You Don’t Need Permission to Be a Creator

Sometimes it feels that way though doesn’t it? Just like someone is supposedly handing out magical permission slips to the creative life. However, whomever this fairy is should also come with a disclaimer for the number of sleepless nights and forgotten meals that go along with attempting to master any art. Grant Faulkner in his book,”Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo,” opens with this idea.

There are no magical permission slips. If there are permission slips at all, they are the kind stolen off the teacher’s desk for a trip unadvertised and possibly dangerous. A great many who find themselves in the creative life don’t get out the same, you know. It changes you, the act of making something.

My mother tells me of memories I don’t have regarding my formative years and the amount of time I spent making things up. I was never much of a liar, but I was definitely a yarn-spinner. I couldn’t make the dragons real, but I could tell you a story about what we did that day flying through the skies of Germany across the forests on some grand adventure. On one particular afternoon, I brought back a lovely case of poison ivy. You can imagine the story that went with that.

Just the same, some of us want to be anointed with the idea we should be a writer and I’ll be honest, I waited for mine. I spent a lot of years working on something else entirely, trying really hard to believe I was going to be something else. Yet the truth was: I was waiting for my permission slip. In 2005, some of you have heard this story, my friend D.E. Morris essentially challenged me to write my first book. She’d joined NaNoWriMo previously and felt I could do really well at it. I was skeptical. I’d been busy playing around and pretending I wasn’t really interested in writing a book and being an author.

That challenge served as my permission slip. I only had one person to disappoint; well, two; myself and D.E. who is the kindest person and would never have held it against me if I had chickened out. Eight books later, I’ve decided I’m just not going back.

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