Writerly Passion

A Guest Post by Robin Ambrose

Lots of writers will tell you that if you're not passionate about writing, you should choose some other line of work. They'll tell you that, even if you are passionate about writing, if it's at all possible to convince yourself to do something else, you should do that.

Writing is hard, they'll tell you – and they're right. Plenty of wanna-be writers quit when it finally sinks in that writing isn't the anybody's-game they thought it was. They leave when they discover that writing quality material requires a masters-level understanding of sentence structure, grammar, syntax, and all sorts of things the average adult forgot back in sixth grade.

Writing requires a thick skin, they'll announce, and the bad reviews of even bestselling books certainly bear that out. Heaven preserve the shrinking violet writer who dares to publish a part of her soul for mass consumption.

Writing is a lot of work for not much pay, they'll insist. They're right again. Most work isn't on commission, most books never achieve even minimum-wage compensation, and even those authors lucky enough to get an advance rarely see any royalties.

Given all that, why would anyone want to be a writer if their primary passion didn't demand it?

Well, maybe – just maybe – passion that is less than all-consuming can be real nonetheless.

Maybe characters who fall silent when ignored still deserve to come to life when busy hobbyist writers finally have time to tell their stories.

Maybe a writer who struggles to follow their secondary passion – to find time for it amid the clamor of everything else they enjoy – is able to write brilliant stories filled with hard choices between legitimate options.

Maybe writers who are able to enjoy a variety of professions can craft sympathetic characters from all walks of life.

Maybe the busy can also be wise.

Writing stories cannot be the exclusive arena of those who can successfully do little else. If only life-long professional writers are writing the brilliant and worthy bestsellers of tomorrow, we will have silenced important voices of writers who could have opened up our minds to their own passions. We will have missed out on wisdom learned in hard, beautiful trenches utterly unrelated to words.

If you aspire to write novels, don't wait for writing to be the only important thing in your life.

Learn your craft. Write your million bad words. Get your masters in writing, even if it takes a decade. If you aren't intimidated by hard work, there is plenty here to do.

Grow that thick skin, for you will not be universally loved.

Keep your day-job, if you love it. It will help you feed yourself while your writing career limps along. It will fuel your passion and give you a multitude of ideas for new stories to tell and new insights to share with the world. There may come a time when your writing demands more of your attention, but nothing can force you to pick favorites. If you want, you can do both forever.

Writing is hard, daunting work. It requires the courage to face down blank pages and haters and self-doubt. But if you're willing to do the work, your voice is important, and your stories are needed.

Keep writing.

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Robin Ambrose is a theatre arts major with a law degree who practiced criminal defense law for over a decade and is now branching out into family law. She dreams of becoming a best-selling author, but is presently content to be a wanna-be writer, a new bride, and mother of a blended family of 5 children.

Robin's blog can be found at www.robinambrose.blogspot.com


2 Responses

  1. Thanks for hosting me!

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