Sunday, November 28, 2010

Taking risks

“If you spend your days avoiding failure by doing nothing much worth criticizing, you’ll never have a shot at success.” –Seth Godin

One way we risk is by putting our work out into the world. Another is to write when we have to say without worrying about its acceptance. Yes, you could write a book in which Goldilocks meets 3 vampires and maybe even sell it. But probably that’s not the story that lives in your heart to tell.

Maybe you want to write about growing up in suburban Dallas in the 1950s but childhood memoirs have gone out of fashion. So what? Write your stories. Maybe as a memoir it’s not sellable but as a novel or collection of short stories it is. Maybe you want to write about the use of runes in everyday decision-making and you know that the audience for that is pretty small. So what? Write that book anyway.

In a personal transformation program I was involved in some years ago, the facilitators regularly asked us if we were playing small, below our capacity. They wanted to know if we were being run by fear. I think Godin’s quote addresses this nicely. We can write so as not to fail or we can risk and write what is ours to write.

The number of well-known writers who were rejected for years is legendary. They kept at it and they wrote what they needed to. Great role models for us all!

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