Writing a book is full of gambling. At first glance, this doesn’t make sense. How do you take risks by putting words on the page? Well, even that is a risk- If you plan on sharing that with anyone. When you first decided you wanted to be a writer, you probably thought all there was to it was this, and this one risk. As you got further into the process, as you became more serious about it, you started to realize there were other steps, too- Editing, publishing, marketing -but there’s a pretty good chance you didn’t discover more risks.
Well, here’s the thing: They’re there. And you need to take them.
Without taking risks, you won’t progress. You won’t get better as a writer. So doing things like sharing your work, taking in a critique partner, starting on a new social media platform- These are all scary, but they’re necessary, and can be fun, too.
So how do you take a risk, knowing you won’t be burned? You won’t. You’ll never know 100% whether or not the risk you’re taking will pay off. But you can do things to swing it in your favour.
List the pros and cons, for both succeeding and failing. If you fail, will it be worth it? If you succeed, will it be worth it?
Be realistic. Don’t take a risk that’s not near what it’s worth, or do something you know has failed before without changing something.
Finally, ask yourself these questions: Will I be able to recover if this fails? ((And, Am I underestimating myself?)) What do I gain if this succeeds? ((And, Is it worth it?)) Do I have any other options?
So what happens when you fail, what do you do then? First off, always make sure you have a plan B. Having a safety net will ensure you can get back on your feet when you’re knocked down, so you can get right back to work ((after an appropriate breather)). Second, do whatever you can to repair what you lost. There are some things that you lose and can’t get back- And that’s okay. It happens. You can find ways around it. But sometimes when you take a risk, you lose things like money, or credibility. These are things you can repair.
Remember that it’s okay to fail. Yeah, I know, I just became a middle school cliche, but it’s such a common saying because it’s true. You’re going to mess up. It doesn’t mean everything’s over. And that leads me to my final step: Try again.
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