When do you sacrifice passion for production?

I have worked on my redraft for months now, exploring new paths, rewriting old chapters, and discovering new aspects of myself in the process. I have done my best to show up and write as often as possible and to commit to lofty goals that will one day hopefully see me as a full time writer.

And yet, when I read my work, I can hear a hollowness in my characters’ words and a lack of colour in my world. Authenticity is missing, and no matter how many times I delete and try again, I just can’t seem to find it. Compounding this is the guilt I feel for not posting here often enough, for not commenting on my favourite blogs, for not staying in touch with my writerly mates.

I’m desperate to complete this draft and send it out into the world and find some readers who like what I do…and I think that’s where the problem lies.

quote2We live in a society where a writer’s success is predicated on bestsellers, money and fame. According to the myriad of blogs, books and websites out there, a true writer needs to write every day, post on their twitter/facebook/blog/whatever every second day, comment on other writers’ social media every other day, network at every festival and con they can get to, and generally tell the world that they’re the next best thing…without being annoying about it. Do all that, and you might enjoy a modicum of success.

It’s rubbish.

A writer needs to hold onto their passion for writing. You lose your passion, you’re just working another shitty day job. And what’s the point of that?

So I’m going to spend my precious writing time just focussing on the fact that I love to write. It is a stabilising, joyful force in my life. I get to live in two worlds. I get to discover words like ‘pyknic’ and ‘sabrage’ and I get to flood my sentences with my friend, the gerund. I get to live a life I find fulfilling.

It’s my version of writerly success.

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8 thoughts on “When do you sacrifice passion for production?

  1. I think it is important not to get caught up in endlessly working and reworking one piece of writing. It will never be perfect because that is an impossible dream. But it’s okay if your writing is just great or even good.

    My advice would be to put it aside and work on something else. Perhaps when you come back to it, you will return with some clarity. The novel that was my debut spent five years in a drawer before I went back to it and it was exactly what I needed to refresh my enthusiasm for it and look at it with fresh eyes. You probably won’t need that long but you get the idea.

    Regarding not posting on your blog often enough, I am having the exact opposite type of guilt. I’m managing three posts a week but I’m completely neglecting my novel in progress. So which is worse?

    Ultimately, we all just have to do what makes us happy. Writing seems to be it – success be damned!

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  2. I really believe that when you no longer enjoy pursuing your creative endeavour, be it writing or something else, you should at least give it a break, because you are right – it then becomes nothing more than a shitty day job.

    Not only that, it actually steals little pieces of your soul when you start hating what once was your happy place.

    I think it’s important to remember to be objective about the angst of creative frustrations (which on some level we still love as it drives us to keep working at it, to keep challenging ourselves,) and the point where you start to feel anxiety, stress and dread from what you once loved…

    If or when you feel the latter, then it’s time to step back, reevaluate and find what you loved about it, and give yourself the present of letting go, and allowing yourself to love the creative joy of writing as you did before – outcomes, goals and perceived success be damned.

    I believe it will inevitably lead you to where you should be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, chook! We’ve both been lucky enough to discover a love for creative projects. I’ve got a lot to learn about respecting that creativity, rather than trying to turn it into something I feel is of value to society. So much creative angst! 🙂

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  3. We’re a society that focuses on the overnight success, that raises the ‘gifted’ on a pedestal and showers them with financial glory. The truth is that when you look at these people you’ll see the years of hard work, the persistent steps toward a goal, and yes, passion. I think writing to an audience of adoring fans is a sure-fire way to kill your passion, and if doing all the things you are ‘supposed to do’ is taking away from the love you have of writing, it’s time to step back from it and reassess what success means to you. There’s no point in being a popular author if on your way you’ve come to view writing as a job to get done – you can come join the rest of us miserable sods if that’s what you’re after 🙂 I think you’re on the right (or write) track!

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  4. Hi Kelly. So nice to meet you. Thank you for calling by and wanting to follow my poetry adventures. The way I think is there is little chance of fame and riches coming my way. I write because it’s what keeps me going I write for the love of expressing my thoughts. I don’t have to make a living out of my creations. If I’m happy with what I write that’s all that matters. Any kind comments are a wonderful bonus. Often think of the saying ‘The Pen is mightier than the sword!’ Good Luck. Peace and Best Wishes. The Foureyed Poet.

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