Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Taking Risks

When the weather cooperates, I ride my bike to work. I gather my things, my backpack bulging on my back, and I ride over the Manhattan bridge. The first moments of my morning are spent looking at the skyline of lower Manhattan. The Hudson River glistens underneath the sun. And you can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. I see it all again in the evening as the sun sets in the sky.

Lately, I haven't stopped to take it in. Because I am just trying to get where I need to go. And, the past few weeks, it seems that everyone is on edge. Even more so than usual. The traffic is maddening. Other bikers are not paying attention. Cars are whizzing past me like I am invisible. People are smacking their cab doors into my hand and I am left purple and bruised.

I am not a reckless biker. I follow the rules. I stop at lights. I use the bike lanes. I try my best. But it seems I'm not getting anywhere.

And I watch other bikers as they ride the wrong way down the streets, as they cut in front of cars, ring their bell through intersections where they don't have the right-of-way. Yes, it's dangerous. No, if I were them, I wouldn't test it.

But, you know what? They are getting somewhere.

As someone who has spent most of her life trying to do the right thing, I wonder about this. A lot.

How can you be seen and heard and still follow the rules? How do you get somewhere and still play it safe?

When I write, I think: here is a place to take risks. Here is a place to be reckless.

I don't know how many times I've asked myself why I write. There is no real answer, I'm sure. But I think that must be one of the reasons. And I hope I am taking enough risks there. I hope I can find other places in my life to take the right risks.


  1. Though I don't bike anywhere, really, I think it's much safer to take risks in writing. Biking... I would never take risks. Then again, I live in a city voted most unsafe for pedestrians. A biker died two weekends ago after being a victim of a hit and run... So follow the rules, nurse your purple knuckles, and write whatever comes into your mind instead of whatever will sell. Some risks are not worth it.

  2. I think that you're right, writing is a great way to take risks without having to deal with the consequences. As I am a shy person, I have found that through writing and also drama, I could behave in different ways, through the different characters I played.

    In the real world, taking risks can be dangerous, but if you stick to taking risks in the world of writing, then it could be fun!

  3. I am a risk taker, too, but not a bike rider. lol Glad you joined the campaign.

  4. Good thing you love purple ; )

  5. All great writers take risks. Great post :) I'm a fellow campaigner stopping by to say Hi.

  6. I take very few risks. I'm terrified of conflict, change, and making mistakes. And that shows in my first drafts. Obviously I make big changes when I do my rewrites, but it still scares my to even put myself out there.

    I feel like the biggest risk I take every day is sending queries to agents. I always ask myself, "what if I missed something, what if my book isn't good enough, what if I misspelled their name?" But I still click "send" every time.

  7. Take risks in your writing, but do not, I repeat DO NOT take risks on your bike in NY. That place is crazy. You'll get hurt. (I LOVE New York--been there twice and fell in love).

    I'm not much of a risk taker, but as I'm growing older I find myself taking more and more risks, trying new things. When I was younger, I was terrified of everything. I was such a wimp.

    Great to meet you, campaigner. You're in my group and without this campaign by Rach, I doubt I'd find you in this big o'blogosphere.

  8. Writing is the safest place to take risks. Stopping by to say hi as a fellow campaigner. Looking forward to networking.

  9. Hi Melissa. I'm a new follower and fellow campaigner from your YA group. Nice to meet you.

    I'm very much a ruler follower. Remember, slow and steady wins the race! LOL. :D

  10. I really need to learn to take more risks. I am very play-it-safe, and that's not always good.

    Hello from your YA campaign group!