As I thought about what to write for this month's theme on taking chances, my mind went so many places. Because living life to the fullest is all about taking chances.
How do we, as writers, take chances?
When I first started in this crazy business, I wrote what I read and what I thought was hot in the market - prairie romances. Well, they were hot at the time. That's what all of the publishers wanted, what flew off the shelves. So, that's where I concentrated my efforts. I got one novella published, and that was it.
It was time to take a chance, to branch out. Sure, the Thoenes could write WWII, but could I? Would I have a chance in the world at getting published? As the time approached for the ACFW conference, I put together a proposal for another prairie romance series. Almost as an afterthought, I also crafted a one sheet for a WWII series. Completely different than anything I had ever tried.
That's scary enough, just having it in my bag, carrying it around. What was I going to do with it?
Well, at one of the spotlight sessions, the editor mentioned they were interested in WWII. With fear and trembling, I approached an editor after a panel discussion with my one sheet. I was petrified. But she loved the concept and asked for the full manuscript. Though she didn't end up buying it, a different publisher did. If I hadn't taken the chance with a new genre, and if I hadn't taken the chance to talk to an editor, those books would never have been written and sold.
As writers, we have to step out of our comfort zones and take a chance. We tend to sit behind our computers, with the anonymity of the screen protecting us, and keep at what's safe. Easy. Comfortable. But how will your career move forward if you don't? In order to get published, you have to put yourself out there. Take a chance. Pray about it. Then leap off that cliff.
You never know where it will lead.
When have you taken a chance that lead to something good?
That Leap of Faith
Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels and prairie romance novellas. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their two daughters. Her son is a U.S. Marine. She enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her blog, The Story behind the Story, at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), and LinkedIn. She is also a regular contributor to the Pencildancer blog and the Midwest Almanac blog.