There aren’t many writers out there that are doing their job solely for money or fame. Both are fleeting in this business, after all. Any writer worth their weight in literary goodness goes down this road because they’re committed to telling stories, to sharing thoughts and feelings, and to celebrate the beauty of language.
Passion for writing is a requirement. Being a writer is a creative business, and so it’s imperative to keep enthused about your own work. Sometimes it’s easy. And other times it’s a loveless relationship, and it seems like the magic’s gone. The nights are cold and quiet. That fleeting time together is filled with awkward stares (usually at a screen or page).
But just because there’s a rough patch in the relationship, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. Here are some quick tips to help spark the passion you once felt for your writing.
Make plans together. Every relationship needs some direction, after all. Set goals – big goals. Submit to a competition or magazine you’ve never had the courage to enter before (*cough*page seventeen*cough*). Get that novel down that you’ve always had in the back of your mind – even if you think it’ll be awful. Having something to aim for, and a deadline to meet; is a motivator that is often underestimated.
Don’t keep using the same move – it’s getting stale. That isn’t to say you’re not good at it. You’re probably breathtaking. But who wants to go through the motions, without any variety? If your last five pieces of fiction have been about vampires, then you’re probably in a rut. Try something that you’d never normally go for – you might find it surprisingly satisfying. It might also end in bruises, but that’s okay, because the experience itself is often naturally invigorating.
Suggest a swinger’s party. This perhaps seems a tad extreme to some, but who knows where it might lead? Finding the right company to swap your stories with can be a motivator in itself. Aside from getting some invaluable feedback, sharing your work with other writers is encouraging, emboldening and a major step in your own method of expression. The right workshop or writers’ group can be a melting pot of titillating feedback and encouragement.
Don’t be afraid to spend a little time apart – as long as you come back together in the end. I always advocate that when things get too rough to even be in the same room as each other, a couple needs to leave at least a little space to breathe until clear thinking prevails again. What matters is that it isn’t for too long. You’re still a team, after all – you and your writing. But if the writing process if feeling more difficult than rewarding, and you’ve gone through every ‘writing is hard work too, get over it’ inspirational quote you can find for motivation, remember that the hard work still warrants a chance to clear your head and recharge the batteries every now and then. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all.
Every writer has moments where the passion they once felt has been left to slip away. Speaking on a personal note, I’ve had a couple of those times in my own life – I first dedicated myself to becoming a writer about ten years ago and I’ve had a strong mix of easy enthusiasm and gruelling frustration. I’ll have plenty more. And so will you, if you plan to be a writer for a long time to come. And keeping enthusiastic every time you try to write can be hard. That’s when you need to remember why you fell in love with writing in the first place – and remind yourself how far you’ll go to honour the commitment you’ve made.
It’s a lot easier than it sounds. In the right relationship, it always is.
Beau Hillier | Editor, page seventeen