OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
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?
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 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.