Authors Dare Greatly

photo by Sebastian Wendowski want you to write your book. Not the vague generic “you” of the unnamed faces of possible readers of my blog.

I mean you, the specific person reading this right now.

I want you to be a hero.

Have you ever seen a little kid stand up to a bully? Everyone else meekly stands by, angry, but too scared to speak up.

There are bullies who want to frighten you into submission. To prevent you from writing your book. They don’t want to hear what you have to say because they don’t care what you have to say.

Stand up to the bullies. Speak out.

Write your book.

What if you fail? What’s the worst thing that can happen? You won’t die. Your loved ones won’t die.

Trust me, the worst thing that can happen is that your book will writhe in anguished silence on a lonely shelf.

But you won’t die.

Consider the opposite: what if you succeed? What if even one solitary stranger buys your book, trusts your description of it and the cover and the excerpts and all that, and shells out their hard-earned money for your book?

There are few greater glories.

But that’s not the opposite of failing. Whether your book dies on a shelf or gloriously enlivens another human being, there’s something far worse.

What happens if you don’t write your book?

Not “what happens to your book?” because there is no book.

What happens to you?

What happens if you let the bullies out there, or the toughest bully, the one inside your head, intimidate you out of your art?

What happens if you go to your grave with this book unborn?

A miscarriage is a tragic event in part because it’s invisible. We have endured such things, my Best Beloved and I, and it’s not possible to convey the level of hurt to someone who hasn’t experienced it.

If your book is never written, we might never miss the book.

But we’ll see it in your eyes. We’ll hear it in your voice. That dead, flat spot in your soul, where you’d have contentment and peace and a certain amount of joy, if only you’d write that book.

Every time you hear about a new book, every time a friend or distant acquaintance says hey, I wrote a book, every time you look in the mirror, you’ll know:

I have a book dead inside me.

Resurrection. Birth. These are eternal themes in literature for a reason: the acts of creation are Divine gifts that make us human, make us more than animal, only slightly less than gods.

Every single person who has ever written a book has dared greatly, no matter what the proportion of perceived success accrued to them.

Authors dare greatly.

Every author dares greatly.

Dare greatly.


19 thoughts on “Authors Dare Greatly

  1. Joel, my friend, This is such a powerful post. It left me reeling, as you hit it right on the head. Growing up, I never feared bullies, in fact, I would stand up to them and would defend those being bullied. (Read my post on bullies, on my blog) Of course, the writing bully is a total different story. You can only confront him/her on paper, and if you’re not properly trained, they they can run rough shot over you.

    What I get from you is that we should not fear what they spew at us. Go forth, and the heck with them. We should follow that dream that continually haunts us. If these bullies get in your way, run over them with your best weapon, which happens to be your book. Thanks! Blessings.

  2. Pow. Thanks, Johnny.

    When I was a kid (meaning until I was 43 years old) my response to bullies was to curl up in a ball until the kicking stopped. (Literally. Somehow, despite the fact I had a brother who was 6′ tall when he graduated High School, and another younger than me who took all the weight lifting records the year he graduated, I got beat up a lot in school.)

    These days, I make bullies irrelevant. They cannot touch me physically. They cannot touch me emotionally or mentally, if I don’t let them.

    They cease to exist, and I live on.

  3. Synchronicity at work! I just posted a blog that refers to Daring Greatly, too. Great minds think similarly but not identically. I appreciated your take on it!

  4. Wow. That is funny. Midwest air, huh?

    Your post really spins my plate. (Remember the guy on Johnny Carson who’d play “The Comedian’s Gallop” and spin plates on sticks? Yeah. That. Spins my plate.)

  5. I do remember the plate-spinner and the frenetic music that played in the background. I hope it was a good thing to get your plate spinning, but maybe without the frenetic music?

  6. Joel, I’m Very excited to see the new comments on your blog!! So excited, you have no idea. I want to see your work, your thoughts appreciated by everyone–every day, more and more!

    This post of yours today is lovely. It’s very poetic and compelling, draws one in. Wonder if there’s some pain there in something you mentioned, the emotion behind which might be driving you, or drove you today, to some extent–I’m sorry and not sorry: You use yourself beautifully here!! Keep it up, buddy.

  7. Today, I wouldn’t even notice the music with all the sound in my head!

    Record day here at the blog. Record day for newsletter signups. Record day for potential clients calling on the phone.

    As U2 said, running to stand still.

  8. Ah. You mean the Kundalini?? (smiley face emoticon)

    Okay, so everyone speaks in a different language sometimes…

  9. “Many natural processes, including those of complex system learning curves, exhibit a progression from small beginnings that accelerates and approaches a climax over time. When a detailed description is lacking, a sigmoid function is often used”–maybe in a private conversation, you will expound your knowledge on this subject in context, Joel–by way of your preferred language. Would like to hear it.

  10. Dang, I wondered why my belly barks now and then—it’s all those dead books snurfling around in there. Lucky they are all paperbacks. Hey Joel, this is a fine post, motivating and directed. Good stuff.

  11. You have no idea how uncomfortable a dictionary can be until you refuse to write one and it lodges against your spine.

    Always a special delight when you drop by, sir. Especially when you say nice things about it, yessir.

  12. Ahaaaa!! “Oh that was useless.” I’m on the floor. No idea why that was so funny, Joel (maybe because it’s Friday)–thanks, though, I’ll actually watch the video now!

    So the “private conversation” was also public! Dang, you’re a fast one, buddy.

    Speaking of fast, I have about 10 minutes to start and finish my Sunday blog post, my honey’s on his way home.

    I can hear you singing “Life in the Faaaaast Laaaaane”!

  13. Watched it twice. Very good, Joel.

    Ah, the chaos point, eh? Great. great

    “The bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn.” !!

    Thanks for the private talk, my friend.

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