There are three distinct intangibles we can give ourselves. There is the gift of truth, permission, and acceptance. Once you can tap into these gifts your words will flow freely. I know it sounds like a myth, but it’s the truth.
The Gift of Truth
While I spend my time writing personal essays, I have to relive my past. It gives me time to reflect. I have to constantly tear down the walls and show my vulnerability, another difficult task. Seeing all the ways I could have done things different can fill me with regret. But, I cannot rewrite what was. I must accept what happened and keep moving forward. I have to remember that whitewashing those lows would unmake the Desiree I am today.
The Gift of Permission
As a writer you need to give yourself permission to write. Jhumpa Lahiri, the author of Interpreter of Maladies, felt “nervous” to call herself a writer. She went on to win The Pulitzer Prize in 2000. Margaret Mitchell author of Gone with the Wind, used a part of her manuscript to hold up a wobbly couch before she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird literally threw her manuscript out the window. Thankfully, her editor picked it up and encouraged her to finish it and also won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961.
What do they have in common besides the Pulitzer? They gave themselves permission to write and share it with others. It’s safe to say that writers don’t write for other people. They write for themselves. Writing from your heart, whether that comes in the form of essays, short stories or novels, gives you a chance to connect with others.
I have found the stories that impact me the most are the ones that I can relate to, because stories give us the chance to say what others are thinking. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought, “I was thinking the same thing, but I never would say it out loud.” You will be surprised at how it will be received. This goes back to emotionally attaching yourself to a character. I talked a little about this in Pantser 101. There is a story only you can tell from your unique perspective. Your readers will find you, but first you need to write the story.
The Gift of Acceptance
How do we get to that place in our writing? I believe that we don’t accept ourselves as we are. Why do we do this? Because we don’t love ourselves enough. Although it’s nice to hear those external validations from our friends and family, we need to believe it on our own. I know that I am my own worst critic and I’m the first one to cast the seed of doubt on anything and everything I do. Who is the first person to say, “It’s not going to work?” It’s me. How do I get through these doubts I create for myself?
Something I highly recommend is writing love letters to yourself as suggested by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. You know exactly what you want to hear. Listen to some of your favorite music, pick up your journal, and write yourself a love letter today.