Friday, May 10, 2013

Find Your Passion Again And Follow It

I was in the car yesterday and NPR was doing a segment on college graduates and the common theme during those commencement addresses of "follow your passion!" As I was listening to this, it got me thinking about those writers who really have it figured out in the publishing business and those that might have forgotten this theme.

When we first started writing, what drove us was telling a great story. We had characters in our head that were, as one of my authors noted, "screaming to have their story told." We had plots and themes and we just wrote. Sure, there might have been fleeting thoughts flicking through our minds like hummingbirds around a feeder, but we ignored those thoughts and just kept writing.

As I got ready to write this post, I did have a thought and an angle I wanted to take, but, as I started looking at the research, I just didn't find what I was looking for. Still, I am going to venture to jump into this area without a net. What I thought I would have found in the research revolved around why people "self-publish." I had heard several authors say, in the early stages of self-publishing, choose this path because they could "write the story of their dreams." Money wasn't a factor. It was the passion and the joy of seeing a project through from its early infancy to the final published stage with pages between a cover.

The issue, however, was that when I started searching the net for writers who chose this path, for writers who answered the question "Why I chose self-publishing?" I was very disappointed. Post after post talked about the money. They talked about the business. They talked about the control of their work, not from the standpoint of creativity or of the passion of writing, it was all about business.


But, as you can see, that didn't stop me from continuing on with the post. I still do believe there are a lot of writers out there that have it figured out. They remember the joy of writing and why they are doing what they do! They are not being bogged down with the bottom line dollar figure or the business side of publishing.

I am wondering if this is one of the reasons why those "great books", those books that will eventually stand the test of time, seem to show up so infrequently any more. Sure, there are good books. Sure we see books that make us nod our heads and smile, but I question if these are the books that can move into the category of "great." What are they lacking? I do think it is that passion.

As we enter this coming weekend, I think it is something we all need to think about when it comes to our writing. Are we writing because of the passion, or are we just saying this just to make a public statement? Are we being driven by the dollar figure or by the desire to just tell a great story?

Just something to consider.


P.S. And please take the time this weekend to thank your mother and those who are mother figures to you! Would you really be where you are without them?


  1. I've thought this many times but always 'hit the brakes' when it came to writing a story just because it needed to be told. Why? I guess because these days it seems we writers are told time and time again to make sure we know our target audience, our genre, what publisher we're targeting and the list goes on. This is exactly what got me into trouble just recently. I had finished a novella that seemed to flow from my fingers. It was so much fun to write and looking back I realized that not once did I think about where it would fit, who would read it and who would publish it. The first editor to read it liked it but it didn't fit their needs at the moment. I pitched it during an online event and out of all those pitches an editor asked for a full. I sat scratching my head about that because I'd been struggling with what to write next. The idea I was really enamored with might not work here or there or anywhere. Yet it was calling to me. Like that novella idea. It finally dawned on me that I needed to get back to writing just for the joy of it. To not worry about if it would sell, where it would sell, would it earn any just enjoy the journey.

  2. If we lack passion in what we write, readers will lack passion when they read our work. I have friends who self publish. The bottom line is they can't get an agent/publisher so they go ahead. It's mighty hard work and none of them really make any money in the short term and I don't they will in the long term.

    Great post as always.