The Double-Edged Sword of Creative Passion


I wrote earlier about the power of longing in fiction, and today I want to talk about the role of passion in writing.

Not romantic passion in the actual story, but passion for writing as a career and a calling. There have been times in my life when writing felt natural and automatic as breathing; other times, I’ve felt tapped out and uncertain as to whether I should even continue.

I’ve come to respect those disparate states as the ebb and flow of the writing process, particularly during the awkward first draft stage. If I expected myself to feel passionate and engaged every single minute, I’d never get anything written.

I also have to factor in the impact of having bipolar disorder. What looks like passion in the throes of a manic episode can tip dangerously into obsessive thinking and working myself into the ground.

So I have to find a gentle balance, nudging myself away from both self-doubt and serious crash-and-burn overload. That’s easier said than done, but my work and my sanity benefit immensely from my trying.

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