My writer’s tool kit includes my bookshelf of writing reference books, which help spark the passion engine.
By Shelley Widhalm
Every writer’s tool kit has different tools, but the most essential is the desire to write. It’s what keeps the passion engine going.
Learning about the elements of writing—storytelling, story structure and word usage—is similar to using an instruction manual to fix a car without the wrenches, pliers and other tools.
Diagnosing the problem, looking at a chart pointing out the parts of the car and reading about the necessary steps doesn’t mean the problem will be solved. The missing element could be the desire to do the work, or the confidence and skill to complete it so the car runs. Even if that passion is there.
The Work of Writing
Writing requires work, and to do that work, there needs to be motivation, discipline and, I believe, a love for some or several aspects of creating or the final creation. Do you love words, individually or how they sound in sentences? Do you love telling stories? Do you love solving story problems? Do you want to make readers feel? Do you want to feel?
Or maybe you like to see your name in print? Or to have finished something?
Writers need spark, just like cars need spark plugs to fire the ignition. For me that spark is a passion for words and getting lost in the story or poem I’m writing, so that what comes out feels like dancing and breathing and living, while I lose awareness of my physical self.
Setting Aside Writing Time
Like cars that need gas in the tank, writers need the space and time to be present for writing. If the tank drops toward the E, writers need to ride out their writer’s block or frustration with the knowledge that these emotions are not permanent.
I find that I get frustrated having so little time for writing.
The result is I save up words, emotions and ideas like money in the bank for when I do get to hang out with my laptop. I let go of my editor and inner critic, plus any negative emotions I have, because now it’s time for my date with QWERTY.
I schedule my writing time, not to specific days but to two to three times a week. I log in the hours I write, so I can see that, like an odometer marking the miles, I am making progress toward a goal. I get excited about every 5,000 words I finish in a novel’s rough draft.
The Writing Fuel
All of this is my fuel for not giving up when I am unpublished with a burning, driving, raging yawp to get my words out into the world. I want my words to be heard, read and even sung.
I don’t necessarily have a map with every step plotted out, but what I do have is a giant imagination, a spark of creativity without which I would fade and a passion for this art I cannot stop loving.