P-A-S-S-I-O-N and Confidence And Publication Part 1 of 11

As writers, we are passionate people, as who else would sit in front of a computer and try to face a blank page each day? We are a unique breed. We want to feel our work is meaningful and exciting. Yet, paradoxically, we want approval and confidence for others. Ah, the writer, a paradox.

I suspect that even saying we should write with passion will give me a resounding, we knew this!

Are you so sure taht you write with passion?

 Can you have confidence in your writing, that beyond a select few it is passionate enough? Does it sound good all the time, there are no errors? Is it something you like to do or is it, hard a job… or worse still… something to run away from? Does writing ever scare you? Is it because there is less passion?

Ah, I see not so sure anymore. That’s fine. When one has a grain of doubt about their rather fleeting passion it might be a good thing, after all it is really confidence that helps in our work. We all heard the saying write what you know. I’ll add to that write what you know until you’re confident you can write about what you don’t know.

Yes another paradox. Still, not one that is hard to follow, at some point, you might, as a writer, take a fancy to writing romance instead of science fiction, and that is a challenge. Many writers will attempt a cross over by writing say a short story or reading some of the books in that genre. One good example is Harry Turtledove, he is known as the “master” of alternate history, and I’ve enjoyed his writing. His big jump was to do an alternate history with a mystery thrown in, a novel called the Two Georges.

As an alternate history, it reads well, as a mystery not so much, but if you don’t read mysteries as a rule, it’s a very good mystery either way. What’s important is his subsequent novels were enhanced by this adventure into the unknown. Before that, you could almost always skip a few pages and still not be lost. A bad thing for any writer, although with Turtledove a rather forgivable thing, as the what if was far more important.

I think, he gained a measure of confidence. I can see that with other authors as well, Terry Brooks, when he moved from one successful fantasy series to two other series. Stephen King also made the leap between horror and science fiction. All the above authors are famous of course, but if you think a bit, they are famous really for one type, Terry Brooks it would be the Shannara series, Harry Turtledove with alternate fiction, and of course Stephen King with horror. What gave them the ability to make this jump into the unknown?

Confidence in the writing. They wrote with a certain passion, and yet they could all morph into a different series or genre and still keep readers interest. Two of them also made the jump from fiction to non-fiction, and both books are highly regarded. Sometime the Magic Works by Terry Brooks and On Writing by Stephen King are often named books to have on writer’s shelves.

There are so many more authors who do this, Orson Scott Card, is an author who comes to mind. I’m sure we could all name a number of them, Nora Roberts, Margaret Atwood, Anne Rice (and more). They have something in common…

Confidence and Passion. They are all passionate about writing, and confident in their abilities that is why they have publsihed books. For new writers it is harder to gain confidence, but not hard to have the passion. If you write every day, your confidence will grow, as will your passion.

My Question For you today is this: What else do you think authors need along with passion? How would they go about getting it?


  • PrettySiren

    Aside of passion writers need a thick skin, determination, creativity, a strong command of the language they write in and — you know what? I could go on.

    Writing is a job that requires many assets. A writer needs to be a jack of all trades. They need to be adaptable, committed, and damned determined. Being all of this, along with passionate, will take you as far as you want to go.

  • brittany michelle

    first, a comment about your questions toward the beginning: I think some of us run away from writing because the passions are so intense that's what's terrifying, the way the confidence doesn't measure up to the passion.

    and i think writers need a thick enough skin that they won't feel the poison darts, but they can pluck the darts out, clean the poison off, and examine what the darts are trying to do and maybe stick the darts back into their skin…weird analogy, i know, but think about it.

  • JS

    The best example for writing with passion can be found in this post of your itself Rebecca. A composed and confident piece indeed, with a lot of and passion and compassion.

    Writers need knowledge along with passion. You may be passionate about a subject but your can't write on it with passion without a sound knowledge on that subject. I must add that passion about a subject can drive one to gather knowledge about that subject too.

  • Damaria Senne

    what everyone said above and then some:-)
    I also think writers need to have a willingness to take risk, either by writing in a new medium, or on a new subject matter or in a new genre etc. even writers who were already well-known in one genre needed this, because while being famous helps to launch a book diverting from the usual course, there's no guarantee that the readers/critiques etc would like it.

  • Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA

    I agree with the above posters that writers need a thick skin. So many of us try to have a stiff upper lip in the face of bad reviews and criticism, but the fact remains that we're all a sensitive bunch.

    You have to be prepared for biting criticism, constructive criticism, aimless criticism, and any type of rejection you can think of. But we still do it.

  • Jon Bard

    As a companion to thick skin, I would add "persistence".

    For all but a select few, writing success requires a long, hard slog. Give up at the first sign of trouble and you're out of the game.

    I'm reminded of what my karate sensei once told me: A black belt is a white belt who didn't quit. I thought about that when I wrapped my black belt around my waist for the first time.


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