Deborah Anderson

In 2000, Deborah Anderson left the medical field to care for her elderly mother. Soon after, she began writing. Her articles have appeared in Cross Times, Focus on the Family, Sisters in the Lord, Riders and Reapers, Rainbow Faith, FaithWriters’ Books, FaithWriters’ Magazine, and the bulletins for Dayspring Foursquare Church. She is a member of TWV, ACFW, CWG, and FCW and is currently working on her first novel. Married 28 years, Deborah and her husband enjoy country living in the Midwest. She also spends her time rescuing cats, reading novels, and taking nature walks. You can contact Deborah at DAnderson955 [at] aol [dot] com.

Diary of a Crazy Writer: Escapade One, Part II

Last month I told you about my showing-up-at-the-post-office-in-my-pajama-bottoms relay.

As much as I hate to admit it, I pulled another boneheaded stunt involving that same submittal. Something worse than rushing to the post office in my pajama bottoms, you ask. Could it get any more embarrassing?

Trust me; it did. This mishap definitely qualifies for The Crazy Writers’ Club.

After finishing last month’s article, I went to my filing cabinet, pulled out the folder on my previous victim, and discovered an even worse faux pas—one I’d love to forget. Have I no shame? Apparently not—or maybe it’s just that I’m hoping to help others not to do what I did.

Anyway, I found a letter in the folder I mentioned. Written (and faxed) to the same editor a few days after my “pajama bottom” episode, this communication seemed important at the time. Now, my face burns with humiliation.

Deep down, you want to see the letter, don’t you?

Shame on you.

Oh, why am I chiding you? I’m the one who brought it up. On the other hand, writing is all about conflict, isn’t it? We put our characters into rough places and want them to work themselves out of their predicament. Too bad the best novelist couldn’t have written me out of this particular quandary.

Before I go any further, this is the part where you’re supposed to work with me again—where you’re supposed to say, “It’s all right, Deb. I’ve done the same thing. Just be yourself. Open up and let it rip. This will help me in my writing endeavors.”

Thank you. I was hoping you’d say that.

First, I’d like to warn you that once you have sent in your manuscript to an editor, you have no excuse for the following type of communication, whether it's by e-mail, snail mail, facsimile, even by carrier pigeon. I don’t care if you have to strap yourself down with your husband’s duct tape. Don’t do it. (If you’re single, ask the other men in your life for some. If you’re a man, you probably have your own. Most men have duct tape, don’t they?)

Speaking of husbands, mine gained another Kodak moment (like the one from last month) during this little escapade of mine. In his businesslike manner, prior to my committing this grievous error, he said, “Are you sure you want to do this, Deb?”

I waved my hand. “Yes, I’m sure.”

He sighed. “All right then.” No modicum of curiosity came from him like the last time. Rather, an air of certainty dangled from his voice.

Don’t you hate it when your husband’s right? Personally, I find it annoying.

Oh, back to the letter. Sorry. I’m getting there. It’s just that it suddenly feels chilly again, like the morning I stood outside the post office in my pajama bottoms.

I’ve omitted some portions, and changed names and titles to protect the innocent. Some of my thoughts are included along the way:

Dear Editor:

I mailed a story to you this past Saturday. I later realized, after mailing it, that I had made an error, so I located a fax number that I might get this to you in a timely manner.

How astute of me. Don’t you think? If I remember correctly, I wasn’t supposed to fax anything.

The story submitted was indeed specifically written for your publication, and yet in my eagerness to please you, I became careless, not realizing until after the fact that I had exceeded the word count and made other errors as well.

Was the story “indeed specifically written” for their publication? Well, I should hope so. And I made other errors? Interesting. (Stay tuned for more stories when/if I find or remember what those other errors were.)

I sincerely apologize. I know faxing a letter to you in this manner is not proper protocol, but this was my first chance at submitting my work to anyone and I don’t want it to be my last. Most importantly, I would never exceed an editor’s guidelines or presume for an editor to accept something less than perfect. I know your time is very valuable, and I’m capable of better.

Sincerely apologize? Presume? This editor has no idea how sorry of a person, I mean, how sorry I really am. (What was it I said last month? You know, before I started writing again. Oh, yes. I remember now. “How hard can it be, right?” About that duct tape that I mentioned earlier . . .)

I enclosed an SASE with the story for return when it arrives, and I would be happy to submit this again, if acceptable, in the proper manner.

Yes, it’s so bad that I want them to return it to me right away—unread. Not only that, I’ll send it back to them.


Deborah K. Anderson

Can you believe this?

Me neither.

I tell myself I’m a confident woman, unafraid to share my failures and triumphs, and that’s the reason I can share my blunders with you. (If you believe that, I’m also best buds with Stephen King, and I’m a famous novelist writing under a pseudo name.)

Seriously, though. You did learn something from this, didn’t you? Please, say you did. If not, I’m not sharing my faux pas, I mean, helpful tips with you anymore.

Yeah, right. We both know I will.

Oh, well. Chalk another one up for The Crazy Writers’ Club.