The concept of What If can be a curious thing.
What if I take a chance on becoming a successful romance author? What if I succeed? What if I go on to publish one hundred novels and make millions of people smile? What if I fail and zero books sell? What if I hit 50 and had never tried?
What If is powerful, too. The unknown is always a little scary. It takes guts to try something new, on your own. I’ve always worked in corporations or non-profit organizations as a full-time writer and agent of change … and everything I produced, every dollar I ever raised, every story I ever told was for the benefit of The Man and for giving voice to the voiceless.
The bravest I’ve ever been, the boldest step I’ve ever taken, the most maverick decisions I’ve ever made are the hard ones … the ones that, in the end, have provided spectacular results. The scary, unknown ones. What if I say yes to this sexy, fun, romantic man who wants me to be his wife? What if we have a baby? What if parenting is hard … it’s worth it, right? What if I send in this query letter? What if they publish it?
One of my favorite poems has always been Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
It’s always spoken to me, tempting me with a myriad of possibilities. I always choose Door Number Three; I always take the road less traveled; and I always ask What If.
Just try it. What if you discover something about yourself that you never knew was there?