Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Question of the Day #643

At WriteOnCon, Molly O’Neill, an associate editor with Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books, wrote a post on Giving Yourself Permission. This is not her whole list - just some things she suggested writers give themselves permission for that really resonate with me. She wrote, “Give yourself:
  • Permission to collect sparks of inspiration from even the unlikeliest of encounters.
  • Permission to start writing something new—totally, gloriously new—even if the thought terrifies you. Especially if the thought terrifies you.
  • Permission to keep writing, even if it feels like you may never “get there.”
  • Permission to let a character become someone totally different than you originally expected him/her to be.
  • Permission to kill a character. (And to cry a little when you do so.)
  • Permission to hire a babysitter, or to blow off some homework, or to order dinner in, or whatever it takes, to give yourself a little more space in your life for writing.
  • Permission to write a scene or story that might make certain people who love you shocked and surprised.
  • Permission to fail, maybe more than once. (Because you can’t fail unless you’ve tried.)
  • Permission to feel things deeply as a writer—disappointment, grief, doubt, jealousy. But then to balance those negative emotions with more positive ones: ambition, determination, persistence, hope.
  • Permission to be where you are in your path as a writer. Right now. Even if you think you should be farther along.
  • Permission to write in the oddest of places—on the back of kleenex boxes and receipts; at ballet lessons or soccer practice or with a car full of groceries going warm; on napkins in restaurants; in the bathroom of a friend or relative’s house when you’ve gone to visit—in order to capture an idea, or images, or words that flash into your mind, already strung perfectly together.
  • Permission to ignore all the conflicting pieces of advice, and simply to write the story within you that wants to be told.
  • Permission to do what you need to protect yourself as a writer—to turn off the internet, or to stop reading blogs for awhile, or to avoid Twitter—and enable yourself to do that thing which writers must do—TO WRITE.
  • Permission to think of your characters as real people (and to perhaps actually like them better than some real-life people you know).”

What do you need to give yourself permission for?



  1. At my stage in life, not much. I've earned and sacrificed for my time to have fun. Although I have to say, again at this stage, there is a real need to give back and make a difference in another way, perhaps, than before.
    Permission granted?

  2. When I reread my comment, I thought OMG! I'm becoming my father! not a bad thing :)

  3. Letting things go, forgiveness, and permission to do something other than work.


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