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Give Yourself Permission to Write

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If you don’t write because you think you have no talent, your talent may not be the issue. Lack of confidence may be holding you back.

If you hesitate because you think you are not original or that your ideas are stale or that people will not buy your manuscript, you are cheating yourself by making excuses.

The fact is that everything has already been done. There is no new. There is only the old with your particular spin on the idea. You probably aren’t as critical of someone else’s writing as you are of yours.

Taking an old theme and putting a human spin on it will change the viewpoint for the person reading. Putting your spin on it will change the focus. So, what is human? Whatever you are truly, humanly interested in. Put down what you feel, what you see, what you hear, and what your taste or smell. Describe these from your experience and point of view.

Writing for love is more than just getting the words down. The payoff in self-respect is more than equal to the cost in time and energy. Much of what you write for love will later be sold. Set up a filing system with manila folders labeled by topic. Then start writing on any topic you want. Don’t worry at this point about selling the work. Separate the two issues of writing and getting paid.

Most of us who want to create can do this if we give ourselves permission to do so. Most of us do not give ourselves permission to do something that we love unless there is a payment somewhere. That payment is the validation that what we love is valuable. We want the validation to be in the form of a check. When the truth is that when you give yourself permission to do something you love, the validation is its own reward.

You don’t need to work up the courage to create a complete novel. You only need the courage to finish a few pages per day. If it turns out to be a series of short stories that fit a particular market, you will have them already sitting there and waiting. Today’s work may yield tomorrow’s editing job or next month’s design job; but for now, all you have to do is enjoy writing for love.

Carry a notebook with you and put your thoughts down anytime you are waiting. Or set aside an hour at your convenience every day. The goal of your writing is not to think towards the market. You write what you love and then find the market. If you compose with your human interest as a focus, you won’t have trouble seeing it as fresh and original.


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