When Passion is Poison

These days young writers learn sales is all about your platform. While this is obvious for indie it appears more and more publishers expect you to have one before they will publish your book.

Generally, this takes the form of a mailing list. A mailing list gives you access to people who want to hear about you and what you are doing. It stands to reason they want to hear you are releasing a book or have a story in a new issue of a magazine. Some of them, having heard the news, will then purchase the book or magazine.

In my search to start building my mailing list I been doing research. This mainly consists of watching pitches online and getting “free guides” for signing up to other people’s mailing lists followed by low value freebies and daily sales emails. Sometimes both internet marketing and indie writing feel like a big circle jerk.

Despite my cynicism about much material there is some useful information out there. This week’s Creative Penn Podcast featured Jeff Coins. I did the required sign ups and at least one of the freebies was worth reading, Building an Audience.

Jeff argues the key is writing with passion. The starting point to building an audience is writing with passion. Passion attracts people.

While I certainly agree you need a general passion for writing I think the best stories come from passion. I am passionate about at least one thing for every story I have finished. My completed shorts all embrace my future history which turns on religious dissenters and innovators being the people who form the vanguard of space exploration. This stems both from an interest in US history and how little religion appears in modern science-fiction. For me, the fact the most advanced alien civilization known in Old Man's War was essentially a theocracy was one of the most refreshing parts of the book.

Yet passion for a part of it is why I doubt I will finish my novel this month. The idea that first brought me to the story of the novel was a passion. You could argue it has been the defining passion of my life for almost a decade. However, it has born very little fruit.

Examing this passion and why it has been fruitless is how the two main characters came to mind. While the front plot of the novel is a typical private eye novel, the back plot is the developing relationship between the PI and the woman who hired him. That back plot engaged my passion.

However, in the past month to month and a half the fruitless nature of that passion has come to a head. The only resolution I can find in my life is to give it up as a passion. I have come to look forward to a day when I look on it as I did all the time and energy I invested on the SCA in my youth. I foresee good memories but genuine confusion over why I invested so heavily in this passion for so long.

So, I have come to see the passion as poison.

Yet here I have this novel whose raison d’être is in that passion. It is damn near impossible to write it while excising the same passion from myself. Yet as the lack of satisfaction in the passion comes to a head it becomes impossible to endure writing it.

Because of prior commitments I had to engage the passion all of this past weekend. As a result I have not written since last Friday. Friday resulted in all of 33 words.

In that way the passion has become a poison to the writing.

Yet Heinlein’s second law says “You must finish what you write”. If lack of passion for this story becomes a reason to break the rule how much easier is it to break in the future.

I will keep pecking away at it but in much smaller pieces. Two scenes, including the one I have reached in linear writing, are going to bring up negative and bitter emotions if not in the writing certainly afterwards.

I will finish but my hope to publish the eBook by my birthday in November seems off the table.

I guess my lesson learned is the passion for the story should be want you want to have not one you want to excise.

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