Monday, June 28, 2010
No Risk, No Reward
I’ve always admired people who take risks. What kind of risks am I talking about? It varies.
Some people take physical risks. Jumping out of an airplane. Riding a motorcycle. Undergoing an experimental medical treatment. Traveling to a foreign country in political turmoil. Protecting others in the line of duty.
Other people take personal risk. Starting a business. Investing your savings to pursue a dream. Going back to school and leaving a stable career. Taking a stand for your faith. Choosing to forgive, even though it hurts.
I had never really thought of writing as risky business. But that’s exactly what it is.
Just last week, I was feeling a little sorry for myself. I had just read a few negative reviews about Chasing Superwoman from the blogging community. One of them said that I have no balance and even feels sorry for me and my family! Another review said, again, that my lifestyle is completely out of control and even questioned my shaky prayer life.
I guess I was prepared for the genuine (and expected) attacks about my writing and message. I just wasn’t prepared for the personal attacks on my character.
Then, at the suggestion of my agent, I read a post by Mary DeMuth, A Risky Gift, that put everything in perspective. Mary writes about the risks she took when she wrote her own memoir, Thin Places:
With my memoir Thin Places, I've felt the deepest fear, the longest worry of any book I've ever released. I felt naked when it released. I feel exposed when folks email their own stories of tragedy. I've risked and wondered if that risk was necessary. But then I realize that my story--my painful, redeemed story--is my gift to readers. It's a risky gift, one that I wrote so that others wouldn't feel alone anymore. (Emphasis added.)
Like DeMuth, I’m feeling pretty naked right now. I’ve realized that, in putting myself “out there” I’ve taken a big risk. I’ve even wondered if the risk was necessary. After all, I have a incredible family, a great career – a life with much predictability and stability. Why rock the boat?
In simple terms: No risk, no reward.
I’ve realized that a “risky gift” is something that costs us. In DeMuth's words, “[s]omething that worries us at night, makes us tremble in the day.”
Have you ever taken a risk that kept you up at night? And was it worth the reward?