While you’re doing it, you’re focused, zoned in and intense. Every distraction is met with deep disappointment – the phone, the kids, the dog standing there watching you do it. When you’re not doing it it’s all you can think about leaving you distracted. “It” is writing, but the passion in which we pursue, fantasize about and devour it makes it a lot like sex. That’s another big reason why it’s fun.
There’s nothing like the heat of new blog post, new assignment or new magazine. The magazine represents an opportunity. The blog post or assignment represents a conquest. You’ve gotten in the door, now you want to hang a while so you make yourself useful. You caress every part of the piece lingering on the lede (foreplay), delving into and thoroughly exploring the depths of the piece’s body and bringing the whole thing to a fully satisfying conclusion. You send it off knowing you’ve done your best, you’re a bit cocky, but still attentive to the post comments or editor’s response.
While writing has many of the upsides of sex, it also has many of the downsides – boredom, familiarity. Eddie Murphy had a bit during a stand-up performance about dating and sex. He basically said when you’re waiting for the right moment you’re like a person who is starving and when it finally happens it’s like giving a starving person a cracker. It’s the best cracker they’ve ever had, however after a while it’s really just the same old crackers.*
Have you been around the writing block a few times? Are you simply going through the motions with an occasional comment response? You have discovered that wonderful opportunity is still the same old crackers – it’s still work. The danger of the rut is you could lose the relationship, so…
- Revisit the past. Pull out your clips and re-read your work.
- Ask for what you want. Go to your editor or your audience and ask them about their interests, what new areas are they interested in exploring.
- Bring in another love. Open relationships are helpful in writing, it keeps things fresh. Explore other interests and bring back a fresh outlook on your main love.
- Take a class. If you have a particular niche, learn more about it, read an alternative point of view, try handcuffs…wait. Oops.
- Take a break. Sometimes even the most storied relationships falter. Moving out, getting some air and seeing what the world has to offer will go a long way in helping you decide if it’s time to move on or if what you have is worth reinvesting.
Writing is a passion. It can be red-hot and all consuming. Just be mindful – passions wane; everyday life, billing and other interests can sometimes get in the way. Refocus on the fire that kept you typing through all hours of the night.
How do you keep your passion for writing alive?
*The Eddie Murphy clip was a little too raw for me to post here so if you’d like to have the link shoot me an email at [email protected]. It’s funny stuff or Google it.