Everyone in my house is an artist: I write, my younger sister draws, and my boyfriend composes music. We’re all talented in our chosen fields, but we can also be described as skilled in these areas as well. But skill alone won’t improve on an innate ability. There’s one other factor here, one that could be what makes or breaks you. That’s passion.
We’re all passionate about something: food, music, clothes, TV shows, books, pets, families, sports, scrapbooking, whatever. Our passion for these things is brought on by feelings of love. Generally, the more positive we are about something, the more we love it. It can be heard by how we talk about things, or shown through our actions (an avid I Love Lucy fan collecting anything and everything Lucille Ball, for example). These things make us happy.
It’s no different for a writer. I know many of my followers are either writers themselves, know writers, or are just passionate about the written word. Those of us who are writers can (and have) talked friends’ ears off about projects. Everyone who knows a writer has been that friend. Everyone passionate about the written word would take over any conversation the former two started. Again, passion is the driving force.
But what happens when you’ve got an idea, and despite your best efforts, it fails to engage others? Common sense has the writer take it back to the drawing board for revisions. Yet even this version fails. What’s wrong?, you may ask yourself. Is my main character not sympathetic enough? Is my plot not interesting? Did I miss something in my research?
Is my friend finally sick of hearing me yammer on about this idea?
The solution to this problem isn’t always in plain sight. When a writer digs his/her heels in, it’s until the end. This tunnel vision often blinds us to a simple truth: maybe, just maybe, somewhere along the way, you lost your passion for the idea.
No way!, you say. I didn’t spend hours researching, rewriting and re-reading something I didn’t enjoy!
Except you did. And it’s doubly frustrating, because not only did you waste all that time and energy on something that, ultimately, you fell out of love with, but it could have been used for another idea.
This isn’t an easy thing to swallow for most creative types. We are, as a whole, an emotionally volatile lot given to extremes. Someone loves what you do, you shout your joy to the heavens. Someone hates what you do, you howl your rage. And then you cry in a corner. Crying will almost always be involved.
Don’t be discouraged. It happens to the best of us. It took me a long time to realize that sometimes, it’s just better to let ideas go and move on. As a writer, you can (and have) created ideas with good intentions, but executed them poorly. It doesn’t mean you’re not talented at writing, or your skill level has dropped because you took time off from the craft. If you are truly passionate about what you do, you can count on it to get you through the toughest situations. The key here is take what you’ve learned of the experience and put it to good use for the future. We’re all waiting to read your book!