Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Sorry for the horrible title, but as anyone who knows me can attest, I love a bad pun.
So... On Friday I decided to cut and donate my hair, which I did about two and a half years ago, and about five years before that. It wasn't such a drastic decision for me to go right below chin length since my hair grows like scary/crazy fast. But I was craving a change, something different. So I did it. I bit the big one and went for it.
That's right, folks. I got bangs.
(Cue horrified screaming)
Now, guys, (as in, ladies and any actual men-folk who may have stumbled upon this blog, to whom I apologize in advance for the following hair-related tirade) maybe some of y'all have already experienced the horror of a bad haircut, but there is nothing like the fear that comes over you, like a cold sweat, when you say to that stylist, "I want bangs."
Actually, I was too chicken to even say it. I just pulled out a picture I'd printed out of a bob Abby Lee Kershaw had this summer like a coward, and, hand shaking, gave it to the stylist, hoping all the while she was going to tell me that bangs are all wrong for my face and that I should try something else. But unless you've been going to the same stylist since the eighties, that never happens.
They're not going to try to talk you out of something you want (Also, I apologize in advance for stereotyping all hair stylists, but I need to skew the facts to make this writing analogy better. This is how the magic works, people.). They're in the business of giving the customer what they want. But, God bless 'em, they do their best to make that mistake work for you.
I looked great when I got out of the salon. Of course, I don't blow dry my hair EVER (unless it's really cold and I don't want to leave the house with wet hair), and I'm pretty low-maintenance. You can guess what's coming. Yeah, I can't get my hair to look anywhere near as good as the stylist did, even if I did pick up a few tricks from her. But why should I be surprised? I've never been good at making my hair look presentable, again: me = low-maintenance.
So by that logic... Why do I keep getting down on myself when my writing falls flat as my hair, and do things like tell myself it isn't as good as Suzanne Collins's work, or Scott Westerfeld's? I'm not Suzanne Collins or Scott Westerfeld, so why should I expect my work to be like theirs?
Comparing yourself or your writing to someone else doesn't get you anything but flat hair—er writing. Now, if you can pick up a few tips from the masters to make your own writing better, that's great, but sighing in front of your manuscript isn't going to make it any better than sighing in front of a mirror makes your hair.
I'll be as honest as a drunk ten-year old boy: I've been sighing over the manuscripts I've been working on. Which isn't fair to me or the manuscripts since neither of them is finished, and no one human has seen or offered feedback on most of either stories.
But ya know what? I opened up Evangeline after I'd gotten a few rejections from editors (the nicest rejections you've ever heard, of course), and I'm still in love with it. I can see things that I'd change, sure—style things, words I'd improve, voice things I'd make more Evie since spending so much time writing Mara from Strings, Cass from my (currently-titled) wip Aether, and my home-girls Renata, Georgia, Mel and Kris from Parallel—but it looks pretty good to me.
So I keep holding tight to that fact, that I wrote a novel I'm really happy with. A novel that caught the eye of a rock star agent. And it makes the sighing go away.
Until I look in the mirror. ;)