We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures…Take a risk a day—one small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it…..Susan Jeffers
I remember one summer our parents took us to a small river to swim. It wasn’t a deep river by any means, and we were all good swimmers. The water was fast and forceful in one place, and we would let the current jostle and bounce us downstream. Once we made it through that particular spot we’d climb out of the water, hurry back up stream and repeat the process. It was both fun and frightening. Even though we’d butt up against large rocks, and suffer some scrapes and bruises, it was so much fun we didn’t want to stop.
The fun we had outweighed our fear of the bruises and skinned knees we got along the way. Our perception of things is often distorted when we are young. I’m pretty safe in saying that the water wasn’t nearly as fast as we imagined it to be or else our parents wouldn’t have taken us. Yet our fear and excitement were very real to us.
Some writers take risks in their writing while others tend to play it safe. Can I really do that? we sometimes ask.
Bitter, Sweet was written in both third and first person. After my novel came out another writer commented that she didn’t know that could be done in YA fiction. Choosing to write it in both third and first person felt right at the time.
One thing I try and strive for in my writing is to find that place where the story I’m telling feels right for me. Sometimes that takes a bit of doing, but I work at it until I’m able to bring it to the place where I’m comfortable with each sentence and paragraph. I need to believe the story and feel it with all my heart. I try not to worry if some editor is going to like it. That’s a sure and fast way to stifle creativity. If the story I’m working at dictates that I take some risks I need to at least try it out, because sometimes those risks end up making me feel great about the story I’m working on.
Writing is not about playing it safe. It’s about writing the best story we can in the best way we can. It’s about listening to what our heart tells us is right, and if that sometimes means taking risks don’t we owe it to ourselves to give it a try?
This question is for writers and non-writers– Do you often take risks or do you always play it safe? Do you agree with what Susan Jeffers said, that taking one small risk will make you feel great?