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Is writing your true passion?

I’m on a quest to reclaim my passion. When did it leave? Why is it absent? Where did it go? I guess I could spend time and a lot of angst trying to answer those questions but does it matter? What matters is that I am passionless. What matters even more is that I want my passion back.

Over the last several years my life has gone through massive changes. The impact of those events and the ensuing new phase of life I’ve entered has caused a lot of internal confusion. The result is that I’ve lost my way and, in the process, my passion. Is my passion gone? No. It’s more a matter of my having taken a u-turn. I am now further away than closer to my heart’s desire. In the process I’ve grown frustrated, even angry. I try things and I’m left empty. The vision that once guided me is a dim memory.

Earlier this week I realized I was mired in the weeds, tangled in their roots. I’d come to a standstill. It didn’t feel like one because I was thrashing about in a non-stop effort to to make things happen. Sure, I’d been busy. Yes, even working on what I defined as writing projects. But this is where the break with reality had occurred: I wasn’t writing. I was doing things related to writing but not writing. I had created this massive umbrella that allowed me to cover all my activities under the guise of writing. I was convinced I was moving forward in pursuit of my passion. In those rare moments when I asked the big question, I always answered with a resounding yes.

But stuffed inside was a roiling, boiling pressure indicating something was wrong. Instead of addressing the issue, I plunged ahead. If I kept doing what I was doing, if I completed my tasks, that pressure would be relieved–or so I thought. This week the volcano blew. My inner landscape came up and slapped me with a face-to-face confrontation challenging me to answer the question of whether I was pursuing my passion.

I had to answer no.

How about you? Are you working and writing out of a true state of passion or is everything you are doing arising out of a wellspring of fear?

What is passion?

Today we seem to have a watered down version of the original meaning of passion. You’ll find people talking about their passion in the sense of it being a “barely controllable emotion,” a “state or outburst of strong emotion,” an “intense desire or enthusiasm for something,” or a “thing arousing great enthusiasm.” These are all acceptable definitions as defined by the best of dictionaries. That’s all well and good but does it really differentiate the passion for something that is so strong that it drives a person to put all else aside? That’s the passion I’m talking about, the intense longing for something that is so compelling it makes a claim upon your life.

The true definition of passion

According to my trusty online version of The Oxford Dictionary, the word “passion” has its origins in Middle English. It’s from Old French, from the late Latin passio(n-). In terms of actual usage it sprang from Christian theology. The Latin root of the word is pati meaning “suffer.” So, while the many promoters of passion today might waft eloquently about the rush and blush of passion and the excitement of its pursuit, the true test of passion has a dark side.

For those who have a true passion to write, this is not a surprise. Every artist understands this on some level. They take up the quest for art for art’s sake and start down the path with an open heart and the promise of great things. But all too soon the landscape changes. No longer is it the smooth path with clear signs pointing the way. Soon they are climbing over rubble, sliding into icy ravines, and falling over cliffs. The way is no longer a lighthearted romp, it’s a hostile environment.

Will you meet the test?

Here lies the true test of passion. The work says, “Do you love me?” We answer, “Yes.” The work says, “How much?” We answer with our walk.

Are you willing to go the distance? Will you get up every single day and renew your commitment to your passion by doing what you say you love? For writers it’s easy to comply when the words come and the characters talk and the plot slams together in a moment of vision. But what about those times when the darkness descends, when, as E.L. Doctorow says, “you never see further than your headlights?” Do you get in the chair, turn on the computer, open the file and write anyway? Or do you hide, stay away, avoid doing what you say you love above all else?

Are you gripped by an intensity, a love for something so strong, that you are willing to follow it whereever it takes you no matter what? How you respond reveals whether you have a true passion. There is no promise of a happy ending. There is the daily pursuit. In the first seconds of a new day, you hear passion call. In the last seconds of that passing day, you acknowledge your answer.

How will you answer today?

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  • Sharon Thompson

    Enjoyed your post Vikk.  There are probably more of us in the same boat than you would imagine.  Seems I am bombarded with so much new info every day, along with the need to learn new things on how to proceed that it is hard to get to my passion.  One has to ask if that is real or just a cop out to avoid the passion.

  • Cinnie2

    This is one of my favorite posts you have written. It strikes me hard with its painful truth, yet it is so beautifully written that it’s a pleasure to read. Painful, because I’ve certainly not shown the commitment to my work that would prove a passion for it.

    I especially loved this: “That’s the passion I’m talking about, the intense longing for something that is so compelling it makes a claim upon your life.”

    And this: “Here lies the true test of passion. The work says, “Do you love me?” We answer, “Yes.” The work says, “How much?” We answer with our walk.”

    Well said.


  • Helenee

    The passion is always there and my skills have developed with the years. What I lacked was the self-confidence to showcase my work and a well thought-out plan in order to establish myself as a professional and help me advance further.
    Perhaps my passion for writing will not always be at peak level — but, knowing myself well enough, I know that I need stimuli from many directions in order to stoke my creative fire. And, in such a case, I trust I will get back fresh and full again, ready to deliver anew.I try to live each tiny passing moment in a meaningful way; I think this is what can keep the sparkle alive. If it’s writing, then so be it, and I’ll be so utterly happy to pursue it. If, ten or twenty years from now, I find something else that moves me, then I’ll joyfully follow a new path. 

    In Greek, the word ‘passion’ is ‘path-os’, and the verb from which it is derived means also ‘suffer’, ‘undergo’ — I have suffered in order to pursue my passion, and I’d do it again… and again. It’s a strange kind of suffering, though – so fulfilling…

  • Vikk Simmons

    Thank you. It was one of those posts that suddenly take life during the writing and the connection between the subject and the writer becomes quite intense. I’m glad you felt the emotion and I was able to get it on the page.

  • Vikk Simmons

    Thanks, Sharon. I understand about all the stuff being so overwhelming at times. At times like that I do stop, back up, and return to the writing. : )