On borrowing trouble

Could VS. Should and the Price Of Your Dreams

(pages 11 and 12) EXERCISE: What is the worst thing that could happen if you become a writer (and how likely is that to happen)?

What is the worst thing that could happen if you DON’T become a writer (and how likely is that to happen)?

dreaming dogOh! A variation on my favorite game! I’m serious, it really is my favorite game. Many people consider the second question to be ‘borrowing trouble’ but it’s something I’ve done for a lot of years.

Imagine the worst possible thing that could happen to me. Really pull out the stops and try to envision the worst thing ever that very well could happen in regards to a situation. Then ask myself this: Can I handle it? Can I handle that very possibly the worst thing ever?

If the answer is yes, then I’m golden. Because I know I can deal.

If the answer is no, it’s time to whip out ye ol’ pen and paper and start brainstorming and dreaming. If the worst possible thing that could happen does, what can I do to minimize damage, pull the situation around, make it work in my favor?

Once I have a master plan in the event the worst thing ever happens, then I slip into the yes answer and the yes mode of being in a position where I can handle it. I’m back to being golden again.

That’s the general answer. Now, the specific answer.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if I become a writer? I’m ravaged by reviewers and all the readers ever in the world hate me, hate my books, hate my dog, hate my life, hate how I look. How likely is it to happen?

Well, it’s unlikely that all reviewers and readers everywhere will have that degree of hate, so, if I can handle the smaller degrees of it, I should be okay.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if I don’t become a writer? Then I never finish a book. I never finish a book and put it out there and I move on to other things that I derive equal happiness and joy from. And that’s a likely thing that could happen.

So the key distinction is do I want that to happen? The answer is no. I write because I have stories I want to share. I can’t say the money is good because, let’s be real, it’s not. So there better be something else in there that I can latch onto.

Sharing gives me pleasure. Sharing gives me happiness. Sharing gives me joy. The worst thing that could happen if I don’t become a writer? I have less to share with the world.

That saddens me, which in turn, gives me thrust to pursue it. What do I have to lose? Not a thing.

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