Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of six children. The family lives outside Charlotte, NC. Marybeth is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries writing team and a regular contributor to their daily devotions. Her first novel,The Mailbox was released in June 2010. Her next novel, She Makes It Look Easy, will be released in June 2011. Additionally, she serves as director of She Reads, Proverbs 31 Ministries' fiction division. You can find her online at or at

She Makes It Look Easy?

Have you ever looked at another writer and thought, “I wish ___.” (You fill in the blank.)

I wish I had her talent.

I wish I had her idea.

I wish I had her schedule.

I wish I had her resources.

I wish I had her office.

The list can go on and on if you let it. I think I’ve probably thought all of the above at one point or another. This kind of thinking can be dangerous, and will take us down a road that ends up in an ugly, desolate place. Comparing ourselves as writers will only lead to discontentment. Comparison, as I’ve heard it said, is the death of contentment.

You know what I’m talking about. You’re feeling pretty good about things. Maybe you’ve just scored your first contract, or had an agent show interest, or finished your first manuscript. Then you get on Twitter or Facebook or the blog of another writer, and bouta bing, bouta bang, you see someone who has what you do not.

And suddenly, you want it. You want her Amazon rating, her great review, her invitation to appear at that event. And what was looking pretty good to you suddenly looks paltry.

It’s tempting to look at other writers and think, “Well, she has it easy.” I’ve had my struggle with that as I’ve balanced writing and a busy, full household. I’ve coveted this writer’s detached office, just far enough from home that she removes herself but close enough she can run over in her pj’s. I’ve desired the long stretches of quiet writing time that writer has because her children are older. I’ve envied that other writer’s resources that enable her to have that whiz-bang Website and those uber-cool bookmarks.

And each time, I have to circle back to where God wants me. He gave me this space and these talents, ideas, and people to write with. He didn’t make a mistake, and He doesn’t sit around wringing His hands, wondering if I can do what He created me to do. Mostly I think He wonders when I’m going to stop looking around and start looking right in front of me.

One of the best things a good friend made me do after my first novel was released was to identify both the strengths and weaknesses I bring to the table. The weaknesses were easy—I could reel them off without even thinking. The strengths were harder. In the end, I had to ask some friends to help me identify them. But once I did, it made it easier to live with the writer I am. I can better accept the weaknesses because I also see my strengths. That one exercise has helped to make me a more confident writer.

In my new novel, She Makes It Look Easy, I deal with the tendency we women have to compare ourselves with others. I depict the dangers of pedestals and the ugly fall from them. Ultimately, I take my protagonist, Ariel, through a journey similar to my own—a journey that takes me full circle back to loving who I am, where I am, and what I’ve been given. “She” might make it look easy, but it’s not—for any of us. When we learn to embrace the talents and resources we possess, working toward our strengths and accepting our limitations (because we all have both), we can finally be free to write what He’s called us to write. And in the end, that’s the place we all need to live.


She Makes It Look Easy