I did not title this blog post The Novelist’s Risk as a noun. Rather I titled it Novelists Risk as a verb. That’s what we do – we risk. We risk time, money, reputation, security, sleep, peace of mind… You name it; we risk it.
We dare to put ourselves out there in our novels for all the world to see. We dare to spend months, sometimes years, pouring ourselves into a work that may eventually go absolutely nowhere. We dare to opt out of a weekly paycheck for the totally speculative occupation of writing for a living.
A person who is gainfully employed may dream of writing a novel. But! “I would have to take time off work to do so…,” they lament. It never occurs to them that most novelists never even think about going to work in the first place.
Most novelists look at financial risk as an integral part of the game plan. It’s the grueling test that must be passed. (Sometimes over and over again.) The danger of going without is often the propellant that speeds them on to completion of the work. And a steady income may serve to deter the work.
Ralph Keyes once stated:
Knowing that there’s a direct line between putting words on paper and food on the table keeps me focused: a story for a dollar. An empty bank account with the rent due can summon remarkable powers of concentration.
Many people in this world are filled with regrets in later life – especially over the choice of career. Novelists seldom experience this feeling. Navigating through the stormy waters of the publishing world, and staying the course, puts steel in the backbone. Looking back on the many risks taken, experienced, and survived through, gives a great sense of pride. A great sense of accomplishment.
Regrets live in the hearts of those who were not willing to take the risks. Who talked themselves out of writing and/or finishing the novel. The ones who listened to the voices telling them to live a more practical life.
Taking the risk to be a novelist doesn’t always end in the name-in-lights kind of success. It means you recognized, listened to, and followed the call of your heart. You followed your gut. You saw the risk and did not flinch. (Well, maybe you flinched a little, but it didn’t stop you.)
Novelists risk. That’s who we are. That’s what we do.
Where do you fit in the equation?
In the six-month writing course that I call the Be A Novelist, Six-Month, Finish-My-Novel Challenge we talk a great deal about what might stand in the way of your novel creation! It will be like looking into a mirror as you see yourself more clearly. This course offers six full months of guidance and instruction. Guaranteed to light a fire under your novel-writing attempts and to launch you into a pattern of consistent writing! Details right here!