Saturday, May 23, 2020

I Double-Dog Dare You to Write

by Cathy Fyock @CathyFyock

Were you ever “double dog-dared?”

Plantation Swim Club in Louisville, KY has a 32 foot diving board that has been legendary for more than 50 years. As kids we would talk about the high-dive, and we would “double dog dare” our friends to commit to making that dive. As a kid, I had promised myself that if I ever got the chance to visit that pool, I WOULD jump off that diving board, even though I’ve always been afraid of heights. After all, I had been “double-dog-dared.”

So when at age 12 I was invited to go to the pool with girlfriends, I knew that I WOULD make the jump!

I can recall climbing first to the 16 foot board on the way up, and making that jump, but only after about 15 minutes waiting to gather my nerve. You had to yell, “Hold up 32” when you were ready to jump so that the diver up top didn’t land on top of you, which made it even harder. But I made the jump, then climbed back up the ladder, beyond the 16 foot platform, to stand atop of the 32 foot tower.

I recall feeling terrified; and I also recall knowing that I would make the jump. 

I stood there for at least 30 minutes. I would almost gather my courage, and at that moment I’d hear a call “Hold up 32” from the 16 foot platform. So I waited. Finally, I yelled, “Hold up 16” and made my jump. Wow. I was so excited, so relieved, so delighted that I had made that jump. All these years later I recall my exhilaration! 

And now, all these years later, I think about that jump as I work with first time authors who are terrified at taking the leap of faith and letting go of their stories. 

Why are they terrified? In a word: fear. 

What do we fear as authors? We fear being laughed at, being rejected for our beliefs and values, of being criticized. We also fear being exposed, at being called an imposter.

What is it that authors can do to step beyond their fear and not just write but publish?

I think my role as a book coach is to “double dog dare you” into writing and publishing. I believe that we need to sometimes do really scary things in order to grow and learn. And I believe that writing is the path that leads to thought leadership.

So what about you? Are you thinking about writing but not quite ready to make it happen? Are you hesitating to pick up your pen and make the plunge?

I double dog dare you.


Cathy Fyock is The Business Book Strategist, and works with professionals and thought leaders who want to write a book as a business development strategy. Since starting her business as a book coach in 2014, she has helped more than 160 professionals become published authors. Her most recent book is The Speaker Author: Sell More Books and Book More Speeches. She can be reached at or 502-445-6539.


  1. I can remember the 'high dive' days. I don't quite remember how high our local pool's high dive was, but I'm terrified of heights and yet I took it as a personal challenge to climb that ladder and dive. At least I did until my senior year at high school. The last time I dived off that board I didn't get my stance right and I twisted my neck going in. That resulted in a nasty headache the rest of that day. I thought to myself, 'you don't enjoy going off that board, and life is too short to force yourself into doing something you don't enjoy to prove something but we don't even know what or to whom.' Writing I do enjoy, but I want my writing to be 'perfect'. And I'm always concerned about, Is it perfect yet? LOL Wink wink, that's what I'm working for. Perfect.

    1. Write first, then edit! Don't do them at the same time. It's exhausting.

  2. I don't think it ever reached the level of a "double-dog dare," but my start in fiction came about when, at my first writing conference (where I was actually pitching a non-fiction book about the death of my wife) a couple of established writers found out about my background in baseball and suggested I try writing a novel about a doctor who's a former baseball player. I took up the challenge, and here I am. Cathy, thanks for sharing--you never know what a double-dog dare will bring forth.