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 Two

Over the past few months, I’ve shared with you a few of my faux pas . . . I mean, helpful tips about writing. It seems I have a knack for doing strange things in this craft. Though my intentions are well-meaning, unusual occurrences seem to hunt me down like a mad dog, nipping at my heels.

It causes me great confusion.

This confusion spins me in circles at times. You know, the type of behavior that makes folks think, “The woman’s missing a limb from her tree,” or, “She’s a blade of grass short of a lawn,” or, “She’s ‘the one’ who flew over the cuckoo’s nest,” or . . . You get the idea. A few years ago, I had to write on the topic “desire.” Sounds easy enough, right?

I thought so, but when I sat down at my desk and looked at the monitor, I went blank, suffering a severe case of writer’s block. Don’t you hate when that happens?

Me too, so I pounded out my thoughts in frustration, thinking nobody would ever see the article, nor would I use it for a submission. Wrong. Heaven forbid I’d leave well enough alone. I later changed my mind.

Before I go any further, I’ve decided to show you a portion of this story. (Hang in there with me. There is a method to this madness.) After reading this, though, you might conclude that I need medication. Perhaps. On the other hand, once you’ve trudged through to the end, you may need sedation. If so, I apologize ahead of time.

Desire. Hmmm. Desire for God. D-E-S-I-R-E. Ooh la la, desire. Desire for chocolate. Desire to be famous. Humph. No matter how I sounded this word out, I wasn’t getting anywhere on the subject. My thoughts scurried as I tapped my pencil on my desk.

Why does this word escape me? I’m clueless. Wait, I know the problem. My brain is on sensory overload. I’ve had too much going on around here. I need to close my eyes and breathe.

I inhaled—one, two, three, and four; and exhaled—five, six, seven, and eight. I performed this exercise several times. I opened my eyes and stared at my monitor. Still blank.

Running my fingers through my hair, thinking it would stimulate my gray matter, I spelled the word aloud. “D-e-s-i-r-e.” Have you ever repeated a word until it no longer makes sense? I rested my head in my hands, and my brain began to lecture me.

You are an idiot. How difficult can this be?

“Oh, shut up.” I argued back. “You annoy me. Leave me alone. I’m trying to think over here.”

Is that right? Is this what you call thinking? Why don’t you go and read some of your friends’ stories? They inspire you and get your creative juices flowing.

Obliging my brain, I pulled up a story and began reading. Lucky me, it just so happened to be a tearjerker. Halfway through, my hand groped for my box of tissues. My monitor blurred on the other side of my tears, and my brain jumped in again.

Feeling inspired now, are we? Hmmm?

“No, I’m not!”

What a sap. Sheesh, the story was supposed to inspire you, stupid, not melt you into a puddle.

“God, please help the poor woman in the story.” I held the tissue to my nose and blew. Honk.

I won’t torture you with the rest of this banter, but you know what the craziest thing of all is? The article published. I mean, who would have thought? This alone should encourage you.

Matter of fact, I wrote another article (also irritated at the time of writing because my husband made me mad, which is a whole other story), and it published, too. Afterward, I thought I had learned an important concept—write when I’m frustrated or hacked off about something. I know, strange, isn’t it?

After this so-called revelation, which is where I took a turn onto Crazy Street, I begged my husband to taunt, mock, and insult me right before I planned to write. He refused. Can you believe this?

On the other hand, it really wouldn’t have worked had he agreed. I’m the kind of person who would have asked, “Wait. You’re just doing this to make me mad, aren’t you?” Or even when he really is angry with me, and I would have said, “Wait. You’re just doing this to make me mad, aren’t you?” Need I say more?

No, my real epiphany came when I figured out that the anger or frustration isn’t what prompted me. Oh, those fiery emotions got me stoked all right, just ask my husband, but it was that I wrote like the wind during those times, shutting off my internal editor, not mulling over what came forth. Prior to the above article’s publishing, I pored over each word, constantly chiding myself, Focus! Focus! Focus!

So, you might say, “What’s your point, Anderson?”

That’s a good question, and frankly, I don’t have one. Just kidding!

Seriously, the point is that maybe you could try doing the same. (Go ahead, I won’t tell anyone.) When you’re feeling overwhelmed and think you have nothing to offer, pound on your keyboard and give it what you’ve got. Write like mad, like nobody is watching, like no one but you will ever see your work. You could be pleasantly surprised. You might just publish.

The best part of all?

You weren’t straining, dripping blood from a vein, or doing anything crazy, well, at least not intentionally, to make it happen. Go figure.