These words will probably be inscribed on my tombstone. They’re already stamped on an apron, given to me on mother’s day from my husband. He knows me so well.

I used to think this was a character flaw, and undoubtedly it can be if I don’t keep it in check, (I drove my mother nuts. Sorry Mother.) But when it is in check I’ve come to think of it as one of my greatest strengths. My fierce independence stems from a firm belief in freedom and the power of choice.

I also believe this applies to writing. Writing, especially in fiction, is about making decisions. We choose the words. We decide what happens. We build the world and the characters. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t listen to others or seek criticism. We need other people to point out our flaws and weaknesses, our wrong turns and pitfalls. We don’t always see them and if we grow too sure of our own abilities, we probably won’t be as great as we could be.

However, once a weakness or pitfall is pointed out, I think it’s important that the solution come from us. We can ask for help, advice, perspective, but never should we allow someone else to take the reins and make the decisions for us. Not in life, not in writing. It must come from you and your higher power, whatever it is.

If you allow another to make a decision for you and then later you come to learn that the decision was maybe not the best, you will undoubtedly blame the adviser for your failure.

On the flip-side let’s say the decision was actually a good one, but you never really felt strongly one way or the other, and so you only halfheartedly dig into the choice, and the result is not as wonderful if you really had confidence in your choices.

But, when the choice comes from you, and you truly believe in your choices, it will be better than anything anyone else could have suggested. Both in life and writing.

This is one of my firm beliefs. I only have a few.

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