I hear a lot of aspiring authors and journalists talk about how writing is their passion. Yet these are often the same people who don’t write as much as they’d like to (or think they should). I’ve been wondering about that disconnect.
I suppose I look at writing as more of a tool or a skill. You can be born with a talent for it, or you can learn it. (Actually, both help.) But it’s a means to an end.
Writing is a tool for communication. It’s a vehicle for storytelling, or for conveying information or inspiring imaginations. This is what I’ve been discovering of my own craft, and what is on my mind as I indulge a passion of my own this weekend with the Oregon Star Party. Looking up at a clear sky of stars leads me to muse on the thousands of years of storytellers who had preceded me, of the long nights spent around community fires swapping heroic tales and legends. Stargazing fills me with wonder, with purpose and hope. It’s a restorative and inspiring experience. In other words, it gets my juices flowing.
I’d advise those passionate writers who are looking for substance to turn instead to their non-writing interests for content. You have to figure out what works for you. And it might not be just one thing. If you don’t have passions in other areas?like astronomy, dance, sports, or computers?then I’m not sure that writing will be a particularly fulfilling experience. I mean, if your passion really is writing, in and of itself, why not just sit down and write out “the brown dog jumped over the log” over and over?
I realize that’s a bit cynical on my part?and it could be sleep deprivation talking. Writing is like computer programming. The code can be elegant, well-organized, and even witty, but it’s got to have a point to it. There can be great enjoyment found in the challenge of crafting clever prose, but why spend so much time on figuring out how to say something when you’re not quite committed to (or aren’t sure of) what you want to say to begin with?
What do you want to share with the world?
And with that, I’m out the door and on my way to the Ochocos . . .
Creative Commons photo by andyspictures.