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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

The Thrill of the Chase
by Donna Black-Ballamie
(a.k.a. Lisamarie Sanders)

I am a writer with a confession to make. I love writing queries.

You may not find this unusual, because I've spoken with many writers who feel the same. However, the problem with me is even deeper. I love writing queries more than I love writing articles.

I guess it's always been this way for me. In high school I enjoyed pursuing the boys who were out-of-my-league, only to become bored with them days after the catch. The same personality trait held true while I was in college. I took courses that were out of my major, just to see if I could pass them. When I did, I took higher and higher levels, never satisfied with success. This practice helped me earn two majors, a minor, and a career concentration in four seemingly unrelated disciplines.

I quit my job to become a writer on a whim. I knew how difficult it was to break into print, and I wanted to try my hand at it. I queried endlessly, one idea after another, only to be continuously shot-down. At first, the rejections were empowering. I became obsessed with publication. Someone would like my ideas! I would not give up.

However, after months of rejections, I was beginning to feel defeated. I nearly went back to my day job when I received a phone call from an editor. She was interested in my piece. She wanted the article. I was euphoric!

That is, until I hung up the phone. The idea she was interested in was one that popped into my head one evening, and I KNEW it was a winner. I had no interest in the subject at all, but I was sure it would make somebody take notice. Somebody did, and now I had to write the article--all one thousand, five hundred words of it.

As I stared at my computer screen, trying to squeeze brilliant writing out of myself, my telephone rang again. It was another editor, accepting another idea in which I had no interest. "Two thousand words ought to cover it," he said.

Although I was finally validated that my ideas were worthy, I was afraid to pick up the phone the following week. You see, I hadn't learned my lesson. Despite the assignments, I was hooked on queries. Every time I heard a remotely interesting sound bit, or read a sentence that piqued my interest, I wrote and sent out a query. It became an addiction!

But like most addictions, it had a drawback. Now I had to WRITE the articles. Not only that, I had to write them in the way I had queried them. I found the one-page summaries fun and interesting--a challenge directed at the highly regarded editors. My goal was to figure them out--to read their minds and turn their heads. Now that I had done that with these editors, the mystery was gone. I wanted to move on, but there were those feature-length pieces standing in the way.

Writing the articles was similar to the final months of dating the jocks. I was bored to death, but too nervous to break off the relationship. I just muddled through, hoping it would end soon so I could get back to the chase.

Luckily, all things come to an end--the good and the bad. I finished the articles and received rave reviews, but they weren't as satisfying as the initial okay's. And that is what keeps me going--the thrill of the chase.

Lisamarie Sanders, um, I mean Donna, is a freelance writer living in the Washington, DC area. She has had numerous queries accepted, as evidenced by the growing number of published articles which can be seen here: http://www.joy-writer.com She spends her time chasing her children and her dreams.









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