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?

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An Individual Approach Despite All the Advice and Non-Advice

It’s true. If you’ve been reading and reeling through the blogosphere you will have discovered that everyone has a different approach to writing. Every rule has an opposite rule, much like the “action and reaction” law*.

How many books and blog posts have you read with sound advice that was opposite to the excellent advice you found somewhere else? Have you discovered any other writer whose process of writing is exactly the same as yours?

Sometimes I forget that God made me as a unique individual. I am a single pebble grinding my way through a pile of gravel on a bumpy road. I look for rules to follow, directions to make my writing journey a success instead of embracing my individuality and trusting the instincts God has given me. For all my attempts to fit into the right mold there are an equal number of reasons why I shouldn’t.

Following a link on agent Janet Reid’s blog I came across a post by Sean Ferrell where he talks about his writing process.  I recognized his method of writing as being as uninhibited as mine. It made me take a deep breath and relax. It made me remember that one path may wander towards its destination while another follows a grid, only turning corners at intersections, but both will let you walk whichever one you choose to take.

I’d like to tell you all the things Sean Ferrell said, but it would be more effective if you just popped over to his blog and read it for yourself.

Me? I’m going to polish off the novel I’ve been revising, and then I’m moving on to the one that’s waiting to be finished… waiting to be told in its own way. Instead of worrying about the right words and how to say them, I’ll “write what I hear in me.” (Yes, those are Sean’s words.) I’ve read and absorbed all the rules to death. Now it’s time to trust myself. I’ve acted. Now it’s time to react.

Does your writing process cinch you into a mold or leave you free to follow the whims of your mind? Does it work for you?

*Newton’s third law:

“Every action has equal reaction in the opposite direction.”