The Do-Over

By Ada Brownell

“Try again.”

These words on the inside of a soda cap that mean I didn’t win are similar to rejections a writer receives. Sometimes I need to try a different market—but I discovered I can make another attempt with the same magazine, with almost the same article.

Last week, I studied a new market and wrote a piece I thought was a perfect fit. Not so. The rejection flew back in a couple of days. The editor advised me to look at the guidelines. I had viewed them and read the most recent online issue before I wrote the first article. Yet, I swallowed my pride, looked again and took the theme of the first piece, some of the same illustrations, and sent a query letter for a redo using a different style of writing.

My article tells how women, who have a “nesting” instinct, can survive leaving their home and migrating elsewhere. An example from my experience that I used:

One of our first troubling “relocations” came when we moved to a run-down house (the only one for rent) with no hot water or central heat in a town in the Utah desert with only 100 people. My husband, a railroader, worked nights. We had a two-week-old baby; no telephone; no church; knew no one in town.  Ninety miles separated me from my family and the doctor. The nearest city hid 38 miles another direction.

Previously, we owned a cute little house in my home town where I was president of a thriving youth group. We were surrounded by friends and family. After the move, my emotions went splat on the brick wall of seemingly impossible circumstances. Through God’s grace, I discovered moving isn’t the end of the world.

My first article was a narrative on how I adjusted to moving more than 30 times—12 in the first three years we were married. The rewritten story not only related my experience, but gave 10 ways to nestle into a new area.

The editor enthusiastically responded to my query, asked me to develop the article, and told me he wanted more using similar formats.

I chopped the first article to pieces in order to “try again.”

Much of life is failure, repeated attempts, and then success.

Rewriting is much like Missouri’s trees in the fall when after becoming so beautiful, the wind whips up and the gorgeous orange, yellow, brown and burgundy leaves scatter everywhere. Trees are stripped to nothing but the bare bones. Ah, but come spring there will be buds, blossoms, new leaves and cool refreshing breezes.

Try again. Spring will come.


Ada Brownell is a retired newspaper reporter and author of the book recently released on Amazon, Swallowed by LIFE: Miracles of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal. More than 250 of her articles and stories have appeared in Christian publications and her out-of-print book, Confessions of a Pentecostal will be available soon as an e-book. Peek at her blog:

Be Sociable, Share!