You have to have passion for a subject to write about it. You can’t expect your readers to feel any excitement if it’s nothing but a boring writing exercise for you – Leonard Mlodinow
I’ve done the writing exercises. And I’ve written stuff where I went in perceiving them as writing exercises. Stepping stones in my ongoing development to becoming a competent storyteller. Let me tell you, those stories have been deleted or are sitting forgotten in a notebook.
For me, writing exercises and passion don’t exactly go together all that well. You can ask my mentor how well I handled those exercises and my early attempts to weave something together within the boundaries of the rules and conventions surrounding story form and any kind of genre.
The only thing I seemed to have adhered to is long-form storytelling.
If asked, I’m sure my mentor will admit that he has learned some interesting things about me as he acts as a guide in my development as a writer. He might even tell you what those things would be. And I would have to agree with him. How knowing those things would be of any benefit to anyone is anybody’s guess.
After having written two novel-length stories, it is clear to me that I really have to have a passion for the story and for the characters in order to want to tell it and do any justice to it.
Okay, yes, it’s only two novels but you figure out quite a bit of stuff the second time around. What that stuff is, I haven’t quite wrapped my head around yet. It’s not like sitting down and doing a post-mortem of the process right at that moment.
Considering the manuscript of the second novel is in the hands of my editor, I can’t really conduct any so sort of post-mortem until the manuscript becomes a physical object in the shape of a book.
But then the question becomes do I deliberately want to do a post-mortem of the process? No. For me, the post-mortem, the figuring out of who I am as a fiction writer is a process that happens over time. The answers or revelations don’t come to me all at once. It’s a process that will subconsciously inform and shape the way I tell the next story. It’s so organic that I couldn’t possibly tell you with absolute certainty as to when I’ve discovered specific traits about myself as a writer. Things like that are a blur to me. I don’t stop to mark these kinds of discoveries on a calendar. I can only provide approximations.
Regardless of what I learn about myself through the art and process of writing and being a storyteller, there is no denying that I have to be passionate about the story I’m telling. Otherwise, I have no chance of convincing anyone to take an interest in any story I tell. If I buy into it, if I believe in it passionately and tell it passionately, maybe someone will feel the same way when they read it. I don’t particularly care if the general population doesn’t buy into my stories. I don’t think my stories are for everyone. I’d be happy with a much smaller population buying into and believing in the tales I want to tell.
I’m not an ‘appeal to the masses’ kind of person. It has that ‘I want everybody to like me’ kind of vibe. And it feels dirty to me. I’ve always been the outsider. Intentionally, or unintentionally, I’ve been made to feel like an outsider, and I’ve always backed away or walked away and did whatever I pleased in the privacy of my own little world.
By being passionate about the stories I want to tell, I’m taking a big risk in revealing a part of me that is true and unwavering. It’s not all of me but it is part of what is fundamental about me as a person. Part of the core of who I am. Does that mean I’m being raw, honest and open about what makes me tick? I don’t know. I don’t think I’m too raw or too open. I might be a little too honest. Is there such a thing as being too honest?
But I am revealing a side of me that may make people uncomfortable. And that’s more than okay as far as I’m concerned. I might be bit of a sadist when it comes to making people uncomfortable.
And honestly, it’s just too hard and too tiring to be nice all the fucking time.
It’s easier being passionate.