Huh? What did he say?
I said passion. You heard me right. I said the P word. Before you gasp, and swoon back in your chair, read down a few more lines. If the gasp still demands to be gasped, feel free to enact your God given right to swoon. But, passion is more than the emotion described in any number of ways. Today, I’m going to address it in terms that I use in relation to the word. So, here’s my definition.
Passion is the overwhelming need to do something to the best of your abilities. Throwing everything you have at something until every ounce of it contains a part of you in it.
To be a writer, you have to have passion. Not the emotion most people associate with lust of a fleshly sort, but a passion for what you do. You have to feel every word you put on the screen. You have to believe them with a certainty that makes them not only real to you, but real to those who plop down their hard earned money to read them. As a reader, I’ve read books where you can just tell the author is coasting through the motions because he or she just isn’t into it. I have paid my own hard earned money for that disappointment, so understand the pain of putting someone else through it.
We will all get those moments. It’s impossible to treat writing as a business and not get overwhelmed with the ‘business’ aspect of what we do. When we first start writing, if we do it for the right reasons, it’s because writing is something we love doing. The thought of doing it consumes us with a passion nothing else can compare with. Like any form of art, writing is an emotional release. We don’t just create a work of art. We create our own children that we have loved, nurtured, and when they’ve grown to the point we feel they can fly on their own, we let them go out into the world to either stand on their own, or fail miserably. We love them either way. I bet even technical writers do what they do because they feel passionate about the subject. Though, I’m not sure about those guys who write Algebra textbooks, but who am I to say what people love above all else. That would be like the weird calling the crazy… Well, crazy.
As a writer, I follow the most simplest rule ever. Write what you know. But, let me tweak that a little. Write what you love. To truly know something you have to love it, and to love something you have to truly know it intimately, know it to the very soul of it. That means loving the good stuff, the bad stuff, and yes, even the boring stuff.
When it comes to reading, I love Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. I also like making people smile, so when I began writing, it was only natural that I’d write one of those three genres and insert smiles when possible. I like spy novels, but don’t love it enough to know everything about it. So, don’t expect me to write one. I know the limitations of what I am capable of doing. No, I leave the spy stuff to Tom Clancy. Though, you will find a certain political thriller vibe to some of my books, because that like is a personal experience of reading that will naturally seep into my work.
I sincerely hope when you read my work, the first thing that strikes you about my writing is that I feel passionately about what I do. But, how can you tell that passion is evident? Simple. If you have as much fun reading it, as I did writing it, you will know. If you become so immersed into the lives of my characters that you don’t want to leave their world, then I’m doing my job. By job, I mean having fun doing what I love.
Sure, they are times that I just don’t feel it. I experienced that on my third Southern Werewolf Chronicles. Instead of just writing a book to satisfy readers and my publisher, I stepped back and wrote something else. I would much rather make readers wait for a book, that force them to sit through a book that doesn’t even appeal to me. That’s passion about what I do, how I do it, and the conviction to say, I will not be less than I know I can be. I fervently hope that every writer feels that way.
I also pray I keep that fire of satisfying readers completely and to the best of my ability ten or twenty years down the line. I know that isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’m not the same person I was ten years ago that I am today. So, who knows who I’ll be ten years into the future? I could be a Smurf for all I know. The point is I want to be a better man and a better writer than I am now.
Above all else, I want to be even more passionate about my craft. Because, if I don’t love what I do, what’s the sense in doing it?