May Theme - Permissions by Deborah Lytton

How often do we give ourselves permission to make mistakes? But that's exactly what our best writing demands. I am a perfectionist by nature. I was a good student in school because I followed the rules, turned in my assignments on time and was always prepared for my tests. But writing doesn't ask us to follow the rules. Yes, we need to meet our revision deadlines and be prepared for discussions with agents and editors, and if we are lucky enough, promotion on our books. But all that comes later--after we've written the best book we can write. Maybe I love writing so much because when I write, I give myself permission to take chances. To try fitting words together that don't make sense or to write a character no one will never like but somehow make him loveable. I give myself permission to write poetry through my characters even though in real life, I would be hesitant to try writing poetry. Sometimes, I write entire sections of a book and the next day realize not one word actually works. But somehow, through the process of writing those non-working words, I find the ones that make the entire story come to life. I am raising my daughters to accept their mistakes in life because through those mistakes, they will learn who they are. Can't the same reasoning apply to our work? In our writing, we can find our voices through making mistakes, because sometimes, that one mistake may be your best writing of all.  


  1. Deborah, Your take on "permissions" makes me sounds a lot like my entry that will run on the 12th. Giving ourselves permission to fail is a huge step toward getting published.


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