Thoughts on Passion Projects

A few things inspired me to think about this in the last couple of weeks.  The first was that my husband and his buddies made their debut for family and friends as Rough Draft, playing songs for us at a backyard barbecue that they’ve been jamming on for well over a year.  SO fun!  The second was that I read both of Rachel Hollis’s novels, Girl, Wash Your Face, and Girl, Stop Apologizing and they were both fan-freaking-tastic!  I highly recommend both.  And the last was that I started water-coloring last week.  It’s a thing I’ve done everyday that I can since.

Everyone has got to have a passion project. And I think “passion project” has been used too much as a throw-away term, as in it doesn’t matter what happens to that because it’s only a passion project, or it only gets the leftover energy or effort after all the things that have to be done, are done. That’s not what a passion project should be. A passion project is something you put your passion and patience and best effort into BUT, that you ask nothing of in return. It doesn’t work for you like a job. It is fueled of and gives of the thing that bring you joy for no other reason than that. One of my favorite passion projects right now is water color painting. (Quick note and clarification here. I don’t believe passion projects need to be something you’re great at. I’m not great at water color painting, but that doesn’t stop me.) Water color painting is one of my favorite passions projects to go to when I need to unplug from the writing, and clear my mind before diving back into my stories. Because while my writing will always be born from that place of a passion project, I’m asking it to jump the realms.

I’ve begun to ask my writing to work for me, especially in this revision. At least, that’s how I’d characterize it when the revisions don’t come easy, or the next step along the path is unclear. I’m hitting places in SB where I’m unsure what happens next, and sometimes what happens before. BUT I’ve come to know that this is not negative. I sat down one day this week, a couple of sessions after the negative word count day, knowing I was behind about 1,400 words from where I wanted to be. I contemplated jumping in where I had left off before, of continuing to revise the chapters that stood between me and the open space I’d planted for a new chapter that was desperately needed to start filling in relationship goals between characters. Instead of jumping in where I’d left off, I went straight to that open space and started writing. I had to ignore the voice that yelled at me to go back and revise, to get myself where I was before, and instead trust myself and just start writing. What wound up happening in that chapter was that two of my main characters had an insightful conversation that illuminated an important backstory I didn’t realize was there for one, which will add another layer to the reasoning behind some of the decisions the other will make later. It was a great illustration of how this passion project of mine has grown, from a surface-y first full draft to a full-figure story encompassing a complex world whose characters make me work for answers.

I also think I know what I’m going to write for NaNoWriMo, which is really weird.  Weird because I wasn’t expecting it to hit me the way it did.  I drove down a street the other day that I’ve driven probably thousands of times since I got my license at seventeen, and looked over at one of the houses I’d seen thousands of times before. In the space of that second it took me to look, I was hit first with the image of a character, and then next with a story title.  And then I mentioned the title to my husband, he said it sounded familiar, googled it, and sure enough, it’s already a title of a show. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ But, one of the words in the title is really what I need, so I’ll work it out. NaNoWriMo or not, it will be a story that is written. But, not now. I’ve written about 7,600 words, so I’ve got about 12,400 to reach my goal before September 1st.

How is your current project going? How do story ideas come to you? Title first, character, setting? How did your current work in progress come at you?

Happy Writing!

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