Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A to Z Challenge: Where Did the Passion Go?

I've been working on Doorways for about three years, possibly three and a half. 

When Darrion walked into my head and demanded that I write the story, a love for the story sparked and it was almost all I could think about. Lucky for me I think of multiple things at once otherwise I would never have been able to cope with University.

I wrote with more than a few doldrums where I ended up not writing until they passed. But when I got back to writing, it was wonderful. An incredible rush that hummed in my blood every time I put down the pen. I'd write whenever I could. While the rest of the people were watching rugby between eating (think NFL), I was watching rugby between writing.

I never realized how much I'll miss drafting until the first draft was done. For me, the first draft (whether it sucks or not) is the phase where we get to experience creation. We still have to explore everything and everyone. Nothing is hard and fast. Everything is new. With the first draft, I got to experience the liberation of writing whatever I wanted. I loved getting to know the characters. 

In December last year, the end of the story crept up on me. Really. Anyway. I rested the story until January and set the goal finishing date as 30 April. Almost immediately, I sensed a problem. 

See, after my frenzied first draft, I had to bring in a sense of the technical. I had to start thinking of things like pacing and voice. Of right and wrong. Of story elements. Themes. Subplots. Of fixing plot holes. 

Seems natural, right? Well, it is. But when it comes to my beast of an epic, things like that become daunting. There's just so much! Fear crept in, choking out my spark of passion. Hopelessness followed soon after. I started to think that I'd been a little too ambitious in my choice of story to write. 

And with that, I started to wonder if I should even be writing at all. 

I tried to keep writing, but although I managed to keep going, my love for the story kept fizzling. In February I   stopped writing altogether. 

I kept it quiet, not wanting to admit that my beast beat me. So I gave myself pep talks. Lots of them. I even posted some on my blog. 

It got me writing with renewed determination, but not love. My story became the enemy. I was writing to show the Beast who's boss. 

But one day, I was skyping a friend and something she said got me thinking. That thought turned into another thought and another and another until I had the main plot line that will run through the entire series. 

Just like that, I remembered why I love the story. Not a moment too soon, either. 

Because by that point, I'd been considering shelving Doorways indefinitely. 

But in that moment, when I saw where the series would go, I realized that instead of all those things scaring me, they're helping me. Those considerations were what made my story as good as it could become. And it had better be good. There are three sequels in the pipeline. 

I wrote with new passion, sometimes I wrote six times my daily target until I finished it. 

Of all the things that I am most grateful for, I am so glad that I didn't give up on Doorways as soon as I could have. 

So... Have you ever lost the passion for what you were working on? How did you get it back? 


  1. That is an incredible journey. I'm stuck with my novel for more than an year, and have almost forgotten about it. Almost, but not quite. I think I'll have to find my story again.

  2. I am also writing my first novel and there are times when I am completely overwhelmed by the scale of it. There's so much little detail to work on in just one scene and then I realise I've got a whole book to do. Sometimes I think it's beyond me. So I just do one little bit and then another little bit until I can cope again.

  3. For me, it's the rejections that drain the passion out of writing. How do I cope? Sometimes not very well. But I pray and I keep writing.

  4. Yes. I lost passion a couple times writing Secondhand Shoes. It was usually b/c I'd lost my direction some how.

    Also, I've awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award.

    Come and pick it up.

  5. It so hard to keep the passion going. . .especially when you're writing a VERY big book. Looking (and working at it) scene by scene is the answer for me. One piece at a time leads to the next and the next and the next. Before you know it. . .you're done!

  6. It's so great that you found that spark again and worked at it!

  7. I'm glad that you 'got your groove back' on your ms, and in such a strong way.

    I think that's happening to me (god I hope) now. I finished the first draft of my first book last summer. I gave myself August to 'rest' it and have some friends read it before tackling revisions. Ha bloody ha. It had turned to stone. Cold, uninviting, hard. What had happened to my beautiful, funny story? It wasn't the feedback that had killed my passion in it, it was something else, probably creative exhaustion. I just couldn't see the point in it. Fall was creeping up on me and I decided I'd clear the decks and write something else completely in NaNoWriMo in November.

    I'm now about 5K away from finishing my NaNo project. It's surprised me because I thought it would be a throw-away, but it's strong, vital and real. Now that I'm getting to the end of the new work, I'm thinking, without really meaning too, about my first book. Let's just say, love for that book is blooming again. I'm interested again, keen to see what I left behind. In other words I'm ready to go back to it.

    So, 'abandoning' the first book by concentrating on something else entirely not only gave me a second first draft, it also got me back in love with my first book. Happy Ending, yay!

  8. Sometimes it's not easy to see where you've lost passion and when it's not the right time to write. There can be so many things (life) that gets in the way that you just need a break. That's what I try to do - take a break and try not to feel guilty that I'm not writing at that moment.

  9. I have lost passion. Sometimes never to get it back. Other times after setting the work aside for a while the passion has crept back in. I've learned not to feel guilty about giving something a rest, or about letting something go.

  10. Hi Misha! :)

    I have ABSOLUTELY lost the passion for my manuscript in the past. Recently, after getting a rejection on a full, I was sure the bloody thing was terrible. BUT...I had a strange kind of epiphany for chnaging an element of my Act III. Some of how the end played out had always nagged at me but I ignored it. When I finally had an idea to change it (and it was a HUGE undertaking), I decided to rip it to shreds. That's when the passion came back. I suppose it's becuase I could see a better finished product. I hope all the hard work pays off!

    Good luck to you!

  11. It's amazing how the passion gets rekindled all of a sudden, and often for no obvious reason. Sometimes we need to take a look at the ms and turn it upside down or even, gasp, kill off one of the characters.

  12. Your story is so much like mine. I love writing the first draft too, free of all the burdens of rewriting and editing. When the time for that comes, I slow down and allow it come back to me, that passion. It usually does.

  13. That's where I am right now. The passion isn't as much as it was when the idea was new, but I'm still writing. I think that exploring the world, instead of keeping strictly to the story, can bring the passion back. That works for me, I try something new in my story.

    And congrats on finishing the rewrite!! :D

  14. Sometimes, really, it takes just that tiny weeny spark of a comment to crank up the passion and vroom back the desire. I am glad that happened to you.

  15. I think that sort of losing the passion for a manuscript is pretty normal. At some point the massive undertaking of writing an entire novel can become overwhelming!

    I know that I've been there, and instead of pushing through I walk away. Sometimes all it takes is a few days, other times maybe a few weeks, but soon enough that nagging comes back, the itching to get my fingers working on what I've been working so hard for returns and I head on back to work. Glad you didn't lose your passion for too long! Can't wait to read it some day.

  16. Ooh Damyanti I hope that everything goes well!

    Victoria I do that too. I go to it scene by scene until I stop feeling afraid. :-)

    Connie, I can imagine how getting rejected can be hard. I hope you get your dream acceptance. ^_^

    Shelly, I also get badly stuck when I do something to lose direction. Thank you very much for the award! I'll go claim it as soon as April is over.

    EC I do that too. It's when I look at the whole business that I start to run scared.

    Thanks Laura! You can't believe how relieved I was.

    Magpie, i'm so glad to hear you got your spark back too. Good luck with both Works in Progress. :-D

    DUO I started to do that too towards the end of the rewrite. If I didn't feel like writing, I did something else. When I got back, I wrote between 2000 and 6000 a day, every day.

    Bish, I still need to learn that lesson. On the other hand. I'm glad I didn't this time around.

    Jeanmarie, I'm glad you got that spark back. Good luck with all the work to Act III!

    Lauracea, mine came when I swopped one important character for another. ^_^

    Myne, I think that might have been the issue. I might have flown into it a bit too fast.

    Book Owl, trying something new is a great way to keep the spark going.

    Ocean Girl, writing is amazing that way. You never know where the next kick will come from. :-)

    Caitlin, I love when that itch to my hands get back, begging me to get something down. Can't wait for you guys to read it. ^_^


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