14 Sep 2006
Passion and Creativity–what they have in common
PASSION is something that is a favorite topic of mine! Not because I write romances, either! If you look up the word in the Dictionary you get, “intense or violent emotion, esp. sexual desire or love (b) intense anger (c) a great liking or enthusiasm. A passion for swimming (d) violent emotional outburst, a passion of tears…” and so on.
And let’s immediately dispel a myth: That some people are creative and others are not. That is completely false. We are ALL creative! Every last one of us. I can’t draw worth a darn, but I can spin a good yarn. And speaking of yarn, there are people who knit, stitch, crochet, embroidery and do needlepoint (and I can’t do that either). So, let’s put to rest once and for all, that creativity is given to the favored few. It just ain’t so.
So, what does this have to do with Passion? Well, as it turns out–plenty!
And I need to give you my ‘spin’ on what Passion means to me so we’re all on the same page. Passion that is allowed to bubble up to the surface to be expressed brings you out of bed every morning with a wondering of what things are going to happen in the day. You look FORWARD to the day and any adventures that will be forthcoming. You are fueled with hope, too. Plus, there is lots of energy to burn for you getting out bed and walking into your day and its routines and demands. In other words, you are looking forward to living your life! You see life in terms of awe, wonderment, magical moments, of teachings and learnings. And you look forward to these quintessential moments as they connect with you.
Passion means vitality to me. An eagerness. An anticipation. An excitement. And it’s all positive, not negative or depressing. It is about all my emotions flowing through my heart and spilling into the realm of my present, my day. So, when someone says that I have a “Passion for life,” you bet I do! I’m eager to get up in the morning to see what I’ll draw to me in the given day. Not that it’s all good, all joyful or pleasant–in fact, sometimes just the opposite, because Life consists of ups and downs, joys and sorrows. It is what it is. No matter what I must work with in a given day, my HEART, my MIND and my FOCUS is on it. That, to me, is Passion.
I am grateful that I can draw in a deep breath of air into my lungs because I know there are many who cannot. I am grateful to be able to walk on two legs, because there are many who cannot. I am grateful to see all the colors that surround me on Mother Earth’s palette because there are those who cannot. I am grateful I can hear the soft plop, plop, plop of rain sliding off one leaf, and onto another, before it drips to the earth to be soaked in by it, because others cannot.
Passion is about the six senses. It is about being alive IN THE MOMENT. It’s a very Zen thing with me, but coming from a Native American background and training since childhood, I was taught there was only NOW. Not the past. Not the future. You’d be surprised if you tried to live in the moment, and let the nagging traps of the past go and stop worrying or having angst about something in the future and put ALL your focus, ALL your energy, ALL of YOU in this moment. Amazing things happen.
One of the things that happens is that your Passion is tripled instead of being frittered away in the past or future, instead of being fully present in the present. And when you can martial your focus to the present and your creativity is allowed expression–well! You are going to not only feel good, you’ll feel sparkling, alive, scintillating and so in touch with living that nothing else can match it. Not even good sex!! Oh, I agree great sex is great in the moment–but it doesn’t last. On the other hand, if you are in touch with your Passion and are living ‘in the moment,’ this is like an orgasm that goes on and on and on…. Because Passion means you are fully connected with Life with all six senses.
What does this have to do with writing? Oh, everything! I can’t hardly WAIT to run to my computer, sit down, fire it up and get a word processing document on screen. I ground myself, take in three deep breaths and I move into what I cal an ‘altered state’ where I completely allow my Passion to embrace me on all levels. And then, I begin to write. I have a ‘movie screen’ in my forehead and I can close my eyes and see each character. I see what she looks like, what she’s wearing and I hear her talking, her accent, her voice tone, and more importantly, I can get inside her head and hear her thoughts and feel how she’s feeling. And I can switch to the other character(s) in the scene with equal ease and eavesdrop on them, too.
Writing Passion infers that you can hardly wait to sit down and write. And if you don’t write, you will feel like you’re going to die if you can’t do it. That is PASSION. That is the creative drive you’re feeling and revving up. What you, the human being who owns it must do, is funnel it, focus it and create a discipline for it to turn on, tune in, and then, produce.
And it doesn’t matter whether it’s writing a book, creating a pattern for a beading project, painting on a canvas, a wall, or on material or where ever your creativity expresses itself.
The key to knowing your creativity is real is that when you’re done with your creative moment or hours, you feel refreshed, hyped up with plenty of vitality and energy afterward. If you do not, then that’s not Passion nor is it serving your own highest good.
In writing, readers can read a couple of paragraphs and know if the author lOVES (i.e., Passion) what she’s written or he’s written. It’s so palpable. It’s so obvious. That book comes ALIVE in the reader’s hands. They are so enamored and drawn into the story and the characters that they can’t hardly tear themselves loose long enough to handle the demands of their every day world. That is a book written with Passion from the author’s heart and soul directly to the reader.
Passionate writing comes alive. The reader is transported into that world, those people and situations. They can hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it and sense it. When a writer is engaged with her Passion, the words spill out easily on her computer; there is no terrible struggle, no breach birth. A book not written with Passion can be an abortion for the reader and the author. In fact, it traumatizes the author and shakes her confidence in her skills and her writing voice. And I have seen it stop many authors from ceasing to continue to write because they are being forced to write something they have no Passion for.
This happens frequently in the business of writing–our Passion gets shut down. How does it happen? Well, if you love writing about mysteries and you’re trying to break into the world of writing by producing a romance book–it’s not going to work. Why? Because you aren’t writing your Passion. You are not being true to yourself. To your voice. It is important to write what you know and what makes you come alive. Write about the things that make you itchy to leap out of bed in the morning and sit down at the computer to create. And if a story or plot does not do that for you–then the Passion is not there or much less of it is.
One thing an editor can tell when a manuscript comes across her desk is whether a book is ‘DOA’ or not. DOA mean “dead on arrival.” This mean the book lacks LIFE, energy, vitality, excitement, engaging energy that just pushes that editor to keep on reading. Now, if the book is alive when it comes to the editor’s desk, it stands more than a 50-50 chance of being bought. What might stop it from being bought is that there might be a manuscript already bought by another author on the same topic. Or, the editor might not feel it’s quite right for her line. However, that said, if an editor in-house loves the “alive” manuscript, there’s a good chance she’ll walk down the hall to another editor whom she thinks your book might be more well suited too. So, your “alive” book, created by your Passion will be unforgettable to an editor–whether it is bought or not.
And editors really do want to buy your book. But this book has to have energy, vitality and aliveness to it. The energy has to speak to them directly. As it does to the reader. And the only way you are going to get a book of this caliber is to WRITE what you LOVE (Passion) to write. No if, and’s, or but’s about it.
I had a book, my very first book that I wrote, and it garnered 29 reject slips from 29 publishers in a span of three years. I loved the book. It was written from my heart. It had vigor, energy, and was alive. So, I kept cleaning it up, rewriting it as I evolved in my own writing skills. About ten years later I sent it out again. This time, there was 12 publishers were left after the corporate ‘wars.’ I got 12 more reject slips. Mind you, the rejects I was getting were wonderful ones! They were all handwritten, not the usual typed and copied reject slip, and the raved about how wonderful the book was–but it just wasn’t for them. Undeterred, I put it away once more. I continued to update it as I got better at writing. Finally, I sent it out a third time to 7 publishing houses. And I got 7 rejects. Enthusiastic rejects saying , ‘Gosh, this is wonderful, but just not for us.’
I decided since this was a book of my heart and I was not going to let it die, I looked at ebooks as a resource. I contacted Hard Shell Word Factory and sent the manuscript to them. They loved it! And they were enthused and willing to take a chance on it. That was in 2000 and VALKYRIE was born. My passionate book of my heart was finally in ebook and trade paperback! I’d waited 25 years for a book, written with Passion, to find a home and be born. And even sweeter, was the fact that Romantic Times Magazine chose VALKYRIE as “E-book of the Year.” What a cherry on top of that cake! I was over the moon, to say the least because I had held out the belief that a book written from my heart would some day be published. I just knew it would. My Passion held the faith and hope for the book.
The moral to this story is many! First, never throw anything you write away. I’ve heard of aspiring writers literally flushing their manuscripts down their toilet!! Argh! Don’t do this! Anything you write from your heart is worth caring for, saving and continuing forward until the day it is ready to be bought and published.
Secondly, when you write from Passion, your book is alive and has vitality and editors do not forget this. In fact, this book, even though rejected, actually got me an editor who looked at another manuscript of mine later, and bought it. Why? Because she remembered the vitality, the passion and liveliness of the the manuscript she’d rejected. And lo and behold, the second book had equal Passion and emotional intensity and vitality and it was bought.
Thirdly, always write what you LOVE. Don’t let someone tell you there’s a fad on something and you divert to it (and you don’t have a Passion for it) instead of listening to your own voice and writing what you love to write, instead. If you do divert, that manuscript is not going to have the energy, vigor and vitality that one does that came pouring out of your heart and soul. And even if it doesn’t get bought now…don’t despair. It will be, someday. Look at VALKYRIE….25 years….patience is a virtue in publishing, believe me!
And my Passion for romance is because I believe with every breath I take, that LOVE/compassion is the greatest healing force on this Earth and in any other realm where we exist. And I never write any book that doesn’t have that intense Passion, focus and intent. That way, I am delivering my very best story to my wonderful, loyal readers who do, indeed, deserve my very best.
When I wrote UNFORGIVEN three years ago, my Passion was so intense that I knew this book had a LIFE of it’s own! It just throbbed with such vitality that it took MY breath away! I had waited so long to write a PURE paranormal….and I had written my first paranormal with my ‘gloves on’ with HEART OF THE JAGUAR (1999, Silhouette single title release) and I ached to get back into this category because I live a paranormal life. This goes back to what I said before: A writer writes what she or he knows. I know paranormal. I’ve lived in this world since the day I was born. No one is more ready to write about paranormal than me. Not only that…I intend to share with my wonderful readers, ‘tools’ that I was taught to utilize the invisible realms to help me heal and keep me in balance with my spirit. And in UNFORGIVEN, you get a tool! I’m going to be very excited to hear from readers who try it! The Passion I had for UNFORGIVEN was just as powerful as when I penned HEART OF THE JAGUAR. And you, as the reader, can read both books and you tell me if these books don’t jump out and grab you from the first page to the last! That is what I have to say about Passion! Now, go out and LIVE your Passion!