Friday, November 26, 2010

Permission slip

Maybe it's because I was raised in the south or that I'm fast approaching middle age, but yes, lately I seem to be a little slow in catching on to things.

I started getting serious about writing a few years ago, and with a few exceptions, have been writing almost daily since. This process started with pages and pages of secret writing that no one will ever see, thankfully. But I have been working at it, and I am finally at the point with some of my fiction where I feel like what I am doing is even worth showing people. This week, I brought a short story to class and people really responded to it. I have some things to work out, and I will be rewriting it, but I feel like I am finally getting somewhere. It was only a short story, just around 6000 words long, and it took a few months to get it right. Really, it took two years. Writing is a very slow process.

But that's not the slow part I was referring to. This whole time I've been writing fiction I think I've been waiting for someone to tell me that I had "approval" to continue. I thought that there would be a very clear sign that I had some talent, or enough talent, to keep at it. I thought that there would be some climatic moment that would legitimize what has been up until this point, a hobby. So the funny thing is, even with the positive feedback on my story, there wasn't a time when someone jumped up and said "by God, you have to continue." Shocking, how long it has taken me to get this.

So, yeah, I am working on this permission thing for myself.

This is really hard for me, mostly because I have this practical side. Because I know that sticking with this will not make my family more financially comfortable and that success, whatever that is in this thing, may not happen. I am pretty used to being able to get somewhere by just working hard at it. But to give myself permission, and that's what I have to do, I have to embrace the magic a little.

Believing in writing is like believing in fairies or unicorns. Nice ideas, but c'mon, really? It reminds me of Girlie, who probably at this point realizes that there is no real Santa Claus, but chooses for a little while longer, to believe anyway. So like my little girl, I have to make the leap, believe the unbelievable, even though I know better, and just give myself permission to really go for it.

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