It’s dinner time and the pasta on the stove is bubbling over. The boys come screeching through the house pretending to slaughter one another as they play ‘Hunger Games,’ and the baby hollers in the living room for the toy that’s rolled out of her reach. There are pressing matters that need my attention, and yet I cannot fully focus because there is this story I’m working on, and the characters just aren’t right. I grab my phone.

“I need your help!” I text. “Do you have ten minutes to read this story and tell me if I’m on the right track, or if I should just scrap it altogether and go back to the drawing board?”

I shoot the text to Bethany, and I close the computer because sometimes you just have to walk away. In no time, I got her reply: “Yes!! Absolutely!! Email it to me. I love stories! And you know I won’t flinch from giving edit.”

I don’t know what I would do without Bethany. She is my lobster in so many ways – the heart sister the Lord gave me who shares my love of books and learning. Bethany is the one who challenges me to be better as a wife, a mom, a writer, and a friend.

Bethany isn’t satisfied with mediocrity, as can sometimes be my tendency, and so I know when I hand her something I’ve written, she’ll will come back to me with an honesty that’s refreshing. She knows that I don’t want to settle for “good,” but that I’m striving for “great.”

As a writer, I need someone like that in my corner. Bethany not only believes in my ability to tell a story, but she makes sure I believe in my ability to tell a story. Because sometimes I forget that I can do this. Sometimes I get bogged down in the trying, and I start to question why I’m doing this in the first place. Bethany is there to keep me from walking away.

Also, Bethany is wicked smart. She’s smarter than me. She’s probably smarter than all of you, too.

When she returned the edits, I breathed a sigh of relief, because it was exactly what I needed to hear. “You have a really good base,” she wrote. “But the story is flat. I need you bring it to life. Stop TELLING me the story. SHOW me. Do what you do best. Make me love the characters.”

What would I do without a friend who wasn’t afraid to push me? What would I do if there wasn’t someone who had my back, someone who was willing to tell me the hard things so that I could get better?

We all need Bethany’s in life. We need someone who will look us in the eye and tell us what we need to hear, not just what we want to hear. As a writer, I’ve been blessed to have a whole group of women surround me in support. The buzz word nowadays is “Tribe,” and I believe mine to be one of the best.

I put up my first short story today over at Short Fiction Break. Short stories are a new challenge for this novelist. It’s an art form all it’s own, and I am excited about the challenge. I’m also immensely grateful to Bethany for pushing me to infuse the story with life. When I was doubting my ability to pull it off, she gave me the courage I needed to hit publish.

Every writer needs a Bethany.

Do you have yours?

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