How important is passion to your career? I say it’s everything.
Carrie and I embarked on the indie publishing adventure with one goal in mind (besides to publish our books): We wanted to make a living writing.
Now, we’ll be honest. This isn’t the easiest way to earn your keep. It isn’t even the easiest way to earn your keep writing. (Check out copy writing if you want a safer bet.) In fact, despite the indie publishing revolution, writing fiction is still one of the hardest and one of the riskiest ways to put food on the table.
Having said that, I’ve long lived by the principle, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” When I was still a kid, it dawned on me that I’d be devoting more hours of my life to my job than to any other single activity. I decided then and there that I wanted to work a job I could be passionate about. And I began to groom myself to be a writer – because writing was my ultimate passion.
When I grew up, and before indie publishing was a thing, I realized just how impossible my goal was. But instead of giving it up for more practical pursuits, I threw my shoulders into the harness and doubled my efforts. A career I could be passionate about was the goal – but passion, I believed, was also the vehicle that would get me there.
After all, none of the greats in the history of the world accomplished the things they did by kicking a tin can down the street. I was and still am convinced that passion is the key ingredient to success. Just look at the many ways passion can give your career a boost.
Overcoming Obstacles and Drudgeries
No matter what road you choose in life, you will encounter obstacles. You will also encounter tedium. Both are equally dangerous to a successful work life. But when you have little taste for the job you’re working at, the desire to overcome these obstacles and drudgeries simply isn’t there. It becomes all too easy to slip into the quick sand, and let your whole career slide someplace you never wanted to go.
But when you’re passionate about the job itself, it gives you dedication and devotion to challenge all obstacles. Sadly, drudgery will probably still be a thing (What? Blog post writing week again?), but knowing that the task in front of you is necessary for your ultimate goal helps you power through them.
Doing Your Best Work
Sadly, we see a lot of shoddy work where passion isn’t the key ingredient in a person’s job. For instance, how many times have you ended up with a cold meal at a fast food place? Your lukewarm hamburger may very well be the product of an employee who would rather have landed a job at the surf board shop and didn’t really give a rip what temperature your lunch was.
Passion has a direct influence on the quality of your work. When you’re doing something that’s important to you, you refuse to send anything out the door that isn’t representative of your best self.
For us writers, passion shows up strongly in our work, as important an element as plot, characterization, and voice.
Turning Work into Play
Anyway, that’s what my step-dad used to tell me. (I don’t think he expected me to take it so literally and chase the outlandish career of “writer.”) Work isn’t work at all when you’re having a blast doing it. Passion turns your work into play and makes your entire life more meaningful, giving your motivation a snowball effect.
Drawing Others into Your Passion
Have you ever watched a street artist or musician and felt that this person was so absorbed in the moment and in the creation of their art that you simply had to stop and be drawn into it? People recognize passion in the work you produce. It’s irresistible. It’s something we value because it helps us transcend our everyday experience.
If your passion is obvious in your work, its magnetic pull will give you an edge over the competition. From a purely artistic perspective, our ability to spread our passion to those around us is a power and a gift at the same time that makes life worth the living for all of us.
Proceed with Passion
If your job is a racing rig, passion is the horse in the harness that gives it muscle and speed. Without passion, you will go nowhere, but with it, you’ll go far beyond your dreams, and maybe even win the roses.
Carrie and I are still trotting hard toward the goal of making a full-time income from writing. The going is certainly hard – but it is just as certainly full of joy.