Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Importance of Passion

I just read Bleak House by Charles Dickens -- and watched the BBC movie so I could figure out what was going on -- and read Spark notes to make sure what I thought was going on really did.

One of the themes is the importance of passion. It’s like fire, dangerous but necessary. The word makes us think of heavy breathing, gasps, and sighs, but it’s also a main component of motivation. Lack of passion and interest is essentially death. Ever done a job you weren’t passionate about? Didn’t the time go very slowly? Passion gives you that can’t wait to get out of bed feeling in the morning (not just the can’t wait to get into it at night).

It’s what makes us good writers. So what happens when we sit at the keyboard and feel no passion? As the pilot of Apollo 13 said, “Houston, we have a problem.” Passion is the lifeblood of fiction. The reader wants to feel what the characters feel. I recommend reading Christopher Vogler’s “The Writer’s Journey.” In it, he says good writing makes our juices flow. Sounds gross but it’s true. We’ve got to feel that stuff percolating while we type so the reader feels it when she reads it. Amazing how passion stays locked up in those little words, isn’t it? Just sitting there, waiting to be read, or re-read if it’s a keeper.

So have you lost your passion? Never fear. There is help.

-Drink some java or take a jog to get the heart pumping.
-Take a break. Fatigue and burn-out kill passion. Recharge. Better yet, take a little trip for a change of scene.
-Watch an emotional movie. Get out the tissues and have a good wail.
-Watch a soap opera and watch the facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice -- and how they all converge to convey emotion.
-Face your fears. Have an issue you’re burying so it can’t hurt you? Dig it up and feel it so you can feel and write again. Writing is cathartic.

May passion be with you!

Afton Locke


jean hart stewart said...

Good post. with lots of ideas. I don't go blank very often but when I do it's a killer. Thanks, Jean

Fran Lee Romance said...

Great thoughts, Afton. I agree. You must have a passion for what you do...and when your passion blossoms for life and your job, whether it be writing or sitting behind a desk, you simply feel like you are flying.

Marianne Stephens said...

Great suggestions for "finding" your passion when you feel it's lost or slipping away.
Walking away from the computer for awhile and focusing on other things helps refresh me!
Nice blog!

Paris said...

I think your best advice is of course the java and taking a break:-) Great post and thanks for the ideas!

Anny Cook said...

Thank you for the excellent post. Perhaps that's what I'm missing!

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

AFton, loved your thoughts. In fact, I am in the midst of writing a keynote speech (shoot me, pls.) and THIS was a concept that definitely needs to go into it.
The title? What do women want? (In a book!!)

Afton Locke said...

Glad I could put the passion in your lives, ladies. Good luck with your speech, Cerise.

Julia Barrett said...

Great post! So perfect for me right now when I'm suffering a bit of burnout and staring at my WIP like it's a complete stranger!