Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IWSG May 2015 - Give Yourself Permission

Wow. It's the first Wednesday of a new month already. Last IWSG found me hoping to just get my A-Z Challenge posts up and going! I plan on posting my Reflections post tomorrow.

There were so many AMAZING themes this year and, more than that, there were so many AMAZING people out there, visiting and commenting and making the rounds. My insecurity this month is the same as it has been for years: do I really have what it takes in this world of blogging and social media? Do I really have what is necessary to build this "platform" that all "those in the know" tell me that I "must" have before anything I write will be taken seriously?

I just don't know.

When I started blogging eight years ago I had a desk job. I sat in front of a computer for 40 hours every week. There was ample time between tasks and phones ringing to check blog post updates and keep up with the social media sphere. I was pretty on top of things for about 3 years.

Then I went back to school...and worked on my feet all day...and moved. I LOVE writing. Story is my life's blood. Ask my husband and he'll tell you I spend more money on books, magazines and notebooks than just about anything else. Time, as is usual, is the major constraint.

Time and chronic illness and the feeling I must do EVERYTHING ALL the time. I've spent way too much time trying to do too many things that I haven't focused on what was important to ME. I've always been worried about what "seemed" to be important to everyone else.

And you know what?

That's just dumb.

So maybe I can't (and wasn't able to) read twenty blogs a day. That is in no way a reflection of my respect and profound awe at my fellow bloggers. Maybe I'm not able to come home after 8 hours on my feet and power write for several hours. Maybe some days I'm not able to do much of anything at all. Come take a peek at my counter tops and you'll see that's true more often than not!

That's OK.

I can't do X,Y, and Z and hope to ever become proficient in A, B or C. I certainly can't write all the ideas I have for stories and novels and essays while, at the same time, pursuing other ideas in This, That, or The Other. Sure, I've heard it all: you've got to go after what you want! Yes. You DO. But you must first decide what it is you REALLY want!

There's a quote written on the wall in the office where I work. It's a quote by Oprah that says, "You CAN have it all...just not all at the same time." That's been my problem. I've wanted it ALL, right now.

Again, that's just plain dumb.

So, here you go Blogverse. I hereby give myself permission... fail.

To confess that I suck at a lot of things. But also to realize that I EXCEL at a lot of things also. I give myself permission to put aside some of the dreams and ideas that I've had for YEARS in favor of going after that one, ever-present THING that will simply NOT leave me alone.


I give myself permission

to write.

To write bold. To write badly. To SUCK. To burn pages and read aloud awful scenes. To laugh at my mistakes and my run-on sentences and my recent re-adoption of the Oxford comma.

I give myself permission to not be the most proficient blogger out there. I also give up my apologies to those who I have shamefully neglected in terms of blogs and reading and commenting and visiting.

This Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting I ask you to give YOURSELF permission to just write. To breathe deep of ink and paper, of keyboards and motherboards. Give yourself permission to write badly and boldly; to create AWFUL first drafts and forge AMAZING final drafts. Give yourself permission to BE the most AMAZING writer YOU can be.

There are stories in you that only you can tell.

So tell them.


  1. Powerful post! We really do need to give ourselves permission to fail once in a while if we're going to keep enjoying what we do. Thank you so much for this much-needed dose of perspective.

  2. Very wise quote from Oprah. Amen to this post, Jen. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Oh Jen, you're a woman after my own soul. Today I'm locking myself in a Panera for 5 plus hours to just write. For me, that's my right now.

  4. I like this idea, but I tend go ahead with my plans and apologize later. It works for me. :-)

    Here's my link if you'd like to drop by :-)

    Anna from Elements of Writing

  5. Jen! I always feel like we are so much alike. I needed this today and feel the exact same way! I always feel like I'm going too many directions and never getting one thing done right. Thank you for this and for being you!

  6. Nicely put, Jen! I said everything most of us feel and are afraid to express! There is nothing wrong with failing because at least you TRIED.... That says a lot about a person's character. No one can say you haven't tried....

    All the best with your writing endeavors, even if they suck. LOL They can only improve with time, patience, and love.

  7. I skipped out on the A to Z challenge this year. It's fun but time consuming, and if it doesn't fit with overall writing goals, it becomes "extra." I just read how a blogger is retooling her whole blog based on the types of posts she did for the challenge--that's cool! That's a worthy outcome. But to blog just to blog and just to comment--sometimes you gotta pull back. I still visit handfuls of blogs about twice a week since it works for me.

  8. "Be the most AMAZING writer YOU can be." Loved that! Great post!

  9. Alright. Sounds good. Can't wait to see what you focus on and read it! I'm an English major/teacher/writer, and I don't know what the Oxford comma is. I saw someone post something on it the other day. Just write clearly. Proof-read, and have someone check it over and accept corrections. I'm needing some self-discipline right now, too.
    Play off the Page

  10. oh how I needed those words! especially the ending paragraph!! thank you so much!

  11. Jen, I LOVE that Oprah quote!
    Happy IWSG Day!

  12. Can't have it all at the same time. That is so true.
    I knew blogging would take over just about everything in April. And it did. Now I'm beat.

  13. You are so right, Jen. Take care of yourself first. Then let everything else fall into place.

    Best wishes,
    Diane, IWSG #108

  14. Nice job, Jen. Don't worry, every other person out there feels the same way! Every blog post I write I think it may be my last, and I've only been blogging for about a year!! Keep going :-)

  15. Blogging definitely took over my life in April. Now I'm not sure what my blogging life should look like. How often do I post? And about what? Ach. Thanks for the permission to not know! haha
    Happy IWSG day. :)

  16. It's nice to be able to write both a book and a blog, but if you have to choose between one or the other, go for the book.

  17. I have a job where I'm on my feet and the 8 hour shifts meant no writing was done that day either. At first I stressed over it, but then I gave myself permission to not worry. I can still make time to write, but those days are for relaxing after I clock out. Giving yourself permission like that really does wonders.

  18. Excellent post! This is something I struggle with too, I want too much, I want it all and I want it now. The fact is I want to write full time and be able to support myself doing it:) Keep Writing!


  19. This is a good idea thank for sharing on the website


Thank you for taking the time out of your busy, fantastic life to pay a visit! I appreciate every, single comment and I'll continue the conversation here :) It makes this big blog-verse of ours feel a little more like home.

Cheers! ~J