“It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win.” – John Paul Jones
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky.
Ask any artist and to a one they’ll tell you that their hobby/profession is crammed with doubt. Can I do this? Can I finish it? Will anyone like it? Will I like it? The very nature of art carries with it a significant level of risk because you’re putting yourself into a product that is presented to the masses. And, to be honest, the masses can be pretty judgmental at times.
Finding the courage to take that kind of risk, however, can come from many different sources.
Recently, the chorus I sing with had the chance to perform Andrew Lippa’s “I Am Harvey Milk”. Considered a “concept opera”, the piece chronicles major milestones of the late politician’s life. At one point near the end, Anne Hutchinson, from Act 1, comes on stage to provide Harvey encouragement.
You may get wet.
You may get lost.
You may get high.
But leap and you never have to die.”
Powerful words, but also excellent advice for writers. Yes, it requires planning, honing, and editing, but writing also requires faith. In yourself and in your story. More important, you have to believe in what you’re writing and your ability to do so before you write it. Then you have to make the leap and actually do it.
There are a lot of people out there living with Could Have. Could have been a gymnast. Could have been a dancer. Could have been an accountant. Could have married that person. Dreams, ideals, hopes, all left behind because it required a leap of faith they couldn’t make.
Then there are those who leaped once only to crash and burn. A rejection letter on a manuscript, a poor review for their role in a play, laughter from those around them as they stumbled asking someone out on a date. Rather than “climb that climb” once again, they set aside their dream for safer ventures. But they look back from time to time and think “Could have.”
Art is scary. Then again, so are all things worth doing in life. It’s the scythe that separates living from merely existing. Those moments that become seared in your mind, both good and bad, come with inherent risk . From writing to dancing to telling someone you love them, every step along the way is marked with the possibility of success or failure. But being willing to make that leap, to risk the consequences or benefits that come with it, define who we are.
You won’t know what you can become if you don’t leap.
Joshua Roots is a car enthusiest, beekeeper, and storyteller. He enjoys singing with his a cappella chorus, golf, and all facets of Sci-Fi/Fantasy. He's still waiting for his acceptance letter to Hogwarts and Rogue Squadron. He and his wife will talk your ear off about their bees if you let them.
Paranormal Chaos, the final book in The Shifter Chronicles, is available wherever digital books are sold.