Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Dare to Risk (Even When it Hurts)

with 9 comments

Folks, it’s been a while since I’ve written a post like this, but here goes:

The most important thing in life is this: You need to remember to dare to risk. Even when it hurts. And even when it doesn’t seem like the risk is worth the reward…do it anyway.

Why am I writing this?

Well, as a writer, every time I sit down to do something with a story, I’m risking the chance of failure.

But as a person, every time I open myself up and am vulnerable to someone, I’m risking the chance of being completely and totally misunderstood. Or unappreciated. Or just…nothing.

I know that. I am not a fool. And I choose to dare that risk, at least in part because it’s the only way, sometimes, to learn something…even if it’s something I’d rather not.

And there are other reasons to dare that risk, too.

Daring to risk is possibly the most important thing I can do, or any writer can do, or any creative person of any possible permutation can do, because it is the only way to express what needs to be expressed. And feeling the pain, sometimes, of risks that don’t work out is necessary, because none of us get through this life unscathed.

I’ve written before about the apocryphal Buddha story–the “search all around the world, daughter, and see if you can find anyone who does not suffer, then report back to me.” Buddha knew, in that story, that every single person had faced suffering of some sort or another, and that it was impossible to live a human life without it.

Now, being married to a Buddhist, I know that suffering is not to be avoided. It’s part of life, as obnoxious as it is to us, and yet thrusting it away causes bigger problems.

Why am I saying all this?

Simply this: I believe, very strongly in fact, that sometimes we have to be prepared to take our lumps. Daring to risk does not mean you’ll always succeed…and it certainly doesn’t mean at all that you will ever succeed, for that matter. But the risk is worth it for its own reward, that of knowing you did everything you possibly could, and then some, to make your dreams come true.

That sometimes there’s nothing you can do? Well, feeling that pain allows you to better inform the stories you write, and make them feel real.

(At least, so I’m telling myself right now. There has to be a reason for it, and that one is as good as any.)

Anyway, don’t let the bad days stop you from daring to risk it all for art, for love, for friendship, or for anything else you feel is worthwhile.

Because the moment you stop risking, that’s the moment you stop living. (Got it?)


By the way, folks…later today, I’ll be writing about two books I think you should keep an eye out for, Jason Cordova’s DEVASTATOR (out next week) and Kayelle Allen’s BRINGER OF CHAOS: FORGED IN FIRE. Both are second books in two very good series; both feature believable science and speculation, some darkness, some light, some romance, and are generally cracking good reads. So if you haven’t read Jason’s CORRUPTOR yet or Kayelle’s BRINGER OF CHAOS: THE ORIGINS OF PIETAS either, you really are missing out…can’t wait to tell you more about these two interesting stories. (No, I’m not always doom and gloom, or reminding you to take risks. But yes, do take that risk.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 5, 2018 at 1:14 am

9 Responses

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  1. When you open yourself up, yes, you risk getting crushed from the experience, yet, it’s also the potential for something grander than what we can imagine in the moment. All we can do is to keep the light shining.


    January 5, 2018 at 10:15 am

    • Thanks, Lika, for understanding. I hope to keep the light shining despite it all.

      Barb Caffrey

      January 5, 2018 at 11:22 am

  2. This was motivating!

    Author: Sadaf Siddiqi

    January 6, 2018 at 5:48 am

  3. Writing is almost an invitation to meet with some measure of failure, because it is unlikely anyone is going to produce something which is universally acceptable. Also when considering the volume of work being produced everyone has a problem of being noticed. Neither should stop anyone writing.
    Once the work has been put together and is published be it self-published, conventionally so or even on the net the finished work then belongs to the public domain and a writer will never know just who they will connect with or even when. In this there is an element of immortality. There is also the satisfaction of having produced a work. This cannot be taken away from a writer.
    There are many who contribute only their carping and produce no work of their own, which is facile.
    Whereas one who wishes to write, should write. In this they contribute to the great wealth of literature, even art of a society. To look at it from another perspective, ‘Ripples’ in a pond.
    Best wishes with your work Barb.
    Strive on.

    Woebegone but Hopeful

    January 6, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    • Thank you, Roger. You are absolutely right in every respect about the writing life, about the difficulty of getting heard in such a crowded market, all that.

      I appreciate that you understood me and read my post and responded so articulately and with such depth of thought.

      And I promise, I will keep going.

      Barb Caffrey

      January 6, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      • Thank you for your kind works Barb
        That’s what I like to read, a writer determined never to give up.
        I’ve been hacking away since the 1970s in varying degrees and finally in this last year or so it is starting to fall into shape.
        Keep up your good work and best wishes

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        January 7, 2018 at 3:47 am

      • You’re most welcome. I’m glad you’re working away at it, too. It’s all we can do.

        Barb Caffrey

        January 7, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      • 👏 ✍️Exactly Barb! 😃……

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        January 8, 2018 at 3:32 am

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