Saturday, April 10, 2010

Are You a Risk-Taker?

I have read that most writers are risk-takers. I would never place myself in the category of a daredevil, which to me is the same thing as one taking a risk.

Risk-takers, to me, are extreme sportsmen, drug users, or perhaps some Olympians. Take Shaun White, the US snowboarder, for example. During the winter Olympics, I became very interested in this sport. I know nothing of it, except the little I've seen on TV. Shaun won the gold medal. How? By inventing a new, complicated, dangerous move, which he performed on his last trial. He pulled it off without a hitch, and while the other contestants played it safe with no errors, he took a chance with something more complicated and also pulled it off with no errors. Gold!

Evan Lysacek also represented the United States in men's figure-skating. His performance was flawless, perfection on ice, a routine he'd practiced, literally, for years. His Russian counter-point, the medal favorite, took a chance and executed a move than no one else did. But! The judges weren't looking for extraordinary moves—they were looking for those within the guidelines, and a contestant who skated those perfectly. Who won the gold? Not the risk-taker, this time, but the one who played it safe.

Do you take risks in writing and submitting? Do you try for the agent who will take you to the top? Or do you play it safe, sticking only with the area you know best and feel somewhat confident of earning some success?

Me? I have taken risks, and not one person I know would believe that I did. I don't look the part, I don't act with bravado, in fact, I look like a Sunday school teacher. In my forties, I signed on to be a sponsor to take forty high school students skiing. I had never skied in my life. There were four other female sponsors, along with four male sponsors. At the mountain resort, all of us donned skis on the bunny slope and tried it out for most of one day. By the second day, all females had quit except me. I went on the second day with two men to an intermediate slope. Down we went, back and forth. On the third and last day, the men enticed me to go to the next harder slope, which I did. I had several mishaps, frightening ones, but each time I stood up and kept going. At the end of the day, I'd stayed with those men, even though I ached and hurt all over. I never skied again, though.

The same thing happened when I learned to play golf at age forty. I studied and worked, and soon I was winning money and trophies at our local course. I couldn't have been happier during those years. Other women said, "Man, you came out here to win!" "Yes," I said, "why would I come out here to lose?"

And so, I'm a mix of risk-taker vs. play- it-safer kind of author. One day, I hope to take a really big chance and try for the gold. Right now? I'm playing it safe.

What about you? Risk-taker? Play-safer?

Celia Yeary
Romance…and a little bit o' Texas
TEXAS BLUE-eBook and Print
Published by: The Wild Rose Press


  1. Great examples with Shaun and Evan. Of course, Plushenko would have taken gold with his quad if the rest of his routine had been up to par. Risk-taking is all well and fine, but back it up! ;-)

    Me? I'm also in between but probably more along the risk-taking side by now, opposite what I used to be.

    Love your skiing story! It shows just how driven you are. If I ever tried it, I'd likely stay on that bunny slope because I break easily and need my arms intact to write. ;-) Some risks are more worth it than others! I even wear wrist braces when I ice skate, just in case.

  2. I think I'd have to say I've always been a risk taker. Not an extreme sportster or anything, but twice in my life I picked up and moved to a foreign country where I didn't know anyone to live. I also have always taken chances with my writing. I push for an agent and so far, according to my Querytracker, I've sent out 236 queries, 180 of those are outright rejections, the rest are just non responders. Yesterday I sent out one more and got an immediate request for the full ms. If you want to get ahead I think you need to take some risks and risk failure. It's easy to play it safe. I guess I don't like always being safe.

  3. Loraine--I'd never call myself a risk-taker, but I have often stepped outside the box in a positive manner, almost with a single-minded purpose. That's probably a better adjective for me--single-minded when I want to do something. You, too, I think. Celia

  4. P.A.--Yes, you're definitely a risk-taker with a strong will and mind. I admire you for that. the main thing is never give up. I leanred to play golf at age 40 and became obsessed with it--just like I ma now with writing. But I don't think I am in your category of hihg risk-takers! I'm not that brave--good for you. Celia

  5. I went back to school at 40 and became a network engineer. That's the job that took me to the second foreign country I lived in alone, Bermuda. The first one was Los Angeles, a wholly foreign place to me since I grew up in a small, semi-rural community in Canada. Quite a culture shock!

  6. Hi Celia,
    Interesting question...
    In my younger days I was quite the risk-taker. Always had to climb the next tree or ridge, ride the most spirited horses, jump the highest fences, and take the dare. LOL
    Having my son cured me of most of that sort of risk-taking. But then my writing took an unexpected turn and I find myself taking risks once again. But I pray about them now and try to make them calculated risks instead of foolish ones.

  7. I think I work myself up to being a risk taker. I run to the edge, stop and back up. Then I run to the edge, stop and back up. Then I finally squeeze my eyes shut, scream and jump.

  8. I too have to work myself into taking risks. But I take more since I am older. Like going to a new place. I am so afraid to meet new people. But I force myself, figuring what can they do to me. And then I find out they like me. It makes it worth taking risks.

  9. Hi Celia -
    I guess I am a risk taker. At age 40, with a native son suffering racism and a very ill daughter, I plunged into a second marriage. My husband had two sons, both ADD and one eventually emerged as a sociopath. At one point, all four were teenagers at the same time, however, we parents emerged still coherent.
    Now we have four adults, two of whom are good policeman - a sgt and a detective. Our daughter has two beautiful sons and manages an office for P and G and our sociopath seems to have settled down a bit, at least for this week.
    Speaking of risk takers, my husband was a hostage negotiator. Lives depended on his words and I am proud to say a lot of people are alive today because of him. He never lost a hostage.
    In writing, I haven't even been daring enough to finish a book - non-fiction at least. As a journalist, I stuck my neck out a time or two and wrote a boook about an unusual murder - a neo-Nazi killing of a native man. It was published and I am proud to say, still selling after 15 years.
    So - I am half and half.
    I still don't go to the Mall yet though, as some of my 'best customers' were killers and no one seemed to properly appreciate my writings about their cases. The mall is a hangout for parolees.
    However, I am working on three MSs at the moment and intend to get one out on the 'please, please, please publishing trail' soon. Loved the Olympics and both of your boys. I was embarrassed by the 'Canada owns the podium' bit. Canadians are usually more polite but, none of us will ever know if BC is part of Canada or not! They are different.
    We visited Texas once upon a time, in the midst of a dust storm with rain. Never saw it rain mud before. Another first for the Lone Star state!
    Looking foward to reading your latest book.
    Happy trails
    connie sampson

  10. REBECCA--there's a difference in physical risks and personal risks. I'd never do anything that might harm my body, but I might do something that only my mind and emotions would be involved with. I've done the former when I was younger and more I'm afraid of hurting myself and breaking my fragile bones. You know, a thin frame with small bones that deterioate as we age. That's me. Ugh. I'd love to have big thick bones--no such luck.Celia

  11. MAEVE--you made me laugh! I can just se you running back and forth, trhing to decide to take the chance. I did that trying to dive into water. you know what? I never did it. Scared me to death. Celia

  12. MARY--I underatand. Risks that might only embarress us are okay. It's those that might break my body I can't take. Right now? I'm battling the idea of confronting someone who is standing in my way of getting something published--Can I do it? Ohhh, I don't know. We'll see. Celia

  13. CONNIE--egads!! What a life. You could write a best-seller or make a TV series from your experiences. I look like Pollyann next to you. I cannot imagine. You take care of yourself! Celia

  14. Celia -

    It's not so bad but I am very grateful for my husband and the fact that there is a new day every 24 hours!

    Best wishes

    connie sampson

  15. In celebration of Blogmania, I've passed along a blog award to you -

  16. Thank you, Cate! I'll find a place for it. Celia