Are You Waiting for Permission to Write?

In the teleclass I taught last week: “Called to Write: Align Your Daily Actions with Your Soul’s Deeper Purpose“, something that resonated for my lovely group of attendees was the idea of no longer waiting for permission to write

(If you missed the live class, you can still sign up to get the recording by clicking here.)

I waited for years to start writing fiction.

Inside, I felt like I had to get some kind of stamp of approval before I was “allowed” to write. That I needed an expert or agent or mentor or master writer to see my potential and encourage me to pursue writing. That otherwise I was chasing a fool’s dream or breaking the rules somehow. 

Change Your Mindset

I think many writers or want-to-be-writers do this. It’s tied to perfectionism. A belief that we have to be “good enough” before we start. That there’s a qualification level we have to reach before we even begin.

But how can we learn how to do anything, until we actually start doing it?

One of my mentors, Hal Croasmun of ScreenwritingU.com, talks about how he makes a point, every two years, to learn a new skill, so that he always remembers what it’s like to be a beginner. This helps him develop the programs he runs for new writers because he can put himself in our shoes. I’m willing to bet he doesn’t wait for permission to learn karate or poker or horseback riding. I’m betting he picks something that interests him, and goes for it.

Why can’t we do the same with writing?

Perfectionism, again. This has to do, in part, with the black and white nature of writing in this digital age. Back when I wrote drafts on paper, I didn’t hesitate to scratch things out. I knew I was writing a first draft. (I can even recall telling my father that I didn’t think I could ever write without real paper! How times have changed…) There’s something about seeing our words looking so final that makes them seem like they should be final draft, publication quality. Which is entirely unfair to our early stream-of-consciousness drafts.

Underneath the perfectionism is also fear, the lurking originator of perfectionism and other writerly issues, which tells us to play it safe and protect ourselves from potential failure, ridicule, and rejection. It’s a powerful force that works against us and our writing.

But again, how can we learn, grow, and develop ourselves as writers without actually doing the work?

We cannot.

We have to change our mindsets from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

And we have to stop waiting for permission — for some kind of pre-approval that will guarantee our success — otherwise, we are really just kidding ourselves.

Don’t Wait for Permission

Here’s the thing.

You do not have to wait for ANYONE to validate you or tell you that you are good enough or deserving enough or talented enough to write.

No one has to “see” or recognize your writing as “good enough” before you can write. There’s no outside evaluation or assessment of “potential” needed or required.

YOU ARE A WRITER.

You are a writer because you are CALLED TO WRITE.

You know you are called to write because you have been persistently nudged, cajoled, and pestered by your deeper, higher, wiser self to write. 

That means, by definition, you have been invited by the Universe to write.

And therefore, you have all the permission you need, right now.

diamonds

Coaching CircleReady to fulfill your calling as a writer? Join the January 4th session of the Called to Write Coaching Circle and start getting your words out in the world where they belong. Find out more and register here: http://JustDoTheWriting.com. Save $30 on your first session with coupon code NEWYEARWRITE and lock in our 2015 rates as long as you keep your membership active.

 

How to claim–or reclaim–your identity as a writer

If you’re struggling to claim your creative identity as a writer — or to reclaim it — there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Write regularly. Consistent daily writing will help you find your way back to your writing identity. Binge-bust writing patterns don’t create a sustainable sense of identity. Writing on a regular basis does.
  2. Introduce yourself as a writer. Decide that you are a writer and say so when you talk to people. If you’re on social media, put “writer” on your account profiles.
  3. Validate yourself as a writer. Stop looking for permission outside yourself to known or validated as a writer. Reward yourself for overcoming the resistance to writing EVERY DAY.
  4. Be clear about what it means to be a writer. Try on the idea that writers write. And then make sure you’re doing that. Try letting go of the idea that you have to be paid before it “counts”. Or published. Or on the big screen. Writers write.
  5. Take your dream of writing seriously. Don’t treat it as something to be shoehorned in around the edges. Design your life around your writing — not the other way around. Align all your levels of experience (surroundings, beliefs, values, actions, etc.) with your writing.
  6. Look for positive messages about writing. There are lots and lots and LOTS of people out there ready and willing to tell you how impossible it all is, that you/they will never make it, and it’s too hard. Choose to put yourself around people who know there is always a way in, even if you/they haven’t found it yet.
  7. Surround yourself with other (positive) writers. Your consciousness is affected by the people around you. Put yourself in situations where other people see you as a writer (classes are a great place to start). If you’re on social media, fill your feed with writers. Hang out with writers — but make sure they’re the writers that know that succeeding as a writer is possible.

Thanks for reading!

I always love to hear what you think in the comments.

If you’re in Berkeley, join me this Friday for a workshop at HackerMoms called “Claim Your Identity as a Writer.” This special in-person workshop will be a combination of a “green fire” release ceremony to let go of our old identities and an NLP process to integrate the new writer’s identity we want to hold. http://bit.ly/HM-writer-identity

Warmly,

 Jenna

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