How to Tap into Your Passion Every Time You Write

Let’s say you have a great idea for an article, blog post, short story, or novel. You’ve brainstormed your main points and you feel the topic is fresh and interesting.

After a bit of work, you come to the moment when you are ready to write. You hope to infuse that initial excitement about your idea into your writing, but when you get down to the nuts and bolts of actually putting the idea down on paper (or typed into your Word document), it seems to fall flat.

You know it’s not the idea that’s the problem. Nor is it your writing ability; you have the chops to write well. So what’s the problem?

The Difficult Transition from Idea to Execution

Sometimes that transition from idea to execution causes problems. At times the story seems to be hovering over some lost horizon. You could be wandering a bit lost, and as the cliché goes: you can’t see the forest for the trees. And if you are working on something as enormous as a novel, it can seem like a huge forest with so many trees (elements) that your vision can get muddled and your eyes tired from trying to “see the big picture” all the time.

Kahlil Gibran said in his famous book The Prophet that “thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.” I memorized that line more than forty years ago because of its profound wisdom. Just how do we get our terrific ideas to “fly” in a cage of words?

We do so by tapping into our passion. Passion for our topic and passion for shaping words.

Don’t Mistake Enthusiasm for Passion

You can be passionate about your story idea, but that could just be enthusiasm. Don’t confuse the two. I’ve heard clients talk (or write in an email) quite excitedly about their plot, and it might actually be a great idea. But when I dig into the writing looking for the heart of the story, I’m not finding passion.

So, what do I mean by passion? I’m talking about a strong feeling, conviction, belief that comes from within. A belief that this is an important story to tell, a pertinent theme to explore, or a significant argument to make.

If you can find a way to tap into that joy of shaping words to create some beautiful bird, it will come through in your writing.

Want a beautiful PDF with 20 inspirational tips to help you get passionate about writing? Click here to get your downloadable PDF.

Return to Your First Love

Your greatest hindrance to passionate writing is self-criticism. Instead of worrying over why we write or analyzing our writing to death, I suggest we return back to that first love of storytelling. That’s why you started writing anyway, isn’t it?

We have to not only shut up the “critic” and other inner hecklers that get in our way, we also have to journey back to a simpler place, one that rediscovers the joy of creativity every time we sit down to write.

Sure, if we have a contractual deadline dangling over our heads like the Sword of Damocles, it can be a bit tricky to stop glancing up. But if we want to get to that place of passion, we have to.

Can we write like that every moment we sit down and dig into our story? Not likely. I imagine there are some writers who come close. Is that something we should aim for? I’m going to say no, because I think the emotional and energetic side, to put it one way, doesn’t always serve us best. There are times when we have to get quiet and think. Or not think. Times we have to problem-solve and talk to ourselves, untangle tight knots in our plot (or back).

So maybe passion doesn’t look like excitement all the time. Passion can also look like dedication, persistence, patience, meditation. To me, it has many faces. But the result  . . . that’s the key.

So What Does Passion Look Like?

These are some of the things I notice in books that scream passion:

  • A delight in the language. Amateur writers and writers lacking passion tend to lean more toward the cookie-cutter or formula-type way of structuring sentences and scenes (and plots). There is no depth.
  • A delight in rich characters. As writers, I feel, we should be fascinated by people. Humans are complex, contradictory, confusing, erratic, surprising, hilarious—and the list goes on. Writers should capture the human condition in all its weirdness. So, passionate writing loathes stereotyped characters.
  • A delight in storytelling. When you read a riveting story, you can sense the writer is enthralled in the story herself. She’s not just plunking down the words she thinks will fit nicely, the way you might work a jigsaw puzzle. She’s enamored with the process of telling the story.

Passion Might Not Be Important for Every Writer

 Passion may not be why you write. Writers write for various reasons, and many of those reasons are valid and not to be judged. I have friends who pump out novels using formulaic structure, and they are not a bit passionate. They are making a decent living by what they do, they support their families, and they are perfectly happy with their work. I think that’s terrific . . . for them. And it may be terrific for you as well. There is a need in many marketplaces for skilled, nonpassionate writing, and someone has to do it. (Think of all those computer tech manuals!)

But someone also needs to write those passionate stories for readers longing for such stories. And maybe you are one of those writers. If you want to be one, you need to stir up your passion for words, for your characters, and for storytelling itself. You need to push away all those encroaching voices within and without that pull you away from your passionate core.

Some people listen to stirring music, read great literature before sitting down to tackle a scene, or take a walk in nature to clear their head or stir the imagination. Can you think of some ways that might help you tap into your passion when you sit down to write? If so, share them here in the comments. Let’s incite each other to passionate writing!

Feature photo by Rhiannon Logsdon

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  1. This is so spot on Susanne! Thank you! I always fail to make the leap into actual writing although I get very enthused by ideas. That Gibran quote is fantastic!

  2. Passion is stirred by the new. As in, engaging in a new creative presuit — colouring books are all the rage — or just taking a new route from your office to home.

    Passion is stirred by meeting with like-minded people. So attend writing events or join a writing group.

  3. Passion is stirred by the new. As in, engaging in a new creative endeavour — colouring books are all the rage — or just take a new route from your office to home.

    Passion is stirred by meeting with like-minded people. So attend writing events or join a writing group.

  4. Very helpful. I have been trying to write a review on a book that evokes my emotions so much but my self criticism makes me feel like I am not conveying the topic passionate enough. May be just need to relax a little bit a give myself the chance to flow more naturally than been too
    ‘creative’ about it.

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