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  1. The Backward OX
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    The Backward OX Senior Member

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    You need to be passionate about your writing?? What a load of rubbish!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by The Backward OX, Sep 14, 2009.

    Everywhere I see people saying that you need to be passionate about your writing.

    I say that’s horse feathers. It’s a load of rubbish.

    What I think happened is that someone somewhere once attended a workshop and heard some published author say it.

    I can just see Stephen King expounding it to a roomful of wannabes, punching the air and making his spectacles glisten in the artificial lighting; “You need to be passionate about your writing!”

    That someone came away from the workshop and began telling everyone else “You need to be passionate about your writing.”

    Let’s face it, if Mr King said it, it must be correct.

    And everyone else began repeating it. And before you knew it, the entire writing community was paying lip service to the expression.

    The reality is that a story is just about the most unlikely thing about which one can become passionate. Writing is hard work. Hard work and passion are mutually exclusive.

    Even more to the point, how is it possible to be passionate about something not real?

    I could understand someone being passionate about saving the whales, or abortion, or euthanasia, but space wars, or elves, or superheroes? Puh-leese.

    If you insist you’re passionate about your writing, you need help.:)
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess it depends on exactly how you define passionate.

    But if I had to pick decriptive words that I feel a writer must have about their work I'd say:
    Motivated and Professional. For some that might = passionate?

    But that's just me.

    Terry
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Rather extreme view, don't you think, xO?

    It certainly requires a lot of motivation to go through all the hard work and frustration of writing, with so little likelihood of getting a good return on the investment. Wouldn't a passion for your writing provide such a motivation?

    And please refrain from making provocative comments like:
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    How does passion equal needing help? When people talk about passion in this context, they are talking about strong emotions, a love for the process or what you are writing about. That is something that most writers do need because, as Cogito says, there is so little chance of getting a "return on the investment" as it were. If you don't love what you're doing, it would be too easy to give up and move on to something else.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I think you are confusing subject matter with the writing itself. It is possible to be passionate about writing, just like it is possible to be passionate about drawing or writing music. There have been a few writers who lived in poverty and still continued to write despite not making much money off of it. If writing wasn't their passion, then I'm not sure why they would continue writing for little pay.

    I agree that one doesn't have to be passionate about one's writing. But I'm willing to bet that most of the best fiction writers wrote fiction because they were passionate about it.

    Just because it's hard work means one can't be passionate about it? Most people here on WF write because they like it and have a passion for it. If you don't have a passion for writing, then I'm not sure why you write or are on WF.

    No comment...
     
  6. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    The fact that you love it is what motivates you to do the hard work. Personally, story is my life. There is nothing I love more that story-telling, no matter how hard the work is. The passion is what makes the hard work worth it.
     
  7. The Backward OX
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    The Backward OX Senior Member

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    Sorry. Smiley added.
     
  8. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    The fact that I've spent hours upon hours on the same story, changing it a billion times, re-writing it two billion times and taking a writing course in university -- all to improve, and to hopefully one day see my work on the shelf of a book store is not only hard work and motivation, but also passion. Sorry, I completely disagree.
     
  9. SayWhatNow?
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    SayWhatNow? Senior Member

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    After writing my first few stories(which, sucked terribly and I gave up on after a few pages), I tell you that without a passion for writing, I would have said "Screw it! I can just do something else!". But I came back over and over again, writing crappy story after crappy story until I hit a good note and realized that I loved writing.

    And yes, I insist that I am passionate about writing.

    As for Stephen King, he is a brilliant, brilliant man who wrote the first book that I said to myself "Wow....wow...that was good."

    And if you listen to interviews with King, you can tell that he is absolutely in love with three things:
    1.his wife
    2.his children
    3.writing

    I don't think he could fake that kind of passion
     
  10. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm sorry you feel no passion for writing, Ox. I thought I'd never come to say this in a constructive forum, but I'm getting a feeling that writing fiction is not for you. Perhaps this post is just written in frustration (which can be passionate, actually), but if writing gives you no joy then I don't understand what drives you to it.

    Fiction is not just fiction! It's the mirror of our souls.

    Art and stories is not just a passion, it's the love of my life. And I didn't attend Mr. King's seminars.
     
  11. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Being passionate about what fulfills you; what gives you solace, or keeps you connected to the heart of your art; the passion that feeds your creative soul, that brought you to writing and keeps you there even though the stress of it can have you sweating tears and inviting ulcers when you can't find the right words, or when the rejection slips pile higher than you'd ever imagined. It's the passion that keeps you going; that ensures you make the time for writing you can't give to the so-called priorities in your life. It's the passion that carries you through the isolation and self doubt and aching joints and burning eyes, and not forgetting the regular bouts of frustration at the unbelievable discipline it requires to be a...writer. If it's a hobby you want, you don't need the passion you're referring to, but if you want to put everything you have into being the best writer you can be, then I'm afraid you're going to have to face up to the reality that it's not going to happen without...passion. I genuinly hope you find yours.
     
  12. p.sawyer
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    p.sawyer Member

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    without having a passion for something, what is the point in doing it when it's not necessary?

    i believe there is a passion that drives every single little thing that we do. even the things we think that we detest doing. i work part-time as a sales assistant which drives me absolutely out of my mind, but yet i still do it. so what drives me to turn up on time every single shift and do the best job i can do? passion. not for the job but for what the job gives me. independence, for making a living, for not living off daddy's money, for building a stable environment for myself.

    if you're not passionate about writing, then how do you find the motivation to do so? what drives you?

    but i do admire you for having such a strong alternative viewpoint. not many people would have the guts to do that.​
     
  13. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Smiley didn't help much.

    Work and passion, mutually exclusive? To that, I say, Puh-leese.
    If you're not passionate about your work, frankly, you need to select another profession.

    And if you think that fiction writing is all "space wars, or elves, or superheroes" and that those things are things which cannot inspire passion, then I'm afraid we have completely different conceptions about fiction writing, fiction reading, and that which can inspire passion.

    Well said.

    After reading the OP of this thread, I asked myself, "Who is this 'Backward Ox' fellow? He's here, and has a number of posts... but now he seems to have strong feelings that seem antithetical to writing in general.

    So I checked some of your previous posts.

    And the whole "creativity" thread...

    If you really, truly want to be a writer, friend, I suggest that you find a writing topic that you are passionate about. The problem with your writing, I strongly suspect, is neither a loss of interest nor a need to learn to be creative. The problem is that you lack passion for your writing.

    Think about it, and see if you can find a way to become passionate about your writing.

    Charlie
     
  14. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    Passion for writing can be a rollercoaster. Sometimes you feel your writing with a golden pen whose every stroke is masterful, and other times you’re overwhelmed with doubt.
     
  15. The Backward OX
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    The Backward OX Senior Member

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    Ha!!
     
  16. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but I wonder, if you're so cynical and negative about things in general, why you bother being a member of WF.org? Aren't you happier on your other forum?
     
  17. shawsend
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    shawsend Active Member

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    I believe you're joking Mr. Ox, or just playing the devil's advocate to invoke passionate replies from those you know fully well are passionate about writing.
     
  18. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Ha??

    If you're not passionate about space wars, elves or superheroes, perhaps you might consider writing a novel about abortion, euthanasia, or saving the whales?

    These have been the topics of novels, you know...

    That possibility hadn't occurred to me, but I can see where that's entirely possible. It would certainly explain why someone would say such things that, to me at least, seem contrary to all understanding of what the writing process is.

    It's possible, however, that he just does not understand the writing process and the very real passion that we feel. If so, I can't imagine he can ever become a good writer.

    But, whether a "devil's advocate" thing or not, just to play the game for a moment, I actually just thought of two examples to illustrate why a person might actually be passionate about space wars, superheroes or elves:

    Two other examples are music and sports.

    Some people are enthralled with opera. They go to an opera, and find tears streaming down their faces. To others, opera means nothing, or is boring. And to the opera singers themselves, it too, is a passion--it is their very lives.

    Some people love rock concerts, and will go, and dance, and sing, and it will be the high point of their very lives--some have even made it their mission to follow a rock band where every they go. For others, it's all so much noise. And to the musicians themselves--it is a passion. It is the creative outlet through which they pour their blood, sweat and tears.

    Some people love sports. They will pay large sums of money for season's passes and will paint their bodies and go scream for the teams. For others, it's just a silly kids game. For the players themselves, it is a passion, and it is what they put their all into doing.

    Some people couldn't care less about abortion, or euthanasia, or saving the whales. But, yes, one can be very passionate, even about superheroes, elves, and space wars.

    And there's nothing wrong with that. It's a wonderful world where so many different people can live and be passionate about so many different things, whether religion, politics, chess, sports, writing, or anything else.

    Your passion is not better than my passion, even if your passion is saving the whales and my passion is writing super hero comic books.

    There's no reason for any person to judge another, because something to their tastes isn't to our own. Just because I don't like opera doesn't make the tears of another less sincere. Just because I'm not a sports fan doesn't mean the people who paint their bodies are just faking their passion.

    My passion for my writing is true. I cannot imagine anyone wanting to be on this site if they did not themselves also have a passion for writing. I would think that such a person would be on a website for opera, or sports, or saving the whales.

    Charlie
     
  19. The Backward OX
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    The Backward OX Senior Member

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    You beat me to the draw. I was about to post here that I've put the identical question to the members of my other forum, and the majority of responses are pretty well exactly the opposite of what I'm reading here. In other words they support what I say.

    Btw, I've got no beef with being passionate about the topic of writing. My argument's about the subject matter, the story itself.
     
  20. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I think Charlie is correct. The passion should be for the subject you're writing about, and for reaching people. That's it for me. And it's not necessarily being passionate about "space wars, elves or superheroes", but rather a passion for entertaining people.

    Ever think that your difficulties with your writing could stem from that lack of passion?
     
  21. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Then you obviously have not been at the first screening of a Harry Potter movie at six o'clock in the morning, eh?

    ^_~*
     
  22. The Backward OX
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    The Backward OX Senior Member

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    Harry who??
     
  23. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Your lack of passion on subject matter does not mean that passion for that subject matter does not exist in others.

    Some are passionate about cooking.

    Some are passionate about gardening.

    Some are passionate about saving the whales.

    Some are passionate about super heroes.

    If you don't like people being passionate about super heroes, I have a suggestion. Instead of finding people in whatever other forum you are in who pat you on the back and agree with you, find people who are passionate about super heroes: go to a comic book convention, preferable a very large one, find a loudspeaker and make an announcement that you can't see how anyone could be passionate about something as silly and trivial as super heroes, be sure to tell them how they wasted their money on the admission, and tell them how much more important saving the whales is, and see how many people agree.

    Or if you really want to risk life and limb, do that at a Star Trek convention.

    If you're still alive when you're done with that, go to any game of a major football league and harangue the crowd about how, no one could possibly be passionate about this kid's game.

    Charlie

    PS. By the way, this is a writing site, not a superhero site, or an elves site, or a space wars site. There are sites for those things. Writing is a broader thing...some of us are passionate about writing romances. I myself am passionate about my thriller novel with its secret codes.
     
  24. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Dini.
     
  25. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    Passion: A strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything: a passion for music.

    I am very passionate not only about writing, but about what I'm writing, thank you very much. And I'm not crazy.

    Someone can be passionate about anything. It's just your feelings towards an object, whether physical or mental in nature. You can be passionate about the actual act of writing, or the world you're creating.

    Nate
     
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