Write What You’re Passionate About

Hi, SEers. You’re with Mae today. I hope you’ll forgive me while I ramble. As writers we’re lucky we get to do something we enjoy—creating stories. No one makes us sit down at a keyboard and pour our heart into a world we populate with twists and turns for characters who live in our heads. 

Okay, so maybe your muse spurs you on, but your muse is your creativity. The voice inside you that won’t be silenced, that insists on expressing himself or herself with every click of the keyboard or stroke of the pen. Writing is your passion but is it your only intense interest?

Writers often find ways to combine the elements they love. Some are obvious—you could say Stephen King likes creepy stuff. Not a stretch, right? Others are more subtle. Many romance authors admit to having fallen in love with fairy tales as a child. The same could be said for writers of fantasy, and I’m willing to bet the moon landings inspired more than one author of science-fiction. 

Fountain pen and text My Story written on an open notebook
All photos courtesy of Bigstock Photos

But let’s move beyond genre and focus on story. When you’re infatuated with something, it isn’t difficult to weave it into your plot. I built an entire series around the Mothman and the history, and folklore surrounding the collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1967. I enjoy folklore in general, especially legends related to cryptids, but the Mothman, Men-in-Black, and the UFO Flap of 1967 stirred me to go beyond general interest and devote years to research. I not only spun all of that passion into my Point Pleasant Series, but I used the knowledge I gained to give presentations on the subject, including one for which I was a paid speaker. 

Concept words Follow your passion on books on beautiful white table white background.

Staci Troilo of Story Empire has an abiding passion for her Italian heritage and wove its rich history into her Medici Protectorate Series. Joan Hall also of Story Empire has a deep fascination for lunar folklore and legends. She incorporated that passion in the plot of her novel, Cold Dark Night. Jan Sikes, another SE author, enjoys exploring the metaphysical, including rune divination which she employed in the plot of her White Rune Series

Judi Lynn, an author friend, loves to cook. She’s found ways to weave that passion into three of her cozy mystery series, particularly her Jazzy Zanders books and even goes so far as to include recipes at the end. Marcia Meara, another dear friend is deliriously passionate about wildlife in her home state of Florida. Well, wildlife in general, but you can get a big dose of the Florida variety in Swamp Ghosts, book one in her Riverbend Series.

Do you see a pattern here? This isn’t a case of write what you know. It’s a case of write what you’re passionate about. We are often asked what advice we would give to new authors who are just venturing into writing and publishing. Write what you’re passionate about is my foremost recommendation.

So, tell me… is it’s something you do? Something you’ve employed in one or more of your published works? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Ready, set, go! 

bio box for author, Mae Clair

81 thoughts on “Write What You’re Passionate About

  1. That’s true, we need to be passionate about what we write. There is another attribute I have noted that is important and that is conviction on the subject you are writing about.

    This may be more true in the case of non-fictional genres. Your heart attest the lines..

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  4. I love to incorporate things that I am passionate about. As Staci’s sister, I often incorporate Italian family life into my stories, and I take cues from my family for characters, settings, and situations. Egyptology and cooking are also passions and they find their way into my work. I’d like to note, work also plays a huge part in my writing as well, it helps me round out my characters. The workplace influences how a person reacts to stress, sensitive information, a working dynamic. You need that to make your character well rounded. Not every hero can be independently wealthy. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Michele. I love your thoughts! I also remember your passion for Egyptology (in addition to all things Italian and cooking). 🙂
      You also made a great point about not all heroes (or heroines) being independently wealthy. I’ve written multiple working-class characters as protags in my novels but I’ve also written those who don’t have to worry about where their next dime comes from. I definitely take cues from my own work and life experiences for the former—though I wouldn’t mind experiencing the latter, LOL!

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. I love the discussions this post has generated!

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. A wonderful post, Mae, and so TRUE! We should definitely write about the things we love passionately! And thank you so much for sharing how much I love Florida’s fabulous wildlife. I don’t think I could write a book without including my love of our rivers and swamps, and the wealth of interesting and beautiful wildlife living therein. Same for the beautiful North Carolina mountains. I wouldn’t even know how to write a story that didn’t build on my own passions, and I agree with everything you’ve said today.

    Trying to write a book just because the topic is hot or might be a commercial success is not something I’d even consider. If my mind is going to be filled with a story for weeks on end, I need to be happy amidst that environment and the types of characters involved.

    Thanks for this great topic! And happy writing ahead, my friend!! You always indulge your passion in ways that are simply wonderful to read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marcia, boy did you hit the nail on the head! “Trying to write a book just because the topic is hot or might be a commercial success is not something I’d even consider. If my mind is going to be filled with a story for weeks on end, I need to be happy amidst that environment and the types of characters involved.”

      I couldn’t have said it better. That’s exactly how I feel. There’s too much work that goes into creating a story, and writing about something that doesn’t interest me isn’t even in the ballpark of consideration.

      I know you love your Florida wildlife and North Carolina Mountains, and am thrilled you continue to weave that passion into your books.

      Thanks for visiting today and for the wonderful comment. Happy writing, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

    • You sound a lot like me, Craig. A number of my books came about because of something that made it into one of the bizarre feeds I follow. I actually need to start paying them more attention so I can do another research dive, LOL. I love the way you weave things into your stories in a most creative way!

      Happy writing!

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  7. I’m not an author but I love to write. I can absolutely see how passion fuels the things I write about. While I usually stick to things I know and I’m forever evolving, nothing encourages me to write more than my love of nature and the crazy/ funny/ stressful things that involve the farm I love so much.

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    • Hi, LaShelle. Writing of any kind is an awesome endeavor. It sounds like you’ve found something you truly enjoy and that you love sharing. I’ve known a few farmers in my day and can just imagine the stories you glean from that experience. It sounds like you are definitely passionate about what you do.
      Thanks for visiting and happy writing!

      Like

      • Mae, I wouldn’t say I’m a farmer per-say but I’m working my way towards that direction with cut flowers. I’ve been a professional photographer for an extremely long time and an artist for as long as I can remember. I think writing pairs beautifully with expression. My family and I left city living for 11 acres in the mountains that didn’t have a house on it. I’ve had all these amazing stories in my head about encounters with bears, wild pigs, and various experiences as well as hysterical moments with our miniature donkey, our geese, rabbits, horse, chickens and so on. Things I’ve been able to teach my son and even life lessons from a home invasion. I would say I’m passionate but more than anything I just wanted a home for all of these amazing things that probably doesn’t happens to other people. Anyway, I appreciate all the wonderful advice and thanks so much for taking time to write me back. It means a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I applaud you for that move from city to country. I looked at your blog and I think what you’re sharing is wonderful. Most of all you’re following your passions. I always had this crazy romantic idea about living on a farm in the country, but the reality is I live in suburbia, although in a semi-small town. Photography has always fascinated me but I never developed an eye for it (despite experimenting), and my father was a artist but I haven’t a lick of talent in that endeavor.

        The home invasion sounds horribly scary. I’m glad you and your family are in a good place now, and you’re doing what you enjoy!

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  8. Great Article Mae. Totally love what i write about (currently writing a fantasy novel). I work full time , so its a complete getaway from the 8 to 5 world. Completely immersed in the characters, their capabilities and how it impacts those around them!

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  9. Fantastic piece of writing, Mae. Writing about what spurs our passion makes for a good time–for both writer and reader. Readers can feel the passion in the story (or the lack of). I am passionate about many things outside of writing. I live and breathe music–though I’m a terrible guitar player. I’ve written stories around that theme. I am passionate about history, so I write a lot of fiction set in long-ago decades. In doing so, I am able to indulge myself in the research. I love researching and learning new historical facts! I have to be passionate about writing anything to which I commit time and effort. Otherwise, I’d bore myself in quick fashion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had to chuckle over your comment about being a terrible guitar player, Beem. I’ve always loved music, but I’m tone deaf and can’t sing a note, despite having multiple musicians in my family. I tried to play a few instruments over the years, but never got past the basics. Occasionally, I’ll slip a musician into one of my stories because there is still that glimmer of “ahh…if only.”

      Like you, I also love history and research. I am passionate about weaving the past into my books. I also love how you do that. You really have a knack for brining the past alive!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Such a great conversation starter!

    Here is the entire tiny prologue to the middle book of my mainstream trilogy (almost ready for publishing), and it is a fake quote:

    “…Fascination with how celebrities mate, marry, and break up runs rampant in the decadent American culture. Indeed, all Western culture: witness the European fascination with their royalty.

    When a commoner marries a royal, we ask ourselves: Why not me? How did she (it’s usually a she) land the prize?

    The answer of course, other than a bit of luck, is an enormous amount of hard work driven by a vision and a determination that doesn’t waver long, because time’s a’wastin’: I essay that no commoner marrying into royalty has ever worked harder in her (his) life. And if the first wife doesn’t do it, there is always another. There is, by definition, a lot to learn.

    Americans don’t have royalty. We have politicians (temporary, but occasionally useful if they run to families). We have rich people. Business and tech genii. And we have Hollywood, which will have to do. Our fascination has a lightning rod, and we know what’s expected of us. But we have no standard by which to judge, no tradition…

    The New Yorker”

    The other half of the passion is how the world views anyone who is physically damaged as broken, ‘not in the game,’ not worthy of what ‘normals’ are allowed to want – represented by an ex-physician thrown into this world.

    I love research. Did you know that in California you can marry under your birth name, privately, without it being part of the public record? Who do you think needs to do that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Alicia! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.
      I wish you luck with your trilogy as well as happy writing and editing as you work toward publication.
      The trilogy sounds like something you are definitely passionate about.
      That’s interesting about California. I absolutely love research!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I was raised on a farm in the middle of nowhere in southern Argyll, Scotland. There were few people around, my school had only seven pupils, my class three. But on our land, there were many burial sites, five and six thousand years old. There was a ruined hillfort from around the fifth century, A broch from the eleventh century, standing stones from around five thousand BCE and an island in middle of a spate river where human sacrifice was performed by the “old people”. The only abbey consecrated to the church of St Fillian, (Built by Somerled the lord of the isles) outlawed by the catholic church (they worshipped in the forest and did not build churches) lay close by. Castles and Sea defenses, recent and ancient peppered the land. Selkies haunted the seas, strange beasts strode the land. It was ancient.
    With no friends close by, my brother and I read and invented stories. Tales and fables of the animals and unseen creatures around us.
    As you can imagine, though it has not infected everything I have written it has certainly influenced me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ray, my jaw dropped reading your comment. What an amazing place to grow up! I’m enthralled by those descriptions, How I would love to see some of those things you’ve described. With a childhood like that, I would certainly be influenced to use those memories, experiences, and knowledge in my writing, too.
      Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah it was amazing but also lonely. Beautiful and horrible at the same time, especially if you like people. You find yourself disassociated from humankind. Lol- but I left at fifteen and went to university in the “Athens of the North”. Edinburgh. Thousands of people everywhere. Now that was culture shock.

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  12. I completely agree we should weave our passions into stories, Mae. That enthusiasm pays off when reading it. I love adding in a touches of nature, animals, angels and fairies and those magical elements to counter all the negativity. The unseen fascinates me and does good vs evil in the many forms it comes in. I guess you could say I’m passionate about good winning 🙂 Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good thing to be passionate about, Denise! 😃
      I love how you weave animals into your stories. Your passion for them, nature, and magical elements shines through in your work. Like you, I’m drawn to the conflict between good and evil and the many shapes and forms it comes in.
      And like you, I want to see good prevail!

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  13. A great distinction, Mae (writing what you’re passionate about versus writing what you know). I think that’s true! I’m passionate about nature and most of my books take place in forests. I can’t seem to help it, and there’s a wilderness setting in almost all of my books. The next one will be no different, I’m sure. 🙂 Thanks for the fun post.

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  14. Thanks for the mention, Mae. I do love to cook:) And I love how you combine legends with ghosts and curses and seances. I’m halfway through your and Staci’s The Haunting of Chatham Hollow, and it’s a wonderful read! I’m really enjoying it.

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  15. First of all, thank you for the mention, Mae. I am passionate about a lot of things in life but have studied all things metaphysical for many years, so it’s natural to incorporate bits and pieces of those experiences into my stories. I’m also passionate about music, so it also comes naturally to me to include musicians and songwriters in my stories as well. I am familiar with that mode of creativity and the lifestyle that often accompanies it. I love what you said about no one making us sit down at the keyboard and tap out these stories. It’s true. And there is certainly no incentive to write to make money. That doesn’t happen. It has to be all about a passion, a burning desire to bring these characters in our heads and hearts to life. Thank you for this thoughtful post! Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your passion for music definitely comes through in your stories, Jan. You have such an awesome background for that.

      You’re so right about what we do NOT being about money. I don’t know that any of us are at the point where we can call what we do a sustainable living, but we can certainly label it a calling (and a passion!) to share our stories with others. That brings the greatest joy and reward. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I agree, Mae, passion can bring about some amazing fun and a quest!

    When my wife and I turned our retirement into an adventure by moving to a small town at the top of the Hill Country in central Texas, we underestimated the influence of the historical Norwegian immigrants from the 1860s. After moving into a 115-year-old building (loft living in the country), of all things, I got hooked on studying trolls.

    That turned into a three-novella series for grade-schoolers featuring how creatures came to inhabit this city. But the unexpected aspect of our adventure was my deep dive into story structure, and a new quest: to share my curated notes with others.

    Thanks for an excellent post, Mae!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Grant. Thank you for sharing that awesome story! It’s a perfect example of passion in writing. As someone who is fascinated by “creatures,” I love that you used trolls in your stories. And how wonderful that the experience led you into a deep dive in story structure. You definitely let your passion lead the way! 🙂

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  17. I couldn’t agree with you more, Mae. My first two books were about something I was passionate about -but in an angry sense! I wanted to share my fears and felt better once I’d put my thoughts down on paper. The examples that you give about other authors backed up your theory – I love Marcia’s wildlife knowledge, and Staci’s comment was another confirmation. I must have a look at your Point Pleasant series. ♥♥

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hi, Trish. Passion doesn’t necessarily have to be something that makes us happy. I’m sure those first two books were a cathartic experience that brought healing. Anger can be a great motivator for story-telling.

      Isn’t Marcia’s wildlife knowledge amazing? I should have mentioned her love and knowledge of the Carolina Mountains in her Wake Robin Ridge series, too!

      And thanks for the interest in Point Pleasant. If you give it a try, I hope you enjoy the stories. Those books are close to my heart!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks, Mae. I was hoping to start a pleasant six weeks or so of reading for pleasure from the beginning of this month. As is often the way, things have prevented that but I think I can see that opening coming up in the next fortnight. I have a lot I’m really keen to read!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. When I began writing well-meaning people “encouraged me” to write in genres I wasn’t interested in. One person said she could see me writing children’s books! (Me, who has never had children.) Another maintained that writing magazine articles brought more money for less effort than writing books. Others were into non-fiction books. I wasted a few years trying to find my way. It wasn’t until I began writing mystery and suspense that I began to enjoy writing. Adding my love of lunar folklore came naturally. (Thanks for the shout-out.)

    Great post, Mae!

    Liked by 6 people

    • I can so relate to those thoughts, Joan! A few people have questioned why I don’t write a particular genre (whichever one may appeal to THEM). It’s always “you should write blah-blah-blah.” The problem with that is I have zero interest in blah-blah-blah. They don’t understand that in addition to the mechanics of writing there is also a SOUL that goes into story-telling, and that only happens when it’s born of passion.

      I’m so glad you finally found your niche!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Thanks for the shout-out, Mae. ❤️ 🇮🇹

    I agree. The only way to get passion into your stories is to have passion about your subject. I have a lot of interests, and I’ve done a ton of research to incorporate those interests into my work. But my heritage is what I KNOW and LOVE, so I don’t have to research what a “big fat Italian holiday” is like. Or even a somewhat-smaller family dinner. I live it. One of my favorite people in the world is my 104-year-old grandmother, and she’s worked her way into more than one tale. I would never blatantly copy her (or anyone else), but she’s influenced more characters than you might expect. (And a couple you’d definitely expect.) People, places, activities, objects… if you’re excited about these and write about them, your work can’t help but be richer for it.

    I loved your Point Pleasant series, btw.

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  21. Yes! I definitely see a pattern, Mae and I couldn’t agree with you more. Our passion is what brings our characters and setting to life. My first series was set in a fictional town of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It’s an area very near and dear to my heart, and a place I hope to return to when I retire. Now that I’ve started a new series, I’ve come to realize my overall passion is to write a story that gives the reader hope. Great post, Mae!

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