Sometimes passion is a good thing. Like when you’re reciting vows to your future spouse or holding your newborn for the first time. And yes, even when you want to write a book.
Passion is beneficial most of the time. It keeps you doing what you love without any recognition, without any compensation, and without any definite payoff. It enables you to do what you love for free because that’s the only thing you’d do for free. You do it without any real promise of a future, because you believe in yourself enough to make the future.
But what passion really boils down to in my life, is going freaking insane. It’ll happen to you if you’re the creative type – you just wait. You’ll be out having drinks with your friends, maybe even a significant other, and all of the sudden the most awesome plot twist ever will pop into your head, and you’ll be so frazzled that you won’t even know where you are, what day it is, and what you’re drinking. You’ll have to go to the bathroom just so no one sees you scribbling notes on your phone in a frenzy, like your life depends on it. Or you might entrust Siri with the task and use the voice texting option. But you’ll end up with numerous typos. Instead of “skilled man” you might get, “are you still a man?”
And a few minutes later, maybe 30, you’ll walk out with a smile on your face and a compulsory itch to write more. Don’t worry, your friends will just think you’re drunk.
You might forget about it for a second over your Mai Tai, but God forbid you want to sleep. The minute your head touches your pillow you’ll be thinking of that plot twist again. But you’ll think of more than that. You’ll think of how that plot twist changes the whole story line, changes your character arc, and how basically, you’re not even writing the same book.
So you’ll go to bed at like 5 a.m. to wake up at 7 a.m. and go to work like a zombie, and everyone will just think you’ve been out drinking too much. Little do they know.
You’ll promise yourself that you’ll sleep the next night, because that night you’ll have to. But when your head touches the pillow again, your book will find you. In your sleep. It will hunt you down and try to kill you.
Because writing a book means becoming a slave to it. It’s hard to keep your head above water when your passion is pulling you under. And as much as writers like to complain, it’s a beautiful kind of misery.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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