Beyond Passion

What is it that you are passionate about? I mean the things that get your blood boiling and you just have to do something, even if it is wrong? Do you know what it is?

I thought I knew. I’ve come up against some things recently that have made me more introspective about what I am thinking and feeling. It wasn’t any one thing or occurrence that happened. It was more an accumulation of things. Is this good or bad? I don’t know yet. At this point, it just is.

When it comes to my writing, it is affecting my current story line. What I thought I knew about my characters has evolved. I am not sure I like it yet, but I am continuing on with it. I do know that it will affect what I’ve already written so there is editing that will have to happen. Shocking, I know. Gasp, it’s NOT perfect! Writing books, blogs, teachers, workshops say you must have passion for what you write. I think I’ve lost a part of that.

I write a lot about motivation because I am unpublished (at least outside of academia.) What can I offer about writing tips and tricks? Just the things I’ve done, learned and experienced myself. I am no writing expert. I just do it. Motivation is big for me. It gets me excited and makes me want to do things. I also hope that it works for others. The beauty of it is that we are all different and something that doesn’t motivate one person will completely get someone else moving. That is passion. I believe I have moved from the passion stage and into the work phase.

Have you found your passion? Write on.

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Internal Editors and Critics

Recognize this? Does this sound familiar?book edit

You don’t know how to write. Who would read this? It’s boring. What are you doing? You’re wasting your time. You really can’t write. Just don’t bother. Go about doing the chores and don’t worry your little head about creating something. You don’t have anything new to say. What makes you think that if you write it someone will want to read it? Where do you think you get your ideas? This has all been done before. You call that entertaining? You think you know how this other person will react? You can’t recognize truth if it bites you. And you will piss off people. You can’t possibly think that this is the only way to handle things? Your writing sucks. You might as well just use it as toilet paper because that’s all this is good for. People will hate this. And what makes you think that you have something worthwhile to say? No one cares what you think or write. Just get over yourself and see the writing on the wall. You’re nothing, nobody, and don’t have anything to say that anyone else would ever want to read.

This is your internal editor or critic trying to get the best of you whenever you attempt to do something creative. Have you been listening to it more than you want to admit? We all do. It’s always there. Why do you think anyone cares? Because we are all people and the human condition drives some of us to try and create, write or speak about it. Being human isn’t easy. We doubt. We let potential go to waste. We are fragile in ways that we are afraid to admit to others. Embrace that fragility and help someone see that it is okay to be different. You write. She paints. He sculpts. All of these things are wonderful because they are part of who we are. Turn off the editor. Say no to the critic. Do. Be. Create. Write. This is the beauty of life that is sometimes lost or forgotten. Your uniqueness is what makes these things interesting. Not everyone will like it. That is okay too. But you’ll never know if someone does if you don’t create in the first place.

Write on.


Specificity

Yes, I live in northern Colorado. All around me are rivers that have overflowed the normal capacities. And yes, the news is all about the waters. I am up, dry (relatively) as water flows downhill, and have food and shelter. I’m lucky. All of this goes into the idea folder for if I ever need to write about natural disasters and whatnot. I’m not planning on writing about the flood.

But the things that have gone on around here have made me acutely aware of the specificity of word choice. Granted, the talking heads on the TV generally do not write their own copy. It is handed to them after cursory editing to get it on the air before anyone else does. I get that. The minutiae a lot of times gets overlooked in the rush. But it can be important.

For example: water is EROSIVE, not generally CORROSIVE. In certain cases, water can be corrosive especially with lead and time. Rust is the result. However when you’re talking about a flood, the water is eroding the substructure of the road/bridge/railroad/building etc. The water is taking the substance away, breaking it up, changing state (dirt to mud, snow to water, for examples) rather than actually changing its nature by a chemical reaction (iron to rust). Mud is much less stable than dirt. The river therefore eroded the support under the road and washed it away.

The term 100 year flood is another specific example. There is a 1% probability of a flood of this magnitude happening each year. Where people get confused is that they say it is a 100 year flood. No, it’s just a possibility of 1 chance in 100 of it happening each year. It could happen again next year and then not again for 1000 years, we still have the same 1% chance. 1 chance in 100 does not mean that it only happens once every 100 years.

Now does this really matter amidst all the destruction and suffering going on due to these floods? No, not really. But as a writer, when you go back and edit what you’ve written make sure that the words you’ve chosen mean what you really intend them to mean. Write on.