23 September 2020

#WritersLife: How to Draw on Your Passion for Writing

Would you like to be able to draw on your passion whenever you sit down to write? I'm sure you're familiar with the scenario: An excellent idea for an article, blog post, or book pops into your head. You believe the subject matter is fresh and exciting. You've got your main points outlined in your head, and you're ready to write - or so you think. 

But when you put pen to paper or your fingers hit the keyboard, you can't seem to instill that initial enthusiasm into your writing. It seems to fall short, and you are confident that your idea is not the problem. Nor is it your writing ability. So, that leaves you wondering: What is the problem?

The difficult transition from idea to execution

Often enough, the shift from idea to execution can be difficult. At times, a story might seem to flow, but it's not really moving forward because you've lost sight of the big picture. That can be detrimental, especially if you are working on something meaningful such as your next great novel. So, how do we stay on course, and if we do stray, how do we get back on track? By drawing on our passion for the topic and writing as a whole.

Don't confuse interest for passion!

You can be passionate about your idea for your next story, but that could just be your interest in the subject matter. It's easy to mistake one for the other. I've heard some of my writer friends talk quite excitedly about their plot, and it might actually be a great idea. But when you take a closer look, you can't seem to find the passion anywhere.

So, what exactly do I mean by passion for writing? To me, it's a strong feeling, conviction, belief that comes from deep within. An idea that this is an important story to tell, a pertinent theme to explore. If you can draw on that joy of shaping words, it will definitely show in your writing.

Return to your first love!

Perhaps self-criticism is the most significant barrier to passionate writing. Instead of worrying about why we write or analyzing our writing half to death, let's concentrate on telling a story instead. Isn't that why all writers start writing in the first place because you love to tell a story? We must not only silence our inner critic that gets in our way, but we also need to reach deep within ourselves to a place where we rediscover the joy of creating every time we write.

Of course, if we have contractual deadlines dangling over our heads like the blade of a guillotine, it can get a little complicated. But somehow, we must push through if we want to get to that place of passion. But can we always write like that every time we dig into our story? I'm going to go out on a limb and say "Not Likely," although some writers come close.

Is this something we should aim for? You might find this shocking, but I'm going to say "no" because I think the brain's emotional and energetic side doesn't always serve us best. There are times when we just have to be silent and reflect. So maybe passion isn't always that lively. Perhaps it sometimes can also look like devotion, tenacity, grit...

So What Does Passion for Writing Look Like?

Here are some of the things I notice in books that scream passion to me:

Enjoyment in the language –  There are plenty of writers out there who lean more toward the cookie-cutter way of structuring their plots, scenes, and even sentences. The lack of depth seems palpable.

Colorful characters – As a writer, I am intrigued by people. Humans are complicated beings. I feel that as a writer, I should at least attempt to capture the human condition in all its facets. Passionate writing detests dull-developed characters.

Enjoyment in storytelling – When you read a riveting story, you can sense even the writer is fascinated by their own story. It's not just a jumble of words that fit nicely together like some a game of Tetris. The writer is actually enamored with the process of storytelling.

Passion might not be necessary for every writer!

Passion is not the alpha and the omega of writing and may not be why you write. Everyone has their own reasons for writing, each of them just as valid as the other. I have writer friends who pump out books using formulaic structure, yet they aren't even a wee bit passionate. They make a modest living at what they do, and they are absolutely happy with their writer's life. And I think that's marvelous that it works for them. And maybe it works for you as well. There is definitely a need in many marketplaces for proficient, non-passionate writing...just think of all those owner manuals.

But then there also needs to be someone to write passionate books for readers longing for such stories. Perhaps you are one of those writers. If you want to be one of those, you need to stir up your passion for words, characters, and storytelling. So push away all those encroaching voices within and without pulling you away from your passionate core. 

Can you think of ways to help you tap into your passion when you sit down to write? If so, feel free to share them in the comments. Let's motivate each other!

Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added five historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her MajestyThe Country Girl EmpressA Life in the Shadow of the Crown, The Perpetual Traveler, and Excerpts from the Imperial Diary. When she isn't busy typing on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookInstagram, and Goodreads.

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