Saturday, November 04, 2006

Occupational Hazards

There are occupational hazards to every job, and the other day I fell upon one of being a YA author...

I should start by telling you I am the publicity co-chair for my son’s high school. For their recent Homecoming Game, my assignment was to do a write-up on the crowning of the Homecoming Queen for submission to the local papers. Which is right up my Top Ten Uses For an Unworn Prom Dress alley, huh?

The afternoon of the game, my younger son asked if he had a practice later. “Yes,” I told him. “But Dad’s going to take you. I have to go cover Homecoming for the papers.”

My son got real silent, and when I looked over at him, his face was contorted with worry. "Mom?” he said tentatively. “Don't you think they should find someone, you know, who actually understands football, to do that?"

It took me a moment to realize he thought I had meant the game coverage. And I could just imagine what had been charging through his head, that I’d write something like:

“Omigod, so the hottie in the white helmet did a body slam against some bruiser on the other team, and can you buh-LEEVE he grabbed the ball from the guy's hands? I mean, people, someone could get hurt here...”

After I assured him that the actual game would be covered by a sports professional--and that I was perfectly capable of writing news copy on the crowning--we got a good laugh out of it.

Have you come across any misconceptions or hazards relating to your job(s)?


Top Ten Uses for An Unworn Prom Dress, February 13, 2007
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring 2008


Anonymous said...

Hi Tina,
I don't know if this qualifies as job hazard, but since I haven't yet sold my first book and I'm not getting any younger, I found myself at the mall a few weeks ago getting a facial. And then purchasing way too many "anti-aging, wipe-away-the wrinkles" potions and lotions. I justified it by saying I need to stay young looking for that book cover photo shot.

Great post, Tina.


Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Such a cute story, Tina! Every once in a while someone asks if I work when they are pretty sure that I don't. But when I tell them I write YA their eyes get really big, like oh, someone interesting. I'm telling you being a stay at home mom & a writer are both interesting and really hard work. =D

Anonymous said...

A few months back I was in a bank parking lot, composing a very important e-mail in my head, one that I was going to send to an editor. I was backing up, when Crash, boom, bang! I had no idea there was a truck behind me or that I was even backing up that far.
Daydreaming is definitely an occupational hazard of being a writer.

TinaFerraro said...

Janie, I totally relate to buying lotions and potions for author photos, having just gone through that process recently!

Kelly, thanks for jumping in, and yeah, sometimes people are totally amazed that we do something "so interesting", huh? But I think you know my line, that sometimes it feels like I spend my evenings and weekends trying to prevent my kids from doing the very things I spend my work hours making my characters do! :)

And Anon, daydreaming is a total occupational hazard. Does anyone else feel like a fool when they're driving along--alone--and trying out narration and dialogue, and realize they look like a total, talk-to-myself nutcase?


Anonymous said...

Misconceptions about my job? Well, as you know, Tina, I used to work for the government and one of the more heinous things I had to do was bill analysis --that is analyze a piece of pending legislation and state my department's position on whether or not to support or oppose it. There was a 'rule' that any new legislation that would cost money would be automatically opposed. HOWEVER, you could never give that as a reason in your analysis. So what I was left to do was find justifications for opposing a bill because it cost money but never saying that was the real reason. Talk about creative writing!

TJ Brown said...

LOL Tina. I couldn't do Sports either. And hazards of my job? Does all my kids teen's friends asking me when I'm going to be published count?


TinaFerraro said...

Cindy, never have I heard of such on-the-job career preparedness. Creative writing is right!

And TJ, I've been there, too, with my kids' friends asking when I was going to be published. And the bummer is, even after I sold, they are still asking. It seems to take forever for the books to come out!



chanceofbooks said...

Great blog! First time commenter :) Occupational hazard: My librarian mother assumes that I must be interested in EVERYTHING about youth culture--all TV shows, malls, pop stars, etc and fills my mailbox with clippings. Other hazard: revealing that I write YA invites people to tell me horror stories about THEIR teenagers. Not always helpful :) :): )

TinaFerraro said...

Susan, thanks for dropping by! And glad you liked my, uh, commentary. I must admit I give my snazziest commentary, though, in the back row of a boring lecture. :)

Wavybrains, so glad to have you here! I relate to both hazards you mentioned, in the form of well-meaning friends/relatives with story ideas. I have been known to tell people, "Great idea...but I'm busy. You write it." That usually stop them.


Me said...

What a hilarious story -- can't wait to see how you work that into a book! My worst "occupational hazzard" so far has been in dealing with my PhD program.

When I first met with professors this summer one of them said, "So... I googled you." And I'm thinking oh great, now he thinks I'm dirt because I'm a writer. Until he said, "Why did you choose to leave the world of fiction for this program?" Um, hello? "Since I sold my first book two weeks ago, I don't think I can."

Others in the program have been very supportive (especially my classmates) but that first comment really turned me off, if you know what I mean.

TinaFerraro said...

I DO know what you mean, TLC, and I think it's terrific that you're managing to make both your careers FLY. Occupational hazards or not. :)


Marley Gibson said...

LOL, Tina...that's great!

I had a little something when I started my job last year. I have four VPs that I plan travel and meetings for, two of which are remote. The first time I met one of my remote guys in person, I made the comment about my "writer friends." He heard it and had this weird look on his face.

Then, about two months later, he asked me about my horse. My horse? I didn't know what he was talking about. He said, "You said you were a rider. I assumed it was horses. Is it motorcyles?" I died laughing and explained that I was neither a horse rider or a hog rider, but a writer-writer.

We've gotten good laughs out of that ever since.

Marley = )

TinaFerraro said...

That's a great story, Marley! Writing to us--or saying we're writers--is second-nature, but I'm always surprised by how some people seem startled when I tell them what I do, say, or "I've never met a writer before". On the flipside, I pretty assume everyone writes, unless they tell me differently. I mean, because it's so much fun, right?