You and I live in a permission culture.
From a young age, we have been taught that we cannot do anything new without receiving permission from some person in authority. As a child this is useful. But as we get older it is important for us to question these limits and try to see if they make sense, or if they are simply barriers to keep us from achieving what we are truly capable of.
A person can know how to drive a car without having a license to drive one. To legally drive a car, one must pass a test. If I were to ask a person, “Can you drive?” they will most likely say “no” or “yes” based on whether they have a license, despite their skill. There are people without driver’s licenses that are able to drive safely on the roads, and there are people with driver’s licenses who are a hazard to all. Because of our permission culture, it is the one with the license who will most likely say “Yes, I can drive.”
When you ask a person who is in training to become a school teacher, “Are you a teacher?” they will say “no”. However, if you ask them “Have you ever taught someone before?” they might say something like “I taught my girlfriend how to drive a car” or “I taught some elementary kids how to use computers” or “I was a Sunday school teacher for five years.” If these people have taught, and they do teach, why don’t they think of themselves as teachers? Because in this culture a person is not considered a teacher until they have met the approval of an authority. In the US, it is a State Board of Education that approves Teaching Certificates. This usually requires formal training and a few tests. When the requirements have been met, the authority might grant one the name of “teacher.”
But I ask you, if a person can teach another person, aren’t they already a teacher?
When I look on the Internet, I see that it is full of people writing about how they are not writers.
If asked “Have you ever done any writing?” Then they may answer something like “I wrote an award winning essay when I was in middle school” or “I occasionally write poetry that I post on my blog” or “I have a sixty-thousand word novel in a box under my bed.” And yet these people don’t consider themselves writers. Why not? Because they have not published a book. They do not have an agent. They have not been given the approval of an editor. Without this approval they have not yet been given permission to be called a “writer.”
But I ask you, if a person can write a story, aren’t they already a writer?
The world of publishing is changing. We don’t need someone to print our stories on paper and distribute them so that others can read it. We can post our thoughts on a blog, and thousands can see it. The gates have fallen. Why are we still seeking out the gatekeepers to let us through?
A writer writes…
- to communicate
- to entertain
- to educate
- to express the deepest desires of their hearts
If you can communicate your thoughts to another person, entertain them, teach them, and express to them the deepest desires of your heart, then YOU ARE A WRITER. Stop waiting for someone else to give you permission. Give yourself permission. Say “I am a writer” and then WRITE! The world is waiting to read what you have to say.