Is writing without passion worth the effort?


Her Shiny New Idea died an early death. In explaining why, my DD Shari Green said, “How do I know I’m not destined to write this story? Lack of passion. I just can’t see myself spending a year or two of my life completely wrapped up in this story.”

I was sorry to hear about the demise of her SNI. Lack of passion kills all sorts of my potentials, too. There’s never a lack of ideas flopping around in my mind. They materialize and multiply like guppies in a wading pool. They fascinate at first glance, but then I think, “meh” and move on.

That’s what’s happening now as I attempt to settle on a particular contest entry. I could work up any number of articles or short stories. I could. But when I hold them up to the light they don’t sparkle much. There’s nothing to ignite my passion.

Remember these rain-weary daisies from last week? Even when they dried out and lifted their heads so I could have a second look, they didn’t really glow. They were lovely, just not special.

(Yes, these are the exact same two flowers.)

And that’s how I’m feeling about all these ideas. ::sigh:: The deadline is still a distance away so there’s no pressure, but I want to be working on my entry… to feel the urgency that propels words out ahead of me, accumulating almost faster than I can keep up. I yearn to fling words onto a page and see them explode, let my fingertips experience the raw bits embedded like Braille on glass.

It’ll come, but oh, I wish it would hurry! Without passion there are no words worth writing.

What makes the difference between good ideas and great ideas for you? Can you take a mediocre one and work it into something special?

~  ~  ~


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

13 thoughts on “Is writing without passion worth the effort?

  1. For me, the passion is in excellence in writing. Some ideas require more struggle, but the satisfaction of wrestling the mediocre into something special spurs me on. The challenge creates the passion. But then, I’ve always been competitive.

  2. I think you do ultimately need passion to create a great piece of writing. Let’s be honest, the process of writing, with all its ups and downs, is hard enough as it is. Without some sort of passion to drive you, I think the idea that you’re working on has very little scope to succeed, simply because you aren’t going to pour your heart and soul into it like you would a great idea. At least, that’s how my ideas work. Maybe there is an argument for passion versus craft; all I’ll say is that for me, it’s passion which wins.

  3. You’re right. I’ve started a few projects that fizzled because I didn’t feel passionate about them. The ones that I’ve been with for years are still exciting and fun for me to work on. I guess the key is to dig deep and figure out what ignites your fire. Best wishes, Carol. ^_^

  4. Morning…dear friend…Your pics of the daisy certainly gave me somehing to ponder: No matter how difficult things may be, they more often than not can get better…at least I hope so.

  5. I have to feel passionate first and foremost. I think about my characters and I either feel motivated to write their stories, or I’m so enthralled by their lives that I’m moved to tears. Like Shari, I want to hang out with them because they’re so fascinating. Even the bad characters attract me.

    Writing without passion? I can’t imagine how it could be done. But! I do believe you can instill new life in an old story. They do it all the time on TV series by hiring new writers, who in turn create outlandish scenarios that knock our socks off, and remind us why we loved these characters in the first place.

    Brainstorming always helps me. Maybe over a cup of tea and some of your famous cookies, you and Shari can brainstorm some ideas for the contest. You know the ones… they always begin with, “What if…?”

  6. The shorter the piece, the less of a commitment I need to make to it. But for a novel? I need to love it to keep it going.

  7. My passion for a story can sometimes wane back and forth. When that happens I give it a break. Hopefully, I feel that spark again perhaps months later. This is exactly what happened with my upcoming novel. I began it and suddenly became bored. Months later, a took a look and decided I really liked it. I stayed with it until I completed it. I was certainly glad I did. 🙂

  8. You have captured the essence of my problem just now. I don’t write fiction, but personal reflections, devotional reflections, memoir type stories and curriculum, on occasion. And I’ve got an assignment that I just cannot get started on – and I think it’s because I’m not as passionate about it as I had hoped I would be. So…I’m praying for passion. And for some space without interruption in which to fiddle with it all. Thanks, Carol.

  9. if you are going to spend precious time writing a story, you need to be excited about it. I have pulled out an old mediorce piece, looked at it from a different angle and got excited aboout it. I rewrote it and won a prize. So it can happen, but only if there is s a spark of passion I believe.

  10. Hearing your points of view confirms my feeling that passion is necessary to produce vibrant, meaningful prose. Whether it occurs of its own accord or has to be worked at…? I guess that’s still up for debate.

  11. Great topic, Carol!

    For me, inspiration and craft go hand in hand. Good ideas are just that: good ideas. I want His direction. Words can be empty or containers of life. I choose life.

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