Taking risks makes our hearts beat faster. Doing something risky leaves you vulnerable to rejection, disappointment, or failure. Writers face this fear all the time. We might love writing and have fun telling our stories, but that sense of risk can hurt our work. It's possible to take risks with confidence, overcome our fear, and live with greater freedom in our life and our writing.
Whether in our life, or in our writing, we recognize risks by what scares us. Changing something about ourselves might feel scary, say making a dramatic change in our appearance. What if those we care the most about are unhappy about the change? It can leave you feeling rejected and hurt. Faced with that possibility, why not just skip it and not take the chance?
Taking risks gives us opportunities to grow and expand. Overcoming fear, embracing change, it makes us stronger and helps us live with greater freedom. And the thing that we fear usually isn't as bad as we imagine. Maybe you don't get the support you desired, so what? It's a good lesson to learn to seek internal validation and be proud that you took a risk.
It's the same with writing. Write the story that scares you. Worried about what your mother, lover, or friend will think? Concerned about a bad review? It's one story. You took a risk—own it! Nothing prevents you from writing another, and then another.
Sometimes when we share what we're thinking of doing it isn't what scares us—it scares someone else. It might be a loved one, or an agent, an editor, a boss, or fans. This often happens with writing. Suppose you have a successful series of books and you want to write something different? You're excited, but others in your life might be scared. Why do you want to write this other thing? Why not keep writing what is already working?
Taking a chance on something new may be risky. It might turn out to be the best decision you've made—or it might fail. Either way, taking risks enriches our lives. When faced with opposition from those you care about you can listen to their fears. Give them a chance to express their concerns. Ultimately, it's your writing and your happiness at stake. Share why this is important to you and then move forward. Take the risk. No matter the outcome, you're likely to learn and grow from the experience.
Sign up to get the latest content by email.
Writer, librarian and illustrator, Ryan M. Williams, author of more than twenty novels, writes across a range of genres including fantasy, science fiction, romance, paranormal, and mystery. He earned an M.A. in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University and an M.L.I.S. from San Jose University. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies from Pocket Books, WMG Publishing, and in On Spec Magazine.