I’m thrilled to join Writers Who Kill and be part of this terrific community. I can’t wait to get to know all of you better.
For my first post, it seems appropriate to talk about beginnings and a concept that to me is inescapably related: risk. Now I used to be about as risk-averse as they come, but a few years back, instead of drafting a list of New Year’s resolutions, I decided to try something new. I adopted “risk” as my “word of the year,” a guiding concept for stretching beyond my comfort zone. (Sound familiar? In her last post two weeks ago, Sarah talked about focusing on words instead of resolutions, too.)
I wrote the word in all caps on a sticky note and posted it on my computer, where I could see it every day and remind myself that sometimes, a little risk can be a good thing.
A couple of months later, the Guppy chapter of Sisters in Crime announced that submissions were open for its second anthology of short stories. Ah-ha! An opportunity to put risk to work for me. I drafted my first short story ever but wavered as the deadline for submissions crept closer. I fiddled with the story and revised and had many second thoughts. But that sticky note on my computer was a constant reminder. A nag, really. It was my year of risk, after all. So I took a deep breath, hit send, and “Keeping Up Appearances” was one of 22 stories accepted for publication in Fish Nets: The Second Guppy Anthology. Woo-hoo for taking risks!
Since then, I’ve adopted a “word of the year” two more times. Instead of replacing the previous year’s word, I added to it. And those three words have been my companions and my inspiration for several years. I have three sticky notes on my computer now:
- RISK: Take a chance, stretch, look for new experiences and new challenges.
- SPONTANEITY: Be open to unexpected opportunities, surprise twists, and joyful distractions.
- STRENGTH: Be steadfast in pursuit of dreams and desires.
Along the way, I’ve become more comfortable with taking risks. Not every risk pays off, and sometimes spontaneity takes a back seat to practicality. But I like to think of each risk as a beginning, full of wondrous possibilities, and that inspires me to keep taking them.
So cheers to 2016, risks, and beginnings! What risks or beginnings do you look forward to this year?
(I’ll be here every other Sunday. You can also find me on Twitter, @jtollefson, or at my website, http://julietollefson.com.)