Desperation was starting to kick in. National Novel Writing Month would start in a matter days, and I still didn’t have an idea for a novel. So I did what I always do when I’m desperate.
From my nest on the couch, I glanced at my husband. He sat comfortably on the floor, playing a video game. Laptop set aside, I laid on the rug next to him and sighed. Over our years together, this has become the signal for “I have a writing problem and need you to help me.” Fortunately, he never disappoints. Within a few minutes, he always lends an ear to my problem.
After explaining my problem and my itch to write something besides the series that’s been like my heartbeat for so many years, he gave me a dare. An odd one. Yes, still fantasy but unlike anything I’d ever written before. While part of me sighed and thought it would never work, the other side just shrugged, adding, “Why not? You don’t have any better ideas. And who knows where this might go?”
Of course, that response seems typical to any great dare. It pushes boundaries and stretches comfort levels (sometimes so far that they seem like they might snap like a dry rotted rubber band). But at the same time, risks are liberating. While boundaries are being stretched to uncomfortable levels, they also reach into untapped territory with unknown potential. Who knows where they might lead?
While that novel idea hasn’t gone much further than its (extremely) rough draft from two years ago, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a worthwhile adventure. I’ve learned from it, had fun with it, and have every intention of returning to that world one day with the new ideas that have slowly been brewing in the background. And that day might be sooner rather than later…
What writing dares have you taken? Do you enjoy taking risks?