Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Risk, Reward and Dreams

What kind of risk taker are you? How far outside your comfort zone are you willing to step or, for that matter, leap? Have no idea? Okay. Let me ask a different question: If you had your way, what would you do in your spare time?  Be specific.Would you bake cookies? Learn to play the piano? Write a novel?

Often people will ask the question, what would you do, if you knew you could not fail?  Hell, if I knew I could not fail, I would jump out of an airplane. But risk involves the chance of failure (or in my case airsickness). One of my guilty pleasures this season is “The Sing-Off”. I will sing my lungs out in the car, but it would take more than a few glasses of wine to get me up in front of a crowd to sing, especially in a room where people might know me. Maybe in a tavern in Romania where no English is spoken, so they won’t even know if I screw up the lyrics. My choice of song could be a whole other blog. But I have promised myself that one day I will do it and sober.  Vague goal, I know but I have higher priorities right now.

Some of you that follow me want to write that novel. Then what? Do you show it to anyone? Let’s start with trusted readers and editors. What about publishing it to the world?  Now we’re talking risk.

Risk is not just jumping out of planes, bungee jumping, climbing Mount Everest. Let’s get real, anyone who takes on these activities or any other you can name does not do it lightly.  No sane person pulls out of their suburban driveway and thinks “I’ve never even climbed a ladder to clean my gutters, but I’m going to the airport today. I’m going to fly halfway around the world, head straight to Nepal and climb that damn mountain.” Duh? You know and I know that massive amounts of training and preparation are required.

Now writing a novel, singing karaoke, quitting your day job, or starting your own business, do not present the same physical danger as Mt Everest. I may not break a leg but I can seriously bruise my ego.
That said, I am a risk-taker.  No-pain, no-gain, especially when it comes to ego. My mantra is perhaps the other side of that coin. I always say, if you want something ask. What’s the worst that can happen: they say no? Will you be any worse off than you are right now? No regrets, no what-ifs.  Like climbing Mt. Everest, it takes a lot of preparation. You study, you weigh all the pros and cons, you know the outcome is not guaranteed and that it impacts others, but you go for it.

I’m going for a working published writer. I have studied and keep studying the craft and the business of writing and publishing. I have an agent for my first novel, but I also track and am actively involved in the self-publishing world. I am ready to do what I need to do and to do it with eyes wide open. I am also turning my years of developing my craft to helping others achieves their dream by offering editing and proofreading services.  I plan on expanding those services over the next year. More on that in a later blog, too.

I love writing and working with writers and I find myself with some extra time on my hands. I will be planning my work and working my plan. An added bonus is that, along the way, I have met some incredibly talented and supportive friends.

For a great discussion of risk taking, visit Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong Foundation's page on risk taking. I think you’ll agree that Lance knows something about risk taking.

What kind of risk-taker are you? What will you do to make your dream a reality?