To Risk or not to Risk

Earth from the Moon
Earth from the Moon

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. be patient. The storm will pass. the spring will come.” – Robert H. Schuller

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” – Ralph Marston

“I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it.” – Kristin Armstrong

This weekend I attended a practice workshop put on by a friend of mine. It was a vision workshop and she’s just beginning her new coaching business so she invited a few friends to be her guinea pigs. I’ve attended these kinds of workshops before but it was good to be reminded that we can create the life we want first by visualizing it then by taking action.

I thought I had the process down after practicing the steps for seven years, but now I’m coming to the culmination of a long project in which I am deeply invested. I’m ready to send the baby out into the world and I’m anxious. My first novel, The Space Between Time is about to be criticized not only by friends and family but by people I don’t even know.

I’m not new to being criticized. Working in the theatre you get criticized by the director, and even the audience. The process of putting a play together is about six weeks long and the work is intense. I never minded getting notes from the director. If the audience didn’t like the play, or if we got mixed reviews, I was sad, but there was always the next production and a new start. Not to mention, theatre is a collaborative art, so if the production doesn’t live up to the highest expectations, it’s usually a combination of factors that contribute to the failure. Because of that I didn’t feel as personally responsible.

Writing, on the other hand, is a solitary endeavor and I think that’s why I’m feeling so anxious now just as I’m getting comments from friends and fellow writers. I started this book in 1999, set it aside until 2010 and have been working steadily on it ever since. If it’s a flop, it’s all my fault and no one else’s.

One thing we didn’t talk about in that vision workshop was how to pick yourself up from a colossal failure.

I’ve had plenty of minor failures in my lifetime but I’ve never had as much on the line as I do now. I’ve never felt completely invested in anything as I feel with this novel. The thought that is making me anxious is that now I know writing is my life’s purpose, what happens if I fall flat on my face?

After years of spiritual searching and learning, I know one thing for sure. I’m not alone. God is always there for me and I’m safe no matter what. Just today I have to remind myself of that fact about every few minutes. I know that I’m not what others think of me. I’m the being God created and nothing can change that even if my book flops and no one reads it.

On the other hand, though it’s a paradox, I feel confident that this book is good. That there will be people who will be touched by it and that’s why I felt compelled to write it.

So, I’m scared, and excited to put the finishing touches on my work and send it out into the hands of those who need it. If it’s a failure, or if there is just a lukewarm response to it, I’ll be sad, but I’ll be able to take what I’ve learned from writing this novel and put the lessons to work as I write the next one. I’m not going to let one setback keep me from doing what I love doing. Since that is the case I will definitely write another novel. Actually, I’ve already started it.

For all of you who are scared to try to go for that big dream, I understand. It’s not a comfortable feeling being where I am now, but this too shall pass. I weigh what I’m feeling now against not even trying to make my dreams come true and my stomach sinks. I could hate myself, shrivel up and not even try. But that outcome is much worse than failing at making my dream come true and I’d rather take the big risk and fail than never to have tried.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2015

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3 thoughts on “To Risk or not to Risk

  1. As a writer and searcher I resonate with your words. I feel the roller coaster ride you are on right now from a very personal place. The ups and downs make us more resilient as writers, helps us fine tune or reevaluate why we write. I love writing; where it intersects with others is not so comfortable; and yet, it seems very essential to the process, otherwise we might just spend our lives journaling! The process of risking as a writer can only offer input for improving our craft, or perhaps, becoming more convinced of our position in the first place. I think of Dr. Estes who spent 40 years writing and trying to publish Dancing with the Wolves – having it rejected over and over and over again. So many authors have faced similar rejection. Dr. Estes’ audience may be limited, perhaps, but for those she touches she is a force with which to be reckoned. I know she has changed my life. Your writing already has had an impact on many and your passion and commitment will continue to carry it forward into the world. I, for one, can’t wait to read your book! (I’m still sorry I missed my initial opportunity! Sadly, the timing just wasn’t right.) Keep on keeping on Lucinda!

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    1. lucindasagemidgorden

      Dorothy, Thank you so much for your words of inspiration.

      As it happens, my book club group was reading Dr. Estes’ book as I was finishing my rough draft. It inspired at least on scene in the book. I agree that it is a fabulous book, full of inspiration and hope to support women. If I keep working on my book, maybe mine will inspire someone too.

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