Writing and publishing my first book in 1990 was probably the greatest self-image battle I have ever faced – so far. As long as I postponed writing it, I remained a “potentially” great writer. By actually writing the book, I was trading my safe, secure “potential success” for the real world possibilities of rejection and failure. When the book was complete, my good friend, Evelyn, wrote me this short note:
“Writing is a death defying high wire act, and you have pulled it off.”
Evelyn’s words marked a turning point on how I perceive myself — not only as a writer, but also as a human being. I keep that brief note close by,to remind me — not so much that I have fulfilled
a dream, but that I am living in the real world. I took a big risk, my big risk, and it became a right of passage into a strange new world of genuine selfresponsibility. I would have never guessed the real world could be so much fun.
As a recovering alcoholic, I learned the value of not taking the insane risks associated with my addiction. But I have also learned that there are sane risks. These are the risks we take in our daily lives to avoid becoming stuck in the quicksand of second-guessing and self-doubt. These are the risks we take when we stand up . . . and tell our Should Monsters to sit down.
And then there are the bigger risks — like writing my first book; like the work I am doing now on my seventh book. These risks are more than just sane; they are necessary for our sanity.
Have you faced your big risks? Are you facing one now? Life is a death defying high wire act. Are you pulling it off?
In a Nutshell