You Have Permission

You can’t write that.

You can’t think that.

You can’t imagine those things.

You don’t have permission to be that person, to think like that, to write like that, to publish that.

You’re a nice girl. What will people think of you?

Stamp 'Permission Granted'That’s my inner critic speaking, but I’ve also heard those words echoed from people close to me over the years. I think it’s only been in the last six months that I have given myself permission to let the raw side of me loose on the page. I’m finally finding my voice.

It’s scary as hell because it turns out my stories are dark and twisty, but it’s also empowering and liberating to let my mind have a free rein.

But I have to keep reminding myself that I have permission to write. Or I would stay safe in the shallows. 

A friend told me the other day that I’ve changed since I became a full time writer. But I think it’s just that the inner me is finally making it to the surface after years of suppression and doing what I was supposed to do.

And how has this change in me come about?

I’ve been writing journals for 20 years but blogging here for nearly 5 years has changed me far more. Because clicking the Publish button has made me think more deeply about what I want to say.

Because these words are going into the world, and people may well read them.

Because I have met writers who have challenged me to go deeper.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time have witnessed the change as I’ve shared the journey with all its ups and downs.

Clicking the Publish button on Amazon or the other distributors has the same effect. It makes us braver over time, because we have to keep bringing our best to the page and we get almost instant feedback from readers.

This is the beauty of self publishing, because we don’t need permission anymore.

If I hadn’t self published Pentecost four years ago, or clicked Publish on this blog, I would still be a miserable IT consultant, talking about writing but not doing it.

If I hadn’t persisted through three novels, I would not be finding my voice in the fourth.

If I had asked permission, or if I had waited to be picked, I would still be dreaming of what might have been.

Of course, permission to write and self-publish doesn’t mean you’ll get it right the first time.

It doesn’t guarantee Hugh Howey or Amanda Hocking type success.

But it shifts you inside, it forces you to go further creatively. It enables you to clear the way for the next step, and after all, the writer’s life is a journey of discovery, not a destination.

So you have permission. You are empowered.

To write.

To publish.

To connect with readers and writers all over the globe.

I’m done with taming the crazy. I’m giving myself permission. How about you?

Please do leave a comment below if this resonates with you. This is our community, and I sincerely thank you for sharing it with me.

This post was inspired by an article on agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog entitled ‘Will My Publisher Let Me Self-Publish Too?which sparked a lot of passionate comment and offended me over the aspect of permission. Rachelle has since published a Mea Culpa article.

Top image: Stamp permission granted from Big Stock Photo

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  1. Jackie C. says

    I am just starting out. I haven’t even written my first word yet, but am writing down instructions on how to write in Word in order to publish an ebook on Amazon. I have so much in my head I want to put on “paper” of my childhood so that it might quit following me around, and at the same time might show someone else out they are not alone I have a hard time figuring out what is the best way to start. When I came across this website, and blog I became so elated I about jumped for joy. I will keep reading your blog, and newsletters. Thank you so very much for your writings.

    • says

      Good luck, Jackie! I just finished a first draft of a memoir about my childhood, something I never thought I would accomplish. I have a long way to go, but I’m offering this as proof for you that it can be done!

  2. Elle says

    Oh yes, this resonates with me. I am published, under a different name. A technical book, many legal documents. My current novel is a very large departure from all of that. It turns out I’m a bit dark and twisty also, at least at points. Will I be brave enough to go public with that side?

  3. Simone says

    My dream is to write a book, about my life because. I believe that so many people from different background and race can Identify themselves in the same situations and experiences, I had but, they are either embarrass or scared of what other people might think of them. To be honest with you, I am afraid of what people might think . But I believe these experiences is worth sharing and not staying as just mere memories. My duty is to let people know that they are not alone and it doesn’t mean that they are stupid if they are confused at some part of their life. I have so much to write but having problem as to how to start, and what does it takes to be a writer. I have been searching the internet for answers but, some of my info. makes it seems impossible or just not enough information to help me get started. I have received useful information from your page to help me get started. Thanks.

    • says

      I know where you are coming from. I had a story in my head about two years ago and just started writing it down. That turned into a trilogy and while I was writing that I wrote a short story as an exercise for a writers’ group I was in at the time. Other members said it would make a good play so I expanded it but I don’t know anything about writing plays. One day I heard about a competition on the radio for anyone interested in having an unpublished manuscript that they would like to see in print. So I finished the book, a novella because I ran out of time, and entered it. It didn’t win but I went ahead and published it myself after months of editing. I got a retired teacher to proof read it and put it on amazon. On the amazon UK site it is still a best seller in Irish historical fiction and in Victorian romance, even though it was published in April. I am now working part time as I want to write as much as I can and I am earning more from my books than I am from my ‘regular’ job.
      This is all after just two years writing, learning about writing (sites like Joanna’s helped me enormously) and putting in the effort every day, even on those days I have to go out to work. I hope my experience will encourage you to go ahead with your goals. There is nothing to lose but so much to gain.
      All the best with your endeavors.

  4. CIndy Yohe says

    I am just starting out to write about my experiences of having an eye and hearing impairment. Can someone tell me if that would be considered a autobiography or a memoir.


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