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Passion: How To Tap Into Yours Every Time You Write

Passionate woman

Would You Like to Tap into Your Passion Every Time You Write?

You have a great idea for an article, blog post, short story or novel.

You feel the topic is fresh and interesting, and you’ve brainstormed your main points. After a bit of work, you come to the moment when you’re ready to write.

But when you get down to actually putting the idea down on paper (or into your Word document), you can’t seem to infuse that initial excitement about your idea into your writing. It seems to fall flat.

You know it’s not the idea that’s the problem. Nor is it your writing ability; you have the chops to write well.

So what is the problem?

 

The Difficult Transition from Idea to Execution

 

Sometimes the transition from idea to execution causes problems.

At times, the story seems to be hovering over some lost horizon because, as the cliché goes, you can’t see the forest for the trees. And if you are working on something as enormous as a novel, it can seem like a huge forest with so many trees (elements) that your vision can get muddled and your eyes tired from trying to “see the big picture” all the time.

Kahlil Gibran said in his famous book The Prophet that “thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly”.

I memorized that line more than forty years ago because of its profound wisdom. Just how do we get our terrific ideas to ‘fly’ in a cage of words?

We do so by tapping into our passion. Passion for our topic and passion for shaping words.

 

Don’t Mistake Enthusiasm for Passion

 

You can be passionate about your story idea, but that could just be enthusiasm. Don’t confuse the two. I’ve heard clients talk quite excitedly about their plot, and it might actually be a great idea. But when I dig into the writing looking for the heart of the story, I don’t find the passion.

So, what do I mean by passion? I’m talking about a strong feeling, conviction, belief that comes from within. A belief that this is an important story to tell, a pertinent theme to explore, or a significant argument to make.

If you can find a way to tap into that joy of shaping words to create a beautiful bird, it will come through in your writing.

 

Return to Your First Love

 

Your greatest hindrance to passionate writing is self-criticism.

Instead of worrying over why we write, or analyzing our writing to death, I suggest we return to that first love of storytelling. That’s why you started writing anyway, isn’t it? We must not only shut up the ‘critic’ and other inner hecklers that get in our way, we need also to journey back to a simpler place, where we rediscover the joy of creativity every time we sit down to write.

Sure, if we have a contractual deadline dangling over our heads like the sword of Damocles, it can be a bit tricky to stop glancing up. But if we want to get to that place of passion, we have to.

Can we write like that every moment we sit down and dig into our story? Not likely, though I imagine there are some writers who come close.

Is that something we should aim for? I’m going to say “no”, because I think the emotional and energetic side, to put it one way, doesn’t always serve us best. There are times when we have to get quiet and think. Or not think. Times we have to problem-solve and talk to ourselves, untangle tight knots in our plot (or back).

So maybe passion doesn’t look like excitement all the time. Passion can also look like dedication, persistence, patience, meditation. To me, it has many faces.

 

What Does Passion Look Like?

 

These are some of the things I notice in books that scream passion:

  • A delight in the languageAmateur writers and writers lacking passion tend to lean more toward the cookie-cutter or formula-type way of structuring plots, scenes and sentences. There is no depth.
  • A delight in rich characters - As writers, I feel we should be fascinated by people. Humans are complex, contradictory, confusing, erratic, surprising, hilarious — the list goes on. Writers should capture the human condition in all its weirdness. Passionate writing loathes stereotyped characters.
  • A delight in storytelling - When you read a riveting story, you can sense the writer herself is enthralled with the story. She’s not just plunking down the words she thinks will fit nicely, the way you might work a jigsaw puzzle. She’s enamored with the process of telling the story.

 

Passion Might Not Be Important for Every Writer

 

Passion may not be why you write. Writers write for various reasons, each of them valid and not to be judged.

I have friends who pump out novels using formulaic structure, and they aren’t a bit passionate. They make a decent living at what they do, they support their families, and they are perfectly happy with their work. I think that’s terrific . . . for them.

And it may be terrific for you as well. There is a need in many marketplaces for skilled, non-passionate writing, and someone has to do it. (Think of all those computer tech manuals!)

But someone also needs to write passionate stories for readers longing for such stories. Maybe you are one of those writers.

If you want to be one, you need to stir up your passion for words, for your characters, and for storytelling itself. You need to push away all those encroaching voices within and without that pull you away from your passionate core.

Some people listen to stirring music or read great literature before sitting down to tackle a scene, or take a walk in nature to clear their head or stir the imagination.

Can you think of some ways that might help you tap into your passion when you sit down to write? If so, share them here in the comments. Let’s incite each other to passionate writing!

 

About the Author:

C. S. Lakin is the author of thirteen novels and works as a professional copyeditor and writing coach. Her websites are dedicated to critiquing fiction and instruction and encouragement to help you survive and thrive in your writing life. 

Image: Passionate woman courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com

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21 thoughts on “Passion: How To Tap Into Yours Every Time You Write”

  • Bliss says:

    I find i can write best when I have allowed myself to get into my “passionate flow”. You’ve outlined that some people follow a formula, a structure, pumping out novel after novel, article after article. You’re so right, it IS good for them! I think I’m falling into the other category, the passionate writer, writing stories for those who really want THOSE STORIES. Yet when I sit down and get lost in the excitement of what I’m writing it’s no chore, it feels like passion, and the words seem to literally spill from me. It may mean a lot of editing thereafter, but hey, I’m producing the work I guess! Great blog topic :)
    Bliss recently posted..Thinking About Health and Wellness…My Profile

  • Jevon says:

    Great and interesting scenes in books, movies, and video games usually stir up my passion. Sometimes one situation between 2 characters could jump start my passion into an entire story.
    Jevon recently posted..What The Giant Robots of Pacific Rim Reminded Me About Hooking a ReaderMy Profile

  • Ila in Maine says:

    I’m looking for advise, and inspiration to pull facts into a self help book for Machine Embroidery. This is a subject I love, I work with daily and can talk about seemingly forever but I’m lost when it comes to where to begin putting it into a book. I want to write the book, I know it would be helpful to so many people who I help on an individual basis daily, but I can’t find that leaping point to put that first outline, chapter, or those first words in order. It needs to be from the time they bring the machine home and open the box, until they sew a design out and learn how to troubleshoot the numerous things that can go wrong in sewing out a design. And advise on how I can take that leap, get this started? I feel like if only I could open the gate, the information (words) would just flow.

    Thank you for all your helpful articles, I keep them and go back and read them though I have always wrote only for myself, to deal with painful abuse issues. This self help book is the only thing I would consider publishing because I believe it would be very helpful.

    Ila

  • Petula says:

    Love this post. This is one of my greatest writing disappointments… losing the passion after getting such a wonderful idea. As a writer, I always have something to write with and on or a gadget to type or speak into, but when I finally settle down to spew forth my masterpiece my mystical muse has left the premises.

    To rekindle that passion I spend a lot of time reading… sometimes getting away from writing helps… When I read Dean Koontz I get a kick of passion. The words he uses and the way he uses them is masterful, at least in my opinion.

    Thanks for this post. No one understands the path and depth of a writer, but another writer.
    Petula recently posted..‘grace, under pressure’ {book review}My Profile

  • Razwana says:

    Your words near the end of the post about some writers who use formulaic structure and are ok with it added an interesting twist to this post.

    Different people are motivated by different things, aren’t they? I definitely would not be able to write without being fired up by what I am writing about.

    In the same breath, there are often times when I have written an outline for a post and then feel flat. The passion has gone and I no longer ‘feel’ like I can write.

    To get over this, I simply carry on writing. Whatever words come to me. Just writing and no editing. Every time I have done this, I have found that I find the passion and finish with something worthy of publishing.

    – Razwana
    Razwana recently posted..If you were offered a million dollars, would you turn it down?My Profile

  • This article is extremely good and so helpful. Thank you, I really enjoyed it.
    Pilar Arsenec recently posted..I’m Not Used To Being LovedMy Profile

  • Ragnar says:

    I might be passionate about things I’m enthusiastic about, if that makes sense. I tend to get super focused, interested and emotionally invested in things, anything, a story idea, character, new hobby… for a short amount of time, and then when it’s done, it’s almost always completely gone for a time. I’m not sure how to describe it.

    I’m not entirely sure if I wrote poetry, or fiction first… I just don’t remember. But I guess revisiting the past is as good as any way to try and determine your actual passion in life.

    Great post.
    Ragnar recently posted..The Soundtrack Of Positive Change – How To Get Music Working For YouMy Profile

  • For me it’s almost a given. I am a very passionate writer. I started out as a songwriter and have worked into poetry and story. But I don’t think we can expect to feel passionate every time we sit down to write. Timing, energy, and mood can make a big difference.

  • Paul Dolapo says:

    As a young and amateur writer. Most times I would have completed a short story in my mind,but the moment I pick up my pen to put them down,I lost the passion. I now realised that this often occurs because I’m a bit perfectionist. I tend to judge myself even before someone else judges me. Now I ensure I complete any stories before I edit it. Thanks very much for this blog.

  • Ali says:

    Excellent points. I believe it also depends on your workload. Though you are still passionate, you might be in a situation where you have to write many posts in a row and there you may fail to execute. It is then time to have a critical look at your balance of writing and community building. Great note with distinguishing enthusiasm and passion, by the way!
    Ali recently posted..Kendi İşini Kurmak Tarih Boyunca Hiç Bu Kadar Kolay OlmamıştıMy Profile

  • I believe that passion is the most important quality of a writer. For without passion, you have nothing!
    I also agree with Ali, sometimes heavy workload can take its toll on your inspiration (and passion).
    People should be willing to really commit to their writing if they want to create something worth reading.
    Thank you for the great post.

    Anna.
    Anna Robeson recently posted..Top 11 Most Efficient Tools for SEO and Competitive AnalysisMy Profile

  • Mireille says:

    Thank you. This article was perfectly timed and brought things back into perspective.
    Thank you.

    Mireille

  • Thanks for sharing all the great comments!

  • chung says:

    Interesting scenes in books usually stir up my passion for writing. I found this article really helpful, thank you!

  • Great points to ponder here, it made me realize that sometimes I produce posts that are lacking in passion. By reading this, I’m inspired to let my passion come across and engage my readers more.
    Cher Cabula recently posted..This is the End Movie ReviewMy Profile

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