Risky Business

A young writer asks me recently what she should do to become a great writer.  My answer: Be brave. Be willing to write poorly. Be willing to be criticized. Be willing to begin.

Most writing projects fizzle not because they are not worthwhile or that the writing was poor, but because the writer was afraid of writing badly.

To write is to risk. And it almost always feels risky. You’re open to judgement, you may fail, and it may feel like your work is in vain.  But it almost never is.

Even poor writing is a step in the journey.  Your first or second or tenth piece may not be great, but if you love it, and if you have more stories to share, and if you can muster the courage to keep going, your breakthrough may yet be around the corner.

I’m not saying that you have the luxury of quitting your day job, and I’m not saying that you should persist in solitude without the opportunities for growth afforded by wonderful communities of writers and readers around you.  But I am saying that if you love it, it’s a wonderful journey–whether your work is ready by tens or tens of thousands.

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