Monday, October 25, 2010

Is there Passion in Persistence?

My Dad said something to me recently that inspired this blog post. I am going to be done with school for awhile after I finish a microbiology class, online, in part because I am burned out majorly from spending most my life in school. Dad thinks it's a good idea, but he thinks I should take a break from writing too and that I need to not force the novels out by making myself write. He also thinks artists only do great works when they wait for inspiration. Yet, it brings up an interesting topic. Does persistence mean that the passion of writing gets lost in the act, or can there be passion within persistence?

I'm going to get a bit personal with this post. I think in January 2011 I'll post an official about me post but for now, here is a small insight.

I consider myself to be a writer because I write. Sure, there are some days and an occasional week where I won't get anything written of fiction, but in general I write on a regular basis. But that's not all I do. It's just I don't call myself certain labels if I don't do them often.

My bachelor's degree is called a Bachelor of Integrated Studies. The studies I integrated are English, legal studies and art with a minor in communication. Most of my art studies were in painting, having taken all 3 main painting classes available. Yet, I don't call myself a painter or even an artist. I have a degree in art, I have some paintings, but that doesn't mean I am either of those things because I haven't painted for over a year. I haven't done sketching or much art work in any way. I barely have room in my bedroom to walk in order to get to my bed, so I haven't found a spot to put up my painting stuff. So, I'm not an artist. I work on art sometimes but that's it.

I also have written poetry. Took a class on it, submitted poems and have been rejected a few times, and considered hosting a small poetry workshop in the small towns I've lived in. My portfolio has around 300 poems. But I don't call myself a poet. This is because I don't do poetry on a regular basis. I have written two poems in the last 5 months, or so. It's the sort of writing that I do either when I feel like it or when I have a challenge to do, but not something I aspire to pursue at this time.

I'm a writer. I make monthly goals, along with year goals, and do my best to accomplish them. But do goals and making oneself write mean there isn't passion in it? For me, the answer is no. I know that when I force myself to write, once I get past that hard point of starting awesome things can come out. I can't write whenever the mood strikes because then I would write at random with little focus. Each shiny idea that comes to me would get words for a short while and then I'd move on, never finishing anything. I need to have the persistence in order to give my passion room to grow.

But what do you think?
Can persistence still have the passion of the art?


Kristie Cook said...

Good question. Here's my take. I never thought I had a whole story in me, that I was meant to write for business, marketing, etc. But when I made the decision to start writing fiction again, I started dabbling and the story for not just one book but a whole series came to me. The passion followed. If I hadn't been persistent about wanting to write fiction, I would have never discovered that passion.

Just like passion in romance and relationships, sometimes we have to work at maintaining our passion for creating. If we don't, that fire might die out completely. So, I think perseverance actually feeds the passion.

J. D. Brown said...

I have always considered myself to be an artist. Like you, I have multiple artistic talents. In all my life, I have known a single creative project that didn't require persistence to get from "shiny new idea" to "finished product".

A lot of people don't have what it takes to be an artist or an author, not because they are not creative enough, but because they are not disciplined enough to see the idea through to completion.

Writing even one complete novel is long, hard process. If it was easy, everyone would be a best seller!

That being said, sometimes it IS good to take a brake. However, if you still get joy out of writing, than I do not think you need to take a brake yet. If the thought of taking a break from writing makes you sad or unhappy, than don't do it! You might regret taking all that time off.

I'm sure you dad has your best interest in mind, but the truth is, non-writers have no clue about writing, how it works, why we do it. Whatever you decide, make sure you are going to be happy with that decision.

Best wishes.

Dawn Embers said...

Kristie - Thank you for your insight. You're a good example, indeed.

JD - Indeed. Those who not do an art form often don't understand, and my dad does none. He tries to be encouraging, I know, but he just struggles a little. I won't be taking a big break from novels any time soon, that I am certain.

Ariana Richards said...

I've been pondering this since you posted it - it was one of those entries that just lingered in my head. Besides the words themselves, the only thing I could thing of even days later, was that how can you have passion without persistance?

I can see your dad's perspective, but from the other side of the coin passion is a driving force. It's such a strong desire for something that it frequently puts rational thought on hold.

And when you relate that to art, it means that the desire to create can be just as potent as the idea itself. That push to build something beautiful, or frightening, or whatever emotion it evokes, can drive further and harder than the shiny idea that blinks and is then gone.

So yeah, from this side of the fence, you can't have one without the other. At least, not and get anywhere.

Dawn Embers said...

Ariana- Nice insight. :-) It is hard to get anywhere when relying on just passion.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

First of all...

*BIG ((HUGS))*

I can sense your internal conflict here. I understand how you feel. What does your heart tell you? I understand how, when someone you love and trust, gives you a piece of advice that seems to make things more complicated and you feel lost.

I, for one, believe that passion and persistence can coexist.

NaNoWriMo is one way to show it does. I've done it. I've made myself write and write and write last year and I finished an entire novel well under the expected time.

At first, it was hard. Then the floodgates broke and I was deep into my nonstop inspiration.

I feel that every writer has to face it head on: writing when there's no inspiration. They'd have to with a contract. Deadlines is what it is. Every published author feels that pinch one time or another.

It happens to me all the time: I do feel the passion burn as I persist. I write for myself right now. The pre-published stage. But I am pushing myself into publication as soon as I get myself done with my intense editing. :)

I wish you the best. If you need an ear, please e-mail me (please don't feel awkward, it'll be like connecting with an old friend!)


~Elizabeth :)

Dawn Embers said...

Elizabeth - Awww... Thank you. I appreciate the offer and will definitely keep you in mind if I need someone to chat with over these types of issues.

Melisse Aires said...

I think all great art is built upon a series of skills learned through practice. Great musicians, great dancers, great painters spend years honing their skills, experimenting, trying new visions and some work, some don't. When it works--inspiration--it is still built on a foundation that may include learning from past failure.

Abilty must meet inspiration, and ability is honed in the doing.

Unless the writer is having a crisis of what and why they want to do something, I don't see how putting writing aside it for no reason will make you more successfull. It is different if your writing is making you miserable--that would take some time to figure out.

There are no real formulas for success except when hard work (which you can control) meets opportunity (which you can't control).

Dawn Embers said...

Melisse - thank you for responding to the topic. You have a great response with the discussion on ability and inspiration. I usually know when my mind needs a break from writing but it's hard to explain to the non-writer who I am not around often right now.