September 01, 2012

Which Comes First: The Passion or the Will?

Which comes first: your passion to do something, or the will to do it? 
Do you do something because you're good at it, or so you can get good at it? 

Sneaking my own poem in with a duotang full of my favourites when I was 14.

I read a great post by Justine Musk and it has kept popping up in my mind ever since:

You might think passion comes first, and mastery second – but what if it’s the other way around? You might feel drawn to something but drop it as soon as it gets difficult or tedious or boring or unpleasant. You take this as a sign that you don’t have any passion for it. But what if passion comes after you’ve closed the creative gap (or at least worked your way partway through it)?

It's like she was speaking directly to me. I can't tell you how grateful I am for this sentiment; because I find writing excruciating. But I have reached a point in my life where I just can't abandon my WIP. You don't know me, so you don't know what this means. I assumed I would grow up to be a writer. I'm thirty-eight years old and I'm about 25% into the first novel I've ever written. I've walked away from writing all my life. Because it's really hard. Because I am afraid I have no talent for it. Because wanting to be a writer when you grow up is like wanting to be a rock star: impossible. 

She goes on to say:

Sometimes you have to choose – and commit – based on little more than instinct and faith: instinct that somewhere deep inside you, perhaps very very deep, is the ability to be good at this, and faith that the passion will grow with your ability.

"The passion will grow with your ability." AWESOME. And you know what? I think it's starting to work. Slowly, the writing is coming easier. The last two chapters I wrote were fun. Fun! And this is so kick-ass-hallelujah-restore-my-faith awesome because I will not walk away from my writing this time.

So, I may wonder sometimes that perhaps writing isn't really my calling, and I'm just being stubborn by coming back to it time and again. Because there isn't a lot of passion takes a huge disciplinary effort on my part to sit at the machine and punch out some words. It's awkward, and embarrassing, and everyone else can spew out thousands of words in a day, no problem. 

But whatever. I'm doing it. 

And if things keep going the way they have been lately, perhaps the passion will grow and it'll just get more and more fun. Woot!


  1. You can do it! I know you can. And for what it's worth, I truly believe you are talented. Sometimes getting pushed down a billion times in life takes a toll on passion. If you keep at it, keep moving towards that awesome moment when you type "THE END" on your first draft, your passion will explode.

    1. I'm finally starting to believe that "The End" is gonna happen, and I'm really looking forward to it! Thanks for always encouraging me to keep plugging along! xoxo

  2. I want to know what's going to happen! I'm hooked! You need to finish!! :-). You are super talented girl!!


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