Risk-Taking as a Writer

Badge for Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The awesome co-hosts for the April 7 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton! This month, I will be talking about my greatest weakness as I look taking risks for the optional April 7 IWSG question:

Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

Oh, how I wish I was a risk-taking writer!

I admire people who try different things (especially if they work). I especially enjoy authors who tackle risky topics and can do it in a way that doesn’t come off as preachy, canned, or stereotypical.

I read a book called My Absolute Darling.

It made me utterly uncomfortable. But I was enamored with the author’s skill. Gabriel Tallent took topics such as abuse, and incest, and took all of the preconceived drivel one could write about it, and wrote the hard things that I’m sure many people in those situations deal with, such as a sense of loyalty and affection toward their abuser.

Who has the right to tell the story?

Some people took issue with the fact that a “white male” would write about these topics and criticized him for it. I found his writing to be very genuine, though. I also don’t believe you need to be the gender or have the experience of your character to write their story effectively. Consider S.E. Hinton.

Those are the kinds of risk-taking authors I like.

I don’t think one should try to shock for the sake of the reaction. Instead, taking a risk for the sake of ferreting out the absolute truth, is what I wish I had the guts to do. Instead, I tend to stick to safe topics that don’t offend.

Perhaps that’s why so many of the great writers are loners. They don’t need to worry about hurting people they care about with their “scandalous” words.

What Are YOUR Thoughts?

Please share how your writing world is doing in the comments below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below, and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker, and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan, with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, despite their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.


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One comment on “Risk-Taking as a Writer

There’s always a pen name. You could write the things you want without offending anybody if you don’t tell your nearest about that pen name. At least until you’re ready to let them know about it.

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