Becca Wilhite Blog

June 26, 2017

Naaman and Me

Filed under: gratitude,help,metaphors,motivation — becca @ 7:47 am

Yesterday in church, a discussion about Naaman caused me to rethink my thoughts about my relationship with God. (I thought I’d just put that right out there at the front, in case you’re here looking for food. There’s no food here today.)

So. Naaman. He’s a great general and a good guy and a leper. One of his servants tells him he can be healed if he goes to see Elisha the prophet. He goes. And Elisha sends a servant to the door, who tells Naaman to have a bath in the river. Naaman is ticked, and his brave and loving servants ask him, “If you’d been told to do something huge, wouldn’t you do it?” (My quotes, not the Bible’s.)

In my congregation, we often talk about this story this way: when the answers are simple (like, go pray more and read more and serve more and do the work you’ve already been asked to do), we revolt, wishing for something that feels somehow More. Bigger. Important-er.

When I hear this story, I say, “Yeah, Naaman. I get you.” And for me, it’s got nothing to do with doing something big.

It has everything to do with who came to the door.

When I pray and beg and plead and gnash my teeth about something that I’m pretty sure God wants me to have anyway, I don’t want to be told to do something bigger or harder. No thank you. The point of my prayer is generally that I’m already doing something harder. No. Not bigger. I just want it to be personal.

I want Him to come to the door Himself. I want to feel heard.

Read the scriptures, I hear. And I respond. Yes. I’m doing that. And I’ve done it. So, so many times. I KNOW these books. It’s a simple thing. But here’s the un-simple part: When I actually do it right, read it with my heart open, I learn to speak God’s language. And when I speak to Him in His language, He answers me in MY language. When that happens, even when the answer is to go ahead and do one of those simple things, I feel more heard. And capable of carrying on. In the times that happens, it’s Enough.

So if I ask for help and my answer is pray more or serve more or go dunk in the river seven times, it’s my job to discover the Voice behind the answer. To find the connection that makes it personal. So I’ll be able, willing, capable of saying, “Okay. I can do that.”

That’s when the miracles happen.

May 11, 2016

Revitalized

Filed under: motivation,publishing,writing — becca @ 12:41 pm

I went to the world’s best [*] writing conference this weekend. There were many, many reasons to be joyful.

  1. I got to be with writer friends. Some of these are my most precious people I see only once a year. Some of these are my very favorite people that I get to see now and then. Some are new friends who make room for me in their hearts. Some are people I get to hang out with in other venues on some kind of regular basis. Some of them I run into at the movies or in Costco. Some of them do author visits at my school, or at my kids’ schools. Some of them are FAMOUS. All of them are kind, wonderful, gracious.
  2. My family is totally capable of living without me for DAYS at a time. They thrive without me. This is not an excuse for me to run away. It’s just a thrill that they all like each other and know how to wash their own shorts.
  3. I wasn’t in charge of anything. I didn’t teach a class. I didn’t emcee. I did have one tiny responsibility – I got to be in charge of the Teen Meet-Up, where I got to meet the (wait for it) teens who came to the conference and chat with┬áthem and listen to them talk about their writing… and introduce them to James Dashner, who was a total gentleman with them, making them all feel important as he talked to them about being a star (and called each of them by name).
  4. So much writing advice. I went to amazing classes where I heard talented, award-winning authors talk about character development, plot structure, story arcs, priorities, marketing, business, motivation, and determination. I listened to agents talk about what makes a story sing. I heard Brandon Sanderson read to us some original fiction… from his 8-year-old. It was about pill-bugs, and there was a twisty ending.
  5. I got re-energized. Re-excited. Re-vitalized to do this writing thing. I got inspired to go to work. I got eager to write beside my students — and (gasp) in front of them. I got ideas to finish my revision – and to start it in the right place. I had thoughts about genre. Genres. I had confidence, and wow — that’s worth the price of admission any day.

 

[*] ldstorymakersconference.com – this is the place. (Or will be, when it shows stuff for next year’s conference. Be patient. We just finished.)

July 20, 2009

Revisions

Filed under: happiness,motivation,writing process — becca @ 12:07 pm

It’s Revision time. I know some writers hate revisions, but I love them. In theory, it’s like doing a critique on a book you already love. I’m hoping reality will be as good!

Husband told me I’ve neglected to say much about The New One being published by Shadow Mountain. Here’s what I know.
It’s a light-hearted romantic comedy, written for YA or anyone who reads YA. The title is* “Splashing through Puddles of Happy” and here are some ingredients: crazy curly hair, boy who calls, different boy who looks like a middle-eastern god, perfect best friend, a classic Gibson guitar, smoothie and muffin, a school-smart girl who can be pretty dumb in the world of love, anti-histamine hangover**, yoga sweats, and logical vs. psychotic brain-arguments.
Intrigued?
Me, too. I’m off to read it again.

*as far as I know – committee has to approve that still.
** don’t try this at home.

June 6, 2009

Write for Yourself

Filed under: motivation,writing process — becca @ 1:08 pm

I hear a lot of chatter about Writing for Yourself as opposed to Writing for The Market, or Writing for Publication. And when I hear that, I think, “Well, that’s just silly.”

Because who doesn’t want to be published?
Isn’t that why we’re doing this? Sitting at our computer desks (or lying on the floor, or flopped in recliners, or taking notebooks into the bathtub) scratching out words so SOMEONE WILL READ THEM. And laugh / cry / gasp in wonder. And then tell us we’re brilliant. And ask for more.
But. Maybe not. At least not always. Here’s what I’m thinking today.
Once upon a more innocent time (1991-1993) I wrote nearly constantly. I was in college, scribbling out papers and assignments and tests, keeping lengthy journals, writing many letters (remember letters? Stamps? Envelopes?) and never having a thought of being published*. I wasn’t taking writing classes (because I’d rather be reading books, thank you very much) and nobody was telling me how much work my writing needed. It was just coming out of me, like Soul Vomit. And I loved it.
Fast forward many years to the point where I had a finished manuscript sitting on a publisher’s desk for months. And months. Agony. Misery. Woe.** I wanted that book published. I knew it was brilliant. I was certain it could change the world, or at least the course of teenage reading. I needed that book to be published.
And then it was. Like magic, except it took longer. And then I read it again, and felt the weight of its flaws, and questioned the sanity of the publication team. And then I revised again, and again, and once again, until we all agreed it was good enough (but nobody was saying brilliant anymore, which is as it should be).
So I wrote another one. One that made me laugh, sometimes in a rather unladylike manner. I wrote and shared and changed and rewrote and received critiques and rewrote and polished and rewrote some more. And as that manuscript sat for months on the publisher’s desk, I wrote another one.
I worked daily on a story that a friend asked me to write***. And as much as I loved the idea, and pecked out a few hundred words a day, I didn’t feel it. I wasn’t in love with the writing. I wasn’t even really in love with the characters that were coming onto the screen. In my head, yes. On screen, not so much.
So I put it aside. Saved in its own little folder, Ruby’s Great Escape waits for me to want it.
I started something else. Something different, and a little silly, and maybe currently overdone in the market (no, not vampire romance – boarding High School, if you must know) but fun for me. And do you now what happened? At some point in the last couple of months, I have learned to love the writing for the sake of the writing. And as of today**** I don’t care if anyone ever reads it. Or claps for it, or buys it, or makes it a LifeTime miniseries.
I have found the joy in the journey. I have captured the happiness of writing for myself. I feel the juice flowing early in the morning hours and I sit down at the computer not because I feel an overwhelming sense of duty, ***** but because writing is fun.
Writing is fun.
This may not be news to you, but I’m feeling it as a sort of breakthrough. I write not to earn money (*snort*), but because in my soul, I’m a writer. I write because I like to write. I write because I like to read. I write because God gave me a little talent, which seems to grow as I water it (and shrivel as I ignore it, much like the Wandering Jew in my family room). I write because I love words, and nobody really wants to hear me talk this much. I write because I’m a writer.
I am a writer.
*I may be lying, here – I distinctly remember printing an extra copy of a few particularly well-written letters and clipping them in my journal. Maybe I thought they were readable by someone other than the addressee.
**Thank you, Mister Sondheim.
***In fact, she gave me permission to turn an experience of hers into a story of my own.
**** Check back tomorrow for complete Position Flip (because a woman who doesn’t change her mind doesn’t have one).
*****Okay, often because of that, too.

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