Writing an eBook is Risk-taking Behaviour ? Choose to do it!

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The choice to author a book isn't one that just suddenly comes to you. It's something that gradually happens. And it usually happens many times before you begin to take it seriously.

Are you the cautious person who takes few risks or are you a risk-taker? Are you the person who weighs the pros and cons over and over again refusing to address the obstacles to your goals and thus does nothing?

Are you the risk-taker who plunges ahead without thinking much about it and gets discouraged because of the obstacles that need to be overcome and the fact that your dream seems further and further away? Or worse still you fail and give up?

Somewhere between those two extremes lies the potential eBook author. The lesson may very well be that you must be realistic about your ability to embark on the eBook authoring journey and reach your destination.

Let's take a brief look at these two extremes ? caution and risk-taking. One leads to change. The other is stagnation.


This article was written borrowing and adapting from material in Barbara Sher's book, I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was, How to discover what you really want and how to get it. In her book, Ms. Sher has a quiz to determine if you are a cautious person which may be holding you back from achieving your goals. I have adapted her quiz to suit would-be eBook authors.

Answer these questions in relation to authoring an eBook.

Are you a person always in rehearsal? Have you been studying, taking courses, developing expertise, learning skills, and gaining wisdom but haven't put it to its best use in an eBook?

Yes No

Are you constantly planning, preparing, talking about it, asking for advice, hesitating, ? without doing anything about actually writing the eBook?

Yes No

Do you hang on to dreams and goals too long without taking action in even a small way to move you toward your goal? In other words do you refuse to make short-term goals that will lead you to your dream?

Yes No

Do you use the excuse that you don't have the time to work toward your goal of authoring an eBook?

Yes No

Do you find time to do some things that you don't really need to be doing like watching too much television, doing things you don't want to do, or "puttering" with something that could buy you time to write?

Yes No

Do you look at others pursuing their dreams and envy them the journey?

Yes No

Is your dream of authoring an eBook not important enough to you to begin the journey because it would be too selfish and other people and things deserve your time and energy? Do you habitually put other people and things ahead of your own needs and wants?

Yes No

Do you crave change and adventure in your life by authoring an eBook but it hasn't gotten past the 'daydreaming' stage?

Yes No

Reflect and Write

Now go back to these questions and take the time to write a letter to yourself. Take the time in this letter to reflect on your "why" of your response. Be honest with yourself. You've got nothing to lose.

While you are reflecting on your "why", include some positive ideas about how you could get started at the eBook authoring process. Consider those strengths you already bring to the process. Consider who or what could help you reach your goal.

As Sher states, "If you have said Yes to most or all of these questions then you're a Sure Thing person and you've got some thinking to do."

"Safety is riskier than you realize."

Caution shouldn't be thrown to the wind but without risks life isn't an adventure.

"Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed." ? Michael Pritchard

Time becomes so important in our lives once we are old enough to realize that we may not have made the best use of it in the past. The truly "lucky" person is someone who realizes that time is indeed running out and if authoring an eBook is in his/her plans then let's get started.

Shoot for something And you will never achieve the impossible. But shoot for the impossible And you're bound to achieve something.


"Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?

- Ben Franklin

Is taking risks too risky for you? There are risks associated with eBook authoring. Specific risks in the eBook authoring process will be addressed in a future article but for this article we will focus on the general consideration of your attitude toward risk-taking.

Without taking calculated risks, your dream of authoring an eBook won't be realized. Without this risk factor between you and your dream, you would already be living your dream. It's what holds most people back. You must realize that ACTIONS are what make things happen not THINKING about actions. Any new behaviour comes through taking a chance and realizing you might not succeed ? the first time.

Realize also that there is always a solution to every obstacle you might encounter. The answers to all your questions are already out there. You may just have to find them.

From Do It! Let's Get Off Our Buts by John-Roger and Peter McWilliams, "Be daring, be different, be impractical," Sir Cecil Beaton advised, "be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary."

It takes courage to pursue one's dreams. Banish fear by taking action. Failure is part of the learning process that goes hand-in-hand with risk-taking.

On a scale from one to ten, with one being cautious, and 10 being a risk-taker, assess yourself numerically where you presently stand in terms of authoring an eBook.

I rate myself a ___.


Reflection Time

What do you need to do about it, if anything? What actions are you going to take? What can you do within the next 24 hours to take that first concrete step toward your goal? What is it about your past and present behaviour regarding writing a book that makes you feel good about yourself? What bothers you? Who could help make a difference in your eBook authoring life if you chose to confide in them? Have you ever told anyone you wanted to write a book? Why? Why not? What good do you think it would do to begin telling others about your dream? What have you done in your past that you thought you would never be able to do? Why is authoring an eBook any different from that situation? What obstacles do you see to authoring an eBook? For each obstacle consider at least 3 ways you could overcome that obstacle. How will you feel when that eBook is published and the first copy is sold? What would authoring an eBook do to your self-esteem? Your life? Your confidence? Your career? Your income? Your future?

A poem for reflection!

Risk-Taking is Free

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.

To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.

To reach out for another is to risk involvement.

To expose feeling is to risk exposing your true self.

To place your ideas, your dreams, before the crowd is to risk their opinion.

To love is to risk not being loved in return.

To live is to risk dying.

To hope is risk despair.

To try is to risk failure.

But the risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing.

He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.

Chained by his certitudes, he is slave, he has forfeited freedom.


? 2005 Paul Jackson

Paul Jackson is a retired educator with wide-ranging experience in self-help workshops for educators. His new-found passion of eBook authoring allows him to apply his reflective philosophy to the process of authoring an eBook. At

Paul uses his philosophy of "Helping people help themselves" to assist individuals in reaching his/her dream of authoring an eBook.

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