Why I Gave Up On My Passion

And more importantly how I found my way back

I’ve always loved writing. As a kid, I was either a. reading or b. furious writing away at a new story. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to see my book in bookstores. Originally I wanted to be the next Stephen King – I wrote many horror stories. Then, I read Lord of the Rings, and wanted to be a fantasy novelist. I kept a little notebook (I still have it) full of ideas and snippets.

Next thing I knew, I was already an adult, and my dreams were just that – dreams.

Why did I give up on writing?

It is hard to believe I gave up my passion. Though I loved to live the world of fantasy, in the real world I became a cynical realist. I allowed the doubts of others to trickle in. Writing won’t make you money. Go to school. Continue your education. Be a teacher. Writing is just a hobby. Those doubts then manifested as fears. You will never be good enough. Why bother trying?

Passion is a fickle creature. It can fill you with joy, self-purpose, and just an overall feeling of wellness and completeness in your soul. The dark side of passion is fear. Fear of rejection, and fear of failure. It is easier to allow your dream to remain a dream. If you don’t try, you don’t fail.

Years went by, and my half completed manuscripts sat in a dusty drawer. I never threw them out, despite moving what felt like a zillion times and halfway across the country. I always told myself I would get back to it, and yet there they sat, gathering more and more dust.

Then It Happened…

Eventually, I was cleaning out that dusty drawer when I came across my stories. Out of curiosity, I started flipping through the pages. And that’s when I saw it. One of my horror stories back from a week-long writing course in grade 9. A select few were chosen to go to a university during March break, and learn creative writing at the university level. There it was, a little notation at the end from the professor.

Summation #1: Are you really only in grade 9?

Summation #2: Don’t stop writing.

I read this small little comment, and did the only logical thing.

I bawled.

And I mean, I BAWLED. Sitting crossed legged on the floor, tears flowing, complete with dramatic wailing. I am sure my cats thought the world was ending. It was a complete release of pent up anguish and disappointment in myself. My soul was hurting.

We often get told to be grateful. You have a good paying job. A roof over your head. Food on your table. You are better off than most people. And yes, all this is true, and for all this I am certainly thankful. But when it comes to passions, people tend to scoff and think they are unimportant. You can all the things in the world, but when your inner self is unfulfilled, it can be devastating. And then you feel guilty. Guilty that you are crying like a loser on the floor of your office because you stopped writing. That you should just be happier.

It’s okay to feel this way

Despite what some people say, it is okay to feel this way. What is more important is what you do after. Once the tears dried and the self-pity party was over, I sat there and re-read my half completed stories. I allowed myself to be inspired. That night I did something I hadn’t done in years – pick up my pen and write.

Now here I am. Published author. Blog writer. And soul happy.

Lessons Learned

  • Passions are wondrous and scary. Don’t give up on them.
  • It’s okay to feel sad and guilty. It’s okay if other people don’t understand those emotions.
  • Your passion is important. That doesn’t detract from other amazing things in your life.
  • Don’t ever stop writing. Or, in other words, don’t ever give up on what makes you happy.

I wish I remembered this professor’s name, so I could thank him. He may not know it, but his words written nearly 20 years ago impacted me more than I could ever say.

What is your passion? How do you get through the fear and doubts? Comment below!

~Emma~

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