Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Four P's Approach to Writing: Passion

The Four P’s Approach to Writing: Passion

III. Passion
“Gym Jones is an attitude. It is perhaps best described as "utter commitment to the task at hand" and characterized by the mobilization of all available resources to achieve a particular goal. Because the occupations and sports done by many who train here involve considerable risk we take training seriously.”
“The path to such success is punctuated by failure, consolidation and renewed effort. It is wet with the tears of emotional breakdown. Personal reconstruction is art. Discovering one's self, one's talent and ambition and learning how to express it is a creative process so may not be rushed.”
 -Mark Twight, Gym Jones

A coach’s passion is for the program and the athletes to compete and succeed.  An author’s passion molds his or her creative ideas into stories.  Emotional involvement, caring, enthusiasm and intensity are all part of creative passion.  Love what you do, love what you attempt and love those ideas bouncing about in your head. Make them the best you can.

The writer’s passion for their story is so essential and so present the reader can virtually taste it as they read the words.  Passion helps the writer work through the problems of a story, those times when situations arise where 1+1 no longer adds up to 2.  Passion for the story keeps the writer engaged to that story just enough to allow their creativity and problem solving skills to work their magic and develop a solution to make 1+1=2 again.

Passion sustains the writer through and over the walls of doubt.  Face it, writing is tough. Every locked door you open leads to three more locked doors that you must find a way to enter.  Doubt lurks over every writers shoulder, laughing at your sentences, mocking your manuscripts and snickering each time a rejection arrives.  The emotional involvement and the passion of the writer helps keep Doubt at bay, sitting on its stool in the corner.  Doubt is still there but out of mind for the time being.

There is great joy is finding similar people with similar passions, it is one of the great social traits of our species.  Professional groups, critic groups and even the friends you hang out and tell stories with all have common threads of shared passions.  And, hopefully, some of the people who share a similar passion to the author are, or become, readers, fans and supporters.

Exercise: Describe something you are passionate about.  Below is an example of a blog post I did about the first week of summer conditioning from my football coaching days.

“I used to call the first week of summer conditioning Hell Week.  It was a name designed to catch the kid’s attention because it meant it was time to get back to work.  Enough of spring sports, enough of the school routine, enough of the school weights classes…time to get to work, gentlemen.  Hell Week was a re-introduction of one’s body to what is means to prepare to play Tiger Football, Coach Lane style.
Body weight was the weight of choice for the first week.  Why?  The most important weight you will ever lift is your body weight.  You can lift a freight train, but if you can’t move your own body, if you can’t move your body around like a weapon, if you can’t hit folks like a cannon shot, then you are dead in the water on the sports field.”


Nancy Bell said...

Very good points Mike. Having been involved in hockey at an elite level I totally agree with you that the lessons learned in the sports arena are incredibly valuable life tools which you carry with you the rest of your life.


Unknown said...

I feel most passionate about human behavior. It's a definate mental exercise to reach into their mind and footsteps as well as environmental and cultural influences to determine why, what and where. Sometimes that only takes a few questions and study. Then I stretch it further by taking them 'outside the box' stero-type to their behavior and then...create stories. I think my greatest ability after that is knowing I never understood anything at all.

Mike Hays said...

Emily, I hear you! So many lessons to learn from sports. But, unfortunately, I think we are losing sight of that in the sports culture. It is not only about the success, but all the work it takes to reach that success.

Karen - Life is the great human behavior experiment. You never know how different individuals will react until the heat is on. That is what makes humans so interesting and so much fun to write about.

Barbara Watson said...

Writing IS tough! Even for those that love it, maybe especially for those who love it. When you read a book, you take for granted that each word, each thought, was built with anguish - to get it just right. Passion is necessary, just like the coach passing his passion of the game to his athletes, a writer passes his passion of the story to his readers. Great thoughts, Mike.