I can do is just bang out a first draft to work with. I’m trying. It’s coming in spurts and single sentences that strike me when I’m in the shower or about to fall asleep, but it’s nonetheless coming. I think there needs to be a Patience Award in that cartoon.

And for a bit of levity, I’ll leave you with this amazing tweet my friend Tom sent a few months ago. Really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

How was your weekend?


16 thoughts on “Literary Consolation Prizes

  1. Hah – friggin awesome. Love the graphic and love the Snooki quote. Do you think if I got wasted on my blog and spray painted myself orange that people would start paying attention?

    1. Um, I would pay to see that. It can’t hurt, right? Who doesn’t want an orange drunkard blogging??

  2. The unnecessary punctuation is the one that made me laugh too – I can just never find a balance, it’s either too much, or too little

    I agree with your friend! Just write, write, write! Write the dumb things and silly things and things you would never say you thought and don’t use any punctuation at all. Totally easier said than done of course. I think I am just excited to read it and 5 or 6 years sounds like a long time away! xo

    1. I really loved that exercise a few years ago, just picking up a pen and writing a string of whatever was in my head. I haven’t done that in a while, I should try it again! I bet it would help, get everything flowing. Hopefully 5-6 years is a timeline given to Serious Authors and not Authors Writing RomComs Set in Paris. xoxo

  3. Oh gosh, I have quotes and New Yorker cartoons galore for you. I’m not sure I can wait five or six years (patience isn’t my strong suit), but I do agree with your friend that you’re basically just needing to bang out a first draft. I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes from the ex-husband of a friend of mine (come to think of it, it’s one of only two decent things he said): Sometimes “done” is better than “good.” Get the done done, and worry about the good later.

    1. I love that last line. Get the done done, and worry about the good later. I might print that out and stick it next to my computer. Patience, as you know, is not my strong suit either, but I’ve been surprisingly patient with myself when it comes to working on this book. I’m mostly just still grateful that whenever I sit down to write “it” is all still there. xoxo

  4. LOL- I wish someone would nominate me for the Self Proclaimed Genius Grant. I can’t even imagine the “team” working on those Snooki books.

    1. Hahaha I’ll nominate you if you nominate me :) Of course, that big fat check he’s holding would be nice, too. I joked with Boyfriend that I want a job that pays me what I make now but the only thing I have to do is sit at home and write. WHY don’t jobs like that exist??

  5. I know what you mean about your house being like IKEA’s warehouse – I am totally feeling the same. Jealous of your Times subscription! I like visiting my dad’s house on weekends because I always walk away with his Sunday NYT :)

    1. Totally worth the investment, Yelle! I got it during a promotion and I got the first 10 weeks at half-off. It’s still only $30/mo now that the promotion expired and it’s such a treat to have the paper to look forward to every weekend. I’m a print journalism fan, haha, it was my major in college.

  6. That’s some really great advice from your friend, and that’s straight from someone who has been published. The 5-6 years definitely sounds daunting, but masterpieces take time. :) Did you ever read that article in Vanity Fair about the publishing journey of The Art of Fielding? It was a great look inside the publishing industry. We are all here cheering for you, and it’s really cool to be on this journey with you. (That Snooki tweet is hilarious, and oh so painfully true!)

    1. Ha! You are kind to use the word “masterpiece” but trust me, Shakespeare this is not. ;) Iain is a really powerful, incredible writer and I’m totally going to milk him for all he’s got in the advice department, haha. He also has a super cute baby, so that’s just an extra bonus, haha.
      Thanks for the encouragement and for sticking along for the ride! xo

  7. Just the kind of laugh I needed to start the day! I find it difficult to sit down and write the random ramblings on blog in the mornings (it took me a week to publish my very first post), let alone write a book but hang in there! After all, you can’t rush a masterpiece! Is it wrong that I find myself intrigued by Snooki’s books? What do you think they are about? Guidos and spray tans? Is it wrong that I even know what a guido is?

    1. Hahaha I love/hate that guidos have invaded popular culture in other countries. And I intend to stay as far away from those Snooki books as I possibly can lest I catch some freak STD or worse, stupidity! Haha. I can’t judge too hard, at least she’s published! Sad but true, haha. xo

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