What? I Can Write! PASSION: Write What You Feel

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“A man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it.”—Samuel Johnson

Passion: Write What You Feel

Conventional wisdom says, "Write what you know." Your writing should arise from a familiar place: your own life experiences, background, and education, which will color your view of the world and what you have to say about it.

Equally important is to "Write what you feel." Passion, in other words. You may have many interests, but only a very few will rise to the level of passion. Nevertheless, it is your passions that will drive your writing. Passion is highly personal, and so is passionate writing. What do I mean?

First and foremost, write for yourself. Even if no one else ever reads what you write, you owe it to yourself to give vent to those words, dreams, and ideas boiling inside you, demanding expression. If passion drives your writing, many readers will come along for the ride; if it doesn't, they won't. And why should they? After all, what do they care? Before you can answer, you first must find your own voice, and passion is where you find it. F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard." And Truman Capote observed, "The only obligation any artist can have is to himself. His work means nothing, otherwise." Good writing always involves more than just your feelings, but it never involves less.

Second, write from yourself. Be honest. Let your writing reflect the real you. Your passions reveal who you are, what you believe, and what you care about. Don't strive to be "original"; strive to be truthful and originality will take care of itself. As C. S. Lewis noted, "No one who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth…you will…become original without even having noticed it."

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