CHANCE IT !

One of the best and most proficient writers I know told me that her greatest adversary (my word) to her writing was email. And since I arrived on my couch an hour and a half ago, I can say she is definitely correct.

I have cleaned out my junk mail folders, my deletion folders and I must admit I feel an inner cleanliness I haven’t felt in a while. So maybe it’s not an avoidance. It’s good to feel clean and organized. Then  maybe it’s a subliminal fear of ultimate failure. I have come to realize that most of us have that fear, the desire to protect ourselves, to shy away from doing what needs to be done.

Image

Courtesy of Pinterest

It’s a lot easier to just not do something than to follow through and see it flop, now isn’t it?

But what advantage is there in avoiding taking a chance?

Let me take you back to a time when I lived in New Jersey. I had to meet my then husband in New York City for dinner with some clients. I jumped on a train not knowing what to expect. That’s the great thing about life. Unexpected moments.

How I happened to take that particular train, I have no idea. Fate? The mother of five children, I relished the time I had to relax by myself.

Maybe thirty minutes or so into the trip, the train came to a standstill. All on board were  warriors of transit travel. You could tell with the casualness, their attitudes of quiet desperation, acceptance. Being a full-time freelance writer, I took notes. I’d been published in small newspapers and magazines at that time and had no idea how I’d use my “research,” but I  took the notes anyway.

It was a long, long delay as it turned out, the longest delay in history. Probably in those days I would have said that “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” As it turned out,  I was in the right  place at the right time.

Magic happened. Or was it consistent work? Consistent reporting? Consistent writing?

I went home late that evening and the next day I worked on the story, about how the people were patient, etc., etc. and then I  had the audacity to send it to The New York Times. Remember, this was pre-internet. Everything went by mail, which is hard  to believe today, even for me.

The New York Times bought my story and wrapped  it around a large photo above the fold.  It looked amazing. I have it framed in my hallway even now.

What could have been a downer of a situation ended up being a highlight for me.

I’m using this story as an example that you never know what is going to happen next.

It reminds you, and me as well,  to carry on, to be vigilant whether you are writing non-fiction stories or novels, as I am doing now.

Keep on. Let’s take a chance!

3 thoughts on “CHANCE IT !

  1. Rex October 17, 2013 / 11:22 am

    Good story, Darla–makes me want to send something in over the transom (if such exists any more).

  2. Anne-Marie Braga October 18, 2013 / 4:45 pm

    Love this story…I have never heard the story behind that article clipping….very cool!

  3. Byron October 24, 2013 / 1:39 pm

    Reminds me of the time I was on a subway in New York City about rush hour. The train had just started moving when this big, mean looking fellow opened a door at the end of the car. He said “OK folks, I realize that I am big and mean looking but I am not going to hurt anyone. I just need some money to help feed my kids.”

    He held out a large paper bag and went from person to person. I am pretty sure everyone in that car felt the same way I did. I was sure that if I didn’t give him some money, he was going to whack me a good one. I gave generously.

    After he left the car, I begin thinking about this incident. I came to the conclusion that he was using reverse psychology. By saying that he was not going to hurt someone, the fear was raised that he was going to hurt somebody. If he had said only that he needed money for his kids, I doubt that most of us would have given him anything. Yep. Reverse psychology. My wife uses it effectively on me all the time.

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