Wednesday, November 15, 2017
What to write next? What is your passion?
When I’m underground, taking a subway between New Jersey and New York, I often find myself passing the time not by reading but with a puzzle. Usually it’s a crossword or a Sudoku. Ten minutes or so is often just enough time, to solve a puzzle or two but not quite enough to delve too deeply into a book.
If I had my druthers, I’d prefer to work on a crossword than a Sudoku, however. I was just working on a hard Sudoku a moment ago and discovered late in the game that I’d made a mistake somewhere. I suppose I could have spent the time to find my mistake and correct it and eventually complete the puzzle. I’d fix a crossword, but it’s just not as satisfying for me on a Sudoku. It's not my passion.
Satisfaction in the work and knowing it’s worth doing are important motivators to finishing a piece, whether it’s a short story, novel, poem, song lyric, magazine article, or anything on your writing docket. For me, a crossword puzzle is simply more entertaining than a Sudoku, even though I enjoy both. With fiction or nonfiction, it helps immensely that I care about the characters or the subject of what I’m writing or editing.
In the same light, when it comes to selecting what to write next, I find that passion for the subject tends to be the deciding factor. Having the knowledge about and experience in a subject certainly matter, and knowing how and where to do the research does too. I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll get more done when I have a passion for the story, a passion for the characters.
Like me with a Sudoku, a story that doesn’t quite have the same passion is still enjoyable and worth reading. It might make you think. But I can tell you stories about favorite crossword puzzles; I couldn’t do the same for a Sudoku. And I can tell you about my favorite authors and the passion that comes through in their stories; then there are stories that are…fine.