Find Your Writing Passion


Some writers try their wings to see if they can make it as writers. They give it a year, five years, maybe even ten, thinking if they aren’t published by this time they will give it up. Why waste your time, energy, and money on such a hard and often thankless occupation? If you can quit writing, DO IT NOW now, and put yourself out of your misery.

Others write because we must. Writing helps us think and remember information. Writing helps us generate ideas and organize our thoughts. We write to make sense of the world.

What is your passion?

What is something you alone can share?

A lesson from page 210 of Stein on Writing, used with permission from Sol Stein:

“I ask you to imagine yourself on a rooftop, the townspeople assembled below. You are allowed to shout down one last sentence. It is the sentence that the world will remember you by forever. If you say it loud enough, everyone in the world will hear you, no matter where they are. What one thing are you going to say?”

Is your sentence one that could have been said by any person you know? If so, revise it until you are convinced no one else could have said that sentence.

When you have reworked your original sentence, consider these additional questions:

Is your sentence outrageous? Could it be? Is your sentence a question? Would it be stronger as a question?

Would the crowd below cheer your sentence? Can you revise it to give them something they’d want to cheer?

Suppose the person you most love in all the world were to strongly disagree with your sentence. Can you answer his or her disagreement in a second sentence?

Has your second sentence weakened your first? It usually does. If so, make it stronger than the first.

You now have the option of choosing one of the other sentences. There may be value in combining and condensing them.

You look down and see only one person, your greatest enemy, who says, “I didn’t hear you. Would you repeat that?”

Can you alter your sentence so that your statement will be enemy-proof?

Suppose you found out that the only way to get your message across would be if you whispered your sentence. How would you revise it so that it would be suitable for whispering?

Look at all the versions of your sentence. Is there a prior version that is actually stronger than the last? Can the virtues of one be embodied in another? And most important, which sentence now strikes you as the most original, the one least likely to have been written by someone else?

This exercise will direct you to a theme or expression of a theme that is uniquely yours.

Q4U: Most writers are introverts. If this is true for you, what subject will prompt you to talk or write?

7 Replies to “Find Your Writing Passion”

  1. I LOVE THIS 🙂 “If you can quit writing, do.” That speaks volumes. I could no more quit breathing than quit hammering out words. And thanks for getting permission to repost that Stein exercise. So much wisdom in this post. Shall be tweeting and facebooking it today!

  2. Very interesting! My one sentence would not be very popular and would probably make the crowd boo and hiss because my one sentence would be: Repent and draw near to the God of the Bible while He may be found!

    Although writing and art are my passions, I create to point people toward God. Would it be nice to sign with an agent and sell my books to the BIG publishers?? Of course! But if it means selling out and compromising…then NO WAY!

    Great post. Thanks for making me stop and think about the purpose of my passions.

  3. Sharon, I shared this on my Barbara Scott agent Facebook page that’s connected to Twitter. What a powerful exercise to dig deep and write out of your passion! Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Super post, Sharon. And so true! I just posted yesterday about writing from our pain . . . pain and passion. Passion and pain. Two of the pieces of life which move us–and therefore readers–the most.

  5. This is great, Sharon. We should always remember our core message, and if we don’t know what it is, we’d better sit down with the above questions and figure it out. I’m excited to try some of the techniques and tweak mine.

  6. The first time I did this exercise, what I came up with from deep withing was “People are more important than things.” I still had children at home then and I repeated that to them several times. Sometimes I have to remind myself.

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