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Friday, February 19, 2010

Do What You Love

Life and writing both share some basic “rules.” Do your best. Don’t give up. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated—except you can’t do this to your characters until the last chapter.

An often overlooked “rule” is one thing I try to incorporate into everything I teach because it’s a bedrock good idea if you want to enjoy life… and writing.

Do what you love and do it with passion.

Love and passion are the intangible ingredients that change something good to something filled with wow, something which draws you back for more—everything from beautiful art to beautiful food to engaging drama, warm and wonderful knit clothing, and books worthy of a second or third read.

The big question here is not why—we all know why we love wow experiences and things—it’s how. How do we figure out what we love and do it with passion.

The first step is to think about what you loved as a child. Cooking? A breathtaking sunset? Taking pictures? Making things with your hands? Telling stories that made people laugh?

Often we find something we love as children and let life and busyness steal it away.

I never dreamed about becoming an author. But I started down that path when my husband pushed me to do something he knew I loved but I’d forgotten.

I’d won a writing contest in elementary school, a story telling contest in middle school. And I spent most of my days floating from one movie-like daydream to another. But it wasn’t until someone else saw that spark and nudged me to go for it that I remembered.

So I’m nudging you. What did you love to do as a child? Rediscover it.

The next step is to enjoy it again. Love painting but feel a bit rusty on techniques? Take a beginners class at a craft store or local church. Love photography but don’t know where to start? Barnes and Noble is full of inexpensive books to get you going.

Did you love arts and crafts as a kid? What about scrapbooking, sculpture, building ships or birdhouses or sewing or knitting? Again, ask about classes at a craft store, fabric store, community college or talk to people at church. Chances are someone there loves an activity you love and can help you get started and stay motivated with it.

Then pray about how you can use that thing you love, that activity or cause you’re passionate about, to serve others.

Of course, it’s wise to be praying every step of the way. But don’t let yourself get bogged down with fear about showing your art or creations to others. Not until you’re ready.

And when you are, keep praying. There are people out there who will help you get better. Ask God to connect you to those folks. It may not be easy to hear areas for improvement, but it will help you stick with it and grow.

Another possible step in this process is taking what you love and making a career out of it. Baking, knitting, photography, writing, and art are all areas that can move from hobby to career.

Just remember to do what you love and keep that passion alive. Enjoy it. Your work will shine because of it and your heart will be even more alive. And others will be drawn to that.

It’s a beautiful cycle of joy.


Meg said...

That's excellent advice, Amy. Thanks for an inspiring post.

Amy Wallace said...

Glad you liked it, Meg! Thanks so much for your kind adjectives. ;-)

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