Curse of the Baja tacos

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A starving writer travels 30 miles to her favorite Mexican restaurant just to order her favorite Baja grilled shrimp tacos, but when she takes her first bite, she realizes the cook has betrayed her. What will she do? Should she send the plate back to the kitchen and demand what she ordered? Should she just keep quiet and avoid causing a scene. Everything’s a little fishy down at the old cantina, and it’s up to her to make sure this perfect day doesn’t go south.

Okay. I know I’m taking this writing thing a little to the extreme. I can’t stop thinking in blurbs. I haven’t mastered the one sentence yet, but I’m getting a little closer with the one paragraph. For the last three months I have dipped my toes into the wading pool of Beginner’s Marketing 101, and now I’m ready to take the plunge into the deep water of the serious writing conferences. I didn’t realize how hard these writers have to work to turn out well-crafted works. I want to be like them.

I’m a decent writer. My modifiers don’t dangle, and my infinitives don’t split unless I want them to. For the record, my sentences are generally in agreement. I’ve never been much of one for conflict anyway. My pronouns and antecedents tend to get along, and my subjects and verbs haven’t bickered in years.

But there is so much more I need to learn about writing. I’ll keep working. However, it seems just when I feel good about what I’ve learned, I compare myself with a master who has published numerous books, and then my confidence dwindles.

I’ve spent so much time learning the ins and outs of the publishing business that I miss the creative aspects of writing. I can’t wait to get back to my lap top and a coffee shop and meet with my characters and just write. But I have to do my homework first. Fortunately, I’ve had some wonderful mentors who have been very willing to share their secrets.

Even though the publishing market is highly competitive, the writers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting have offered me nothing but encouraging words. They seem to say, “Come on in. There’s always room for one more.” (I doubt you’d find such unselfish attitudes in other professions.) So I’ve taken their advice and worked, worked, worked.

But even a good student needs a break. So as I mentioned earlier, I decided to take a trip to the ‘Boro to get a good meal and to do a little shopping. How could I resist? Last week I received an e-mail coupon from the Gap for a free pair of $60 trousers.

I picked up my pants and bought a Gap tee for under $5 and was having a great day until the border incident involving the tacos. I was one step away from crossing the line and losing my cool. Instead of grumbling, I politely explained that for the second time in two visits my treasured tacos had missed the mark. The restaurant manager promptly set a new plate in front of me, and all was well—very well. Muy bueno.

My trip to the ‘Boro was a success! Not only did I take home a pair of free trousers, but I also received a free meal, compliments of the restaurant manager. I didn’t expect that. My taco curse actually turned out to be a blessing.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. So often we let the little things in life bring us down, but sometimes our disappointments can be blessings in disguise. As cliché as is sounds, it’s true. As Christians, we don’t have to fret about controlling every situation so that we win. There is freedom in just letting go and just running, knowing that we don’t have to worry about the competition.

One of the most helpful tips I’ve received from a writing mentor was through the first-time conference attendee message loop. Sometimes we can work so hard to hone our craft that we forget who is ultimately in charge. The Lord will bless if it is meant to be. There is nothing I can do to make things work if it is not His will. So I might as well let go and just run the race (2 Timothy 4:7), knowing that all things will work together for my good because I do love God and I have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

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