Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Rekindling our Passion

by Sandy Tritt


Passion. You remember what that feels like, right? When suddenly the world becomes brighter, clearer—like you’ve been living in a black-and-white two-dimensional world and suddenly wake up to brilliant colors in three dimensions. 

Whew! It’s exciting. Whether the object of our passion is a person, religion, organization, hobby—whatever—it’s as though our entire world brightens.

And time? Time no longer exists—as long as we're involved with our passion. Hours disappear in what seems like minutes. Nothing matters except being with our passion.

Yes. Sweet, sweet passion.

And passion not only changes how we view things, it changes how others view us. When we are passionate, others are drawn to us. They feel our excitement, admire our determination, and want to be near the energy our passion generates.

I remember when I was passionate about writing. Nothing could stop me from doing it. I wrote late into the night. I wrote during my lunch break at work. I wrote while stirring spaghetti sauce. I wrote every day. Even though I managed to hold down a demanding career—while also being a wife, mother and housekeeper—the fire of my passion ran hot through my veins and never dissipated.

Until one day, it did.

I’m not sure when it happened. Life is tough, and we deal with a myriad of situations. Growing children. Work problems. Financial difficulties. Marital issues. Aging parents. Health issues. People we love die. It goes on and on. There’s always something to throw water on our flame.  

Yet . . . I’ve always believed that if we’re given a passion to do something, we should do it. It’s our calling in life. We never know when our time on earth will be up. What if we spend our entire lives putting aside our passion to deal with other stuff? What if a bit of depression steals our energy and we get bogged down with just trying to survive? What if we allow our passion to die, taking us along with it?

Fortunately, I am blessed with good friends. They noticed my flame going out. They called me on it. “Why aren’t you working on your novel?” they asked. “Why haven’t you finished that thing yet?”

Oh, I had excuses. Plenty of them. “I don’t have time,” I complained. “My eyes are tired after a long day of work.”

“Send me what you have,” my close friend and co-worker Charl insisted. “Let me help you.” She looked at my novel with fresh eyes, making suggestions, asking questions, adding details.

And something in me stirred. My heart beat a little faster. I wanted to start working on my novel again. I really did. But when? My schedule was already overfull.

More than twenty years ago, when I first started Inspiration for Writers, I had problems with time management. It seemed like I was constantly working, yet I didn't get as much done as I thought I should’ve. My writer friend Rhonda explained how she had set office hours for her work-from-home business. When she was in her home office, she worked only on writing and editing and refused interruptions. And when her workday was done, she closed her computer and didn’t look back. I adopted those policies and found I was not only more productive, but I also had another life, a non-working life.

Of course, work on my own writing was always at the bottom of my to-do list, somewhere after rearranging the alphabet and solving killer sudoku puzzles, so it never happened. But maybe, if I changed my priorities a bit, I could find some time?

I spent a weekend with my novel. My pulse quickened and my energy levels grew. Like discovering the fountain of youth, my heart beat happiness into every cell of my body.

My passion was still there!

That little spark caught hold and soon the fire glowed hot. My thoughts returned to the characters I loved, the story that intrigued me—the story that no one but me could tell, the story I was meant to write.

Better yet, passion creates energy. I needed less sleep, so I had more hours in the day. More importantly, I had more energy.

My passion was back!

I tightened my schedule, eliminated a few time-drains, and reserved an hour a day to spend on me—and sometimes more on weekends. Just me. Just me and my passion.

What about you? Has life taken the heat out of your passion? Have you abandoned your writing because there’s not enough time in a day? Have you allowed your purpose in life to linger at the bottom of your to-do list?  

Email us at IFWeditors@gmail.com. We can help. We offer a free sample edit or consultation to help you rediscover the passion that once energized your life.

And we give away encouragement for free. Just ask!

Because no one should live without passion.

And no one should die without fulfilling his or her purpose.

Visit us at InspirationForWriters.com. We are one of the oldest and most respected writing and editing companies around. Check us out.

© 2019 Inspiration for Writers, Inc. This blog post may be printed, reposted, and shared as long as it is copied in its entirety and this copyright notice is included.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Adventures in Research


Sandy Tritt
by Sandy Tritt

I thought it would be fun if we all shared some of the adventures we've had in the name of research. We'll pick the best ones and share them on this blog (with the writer's permission, of course).

Back in the pre-internet days, we didn't have a way to just turn on a computer, google something, and find out what we needed to know to make our fiction jump alive with authenticity.  One writer friend of mine who wrote murder mysteries called the local police department to inquire as to how long it would be before a dead body would begin to decay, and how deep a body would need to be buried to ensure the smell wouldn't escape. Even though she had told them she was a writer and needed to know for a story she was writing, within minutes her property was surrounded by law enforcement. They searched every inch of her property before finally deciding yes, she was just a writer.

These are the kind of stories we want to hear. I'll start the fun by copying one of my Adventures in Research. I still have pangs of guilt (and embarrassment) at the thought of this, but, hey, we live and learn.

ADVENTURES IN RESEARCH
BREACHING AN AA MEETING

I sat in my car and waited until five past the hour. Convinced the last stragglers had arrived, I sneaked through the heavy oak doors and slithered against the back wall, willing myself invisible. Normal people would have been satisfied to interview others or finish their research from the library, but not me. I wanted to experience an AA meeting personally so my fiction could sing with authenticity. So, here I was, feigning to be a coat rack, hoping no one would notice me.

I glanced around the room. It would be almost impossible in my small town not to recognize anyone, and sure enough, they were there. The sophisticated blue-haired lady was my best friend’s aunt. And the lady in red looked familiar as well—my mind scanned for where I'd seen her—my father's business associate, perhaps? And in the opposite corner stood Mr. Bogreens, the custodian at my church.

I should have left before anyone saw me, stepped back through the door as silently as I'd entered. I slid my right foot toward the exit, then moved my left to catch up. I concentrated on getting out, on escaping from this poorly planned escapade.

"Door prize?" A man with soft walnut eyes pressed an index card into my hand.

"No, thanks," I whispered.

"The first one's free," he said.

"No. I'm not—"

"Everyone enters the door prize," he said, his voice rising.

Fearing a commotion, I scribbled my name and mumbled my thanks. The rest of the group had formed a circle, but I didn’t join. I felt safe in my obscure spot by the door. I took out my note pad and concentrated on capturing all the details I needed to make my fiction real. A bare light bulb dangled from a dusty wire—surely it could be twisted into an apt analogy. Harvest gold paint decorated the walls and avocado green shag carpeting covered the concrete floors—leftovers from the seventies, as were some of those in attendance. 

The first speaker took his spot behind the podium and led the group in prayer. The PA system must have been a donation from the old high school stadium, because his voice blasted through the ceiling with the resonance of God's very own. I listened to the tone of the speaker's voice and watched his mannerisms as he spoke of his disease and recovery. I waited for the words I expected, "Hi, my name is Bob, and I'm an alcoholic . . ." And soon, sooner than I'd expected, the meeting adjourned with the recitation of the Serenity Prayer.

I'd survived. I buttoned my jacket and slid toward the door. Hopefully, no one had seen me.

Someone tapped the mike twice, then spoke so loudly her words hung on the ceiling and I had to wait for them to trickle down before I could make them out. "Sandy Tritt! Sandy Tritt!" The neon words fell from above, over and over, beating me down.

"You Sandy?" An elderly man pointed his arthritic finger at me.

I wanted to deny it, but by this time the buzzing crowd swarmed around me, and I understood how Jesus Christ felt when the crowd screamed, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

"You Sandy?" a young woman demanded.

I nodded, swearing to myself and to God above that I'd never again infiltrate sacred meetings in the name of research.

The kind-looking man I remembered from earlier shuffled over to me. "Congratulations," he said. "You won the door prize."

"I—I don't want it," I whispered, eying my escape.

A woman with evil eyebrows thrust a microphone in my face. "Speech!"

I was caught. There was no way out. What could I do? I took a deep breath, leaned into the mike, and made my confession. "Hi. My name is Sandy, and I'm—" I looked at the now silent crowd hanging onto my every word and realized the man in back looked way too much like one of my daughter's teachers, and undoubtedly the press was there and my picture would be splattered across the front page of Sunday's paper. My charade was over. There was nothing left for me to do, so I hung my head and admitted my addiction. "And I'm a writer."

***

Now it's your turn. Send us your stories! Email Sandy at IFWeditors@gmail.com.