September 24, 2013

The Thrill is Gone

by Gary Fearon, Creative Director, Southern Writers Magazine

After enjoying my favorite Chinese buffet this weekend, I clicked open my fortune cookie to reveal the following message inside:  

Change is not just essential to life. It is life.

Surprisingly, only minutes earlier, I had decided that my blog post for today would be about change. I don't know how Confucius does it.

What I do know is that last week, I had heard several different authors express the following rather curious sentiment: They talked about how passionate they are when they first come up with an idea, and how passionate they remain during its writing, but once they finish the last page, something changes. The passion that drove them is now replaced with a certain apathy.  No longer do they feel an all-consuming desire to share their words with the world.

What is it that makes the passion go away?
  • Arriving at their destination.  Their vision centered around getting the story out of their head and onto the written page. For many writers that's all they ever really asked of themselves.
  • Not wanting to take the next step. The fun part -- the writing -- is behind us. You mean now we have to find a market for it?
  • Fear of failure. Nobody likes rejection, especially after slaving over a hot keyboard creating their masterpiece. If nobody sees it, then we're safe from criticism.
  • Fear of success. Really? The idea that anyone would actually resist success sounds unbelievable, but we creatures of habit can be funny that way. Change is inherently scary, even when it's good.
There are more passion killers, but you get the picture.  When post-writing apathy creeps in and the thrill is gone, what can we do to change it?

We can understand that what we write has a purpose far beyond what we initially envisioned. Each of us has a message that is uniquely ours. When the muse compels us to write something, it should be our mission to make sure the world hears it. No one starts a writing project with a commitment that no one will ever see it (unless it's their diary).

We wouldn't be writers if we didn't have a voice that begs to be heard.  When the writing is done, make seeing it through to its destination the part that's even more fun. The real thrill comes when your writing changes someone else's life. And someone is waiting to be changed by your words right now.

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