Posted by on Nov 15, 2013 in Evergreen, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), On Writing: Craft and Commiseration | 0 comments

If you want to achieve greatness stop asking f...

If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission (Photo credit: billsoPHOTO)

If you’re going to write a novel in a month, heck, if you’re serious about any writing at all, you’re going to quickly realize that the only way to make it happen is to make your writing a priority in your life. If you don’t feel like it is or if you thought it was but you’re still not finding a time to get any words down, it’s time to rethink how you think about writing.

Give yourself permission to write.

Sounds simple, right?

Sometimes it’s the hardest thing of all.

There’s that pile of laundry that needs to be done and someone should probably change the washer fluid in the van ahead of winter and you should really cut out those 30 paper snowflakes for your daughter’s classroom… how can you possibly justify using this time to write when there’s all that and more to do?

And even if you manage to get your butt in the chair to start writing your brain starts up a different list. Your chances of ever getting published are so slim anyway and writing a novel is such a stupid thing to do anyway and it’s probably a waste of time to work on it at all since it to doesn’t make you money and, really, your plot is stupid and your writing is weak so what’s the point of–

Stop. Just stop.

We all do this, you know. Every one of us has been there and worse. We’ve all had that bleak moment when we’ve stopped, fingers hovering over the keyboard, unable to write another word because we can’t figure out what The Point of any of this is and why would anyone waste their time writing when our time on this earth is short enough as it is. The question is: do you shake it off and get those fingers back down on the keys or do you walk away?

Do you want to write? Then you deserve time to write.

Your talents, future prospects, and earning potential have nothing to do with it. You deserve to write if you are awful at it, if you never make a dime with it, if you write for yourself and never to show it to anyone.

The list of other things you have to do also has nothing to do with it. You deserve to write even if you’ve had take-out for dinner three nights in a row because the fridge is empty and the windows are covered over with grime and there’s a 10 inch stack in your inbox.

It’s so easy to play the comparison game, to pit writing against something else in your life and pick a winner (which is almost never writing, it seems) but that’s not the point. Writing is just one of the many things in your life and, if it is important to you, it deserves some of your time.

But you don’t need my permission to write. You need your own.

Can you do that? Can you give yourself permission to write? Can you carve time out of your day for it, make sacrifices for it, commit to it? Can you commit to it the way you commit to whatever else on your list you’ve marked as important?

Because some people can’t. For some, the lure of the dusting or television or Facebook is too great for them to tear themselves away and actually WRITE. For others, the crush of their fears, their misgivings, their insecurities makes them swallow back the words and they remain too afraid to ever just WRITE. And for yet others, there’s that quiet and sad realization that they aren’t willing to find a place for writing in their lives and that perhaps they didn’t love it, didn’t want it, didn’t need it as much as they thought.

If you decide that you can’t give yourself the permission to write and walk away from it, that’s your choice. But, for the rest of us, we need to realize that time does not make itself. If we want time in which to write we will have to make it ourselves and that will only be accomplished when we allow ourselves to place importance on the things we want to do. On writing.

And the beautiful part of this is that, when you stop fighting the urge to write, when you ignore the other things on your list and the other voices in your head, when you just give yourself permission to write you’ll discover there’s already place for it in your life. They’ll be spare moments that total hours by weeks end, stolen words that add up to stolen paragraphs, and you’ll find the writing getting easier as you go, take less time for the same number of words.

Will you miss what you cut out to make time for the words? Maybe but maybe not.

But you’ll have written. You’ll have finished. Think of the satisfaction that will bring.

All because you just finally gave yourself permission.