Deborah Anderson

In 2000, Deborah Anderson left the medical field to care for her elderly mother. Soon after, she began writing. She has written for Focus on the Family, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and numerous other publications. She is a member of TWV, ACFW, CWG, and FCW. Married 30 years, Deborah and her husband enjoy country living in the Midwest. She also spends her time rescuing cats, reading novels, and taking nature walks. Deborah recently completed her first novel. You can contact Deborah at: Visit her blog at

Diary of A Crazy Writer

Beat Your Own Drum

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different
drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

                                                                                                 Henry David Thoreau

Do 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 rejected.

The nerve.

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.

My 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?

I 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 did.

As usual, I’m sure you’re probably saying, “What’s your point, Anderson?”

Thank you; I’m glad you asked.

The 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 individual.

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, aren’t you?


Chicken Soup For The Soul: The gift of Christmas