Dear Friends, Readers, and Writers,
Would you call yourself a risk taker or a play-it-safer? I don't mean a thrill seeker parachuting from a plane or launching a dive from rugged cliffs. Or a player in the stock market.
I'm talking about the risks that come with the choices we make, the ones that seem ordinary but are life changing. Getting married, having that first child, pursuing the perfect career. And for me, calling myself an author.
You might think making the decision to write would be the tough part. But that wasn't really a choice. I never consciously committed to becoming a writer. It was more that I couldn't stop writing. But claiming the title of "author"? That's where the risk lies. With that label came expectations, both personal and public. And like the play-it-safer, I don't want to disappoint. So, I don't always volunteer my career choice.
This past week I had a breakthrough. Sitting in pre-op getting an IV stuck in one arm and my blood pressure checked on the other, one of my nurses commented on the book I brought with me. (Seeing Eye Girl by Bev Amento) I told her the author was a friend. She was impressed and confessed she had no clue how writers created their stories. The other nurse agreed, and I surprised them and myself by announcing I was a writer.
They asked for details and when I told them I combined family drama with murder and suspense, they loved it. My genre blend was their favorite.
I was still smiling as they rolled me into surgery and drifted off, pleased at my sudden and unexpected confidence. (My surgery was the removal of a bunion and bone spur. Very glamorous.)
I don't know if it was my snazzy hospital gown slipping off one shoulder or the gossamer hairnet that made me take the risk of being exposed as an imposter. (I was already exposed in a very real way.) But it felt good, and I plan to do it again.
I want to urge all of you--regardless of age or gender or whatever-- to decide who you want to be or what you want to be known for. Then share it with the world. Because saying it can make it real.