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Co-creating by heart with sandy cathcart through writers helps and art info, focusing on all things wild.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What is your Passion?

Write your passion! That’s the main word I heard at the Colorado Writers Conference.

Another good word came from Ted Dekker who told us to be true to what we’re about, meaning to write what God has given us to write instead of trying to fit into a certain market need. He also told us to be true to our readers, which means we better have a clue as to who are readers are.

This seems to be the number one problem of beginning writers. In trying to reach everyone we become relevant to none. It’s interesting, though, that when we narrow the field, we most often end up reaching more readers outside of that field.

Of course some writer’s passions reach a very broad audience, as in The Purpose Driven Life. Who doesn’t what to have purpose in their lives? But the author was writing his passion and also writing to the broad spectrum of people he was used to reaching through his sermons.

Ted Dekker says he reaches out to readers between the ages of 14 and 28, but I’m much older than that and I love his books! Yet, if he had tried to include me in his original reader’s audience, he would have probably missed the mark and lost the bulk of his younger audience.

Perhaps this isn’t making sense to you?

The point is that it’s really important to visualize our readers. Okay. We have a passion. But who are we planning to reach with that passion?

In fiction, it’s probably going to be a certain type of reader rather than a certain age group of readers. Fact is, even though I’m older than most of Ted Dekker’s readers, I still like adventure. I still head out into the unknown, expecting great things to happen. So, I like the thriller because it challenges me to think deeper thoughts and move through unknown territories. So, Ted’s field of readers broadens as it reaches those of us who are still young at heart.

Nature and the outdoors are my passions. Even now, as I write this, a chorus of crickets, coyotes and frogs fills the night air. And still, I can hear the sound of a small owl punctuating through the melee. I love it! But some people would either find the noise irritating or even frightening.

My personal writing passion is to bring the perfect beauty of nature into the homes of my readers so they can experience what I experience in comfort. I want them to see the Creator the way I do, as still very much in touch with His creation. That’s not necessarily marketable as far as catching the coattail of a trend, but it becomes very marketable when others catch my passion, as they did at the Colorado Conference.

Several of my soul sisters sat spellbound as I told them stories of close encounters with bears and cougars. They love the stories! But they don’t want to experience it. One sister said she absolutely didn’t want to die in the wilderness, because her body might not be found for weeks!

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it may never be found.

“I want some respect for my body,” she insisted.

On the other hand, I thought I was going to die one time while in the wilderness, then I stopped to consider it and decided that, all things considered, it wasn’t a bad way to go. I was in the place I loved the most and where I feel closest to God. It would be a mere baby step into eternity.

My readers like to read about that, but they don’t want to experience it. It’s good for me to know that, so I don’t insist that they do what I do.

That means the thrust of my books is not necessarily to get people out in the wilderness, but it’s more about getting them to take steps of their own in overcoming fear and realizing their deepest dreams, and seeing the Creator in their everyday lives. It’s also about introducing my readers to a world and people I think they would love if they could just get to know them. So, my passion has been honed down and is now true not only to myself, but to my readers.

What is your passion? Who would you like to reach with that passion? See if you can put it into words.

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