Regain the Passion (Part 3)

(First read “Regain the Passion” Part 1 and Part 2.)

How to Regain Lost Passion
If you were passionate about your writing in the past, but haven’t felt that way for a long time, there is a definite sadness mixed in with the lethargy. It feels like falling out of love, and in a very real sense, it is.

Can you stir up the fires of passion for your writing? Can you fall in love with writing and your work again, when all seems dry as dust and just as tasteless?


Surprising Sources
Years ago, I struggled with this question, slowly becoming afraid that the boredom and apathy were permanent. I tried to muster some enthusiasm for my book-in-progress, whose deadline was fast approaching, but to no avail.

It wasn’t the book manuscript itself. I knew it was finely plotted, with well placed clues and plenty of tension. The problem wasn’t in the manuscript—it was in me.

Unexpected Lesson

I found the answer to the problem one cold, snowy morning, and it came from the most unlikely source: my dog. We’d had freezing conditions for several days, cutting short my walks with Rhett (my black Lab.) I chained him outside for the day, then hurried back indoors. Playtime was cut short—it was just too cold and windy for me.

I paid little attention to Rhett during that week, although I’d loved him passionately since bringing him home from the pound ten months earlier. As the frigid week wore on, and the weather stayed miserable, I began to resent having a dog. I hated going out in the weather to his snug dog house, carrying water so often because his dish froze over. I became apathetic about Rhett—he was getting to be more trouble than he was worth.

Then one day the sun came out, melted the snow, and temperatures soared. I put Rhett on his leash and took an hour-long walk, complete with Puppy Biscuit rewards for correct sitting, heeling and staying. When we got home, I chained him outside near his food and water, then stayed to play.

I petted, I stroked, I laughed, I cooed. (If you’ve never been a dog owner, you may need to gag here.) Anyone watching me that morning could see I had regained my passion for owning a dog.

Simple Formula
I’m sure you see the parallels. Regaining passion for your work can be accomplished the same way:
A. Pay attention to your work. Think about it when you’re not at your desk. Mull over your theme. Ponder plot points. Have mental conversations with your characters.
B. Take care of your work. Feed it with quotes and good resource books. Do in-depth research and interviews. Immerse yourself in your subject matter.
C. Spend time with your work. Daily, if possible. If you want passion to ignite in anything (a relationship, your work, a hobby) you must spend consistent—and sufficient—time with it. We understand this principle in romantic relationships, but it’s just as true with your writing.

Don’t Settle
Part of the enjoyment of being a writer is the pure passion and pleasure of setting words on paper. Don’t settle for ho-hum, apathetic work. Instead take the necessary steps to revive your passion for writing.

Do it as often as necessary to keep that spark of joy alive!

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8 Responses to Regain the Passion (Part 3)

  1. Judy says:

    I like your emphasis on paying attention versus chaining oneself (speaking of dogs, LOL) to one’s desk, producing words even when there’s no heart for it. Paying attention is more global and do-able at times like that.

    • kwpadmin says:

      Paying attention is also more fun, I’ve found. It coaxes you back into writing more gently. I used to be more “hammer myself into writing…just do it!” In a pinch under deadline, that is useful, but in the long run, it’s not nearly as enjoyable.

  2. Audrey Albinger says:

    Producing words, thoughts, ideas, hasn’t been the main problem for me, but harnessing myself….not chaining myself…but…. putting on the bridle of control has been lacking. Allowing so many online distractions, telling myself these are important (and they are), but not to the detriment of my goals. Kristi, I can’t thank you enough for your ongoing wisdom and advice.

    • kwpadmin says:

      Audrey, you’re so welcome. We all struggle with this kind of thing today. I know people think I am technologically backward sometimes, but I don’t have Internet on my cell phone, and we still just have a DSL line. I have enough trouble with distractions. If I could get them on my phone and every computer, I’d be sunk. Even though I have to stand up at my treadmill computer to get online, it’s STILL hard to get off and get to work. :-) But I do try to put obstacles between me and the Internet, or I’d never get any work done, I’m afraid.

      • Liz says:

        I’m like that too abt the internet — two ways I’ve been able to deal with it successfully – most of the time –

        ~I set a timer [ meditation bells] and try to race through my FB and email time before it goes off. I usually set it for 45 minutes at lunchtime, and figure that’s like having lunch with friends.

        The other is that I had my husband disconnect the wifi connector gizmo in my smaller/older netbook and I use that to draft & revise manuscripts and then flashdrive the updated version to my newer computer. It also helps if I take it out of the house and write in the library, park, Panera, etc — so I’m away from house distractions. ;-)

        Thank you So much for this series about Regaining Passion. I needed it =)

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