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Don't Do This

As a Midwestern gal, I'm allergic to bragging. It's so bad that I even get contact hives if I hear someone else talking positively about themselves (I'm working on this). That's why it pains me to tell you that today, I woke up content. I looked around in terror, trying to figure out what was wrong, and realized I was feeling good about myself because I love my safe, funky new home AND I get to be a full-time writer.

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I tried to talk myself down by listing all the areas in life where I fall short (they train us young in Minnesota), but it was no good. I live in a house that I love (that's an image of my treehouse office above), one that I was able to buy because of my writing. Going to work for me now means daydreaming, creating worlds, talking to people who are passionate about books. There's downsides, sure, but my first real job was working at the Spicer DQ in 1985; I know when I've got it good.

That got me to thinking about that voice—it starts out external, but we learn to carry it inside—that tells us what we can't do in this life. We can't be full-time writers/actors/ballerinas/wood carvers/musicians/photographers/travel bloggers/fill-in-the-blank-with-your-dream-jobbers. Only a handful of people get those special careers, and they're not you, we're told.

Well, I'm here to tell you that voice is full of shit. I'm a small-town girl who didn't know anyone lucky enough to write books for a living, and now I'm her. She. Her? (I'm weak without an editor.) My parents gave me a great gift by repeatedly telling me I could be anything in this world (first time I heard this, I told my dad that in that case, I'd like to be a cat). I'm sure it helps to have that fragile, powerful truth repeated to you, so here you go:

You can be anything in this world. (Except a cat. I researched it.)

Some of us have more barriers than others—sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, and lack of access to resources are real—but my wish for you is that, of all the people telling you what you can't do, that you're not one of them.

So what is it that you ache to do?

p.s. If it’s to write that book, there’s still room in my Costa Rica women’s writing retreat and my women’s writing retreat in Italy.

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Become a VIP Writer!

Do you want to learn more about writing, including receiving marketing tips and tricks, deals on valuable workshops and retreats, and time management hacks? Join the VIP Writer’s Club! You’ll receive free VIP access to an online novel-writing course just for signing up and can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time.

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