Friday, December 30, 2011

Writing About Your Passions

Alex at gave me some great advice in a comment he left on one of my posts where I mused about whether I should have a set format for my blog.  He said to write what I'm passionate about.  If you write about your passions, people will want to read. 

For the new year, I have lots of goals, not resolutions exactly, more like a project plan for the next year.  I definitely want to revamp my blog and create more of a set format while keeping Alex's advice in mind.

Another idea that entered my mind while I was cleaning my desk and organizing the two-foot high stack of partially written manuscripts was: 

I'd like to make some money this year. 

Yikes.  The idea of writing for money instead of writing because I love it changes everything...and it put me into a state of anxiety that lasted about 24 hours.  The anxiety is gone (well, mostly), but the decision to write professionally now instead of in the distant future - years maybe, whenever it happens, if it happens, eventually - is a deal changer.  If we want to make money at this, it needs to be a business venture, not a hobby or simply a wish.

In business, sometimes luck and people we know help us achieve our goals (even goals we never imagined for ourselves) much more quickly.  In my prior career, I found myself in the right place sitting next to the right person many times over.  Part of my success was luck for running into someone that would take me farther than I intended, but the larger part was hard work.  If I was a slacker sitting next to someone that could catapult my career, I would still be where I was.  The fact is my hard work benefited them too, although I didn't see it at the time.

Back to my starting point.... For the new year, I am going to take Alex's advice and blog about my passions, but on a schedule.  On Mondays I am going to blog about being a mommy - Mommy Mondays maybe.  On Wednesdays, I plan to blog about writing, and Friday is for whatever I feel like. 

My idea for Wednesday is this:  Writing is (like) Work.  I see so many analogies to writing and 'normal' work.  For me normal work was software and database design and development that ranged from project management to end user testing and everything in the middle.  When I apply the business processes that made me successful in my past career to my writing, I am much more productive and profoundly less stressed about writing as a career.  Writing isn't magic after all, it's just hard work - and it's more than just putting words on paper. 

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Eve!  My tradition is to make incredibly fattening appetizers in lieu of dinner and play board games with my older kids until midnight. Unfortunately, my little guy is not fun to play games with yet; his passion is stealing the game pieces.  So he's going to bed on time...but will greet me at 2 A.M. after he has his nightly bad dream. It's hard being three.



  1. And if you treat it like a business and work hard, you will succeed! Glad you have a plan now. Get excited!!
    Have a a tremendous New Year.

  2. You're going to do so amazing! I agree with both of you; this is super exciting. :0)

  3. I think your approach sounds like a smart one and you're absolutely right. Making a career of writing, you DO need to approach it as work... the time commitment, the strategic thinking. There are a lot of ways to break in and a lot of ways to make money. I am on the slow train (but I really hope one that takes me farther in the end)--the traditional route. But I definitely benefited from the woman sitting next to me, so to speak, who saw what I could do and gave me the referral I needed.

    I have friends who have had great luck finding calls for submissions and writing stories that fit what was asked for. I've also seen people do well self-publishing (though I think to do that one well, there is a financial investment initially for editing and art).

    I wish you a ton of luck with this!

  4. Alex is right. I firmly believe we should all write for our passions rather than pesos. And if we truly are following our hearts, the "work" of writing is no longer work. It seems more of a "calling," if you will. We can't NOT write (yes, a double negative) any more than we can NOT breathe.

    Find your passion, Tonja. I think you are well on your way. And trust me, the rest will come. The only ingredient left is patience.

    Happy New Year to you and yours.

  5. Elisabeth - I think it's going to be a great year.

    Hart - I prefer a slow train. :0 Thanks for your support!

    Bryce - I agree with you - writers need to write as much as they need to breathe. I feel suffocated when I'm not writing. It doesn't matter if anyone else wants to read it - I need to write it.

  6. That was an inspiring post. I'm glad you have a plan. It'll work out great in the long run.