Play it Safe? Or Take a Risk?

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I have a dilemma. There’s a new story knocking around in my brain. It’s been loud and boisterous all week, itching to break free from the confines of my mind. I like this story…a lot. I want to write this story…a lot. But, there’s a problem – it may not attract much of an audience. It’s highly controversial in nature and will likely make readers uncomfortable. It’s suitable for strictly mature audiences, leaving my young teen readers out in the cold.

Writing this story would be risky, sharing it even riskier.

Then there’s another story, one I had already fully outlined months ago. It’s the story I had originally planned to write next, the book I intended to publish, the book that would sell lots of copies and hit Amazon’s bestseller list (ok, so maybe that scenario’s a bit far fetched, but a girl can dream, can’t she?). Sure, this story also carries an element of controversy, but the characters are more likable and the premise is much less cringe worthy. It’s a story that could offer a broader appeal, which is important to note since my current readership consists predominantly of teens and young adults.

So, that brings me to the question: Which story do I write? The answer probably seems obvious – go with the more marketable story…the safer bet. Makes perfect sense, right? I mean, why shake things up now when I’m still trying to gain exposure, build a fan base, and make a legitimate go of it as a novelist?

On the other hand, the less marketable story is the one on my heart. It taunts me, challenges me – it dares to be written. Thinking about it gets my blood pumping, my gears churning, and my excitement building, which further fuels my motivation to write it. Deep down, I know this story will be stuck in my head until it becomes unstuck.

With that in mind, I guess I just answered my own question: Take a risk and write the story I’m more passionate about. Right?

But. But. But…

I don’t want to alienate my current readers, the people who have taken the time to read and support my first novel, Empty Me Out. They’ve meant so much to me, and their encouragement throughout the writing process is what’s kept me going all these months. The last thing I want is for them to feel let down or slighted.

But then I am reminded of something T.S. Eliot once said: “You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go.” He made a good point, didn’t he?

But then on the other hand, there’s the Filipino Proverb which states; “Caution minimizes loss.” Again, some sound advice.

Both offer their own brand of inspiration, their own significance. But which is the right wisdom to follow in this situation?

Honesty, I have no freaking idea.

Can you see my dilemma?

So now, as I approach the end of this blog post, I find that I am no closer to a solution than I was in the beginning. What would you do? Would play it safe? Or would you take a risk? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!

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S A Healey, a happily married mother of two, is and will forever remain, a sucker for romance. You can currently read her first novel, Empty Me Out, for free on Wattpad. http://www.wattpad.com/story/3361337-empty-me-out

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30 thoughts on “Play it Safe? Or Take a Risk?

  1. Take the risk! It may not be for all the readers you already touched but it could include new readers, building your audience. You can always write another safe story with an intriguing plot to keep your current readers. It sounds like you’re excited to get your risky story out there and I’d be interested to read it. You’ve collected a new fan. 🙂

  2. Seems there is a part of you that has not been represented in your writing yet – maybe exploring it would make you a more rounder writer? You’re clearly passionate about the idea. Could aspects of it be incorporated into your planned next novel, making it more edgy, or does it really have to be a purely seperate work?

    • That’s a really good question! They are two completely different story lines, but I suppose I COULD merge the two ideas together with some creative tweaking. You’ve really given me something to think about! Thanks so much for the comment!

  3. I totally understand your dilemma but it boils down to one thing. What YOU, the author, wants to write. Yes you have to think about your audiences but there are audiences for pretty much everything, including the one you’re not so sure about. So I think, if this is the one that just won’t go away, that is always there and is telling you to write it, write it! You have to listen to your author self, the person inside that already knows the story and the characters better than you. Sometimes you just have to take the risk.

  4. I think you should go with the more controversial story. I feel like you’re passionate about the subject, and that will show in the writing. I’m already excited for this new book (see it works)!

    It might not be everyone’s taste, but I think most of your fans will at least give it shot. It could introduce them to new genres to enjoy (like me and romance novels). And honestly there are audiences for everything…so you’ll probably get more fans.

    Additional, trying new things will make you a better writer. It is always good to challenge yourself.

    And if you’re really concerned, you could do a pen name or write both?

    Viv

    • Thanks so much, Viv! I’ve been toying with the idea of maybe writing both stories simultaneously, but I don’t know if I have the stamina for that…lol. But I see other writers doing it all the time (hint hint), so maybe it’s worth a try 🙂

      I really appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and leave a comment!

  5. As someone who always plays it safe, I say go for the risky. I like the idea of using a pen name if that helps but I would just go for it. You have the outline for the other book so you can get back to that one after.

  6. I say go for the risk. You only live once and you seem really eager to write it. The other one will be there after. I look forward to reading it. Good luck!!

      • Your continued writing is more than enough thanks and appreciation, Milady.
        When I read your post, I didn’t notice the date, which to me is actually irrelevant, but after seeing it, I have a question, if I may ask. How did it go with that particular book decision?
        I am watching a young writer start to grow into herself and I am not, but I try to encourage and support her as much as I can from the shadows and sidelines. She has the biggest heart and so compassionate and I try to steer her towards successful writers that I enjoy, not to copy their styles but to let her know how unique some of you are. I love reading and sharing with others, even if WP thinks it’s a bad idea for the reblog button to be on our Readers. It may make me slower, but won’t stop me from reblogging, I’m too old and stubborn for that. ❤ (๑̀ ͜ʖ๑́) ❤
        ᕙ(💓▿💓)ᕗ

      • I am just seeing this now. Thank you, as always, for your insightful feedback. To answer your question, I did end up writing the story…it has found a home on VoElla.com. I’ve written it as a sensual short story series…nine chapters posted so far. If you’re interested in taking a peek, visit VoElla.com and search “Log On, Get Off” (that’s the name of the story).

        I’m glad I took the risk. 🙂

        Best of luck to your writer friend. Your support, no doubt, has been invaluable. 🙂

      • Haha. A lucky guess? 😉 Hey, thanks so much for taking the time to read. I so appreciate it, and I’m really glad you’re enjoying the story so far. 🙂

  7. I’m glad I waited until the Grands were down for their naps to start reading. Once I started, I couldn’t leave, kept going forward after 2 until I didn’t even count anymore. Suddenly I was at the OMG moment………… You kept me hooked up the end and now I’m pounding myself for being so impatient, double edged sword of being mute, but a very fast reader and no control when I dive in. Well done, indeed, Milady, welllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll done. You have a new fan. I may need more Bibs 👀 ♥ * ͜ * ♥ 👀
    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) 👀 ♥ * ͜ * ♥ 👀
    (͡• 🔥 ͜ʖ 🔥 ͡•)
    Taking a risk was definitely the RIGHT decision.
    George

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