You don’t need anyone’s permission to write

Maybe it’s an artifact from the years of collectivist schooling most of us endured, where we had to do everything as a part of a group. Maybe we are just afraid to do something as awesome as becoming a writer without getting permission. But too many of us are convinced we have to get our parents, children, husband/wife/living-in-sin partner, boss, co-workers, friends/Facebook friends on board before we dare begin serious writing work.

But you don’t need to do that. Do you feel you need to ask permission before you read a good book, have a daily devotional time, keep a diary, or clean your living space? No. You just take it for granted there are some things you are just allowed to do, without consulting anyone. Writing should be like that.

Sometimes there are good reasons NOT to get certain people ‘on board’ with your aspiring-writer persona. For example, suppose your mother has a habit of discouraging you in everything you try to do, and after years of practice she is good at crushing your spirit. Do you need to tell your mom about your writing? No, why would you? At least, you can wait until you’ve been published a few dozen times.

Perhaps you are feeling that your relationship with your spouse, ‘partner’ or friends isn’t good or complete unless you share everything. That’s a silly attitude. Many men who love football have wives who don’t know or care anything about the game. Well, wives don’t have to love their husbands’ sports or hobbies. Just like husbands don’t have to take up embroidery because their wives love it. In fact, both in marriages and in friendships, it’s good to have a little ‘space’ where each person has his own interests apart from the other.

To keep your writing as a private thing you don’t need permission for, you need to do it in a low-key way. Don’t make big announcements about how you are writing and must not be disturbed. You are just busy at your computer. It doesn’t matter what you are busy AT— paying the bills, shopping online, making an inventory of your chickens by wing band number, or— writing a great novel.

In the same way, don’t make writing-related announcements on social media if your friends list consists of the sort of people who might not support you. You might consider having a second Facebook account for your writing related activity— you can join Facebook writer groups and invite the writers you meet to become Facebook friends, and keep your naysayer family members, coworkers and friends out of it.


Make a list: whose permissions do you sometimes feel you need to be a writer? Who do you think needs to be ‘on board.’

Next: read over the list and write a few lines about why you do NOT need the permission of these people or any other people to be a writer. Writing is a method of daydreaming on paper— and who needs someone else’s permission to be a writer?

Last: write a few lines giving yourself permission to be a writer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.