I know what your first guess is—and it’s wrong.
Let me explain.
We all like to think that writers are the same. That all writers fit into one stereotype of typing furiously on a laptop with brief intervals of tugging at one’s hair by the roots. And we shuffle to our local cafes and libraries as if it were the zoo so that we can watch them suffer unnaturally in their natural writing habitat.
But this doesn’t describe all writers. In fact, the definition of writer changes as how we digest content changes. There are writers for ads, magazines, websites, blogs, ebooks, white papers, newsletters—the list is close to endless.
Put simply, what writers write, how writers write, when writers write and why writers write can’t be the same for all writers.
Although the meaning of writer has evolved, the perception of passionate writer never alters. And there’s a difference between the two, despite all the changing mediums and audiences for the written word.
No, it’s not the obvious.
A passionate writer doesn’t love one’s work more than a writer. Just because a writer is reserved about one’s passion towards the written art doesn’t mean writers don’t have a heart.
Not your first guess? Of course not.
But your initial hunch is off too. Yes, many passionate writers love to read. Some only read classics. Some only read one’s select genre. Some only tap into literary fiction in magazines. And some enjoy a mix of an entire library.
And yes, many passionate writers simply don’t read.
But writers also love to read. There are technical writers that read the classics, copywriters that enjoy children’s chapter books and content marketers that get a kick out of sci-fi.
So, What Do All Passionate Writers Have in Common?
This might come as a shock to many of my readers—and many more passionate writers. That’s because some passionate writers don’t even know their real motivation behind their drive to get a story on the page.
What fuels a passionate writer is pain.
Before you react, think about it. A passionate writer claims the craft as one’s identity. Not a fancy title. Not a means to a paycheck. Not a weekend hobby.
A passionate writer views writing as the way of communication. This writer’s written expression is more accurate than a painted or photographed portrait. What a passionate writer writes for you is a gift because it exposes something deeper and potentially more mortifying than simply walking into a room naked.
That’s why passionate writers are wounded when their words are criticized and ridiculed. You’re not just mocking their talent. You’re laughing at their pain.
So many stories that we love and cherish were born from pain. And we love these stories because we know that pain. Sometimes it’s a haunting memory. Sometimes we see it in the mirror.
Writing is that medicine to heal the pain. Passionate writers—whether or not they realize the pain exists—use writing as a way to explore the pain, make sense of it and heal from it.
When you think of writing that way, some bizarre stories start to make sense. It wasn’t reality they were portraying. It was the reality of the emotions behind the pain.
What Does That Make Me?
For me, I write to put the pain into words. I sing to get out the sound. I run to burn off the rage.
Many of my friends and family are probably scratching their heads. How can someone so happy be in pain?
Mom, you can stop researching local “hospitals” and self-help books.
Not all passionate writers walk around morosely. In fact, many of us lead happy lives. We like to save feeling that pain for when we write.
And we also like feeling happiness. We embrace the fullness of joy as well as we express sadness and anger.
I get to live my life as both writer and passionate writer. By day, my writing is fueled by entrepreneurial energy that’s exciting and inspiring. By night, my writing explores depths that I fear yet I desire.
What’s always constant in my writing is the truth. Isn’t that all passionate writers really want to find?
Are you a writer or a passionate writer? Share your story below.