After 22 years of coaching women who have always wanted to write but are afraid to start, I distilled what I’ve seen helps into 6 permissions that I hereby grant you with a flourish and a one-of-kind T-shirt that says, “I’m a writer and I’m writing.”

1

Permission to be a writer. On my podcast Create Out Loud, so many of the fabulous writers I interview talk about the moment when they realized nobody was going to anoint them as a writer but them. Own your desire, it’s what gets you started and keeps you going.

2

Permission to drop the shoulds and write about what you love, what you’re obsessed with, what you hate, what makes you laugh. I’ve had so many students attend a retreat with a should idea they were stuck on, and all they needed was permission to drop it and then the creative flood gates opened.

3

Permission to write poorly. Write crap and you will write; rewrite each sentence until it’s perfect (ha as if) and you’ll find yourself doing anything but writing.

4

Permission to make it small. Use Teeny Tiny containers – of time or words. Work for much shorter periods of time and on much smaller chunks than you think useful – even 5 minutes. This makes writing far less overwhelming and leaves plenty of creative desire in your tank so it’s easier to show up again tomorrow.

5

Permission to screw consistency. Writing every day is great for some but for many women with careers, it’s a goal that invites self-judgment which turns into procrastination which turns into Netflix and chardonnay. Instead, commit to a specific number of teeny tiny containers over 7 days that you can do no matter what. If you don’t, then make them smaller!

6

Permission to love. Love what you write as lavishly as you do everything else in your life. Love your words, your stories, your ideas. They deserve it.

True story: after 30+ years of writing, I think I’ve finally given myself permission to love writing and my writing. It feels like when I met Bob and fell in love at 45–I want that for you too.