This is the WASTED BLOG. For my main author website, click this link.

Awards: WASTED won the Read it or Else category in the Coventry Award and was runner-up in the North East Book Award. It is longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Manchester, Grampian, Angus, and RED Awards.

Sunday, 2 May 2010


Taking risks is essential. If we didn't take risks we'd never achieve our potential. After all, applying for a good job or for promotion are both risky: you might fail. Going on stage or singing a solo would be risky: you might mess up. Travelling is risky - but if you don't do it you won't see new things, learn more. Even going on a course, or to an event where you might meet new people, is risky: you might feel embarrassed or left out, or not have anyone to talk to. But taking all those risks would be a good thing because you give yourself more chance of success.

Humans wouldn't have left our caves if we hadn't taken risks. We'd never have crossed oceans, built planes, discovered new technology, if we hadn't taken the risk of failure first.

Even if we want to avoid risk, we can't. Think you'll just stay at home? Well, that's risky, too!

In one year in the UK:
  • nearly 4000 people died after an accident at home;
  • 650,000 ended up in hospital after colliding with a person or object in the home;
  • 439,000 ended up in hospital after simply walking through their home or garden;
  • 96000 ended up in hospital after being injured while sleeping, relaxing, sitting down.
In one year in the USA, on average:
  • 1 in 400 Americans will have an accident while lying in bed, usually from the headboard collapsing;
  • 130 will die falling out of bed;
  • 1 in 6500 will be injured by a toilet...
So, we can't avoid risk and luckily we mostly don't go round worrying about it. Imagine if we did - we'd soon be nervous wrecks.

At the same time, we have to make decisions about some risks, and we'll all make different decisions based on many aspects of our personalities and circumstances. Some people enjoy more risk than others. And different sorts of risk. Because there are different sorts: there's the physical, thrill-seeking risk of things such as sky-diving (fools!) or the "experience-seeking" risk that makes us like meeting new people, having new experiences. And other sorts, too.

What sort of a risk-raker are you? I wrote about this in my book on the teenage brain - Blame My Brain -  and there's a great quiz in that, so you can assess your risk-taking. I'd love to re-print it here, but I can't because I'd need permission from the scientist who allowed me to use it in the book. I'm not very good at telling people to buy my books but Blame My Brain is a really popular one for teenagers and their parents, so I think I can honestly recommend it. (It's actually written for teenagers, but adults keep adopting it and quoting from it - thieves.) It's written to be enjoyed, and is very reassuring for teenagers (and parents) who are stressed or worried, or just interested in what's going on in their brains.

In Wasted, Jack is a big risk-taker, because he throws himself on the mercy of the toss of a coin. What he does when he goes out at night and lets the coin lead him is hugely risky. But that's why he does it: he needs it, emotionally, psychologically.

Me? I'd rather risk the headboard falling on me while I'm "safe" in bed...

Mind you, one huge risk I do take, even though I'm not a big risk-taker, is the risk of writing a book. Have you any idea how risky that is?? After all, people could hate it and tell me so, and then I'd feel awful and ashamed and want to curl up in my bed, EVEN if the headboard might fall on me. Seriously, writing a book is very risky, very exposing, very terrifying.

Quite like sky-diving, really. Which I would NEVER do.

WASTED BLOG TOUR - WHERE AM I TODAY? Nowhere! I'm having a rest. But tomorrow, I am over at How Publishing Really Works, invited by my lovely friend Jane Smith. As for where I'll be physically: presenting prizes and speaking in the morning and hopping on a train to London in the afternoon, to prepare to take possession of our new London flat on Tuesday, after much delay and enormous stress. Do watch out for me on twitter if you want to know how that goes... I am @nicolamorgan on Twitter and I'd love to see you there and follow you back.


catdownunder said...

Right - thankyou for sorting out what might be tomorrow's blog post...depends on all those risks I take between now and then and whether I change my mind and...
oh, leave Spike with me if you are going to London. (We promise not to fight!)

Catherine Hughes said...

1 in 6500 will be injured by a toilet...

He he he he!

I do a lot of the things you mention - like standing up and singing in front of loads of people, and, of course, writing books! But I don't tend to think of them as risks.

More like as fun!!