you ever done anything crazy while attempting to publish your writing?
I don’t want to be alone here,
so work with me.
In 2004, at the age of
forty-five, my journey began. I decided to start writing—again. When I
say again, I don’t mean that I was already an accomplished writer. I’d
never so much as written an article. Well, except for the one in junior
high. Still, what could it hurt, and how hard could it be? Right?
My first victim, I mean, editor,
worked for Focus on the Family. She saw a couple of
stories I posted online then contacted me about a submission. I gladly
accepted. She gave me a deadline to submit my article, so I purchased
the Writer’s Market for more information.
My deadline arrived on a
Saturday morning. I got out of bed and grabbed a cup of coffee. I
plopped down on the couch, and sipped my fuel, eyeing my computer at
the other end of the room.
After my coffee, I polished my
manuscript and perused the how-to sample letters in Writer’s
Market. I prepared a cover letter, sat back, and smiled. I
just needed to print everything out.
I glanced at the clock—11:45.
Panic ensued. The post office closed at noon. I hollered for my husband
while the printer spit out my documents.
He ambled into the room.
Why do people always amble when
you’re in a hurry?
“What?” he said, one eyebrow
raised in a modicum of curiosity.
I held up my manuscript. “Could
you please take this to the post office? I’m still in my pajamas.”
He checked the time. “They’ll be
closed before I get there.”
I shoved everything inside the
envelope as fast as my bony fingers would move and held the package in
front of him. “No, they won’t. Here.”
The garage door hummed in the
background, and I let out a sigh of relief. Please, Lord,
give me favor with Sandra.
Wait a minute . . . Sandra?
Not my editor’s name.
I scanned the document still
displayed on my monitor, and I’d clearly written my cover letter to an
editor I’d renamed Sandra—probably a name from one of the sample
letters in the Writer’s Market.
Looking at the clock again, I
decided to make a quick phone call.
“Uh, yes . . . this is Deborah
Anderson. I just sent my husband down there with a package.”
“It arrived just fine, Mrs.
Anderson. I have it here in my hand.”
“Don’t mail that package.”
“I sent the wrong letter to an
editor, and I need to change something, so please, don’t mail it out.”
“No problem,” she said. “I can
hold it for you until Monday.”
“Monday? Oh no, the deadline to
mail it is today.”
“But we’re closing up—”
“Could I come down and switch
the letters now? Please? I don’t live far.” Please, please,
She sighed. “How soon can you
I quickly calculated the seven
or eight minute drive, depending upon the traffic. “I’ll be there in
“Okay, but come to the back
door. Bang on it when you get here.”
“Thank you so much.”
After printing out the corrected
version of my letter, I sprinted for the bathroom.
threw on a sweatshirt and ran
a brush through my hair. Good enough.
My palms grew
sweaty as I backed out of the driveway. What if I didn’t make it in
I pulled forward, I scanned the horizon and saw my husband coming
toward me from the other end of our street.
As he approached, he slowed the
truck down and lowered the window. His mouth opened to speak, but I
accelerated—and blew right past him. Sorry, honey.
Minutes later, I parked at the
curb alongside the post office and jumped out of the car. The wind
whipped my hair around, and it seemed chillier than usual.
I walked to the back of the
building and pounded my fist against the steel door.
A woman stepped into view and
handed me my package. “Here you go, but you’ll have to change it
outside. We can’t let you inside the building now that we’re closed.”
I waved my hand. “No problem.
Really. You have no idea how grateful I am.”
Another woman walked up behind
her and peered over her shoulder. They both stared at me—with funny
expressions on their faces. Well, in their defense, I’m sure I did look
like a crazy woman, a crazy writer.
I set the package on the
concrete pad and pulled out my documents. Another gust of wind blew in
and tried to lift my papers away. I slammed my foot down to hold them
in place. That’s when I noticed why the women were staring.
wind flapped the bottoms of
my thin, blue pajamas around my toothpick legs.
Too bad the flush in my face
didn’t warm the rest of my body.
I finished switching the letters
and handed the package back to the first woman, remembering I had
broken the seal when I opened it.
As though reading my mind, she
offered a solution. “I’ll reseal it for you. I’ve got some tape right
Was it just me, or were the
corners of her mouth twitching?
“Thank you so much.”
The steel door boomed shut, and
I slinked along the side of the brick building. I peeked around the
corner, looking first right then left. The coast clear, I ran to my
car. I’d endured enough humiliation for one day. Thank you very much.
I arrived home and found my
husband sitting at the island in the kitchen. His eyes bore into mine.
“Oh, sure. I just had to deliver your package, and
out you come a few minutes later.”
I held up my hand in a silent
plea to stop him from saying more. “Wait a min—”
He waggled his finger. “Wouldn’t
even stop and talk to me.”
“By the way, where were you
going? You were driving a little fast. Don’t you think?”
He pointed at my pants. “Why are
you still in your pajamas?”
My feet pounded on the hardwood
floor as I stormed off to the bathroom. I paused in front of the
mirror. In addition to my outfit, my long hair spiked out in different
directions. Gads, no wonder those women looked at me the way they did.
That particular story didn’t
publish, but I did publish with Focus on the Family
several years later, so it didn’t turn out all bad.
One thing I do know. The life of
this writer surely is crazy. In fact, I’m starting a new club. I’ll
call it The Crazy Writers Club. I’ll share my mishaps, as well as my
goals, and maybe we can learn from one another on our writing journey. Maybe
. . . you can share some of your crazy blunders. What could it hurt?
Wait, the last
time I said that it got me into trouble.
Oh well. Care