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  • Writer's pictureBecca Whitham

Keepin' it Real

When I first started this writing journey six and a half years ago, I dreamed of how thrilling it would be to see my name on the cover of a book. And it was. I cried happy tears and still get choked up whenever I look at the picture of that moment. When I go to Walmart or Barnes & Noble, I check to see if I'm on the shelf and do a little happy dance if I am. That never gets old. What has gotten old is writing.

Last summer, I had four deadlines in four, consecutive months. It knocked the stuffing out of me. I took a long break assuming it would refill my creative well. My husband and I went to New York City, we hosted Thanksgiving with soldiers, we celebrated Christmas, and I spent a month visiting friends all across the nation while my husband was away for training in January. It was wonderful to live somewhere else other than between my ears. But now it's time to go back there--actually, it's been time for over a month--and I find myself woefully reluctant.

Don't get me wrong, I still have hundreds of stories flitting around in my brain. I still get excited when I hear something that sparks another story to add to my collection. And I still love that I get to do this author thing...except for the actual writing.

Writing is hard work, and if we're being completely honest here, I have lots of room for improvement. In some ways, that's a great challenge, but it others it's discouraging. Six years of blood, sweat, and tears has brought me eighty percent of the way. The last twenty percent will take the rest of my life.

I want writing to be easy. I want to sit down and have words flow without agonizing over every sentence, every plot point, and every character motivation. In other words, I want the impossible.

But I really, really want it.

In the meantime, I'm headed upstairs to my office to shut out the real world with its empty refrigerator, piles of dirty laundry, and cross-country move to plan. (We are moving to S. Carolina from Alaska in June so my husband can attend six months of schooling for his army career.) The thrill of writing may be gone, but the contract deadlines are not and I want the stories I'm writing to be good ones.

Because, more than wanting the impossible, I want to honor both my readers and God. I want to give them the very best I have in me at the present time while recognizing that, in years to come, I'll look back at what I've written today and think, "Oh...why didn't I do _____ better?"

An hour ago, I was drinking my over-large cup of chai tea wishing I could call a friend and spill my troubles in her ear. I decided to spill them here instead. Thanks for listening. I feel better now. I'll go write.

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