I’m not saying they’re a risk to avoid taking, but pursuing dreams is a risk. You have to understand that before you decide to go all in on whatever your particular dream is.
Mine is to tell incredible stories with words and pictures. Hopefully make a living from it.
Going after that dream is a risk. I’ve put years into honing my art and writing skills, and plan to continue doing so for as long as I’m using up oxygen. Longer, if I can find a sketchpad in heaven. If I don’t succeed in my chosen field, all I’ll get out of that effort is the experience. Experiences are great, but they don’t pay the bills. And it’s a competitive field.
I didn’t get into my university’s illustration program this time around. I’ll apply again in August, after a summer of (practically) nonstop drawing. If I don’t get in then, I’ll find a different school or program to suit my needs.
Like I said, it’s a risk.
Despite that risk, I believe that going after my dream is worth it.
Stories don’t end wars. They don’t get clean drinking water to the people who need it, or find new ways of manipulating human biology to help the sick.
As a kid I thought I needed to do something like that to make a difference. But I’m not physically or mentally healthy enough to be a cop or a soldier, and being good at math doesn’t mean having the passion necessary to make a real difference as a scientist or engineer. I didn’t know what I’d do.
Then stories saved my life.
Stories change minds. They give budding young thinkers ideas on ways they could improve the world. They help people see from the eyes of others, and make them more compassionate. They point out all the ways we’re going about being human wrong, and show us ways to do better.
They remind an exhausted, depressed teenager that she isn’t alone.
Yes, trying to tell stories is a risk. It takes time, and money, and a lot of emotional investment. It’s similar for any other dream. I’m still doing it–carefully, but unrelentingly.
I want to help people smile. I want to help them see ways they can change the world in their own lives. I want to be part of the shenanigans next time Marvel decides to destroy the multiverse. I want my fiction to help people the way fiction has helped me when I didn’t think I was worth anything.
Whatever your dream is, I hope you know the risks, and I hope you find ways to fulfill that dream despite them.