This is what a chance looks like.
(I’m telling you because they’re hard to see.)
It looks like lighting – flash! – it’s there, and then it isn’t.
A chance is a moment like any other moment. Except this one burns a question into your heart: What if?
What if I do this, and it works? What if I don’t, and I regret it?
In an instant, you get that crazy excited feeling in your chest. Sometimes it stays. Sometimes it leaves.
But it happens. It’s easy to miss, so pay close attention.
A chance comes quickly. It’s an opportunity you didn’t ask for, one that showed up anyway. It won’t stay long, so hurry up. Decide. If you don’t reach out and grab it, it will already be gone
You’re afraid to take chances. We all are. Chances always go one of two ways: it works out in your favor, or it doesn’t. You succeed, or you fail. You win, or you lose. You try, or you don’t.
You take it, or you leave it.
I don’t like taking chances. They scare me. In my personal life, I don’t take many.
But as a writer, I have taken countless chances. It’s necessary. Do you know why? Because hitting submit can never hurt you. Pressing publish is very rarely a mistake. True, there are many things that can ruin a writer’s career, whether they’re a long-time veteran or brand new to the game.
But do you know the one choice that has a 100 percent chance of making you fail? Never taking any chances at all.
I took a chance once. Should I start a blog? No one will read it, but, whatever. Eight years and counting.
I took another. Write for a newspaper? Sure, why not. I was on staff for almost three years.
Apply for a professional writing internship, even though I had very little professional writing experience. I worked for that magazine for nearly four years.
Again, and again, and again. Submit there, apply here, sometimes looking, often not.
Oh look, a real writing job. I’m qualified. I’m not looking, but – why not?
Student, blogger, intern, freelancer, staff writer. Chances, opportunities. Tried. Took. Succeeded.
I’ve failed many times, don’t get me wrong. Avoiding failure is inevitable, when you actively grasp at every chance you get to do something new. To shoot for something better.
All the failures have been worth it, though. The successes make the failures … count.
I don’t know you. But I know how scary chances are. They’re not subtle. They’re not polite. And they’re fast. There’s no time to ponder, to second-guess. To ask, what’s the point?
There’s only a moment. Decide. Take it, or don’t. Try, or don’t. Succeed, or don’t.
Look! Over there! A chance! A chance to do something, to change something, to write something, to be something. TO TRY.
Take it. Take it now. Don’t regret missing it.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.