Friday, June 17, 2011

Risky Writing

"If 20 percent of the people aren't against you, then you're not going anyplace interesting, whether you're name is Martin Luther King Jr. or whether you're a dorky management guru [named Tom Peters]."
~ Dorky Management Guru Tom Peters

Creative expression is about risk-taking. It's about boarding the Starship Enterprise, taking off for parts unknown and going where no one has dared to go before.

When you do that, chances are that not everyone is going to like what you've written. Chances are someone is going to hate what you've written.

It's all right to offend people, to push people's buttons, to take them up to that ledge on which we, as artists, live...and then to give them a gentle nudge.

Art is about pushing boundaries. It's about forcing people (including the artist) out of their comfort zone and inciting them to reexamine their beliefs and rediscover who they think they are. Sometimes, it's about getting people mad at you.

"You've got to go out on a limb," American humorist Will Rogers is reputed to have said, "because that's where the fruit is."

• Where are you going out on a limb and taking risks with your writing? With your life?

• Where are you clinging to the tree trunk and playing it safe?

• Where are you willing to get people riled up? Where are you holding yourself back for fear of being judged or attacked?

Commit today to taking more risks, to going out on a limb. Commit today to letting yourself be judged...and letting it be okay.

Photo Credits: Tom Peters by Allison Shirreffs; Will Rogers from


Liz said...

Excellent thoughts, Mark. I have had some funny experiences in critique groups. There are the people who say "I love this", there are the people who say "here's how you can make it even better", and then sometimes there is a person who starts their critique, "I'm really worried about this. It will never do!" When I get that last comment, I know I'm on to something!

Mark David Gerson said...

LOL. Love that!

River Jordan said...

I seem to be getting a lot of "here's how you can make this better" or "i don't understand this". Well, I think to myself, way to crush my creativity.

Mark David Gerson said...

@RIver Jordan - It's always important for you to take charge of your creative process, which means refusing to let your creativity be crushed by any outside comments. (Easier said than done...I know.) If you haven't already, I'd suggest you check out the blog posts here on Giving/Receiving Healthy Feedback, from a week or so ago.