Yesterday, for a freelancing assignment, I wrote an article about how to get over someone who has broken your heart.
Granted, like most humans, I have experienced plenty of heartbreak in my lifetime. I am no stranger to the physical and emotional effects of someone ripping your heart out of your chest and tossing it into an active volcano.
But I was just writing an article, doing what I can to help people in pretty much the only way I’m capable of doing so.
Yet as I finished up that assignment and sent it off, I realized that as I had been progressing through that written advice, I had started to feel more and more sad. And angry. And frustrated. As if I wasn’t writing for someone else’s sake, but instead, my own.
In writing an article about heartbreak, I ended up feeling physically and emotionally heartbroken. And at first, I had absolutely no idea why.
The more I thought about it, the clearer the answer became. I am, thankfully, not experiencing any heartbreak of my own at the moment, so I knew it wasn’t some subconscious bubble of emotions surfacing after opening myself up while writing an article.
It was, in fact, something else. It was, strangely, the aftermath of doing something I was completely, wholeheartedly, passionate about.
Have you ever written something and found yourself experiencing emotions right along with your characters, or feeling the way you hope your readers will feel when they read what you’ve written?
It’s not only normal: it’s a good sign. Because it means you aren’t just passively writing something for the sake of writing it. You’re writing not just with your brain and your hands, but with your heart, too.
Not knowing what you are most passionate about, as a writer, is one of the biggest struggles you will face as you go through the process of finding your own identity as a creator. It happens to everyone. You will go through periods in which you want to write about everything, and are confident you will succeed in doing so. You will also go through periods in which you will try to write about one thing only, and feel as though you just can’t seem to do it “well” enough.
There is a way to figure out what you are passionate about, enough to write about it consistently over a long period of time. To do this, you must pay attention to your emotional reactions to the things you write.
This seems scary and like something that will leave you feeling uncomfortably exposed and vulnerable. In fact, that’s exactly what it will do. Raw passion for something knows no boundaries. It will influence you to go to extremes just to have the opportunity to express that passion.
You cannot hold yourself back from writing in a way that fuels your passion. But before you can get to that point, you must first know what you are passionate about.
Experiment. Write about as many different topics in as many different genres as possible until you find the subjects that leave you feeling emotionally ruined, in the best way possible. That is how you will know if what you are doing is what you are meant to be doing, as a writer.
I am not passionate about dating and relationships; not really. What I am passionate about is helping people. Yesterday’s experience showed me that even things you wouldn’t consider “your passion” fit into your life’s mission better than you ever could have imagined.
Do what you love. Love what you do. Let your passion carry you through.
Image courtesy of martinak15/flickr.com.
Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.