I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dreams and Risks

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By nature, I'm not much of a risk-taker. 

I'm really not. Sometimes I run to my mailbox in my pajamas--we're talking polka dot fleece pants and a five-year-old tee. That always feels a little brave.

But I'm not generally one to crave risky stuff. 

And yet, over the past few years as I've pursued my writing dream, it's become pretty stinkin' clear you can't move in the direction of your dream without taking a few risks here and there. You just can't.

(That is, unless your dream is to become an actuary. I can't think of anything risky about pursuing that career. Unless your name is Melissa Tagg and you're convinced numbers are out to get you...)

Remember that story Jesus tells in the Gospels about a wealthy man who sends his servants out with money and later comes back to see how they did? I love how The Message paraphrases this story in Luke 19 and the master's words to the servant who risked the most and doubled his money:
"He said, 'Good servant! Great work! Because you've been trustworthy in this small job, I'm making you governor of ten towns.'" 
That's verse 17. A few verses later, in verse 26...
"He said, 'That's what I mean: Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag.'" 
More than you ever dreamed of. That sounds pretty good to me.

Now, let's be honest. There are probably smart risks...and incredibly dumb ones. And as we get older and hopefully mature and get advice from wise people around us, we'll learn to discern good risk from bad. 

Here are some of the risks I've taken in my writing journey:

  • Attending my first writing retreat (MBT Storycrafters, 2009)
  • Entering contests*
  • Pitching to agents and editors at conferences
  • Investing money on expensive conferences
  • Sending proposals and manuscripts to agents and editors
This fall, I'll take a whole new risk when my debut novel hits bookshelves. 

But I can look back and see how each little risk has been worth the big joy of knowing I'm pursuing the call God put on my life, the dream he breathed into my heart. 

So here's my question for you: What dream has God put in your heart? And what risks are you going to take to follow that dream? 

*Since I mentioned contests above, I wanted to take a moment to plug the 2013 MBT Frasier Contest! This is an awesome contest for unpublished writers founded by award-winning author Susan May Warren. The feedback alone is worth the minor cost of entering. I can't possibly recommend it enough. Stay tuned for a more in-depth post on this contest next week right here AND an upcoming Frasier blog tour all over the blogosphere. More details on the contest available here

*****

Melissa Tagg is a former reporter turned author who loves all things funny and romancey. Her debut novel, a romantic comedy titled Made to Last, releases from Bethany House Publishers in September 2013. In addition to her nonprofit day job, she's also the marketing and events coordinator for My Book Therapy. Connect with Melissa at her websiteFacebook and Twitter (@Melissa_Tagg). 

19 comments:

  1. So true, Melissa! I'm not a risk taker either, but now I force myself out of that comfort zone. So glad I do, too, because I have learnedly so much by attending conferences, meeting and pitching to agents, and now teaching writing to kids!

    God is good and promises to be there with us. I know for me, this year will be full of more challenges and risks. I can't hardly wait!!

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    1. That's such an awesome attitude to have, Ruth--I can't hardly wait. :) Love it!

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  2. I've probably always been a risk taker--never the kid who hung back...always the first one to climb to the top of the tree, swing on a grapevine, ride the horse no one else would ride...got a lot of bumps and bruises, too. So I was never paralyzed with fear about pitching or sending my manuscript out. Got a lot of rejections that way, too. :-)

    I am learning to hold back some...don't be so quick to send the ms out--go over it again. and again. But I'm living my dream!
    Great post, Melissa.

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    1. LOL, somehow I can totally see you as a risk-taker, Pat. You just seem endlessly brave and outgoing to me! And your bravery has certainly paid off, hasn't it. I can't wait to read your books!!

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  3. The Message says it so well there--thanks. In lots of areas I am a risk taker, an adrenaline junkey (makes the journey interesting--I hate being bored). I'm in the polishing and submitting proposals stage, eyes and fingers crossed, & will keep at it.

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    1. Like with Pat, I can totally see you as a risk-taker, Dee. You're such a world traveler, for one thing! Praying for you as you polish and submit!

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  4. I'm definitely NOT the risk taker. Pat, I was a tom-boy, but I never got on a horse no one else would ride. :) Okay, so I was more of a risk taker as a kid. As an adult, I'm learning to step out on this writing journey and put my writing out there. Scary? Yes! Rewarding? Yes. Critiques, contests and conferences have helped me to grow as a writer. One of my heart dreams is to be published. I know I'll be risking more to make that happen. Bumps and bruises are coming. The good thing is, they fade. :) I'm so looking forward to reading your debut novel, Melissa!

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    1. Love what you said about bumps and bruises fading, Jeanne. It's so true. I'm truly excited to see what lies ahead for you on your road to publication. I'm so antsy to read your story!

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  5. I'm a homebody who is comfy and cozy in her comfort zone, but I'm learning that's not who God created me to be. I've been taking risks for the past 7 or 8 years since God nudged me out of my comfort zone with my first speaking engagement. Looking back, that's just one more brick in the path He's laid before me. Taking risks allows us to step out in faith and trust God to have our best interests at heart. Plus it opens us up to unexpected blessings. Great post, MTagg.

    And YES!! Enter the Frasier!!

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    1. "Taking risks allows us to step out in faith and trust God to have our best interests at heart."

      Love that, LJ!

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  6. Thanks for sharing, MTagg! I think it depends on what it is for me to take risks. I'm not afraid to skydive or do crazy things when there's a built in safety net, but sometimes the writing journey is like a freefall when you realize you've forgotten your parachute in the plane (and now have to trust God to catch you instead of a manmade contraption!)

    Admittedly, I'm not pursuing writing much right now, but I know I will again, and I can't wait to see where it goes.

    Thanks for the challenge, I'll look for some risks to take today!

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    1. I forgot you went sky-diving, Amy! That's incredibly brave. I also think parenthood is a pretty brave thing. :)

      I'm excited for the day when you're able to pursue writing again...solely for selfish reasons because I miss seeing you!

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  7. Pretty sure you know my dream! Hehe. And you know, I know that doing all the stuff I'm doing is taking a risk, but I think because it's a dream that also "makes sense" to my heart, it doesn't feel so risky. But ask me again in five years and we'll see where I'm at with that thought. ;)

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    1. Haha, yes, I think I do know what your dream is. And I love that I get to be a part of your dream as your CP. :)

      As for asking you in five years, I have a feeling you'll be saying every risk was worth it as you autograph books and collect awards and change lives through your stories. :)

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  8. The title says it all, Melissa. Dreams and risks go together. At first I thought, no, not me. I'm not a risk taker. Then I thought how my husband and I left our 3 story home and his high-paying job with the Canadian government to go to Bolivia as missionaries. Risks included revolutions to over-throw the government, weird beetles that carry deadly disease, and one-lane roads carved out of the mountain side with steep cliffs. Oh--and we adopted 3 children as well. The last "risk" was the best of our lives!!

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    1. Those are some pretty huge risks, Ter! So I'd say you're definitely a risk-taker. And it's been fun to get to meet one of your adopted kids and to see how much she loves you...I'd say that's was a risk well-taken!

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    2. Oh yeah, Teri. You're not a risk taker at all. :) I admire your willingness to step out into the dangerous unknown. :)

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    3. I'm not much of risk taker, and neither is my heroine. Like me, she has to take a big risk in order to find happily ever after.

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    4. I have a feeling more often than not, finding happily ever after requires a risk or two. :)

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