Friday, September 16, 2022

The Writer's Life: How Waiting to Be Picked for a Team at Recess Prepared Us

by Crystal Bowman

Pick Me!

Most of us can remember standing in a group of kids on the playground as the two best baseball players chose kids to be on their teams. I remember my heart pounding, my stomach churning, and my self-esteem hanging on the line as I waited to be chosen for the game at recess. Once I was chosen first, and one time I was chosen last. Most of the time I was somewhere in the middle.
Being a writer can feel the same way at times. You worked hard on your proposal and manuscript, and you wait for it to be chosen from the crowd. Sometimes it’s chosen right away. Sometimes it’s set aside while someone else’s book gets published first, and sometimes it’s not chosen at all. When a publisher chooses someone else’s work over yours, it hurts and knocks you down. But you pick yourself up and get back on the playground, waiting for the next opportunity to be chosen. 

The Substitute Author

When one of the baseball players on the field has to step out of the game, a substitute is called in to take his or her place. Being a writer can be like that too. One time I got an email from an editor who asked me to write a children’s picture book ASAP. The illustrations were already completed, but for reasons that were not explained to me, the author was unable to move forward with the project. I agreed to jump in as the substitute author and was thankful for the opportunity to write a delightful story in rhythm and rhyme (one of my favorite writing styles). I didn’t care that someone else had been chosen for this project first. I was honored that the editor trusted me with the project and called me in as the sub. 

Since many of my children’s books were published before the days of the Internet and social media marketing, I was active in the local schools with author assemblies and poetry workshops in the classroom. Most of these events were scheduled months in advance so I was surprised when I got a call from a Christian school librarian asking me to come the following week. I was available and agreed.

At the end of the school day, the librarian explained the reason for the last-minute invitation. She said, “We had another author scheduled who has some wonderful children’s books that we love. However, we asked her not to talk about her Halloween story since some of our families do not celebrate the holiday. She was offended and canceled the event. Our staff got together and prayed for God to send someone else. One of the teachers suggested you, and here you are---God’s answer to prayer.”

What Matters Most

So whether we are chosen first or last, or if we need to fill in for someone who was chosen before us, what matters is that we are available to use our writing and speaking to honor God. As writers and speakers we are part of a team, and as believers in Jesus, we are part of the body of Christ. What we do is not about us. We do it all for Him.


Crystal Bowman is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 100 books for children and four nonfiction books for women. She also writes lyrics for children’s piano music and is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. She loves going to schools to teach kids about poetry. She also speaks at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups and teaches workshops at writers’ conferences. When she is not writing or speaking, she enjoys going for walks, working out at the gym, and eating ice cream. She and her husband live in Michigan and have seven huggable grandkids. 

Featured Image: Photo by Tom Jur on Unsplash


  1. Thank you for the encouraging thoughts Ms. Crystal. I've often used the baseball pitcher analogy in teaching capture and proposal strategy development. "What do you do immediately after someone hits a homerun off of you?" You know you're getting there when you grit your teeth and go after the next batter without blinking. Feel like I'm still "on deck", but I'm counting pitches and awaiting my time in the box. God's blessings ma'am.

    1. Thank you, J.D. for that added insight. Writing is not for the weak, that's for sure!