Discovering Passion And Purpose In Writing

fountain pen photoWelcome to Toolbox Saturday where you’ll find tools for various things from writing to whatever.

I’ve often heard it said that everyone dreams of writing the next great novel. That may be, but few get beyond “trunk writing” and fewer still actually publish something of quality. Why is that? Perhaps it’s because, while people may dream of being a “writer,” only those with a true passion for writing can find the energy to do it.

As I continue work on Apprentice Cat, I am amazed at how much passion it takes to keep plugging along at something I often feel unqualified to write.  I sometimes ponder what exactly is my purpose, not just in writing this book about prayer, but also about my purpose in life in general. It’s given me yet another subject for research and I would like to share what I’ve found.

First, there is the need for passion. If you’re like me, determining your passion can be difficult. I’ve always thought of it as something you eat-sleep-breath (much like my husband’s obsession with Star Wars action figures). That may not be the case for you, as it hasn’t been for me. A passion can be something that you naturally gravitate to, but don’t necessarily obsess over.

In her article Determine Your Passion, Amber Keinath poses several questions such as the obvious “What are you good at?” to the less obvious “What were you doing the last time you really had a lot of fun and found the time flying?” that can guide each of us to determining our own passion. For a writer, those questions can lead to a long list of possible books, essays, posts and even workshop notes on a particular topic.

After passion comes purpose. That is possibly the most difficult question to answer: What is my purpose in life? Some people, called nihilists (see #6 on Dictionary.com), believe we have no purpose. Others, like myself, want to believe we have a purpose (or more than one), but just don’t know how to discover it.

Many a book has been written on the subject of discovering one’s purpose in life and some have become very popular for whatever reason, like Purpose Driven Life. Unlike Rick Warren, however, I like to think that each of us has our own purpose separate from each other. As Albert from UrbanMonk.net said in a guest post to ZenHabits:

Are Your Goals Yours? This statement is everywhere, and yet it is ignored so often that it bears repeating: Your purpose is your own. No one can cramp themselves into another person’s definition of happiness and success and, well, expect to be happy and successful.

That was why I particularly enjoyed Steve Pavlina’s article “How to Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes.” Steve’s solution is simple: title your blank page with “What is my true purpose in life?”, then write down any answer that pops into your head. According to Steve, the answer that makes you cry is your life’s purpose. Again, as an Independent Author, I can see where finding this purpose can lead to so many new avenues of income from book sales to speaking events.

It’s not always about making money. The money, in my opinion, is a byproduct of doing what we’re meant to do. For this Independent Author, discovering a passion and a life purpose is just part of the journey.

What defines passion and purpose in your life?

Photo by ChrisL_AK

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