Friday, December 7, 2012

Do You Have THE Passion For Writing?

We are delighted to have as our guest blogger today Faye Higbee. Faye  is retired from the Coeur d’Alene Police Support Services Division in North Idaho. She is the current President of the Coeur d’Alene Chapter of Idaho Writer’s League, and an author of both Christian and secular books and articles. She lives in Post Falls with her husband Myron.

Current  books include: Bobby Convict, School of Hard Knocks with Bobby Wilhelm; Whispers of Heaven, a 90 day devotional with Rosalie Storment; The Dog Paw Chronicles (her autobiography); and Night Games, a novel under her pen name C.J. Ravenscroft. She also has stories in the following anthologies: Guideposts books- “Miracles of Nature,” “Miracles and Animals;” Harrison House books- “Extraordinary Miracles in the Lives of Ordinary People,” and “Miracles Still Happen.” Faye is not only an excellent writer but also a wonderful, enthusiastic person who exhibits passion for life as well as for writing. Thanks, Faye, for writing today's post!

      Faye Higbee and co-author Bobby Wilhelm at a recent book signing.

Do you have hot flashes when you write?  If you don’t, I suggest you might not be writing to your full potential. No, it’s not about menopausal hot flashes. I’m talking about passion and intensity that translates to power in your writing.

Whether we write novels or nonfiction, if we don’t have a depth of feeling about our topics, our batteries run low and barely work at all. We can learn anything, but if we don’t feel anything, nothing exciting or interesting comes out of our fingers. There is no true creativity if our batteries aren’t making connection.

Joanna Penn wrote this in her blog “The Creative Pen” back in August of 2012: 

"Identify your passions

I’m not talking about identifying plain old strengths here. Knowing our strengths and writing to them is beneficial, but going beyond them to what really makes us tick deepens the magic. Often, our strengths and passions intersect, but not always.
With my background in education, I can write out some serious kick-butt lesson plans. I’ve been trained to write them. I’ve practiced writing them. I’ve even taught from them. The problem is I hate writing lesson plans. I’d much rather indulge in the passion that enticed me into the teaching field to begin with: children’s literature.
When I finished college, I was given some really bad advice: hold off on that novel and assemble a portfolio. What followed were some really rotten years. Did I sell some articles? Yes. Did I improve my skills? Yes. Was I using my strengths? Yes. But it was sort of like writing out lesson plans. I wasn’t having any fun. So nine years ago, I scrapped the portfolio and penned my first children’s novel. Wow! Finally, I wanted to write! Lesson learned: Passion fuels our writing.”

People told me there would be no chance whatsoever of me getting published until I “established” myself. I don’t know how to tell those people that I got published numerous times with no portfolio. Then there were the people who told me that I couldn’t write about anything I didn’t know about. But I have always written about things that matter to my heart on a “hot flash” level. Hear this: if you feel strongly about a topic, you can write about it. Research, interviewing, and hard work are the keys: if you have the passion, you can pursue your dream. Whether you self-publish or find a publisher to take your work, you can do it when you write from that intensity of heart.

I recently finished a book with a partner who was once a high level drug kingpin.  Did I know anything about being a drug trafficker? No. I did have some law enforcement background, but nothing that prepared me for the depth of depravity in his life. Did I learn anything? Everything I never wanted to know about the consequences of drugs.

The passion? Interviewing people, touching their lives for good, believing that someone who was once a very bad person had changed his life.  He was no longer a drug dealer, and my own life was transformed by working on his story. Suddenly I felt alive and excited to get out of bed every morning.  I thought, “Who will I meet today?”   “What’s the next chapter?” Like the Eveready Battery Bunny, my own batteries were recharged by the passion of doing something fresh and new. I found “hot flashes” in my writing…the intensity of caring about the subject matter and people involved put power in the words. Like jumper cables attached to my brain, the message suddenly mattered more than the obstacles. Controversy swirls around the book “Bobby Convict,” but whether people don’t believe my partner, or they think I’m wacko for writing the book with him, I had great joy doing it.

Do you have “hot flashes” in your work? Do you get up every day excited to write? Let putting pen to paper be f.u.n. and fill your life with excitement. Don’t let others put you in a box, and write from that place of passion inside your heart. Now grab that pen, plug in your keyboard, get out there and write!

Today, December 7, is recognized in America as Pearl Harbor Day. We remember soldiers and sailors who fought bravely for what they believed in and to protect our freedoms. Today is also national Letter Writing Day. It does not have the status or gravitas of Pearl Harbor Day but it does remind us to take up pen and paper and write to someone who has touched our lives and made it better. It is a time to say thank you or I remember when or recount an activity enjoyed with a family member or friend. You can bring joy into someone's life by remembering to acknowledge a memory shared with another person. Writing a letter will make you both feel good.

Today is also the day to write a story of a holiday that was special to you. Enter Writing North Idaho's Holiday Reflections contest. See the upper left part of this blog page and the article below explaining the submission rules. Come can write 500 words and win a prize!


Nancy Owens Barnes said...

You are so right, Faye. Knowing the craft of writing provides us writers with an important and sturdy vehicle for writing good stories, but our passion for our stories often supplies the gas that keeps propelling us forward and past the road blocks we encounter. Thank you for this motivating post.

Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

Thanks, Faye. This is just what I needed to read this morning. Got my engine revved for a good day of writing.

Faye Higbee (Figbee) said...

You're most welcome, ladies. If we're revved up we won't lounge around on the couch watching desperate housewives. :)

Kathy Cooney Dobbs said...

Your post makes me think of how Pearl Harbor , our entry into WWII, and the importance of letter writing when so many soldiers looked forward to letters from family and friends & the stories they told. Thanks for a good post !