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:

Who are You Writing For?

Over the years I’ve heard others talk about publishing forms outside of the traditional route. I’ve also noticed how folks get their knickers in a knot at the mere mention of such a thing. Why is that?

I understand that if someone’s work looks shoddy it can be annoying, but it doesn’t give the rest of us a bad name. It reflects on the author who wrote the book.

Personally I want to publish via the traditional route not because the other venues are wrong. I think it’s more of a challenge for me to see if the traditional publishers want what I have. I suppose I’ll feel validated if the Big Guns want my work.

You know, this topic reminds me of junior high school. I wanted to be a cheerleader. The first year I tried out, though, nobody wanted me.

Sound familiar?

Anyway, I worked hard over the next year, preparing myself for the following season. And I was ready, let me tell you—until the morning of the tryouts.

I rehearsed my cheer one last time. All went well, until I reached the end, when I went for my grand finale. I jumped high in the air, came back down, and landed in the splits on the gymnasium floor. A pain ripped through my groin area. I couldn’t move, let alone breathe.

One of my girlfriends ran over to me. “Deb, are you okay?”

“Do I look okay to you?” The blood always drains from my face like this. Hadn’t you noticed?

I finally managed to crawl to my feet, and deflation steeped within me. How could I try out when I couldn’t even walk?

But I would not be defeated.

I made my way to the center of the gymnasium floor, wincing with each step. My childbearing days are ruined too.

After sucking in a deep breath, I performed the entire cheer. There were no tumbles, jumps, and especially no splits. (I may be crazy, but I’m not that crazy.) I stood ramrod still, used my arms to form the motions, and yelled the cheer as I went. When I finished, I received a standing ovation from some of my peers. Wow, maybe I’ll make the squad after all.

My thoughts of winning soon vanished, though, as I watched each girl perform after me. One of them did numerous back handsprings across the floor. Show off. Another girl flew through the air and maneuvered several aerial walkovers. Nasty hussy. Only one thing eased my pain in that moment. I finished what I had started, no matter the cost.

The following year, after much more training (and no splits, thank you very much), I tried out again. And do you know what happened? I made the squad, but there was just one problem. I wasn’t as happy as I thought I’d be.

Still, I finished the year. In fact, I tried out for the next season (and made it), but quit halfway through. I discovered my heart wasn’t into cheerleading after all—probably because I wasn’t in it for the right reason.

How does this tie in with writing and publishing?

Well, when I first started this craft, I thought confetti would drop from the sky the first time I published something, but it didn’t. No fireworks went off inside me. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be—what others made it out to be would be more accurate.

In addition, the first time I pitched a novel, which I’ve done only once, I thought my manuscript would be accepted right off the bat, but it wasn’t. Can you imagine?

Soon after, vanity publishing crossed my mind, but I couldn’t concede to doing such a thing. Maybe it’s because I wanted to win the prize, just like when I competed in junior high.

Because of what happened all those years ago, I had to ask myself a serious question. Who are you writing for?

Still not sure of the answer, I trained hard to learn this craft. I jumped, spun, and performed all kinds of feats, trying to make my way in this field. I’ve been stretched in every direction, kind of like what happened in my cheerleading days. I’ve been accepted and rejected, praised and pooh poohed. Yet I finally figured out that there was one big difference between the two. When it came to writing, I never quit. Why?

Because I can’t. I feel whole when I write. Whether others want what I have or not, writing is part of who I am.

I’ve come to find that true writers never give up—no matter who wants or doesn’t want them, no matter who likes or doesn’t like them. They keep writing. They write from their hearts, no matter which venue they publish their work in.

I’m going to keep writing too. I just thank God that splits aren’t required for this craft. Otherwise, it might have a different ending.


Chicken Soup For The Soul: The gift of Christmas

Chicken Soup For the Soul: Tales of Christmas