Thursday, October 16, 2008

Passion or Imitation?

"Find a subject you care about and which in your heart you feel others should care about. It is the genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style." ~ Kurt Vonnegut

I never planned on writing a book.
I was quite content writing magazine articles, contending with 800 to 2200 word counts and fairly quick deadlines.
I wrote about issues that burned in my heart and spilled out onto the page as words that became sentences ... paragraphs ... articles.
I didn't necessarily write as much as other writers that I knew--but I was writing regularly and submitting regularly.
And then I became a late-in-life mom at 41. Motherhood over 35 became something I cared deeply about because I was living the experience up close and personal--and looking for answers. And I knew I needed to write about it. I also knew the multi-faceted topic couldn't be adequately tackled in a single magazine article.
And so I found myself working on a book proposal and 3 sample chapters and pitching the idea to an editor.
Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood over 35 was published a year ago. I've kept my first author copy on my desk.
Will I write another book?
If I am passionate about a topic that warrants being pitched as a book.
Writing a book is hard, hard work. I run into people all the time who say, "Oh,yeah. I want to write a book too someday."
I smile and nod and think, "Good luck with that. You have no idea."
And more importantly, they have no passion for writing.
One of the most-oft repeated axioms about writing is "Write what you know."
I agree.
But, even more important than writing what you know is write what you care about. Write what you are passionate about. Write your heartbeat.
No one else can write that.
When you write from your heart, you are sure to find your true writer's voice rather than imitating someone else's.

1 comment:

Scoti Springfield Domeij, Director, Springs Writers said...

So true, Beth. One of our passions includes encouraging other writers to pursue the writing passion in their hearts. It's easier to write if you develop your skills and hangout with and be encouraged by your "own" kind.