Being audacious: greatness, restraining orders and other risks – Bethany Turner

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By Bethany Turner

1. showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.
synonyms: bold, daring, fearless, intrepid, brave, courageous, valiant, heroic, plucky

Have you ever emailed Oprah and told her she should read your book? How about telling Entertainment Weekly that they’re going to be talking about you eventually, so they may as well go ahead and get to know you now? Have you ever done that? Have you ever contacted an actress to introduce yourself, because you’re certain that you’re going to work with her someday, when one of your novels gets adapted for the screen?

No? Hmm. I guess that’s just me.

Look, I’m a freak. Let’s just go ahead and state that fact and get it out of the way right now. I know it. You should know it, too. For whatever reason, for better or worse, I’ve always been a bit audacious. But don’t get me wrong … I’m not fearless. I am afraid of not being liked, and terrified of failure – but the audaciousness keeps me from dwelling on any of that until it’s too late. Until after I’ve hit the send button, or walked over to someone, or dropped a letter in the mail. And then reality hits, I assure you. What have I done? That is a thought that runs through my brain all too often. Disturbingly enough, another thought that runs through my brain with frightening regularity is, I wonder if they’ll get a restraining order against me?

These are thoughts that normal people have before they act. But, again … I’m an audacious freak.

The thing is, I’m overwhelmingly grateful that the Lord saw fit to shape me into the person I am. Now, don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be a little less audacious at times. And it certainly doesn’t mean I should follow through on that impulse to track down Colin Firth’s home address. (It wouldn’t do me much good anyway, if I had to always keep a distance of 100 yards.) But it does mean that I dare to be different.

When I was young, I didn’t want to be different. I think that’s true of most of us as children. We just want to blend in. It’s easier that way. Well, the truth is, I think blending in as an adult would be easier, too. But that’s no longer what I want. It’s not what I want as a person, and it’s certainly not what I want as an author.

Think back to your favorite books you’ve ever read. The ones that have a special spot on your shelf. The ones you pull out every so often and reread, when you’re wanting to feel exactly the emotions or think exactly the thoughts that you know those books will make you feel or think. What is it about those books?

We all have different preferences as to what we like to read. We like our stories told from different perspectives, across different genres, in different types of voices. So those favorite books? The ones which are really more like old friends? They’re going to be different for all of us. But I can almost guarantee that they all have something in common.

They’re audacious.

Maybe the audaciousness is in the story that’s told, or maybe in how it was told. Maybe it comes through a plucky heroine, or a valiant hero. Maybe the author dared to dream a new dream, or maybe the publisher was bold enough to take a chance. All I know for sure is our favorite books aren’t the ones which lack courage and blend into the crowd.

You may not be audacious in the same ways I am, and for that, Oprah thanks you. But we must all take surprisingly bold risks – in our writing, in our marketing, in our publishing journey, in who we dare to be. That can be scary, but the good thing is that without being clones of each other, we can all be in it together. Reach out to other authors who are daring to be different, but are also fighting off thoughts of What have I done?

I, for one, would love to hear from you. Besides, who knows … I just might need you to bail me out of jail one day.

Bethany Turner lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight. Her Christian romantic comedy, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, was released on October 4th.

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