“Write something dangerous.” That's what I told a room full of 100 people the other week, speaking at a conference. Half the room looked at me like I was crazy, and the other half as if I had just set them free.
Sharing my journey of falling back in love with writing, I told the tale of how two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one most bloggers fear: I started writing for myself. Not attention or accolades. Just to write.
As I wrote without concern for popularity or prestige, something strange happened: More people paid attention. Oh, the irony. This is what we experience when we pursue passion and forsake public approval: Others join us in the journey.
When you do what you love, people will love what you do. Because we all love the idea of being caught up in an adventure. We love the thrill that danger brings. Which brings us to you.
The risk of caution
Of course, there's a risk here:
- What if no one cares that you just poured your heart into a piece?
- What if people think it's terrible?
- Worse, what if no one pays attention?
What then? Well, at least you had a lot of fun creating it. And isn't that what we're all wanting more of — work we actually love, not just tolerate? This is a no-lose scenario.
However, more often than not, people won't ignore you. They won't loathe your writing; they'll love it. Precisely because you do.
When your art comes from some place deep and true, people take notice of that sort of thing. So start digging.
Stop being safe
We're all in desperate need of courageous, dangerous writing, work that inspires and moves and resonates. Writing that challenges us to step outside of ourselves and move beyond the status quo.
The world doesn't need more safe, tame writing. It needs words that shake the heavens, that defy expectations and offend sensibilities. Isn't this what we're all longing for? To be moved? To be forced to grow and change? To escape and retreat and find our true selves within the solace of a story?
But someone has to go first. Maybe it'll be you.
So what are you waiting for?
OK. It's time. Time for you to write something you're afraid to write. And then, share it.
Do what you were made to do. Don't worry about marketing or audiences or best sellers lists. There's a time for that. This just isn't it.
Right now, you just need to write. Those rationalizations are good, old-fashioned stall tactics. They're fear speaking, loud and clear. Everything will fall into its place. Trust me. Trust yourself. This will work. But only if you are brave. If you write dangerously.
Sure, you'll disappoint a few people in the process. That's a given. Might as well do it, doing something you love, right? Right. Better get started.
What's something dangerous you've written? Share in the comments.