November 30, 2012

Giving Yourself Permission

In a Parade magazine interview, actress and writer Emma Thompson was once asked: what’s the tougher profession, writing or acting?  She answered, "Writing is a much harder discipline.  It’s terribly frustrating and makes me weep, but once you start getting it right, it’s hugely pleasurable.”  

Writing is hard until you start getting it right, but sometimes it feels like it takes forever to get it right.  Take for instance a manuscript you may be working on.  Have you asked:  Why isn't this story working?  What will it take to make this piece shine?   

These can be tough questions to answer because you feel the pressure of making the story perfect.  This can freeze you up, so you end up not writing at all, leaving your story in literary limbo.     

But, there is a mantra you can repeat to ease the pressure:  it's okay to make mistakes.  Now say it again:  it's okay to make mistakes.

Let that sink in.  How do you feel?  Like a huge weight has been lifted?  Do you feel that freedom has been granted so that you can move forward?  

You will find that when you give yourself permission to make mistakes, you will write without judging what you've written.  You will know that those words may not be the best choice, but they will be stepping stones, the guides to helping you find better descriptive nouns, active verbs, spot-on rhyme, or amazing alliteration in the future.   

At a later date, you will edit.  But not today.  Today, you will write.  You will make mistakes.  And that’s okay.  You will move forward, get something down, and that's what counts.  Your writing will be the very best it can possibly be today.     

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