There are many writers who have yet to find either commercial or critical success, and there is no doubt whatsoever that being a writer is a tough gig. I know from personal experience how hard it is, just as many of you do who are reading these words; the struggle, the heartache, the doubts, and the ridicule from those around you, like a family member, who doesn’t offer the support that we all need; that jab in the arm to keep us on track, to keep us writing.
I myself have been at this thing called writing for many years now, and although I came later to the novel writing game, I spent ages working in the film and TV industry, hawking my ideas around, bashing out screenplays on spec, as well as with other writers, working for various producers, directors and networks. Nothing is quite as bad as having a television show green-lit and then cancelled before it has a chance to see the light of day. Then of course having your work rewritten can be quite hard to swallow, and that’s where you need thick skin; oh, you can argue and fight for your work, but in the film industry you have to be able to compromise, because everyone has an opinion and they all think they know how it should be done. The funny thing is I still dabble in it today.
I was lucky in that I connected early on with a group of other struggling scriptwriters, and we use to meet every week and discuss and critique our work, as well as co-write projects and give each other valuable support. There were moments we didn’t have any money, and I can still vividly recall meeting at one of my writing colleagues’ place during the winter; he lived in a Victorian Era house, and only had a potbelly stove for heat, and there were times we actually burnt our unwanted scripts or the extra copies, to keep warm. And yet it was still a great period in my life, it was a real Bohemian lifestyle, but amongst the hardship there was a lot of joy and fun to be had.
Looking back at this time I’ve often asked why I kept at it. Why I kept banging my head against a brick wall for little, or no reward, and although there are various factors and reasons involved in why I stuck with it, the one thing it really boils down to and still does today...is passion. I have always had a deep love for the written word, reading books from a very early age and still going strong. And I so enjoy the process of creating stories and characters and inventing locations to put those characters in, feeding that creative impulse that inspires us all to greatness.
But a passion can take on many forms, and not just writing. What we all need to do is to find out what that is, what we want, and when we know that, the rest will take care of itself; even if that means doing a job that we hate in the meantime, but that we have to do in order to get what we want and fulfil our passion. We all have different tastes whether that is in books, music, movies, a television show, or fashion, and what someone else hates someone else loves. Passion can be anything; you could have a passion for your family or friends. I can assure you that there is no way that I would still be doing this if I didn’t have a deep set love, enthusiasm and passion for this art form.
We have all got a passion for something and all we need to do is to find out what it is and feed it. But if you are truly passionate about what you are doing and constantly working at making your craft and skills better, then you will be fine. It may still take time to achieve your goals and maybe you will never fully grasp what you set out to do; but while you are working towards it you will be a happier person, as you are doing the thing you love and that makes life worth living. That’s what makes you excited enough to get up in the morning and face the day.
So get out there and find what your passion is and bring it into your life, whether it is something in the arts, a business, sports, or even something as simple as your garden, cooking, or perhaps, its just life itself. Whatever it is go and do it. A life without passion is dull and as the great British author E.M. Forster said “One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.”
Copyright (C) Peter Jessop 2010