July 31, 2012
Passion and Writing
“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.” John Wesley
Wesley had it right: when you are truly passionate about something, people will be drawn to you and your activities of passion. Why is that though? There are probably many reasons, but I think one of the biggest reasons--if not the biggest reason--is that many, many people are going through life in neutral. They are literally coasting through, taking the easy route as they live a mediocre life. It's really a sad thing, if you ask me, but I think many people actually love such a life.
When these people encounter someone with true passion, they are drawn like a moth to a flame. Sometimes people react to the passionate with awe and wonder, and sometimes they react with revulsion and annoyance. But one thing's for sure: they always stop to observe, and then react.
I hope to be the kind of passionate person people stop and observe with wonder and awe, but in reality I know you can't always please everyone. Sometimes you have to be who and what you are and let everyone react to your activity without it affecting your passion. Unlike some passionate people, I am not trying to offend or polarize people with my writing.
I have to admit when I first set foot on publishing ground I did so with a fair amount of hesitation. I had no idea what to expect as I blazed a way into fresh territory. I had never done any work that was so out there for literally anyone to praise or revile. Looking back, I was really just dipping my toe in the water.
That is all changing now, with the publication of my second book drawing near. I am writing what I have a passion for--not to say my first book contained no passion, but it would be different if I were to write it today. The feedback I have received from my batch of "test readers" has been overwhelmingly positive, proving that writing with passion is key.
So how does one write with passion? I think one of the biggest keys is to not hold back. All of us to one extent or another filter what we say and what we write. As writers, we hold a portion of ourselves back from the blank page we stare at. Writing with passion requires you to figuratively spill your own blood across the page as you open yourself up and put a good portion of yourself into your writing. You might make yourself a little vulnerable in a way, but that makes good writing. Of course there are many writers who are afraid to do this, partially because if what they have written is criticized it feels like a personal attack on them. The only solution to this I have been able to find is to keep writing--not just books, but other kinds of written works--and eventually as a writer you build up thick enough skin that it doesn't bother you.
Aside from that, writing with passion is something that is difficult to teach and to learn. It is the same as learning to do any performance art with passion, as well as to produce works of art with passion. After all, in the end writers are at least in part artists.