My husband posed an interesting question to me the other night:

Would you rather…

A.) be an author who has one “master work” that goes down in history (e.g., Lord of the Rings trilogy for Tolkien, or Ben Hur for Lew Wallace)

B.) be a writer who has a dozen or so decently good novels, but with a few that stand above the rest (Ted Dekker was cited here, with the Circle trilogy as his forte)

C.) be a novelist who writes one fantastically good book, but then people start to cringe when they see your other works (namely, Dan Brown? I wouldn’t actually know. I’ve never read his stuff)

Obviously, I didn’t opt for option C. I want people to enjoy what I write, and I definitely don’t want to put out work that I’ll be ashamed of later. So that left options A and B. I have trouble with this one. I’d love to think that I have some brilliant story brewing, and I just don’t know what it is yet. I’d also like to think that I could have more than one brilliant story hunkered inside me somewhere. But what if it had to be one way or the other? What if I could be a very good author, stacking my books alongside King and Dekker and other “good” writers, but nothing that would make the canon of “must-read” literature? Or, on the flip side, what if I could be an incredible author, but the only thing I’ll have to show for it would be one major life’s work? Would I be satisfied if it turned out to be only one of those options? Or neither?

The only consolation is this: I’m young, and I just can’t know. So I’ll write. I’ll try. I’ll fail, probably more than I’ll care to admit. But maybe I’ll be able to salvage something wild and beautiful and raw, something I won’t want to keep majorly editing after I know it’s finished. It’s a lot of dreams, and a lot of work, but I know that I’d shrivel inside if I didn’t try. Writing takes courage. The courage to fail and try again, to write something truly hideous and being able to look it in the face and spot the beauty beneath it all.

So no matter the outcome, whether I end up published or taking my stories alone with me to my grave, I’ll still write. I’ve got to try. So what would I rather do? I’d rather write, thank you very much.

What about you? What would you rather do? Never mind at this point what it would take to get there. If you had to choose, which would you pick?

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Also, thank you to my wonderful friends and family who helped me to realize how much writing means to me after over a year of hardly daring to put words on paper. You know who you are, and I love you so darn much.

Want to specifically know what got me started on the path back to writing? Check out Jackie Lea Sommers’ blog, Lights All Around . Check out her writing, her story, and her monthly meme “Opus on First.” It was a crappy first draft for that meme that got me thinking again. And beta-reading her novel, which I hope gets published soon, because I desperately want to own it.

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