you march to the beat of a different drummer? I do. A person doesn’t
write a column titled “Diary of a Crazy Writer” every month for no
reason at all.
When I first started writing, I
jotted down whatever came to mind. I hadn’t yet learned the rules of
this craft, so as far as I knew, there weren’t any. My long, bony
fingers flew across the keyboard like a wild horse galloping through
fields of clover, the wind tousling my mane. Boom. Boom. Boom.
Those were the good old days.
Within a short time of posting
one of my nonfiction stories online, an editor from a major publishing
house in New York contacted me to bid on a project. Can you imagine?
I’d never written a novel in my life, let alone done a book proposal,
but I decided to give it a go. What could it hurt?
I searched for examples on how
to write the dreaded synopsis. In less than a few weeks, I had my
proposal assembled. (I still cringe when I read it, but, hey, I tried.)
I sent the package off to the publisher. My little drum picked up its
pace. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.
Within a few months, I received
a personal rejection letter. At the time, I didn’t know this type of
correspondence signified good news at all. (I later learned a personal
note is far better than a form letter.) All I knew was that I’d been
I spent the next few years
studying the craft, not to mention trying to emulate what other authors
did, you know, so I could be successful, just like them. And do you
know what happened? My shenanigans knocked me right out of my saddle.
drum stopped beating.
Don’t get me wrong. I learned
valuable lessons along the way, vital information I needed to know
about this profession. Things like plotting, formatting, and all the
other “ings” that have to do with writing. (Now that I think about it,
I should have taken a refresher course on my grammar and punctuation
along the way. It would have been most helpful.)
Anyway, I ran into one major
problem in my zeal for learning. I lost me in the
process. All of my creativity sailed away like a runaway kite in the
air on a hot summer day.
Soon after losing my kite, I
developed writer’s block. My well of story ideas ran dry. I whined to
God. Why can’t I write anything? What’s wrong with me?
should have taken a course on
how to buy a clue.
Horseless, kiteless, and
clueless, I finally figured out (and not on my own; I’m not that
brilliant) that God didn’t want me to be like everyone else. He never
As usual, I’m sure you’re
probably saying, “What’s your point, Anderson?”
Thank you; I’m glad you asked.
point is this. There’s
nothing wrong with learning from other writers, or educating yourself
in this craft, but when you forget who you are, like moi
did, trying to be like other people becomes a problem. God doesn’t
intend for you to be a carbon copy of someone else. You’re a unique
individual, I tell you. Yes, you heard me, a unique
It’s time to get back on your
horse, gallop to those faraway places, and stimulate your mind. Your
horse, I repeat, not some other writer’s stallion, mare, or
colt. It will never work out otherwise. Trust me. I know.
I have faith in you. After
reading this, I’m convinced you’ll do what’s right. I mean, who wants
to end up like I did? Scary thought, isn’t it?
Well, I have to go now. It’s
time to saddle up old Whiskers and ride.
Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.
I’m glad we had this talk,