10 Minute Mentor – Self-Permission

2 Jun

So you’ve formatted your manuscript and decided the who and when of telling your story. You have the mechanics down for punctuation and you’re ready to write!



Well, this is where we all get a little bit fluffy sometimes. And the first time is the worst for some people. I was lucky because I knew all the basics from my undergrad (I was an English major, Writing minor), BUT  not enough to cause me trouble. I hadn’t been hanging around writers when I started. I hadn’t heard all those “rules” and “dont’s” and “that won’t sell”s. Because I hadn’t heard those, I was lucky enough to just write my first book.

And let me tell you, IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

I didn’t know that I needed to be a plotter or a pantser. I didn’t know that I needed turning points or a dark moment. I didn’t know I had to write in order… or I had to write out of order. I didn’t know about not head-hopping (Ok, that one I wish I’d known, but surprisingly I only did it once!) I didn’t know that I should block out time OR write when the muse moves me. I didn’t know I should research the market and write something hot. I didn’t know I had to customize my books toward a publishing house. I didn’t know that I’d spend so much time editing so it was okay if the first chapter made almost no sense. I didn’t know I need a CP or a beta reader.

I didn’t know all the advice I learned the next year. Advice that ruined my flow or had me doing things that did not work for me. I didn’t know the advice that would work for me either.

Hmm… It’s looking like I didn’t know much of anything. 

Wait! I did know I shouldn’t write at work, but that didn’t stop me from locking my door during lunch and getting a few pages down 🙂

All I knew is that I had a story I had to tell. That I couldn’t wait to get on the page. Characters who became so real I talked to them.

That’s what I knew about me. About writing, I knew that you told an escalating story about people you love or love to hate.


Did I mention how fun it was?

So, if you’re new — heck, even if you’re not — give yourself permission. Permission to just have fun writing. Permission to do what works for you. Permission to say, this is going to be really messy, but I’ll clean it up in the edits.

Go. Go have fun and tell an amazing story however it is you work best. Listen to writing advice but know, none of it is set in stone. HOW you write your book is up to you in the end and that’s exactly where following your gut will get you: The End.

11 Responses to “10 Minute Mentor – Self-Permission”

  1. danieford June 2, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    I agree. Have fun. Writing should be fun. You may be surprised with the results.

  2. briaq June 2, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    As you know, I’m in the process of getting my fun — my reAmazement– back. I needed to hear this stuff again myself 🙂

  3. Deborah Bickmore June 2, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    This was like reading my own experience. Writing used to be FUN. Now I’m so blocked with all the rules, I can’t even get words on the page. I began to wish I had never attended a writing conference, or joined a critique group. I did better on my own. So, the trick is figuring how to back up and turn off that inner critic. Gritting my teeth doesn’t work. Maybe pretending I’m not going to submit anything will work.

  4. Jaleta Clegg June 2, 2010 at 11:28 am #

    Great post, Bria! I find if I’m not having fun with my writing, the readers definitely aren’t having any fun. Now to just get my internal editor to shut up so I can have more fun…

  5. briaq June 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    EXACTLY Ladies!

    I’m working on being silly… on playing What If… on writing something just for me. All three of my books started that way so maybe I just need to start again: fun, silly what ifs that are just for me 🙂

  6. Jaleta Clegg June 2, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    I’ve been writing lots of short stories because I can just cut loose and be silly, strange, introspective, whatever the mood I’m in. Some of them are good enough to submit, most aren’t. But I certainly enjoyed writing them.

    Maybe it’s time to write more fanfic, just because I can and no one will be expecting me to publish it.

    Good luck on the books, Bria. I still need to make myself finish a new one. I’ve been too long at the editing and promotion desk.

  7. briaq June 2, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    I know exactly what you mean – I have a short that I’m putting up on Smashwords as soon as I get my but in gear. It was a brain-cleanser 🙂 But it’s fun and sheer foolishness.

  8. Liz Czukas June 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    This is good advice. Which is kind of funny because you’re suggesting we not follow all the advice that’s out there, LOL. Still, this is a good one. Especially nice to read as I reach the homestretch of a massive revision.

    – Liz

  9. briaq June 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    LOL – Liz I almost put something about not listenting to advice about advice either 🙂

    You can totally do the massive revisions – I know they’re daunting – I feel like I’m living there now too!

  10. Tina June 2, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    good thoughts to write by Bria. I haven’t written in ages but a story struck me the other day and I sat down to write it, then my “I know how to write” voice hit me and I’ve stalled. I’m gonna try to ignore that voice and get back to it. Thx!

  11. briaq June 2, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

    YAY! Another one SUCKED BACK IN!!!! waaahhhhhaaaaa

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