I’ve taught writing now for twenty years in more venues and mediums than I could count. I’ve had tens of thousands of students. When I taught for Writers Digest back in the days of snail mail, at one time I had over a thousand students.
I always focused on technique and substance. When I did presentations, my goal was to pack as much substance into the time allotted, perhaps a relic from my West Point days where the education was likened to taking a drink from a fire hydrant.
Since I’ve been practicing my own Who Dares Wins techniques the past year (yes, I try to practice what I preach), I’ve realized several things. I learned one of my flaws was trying to do too much. Packing too much in overwhelmed people. Instead of focusing on a few things and doing them excellently, I was covering a lot of things well.
I also learned something even more important from several failures. In Who Dares Wins, I tell people to learn from history. To learn from failures as well as successes. When something didn’t work, why not?
Here is the important lesson I’ve learned: Passion is the key element to success. Passion is the fuel of courage, which helps you defeat fear- the subjects of a couple of previous blog postings.
Passion has to be merged with substance. Passion alone can make people feel good for a little while, but the substance is what stays with them and helps them with their own passion.
I’ve written over forty manuscripts, going from genre to genre. I’ve written military thrillers, science thrillers, science fiction, romance, non-fiction, techno-myth (a genre I like to think I invented) and I’m sure some other genres. But as I taught Warrior Writer workshops I started to look at my own writing, trying to figure out what I really, really, really wanted to write—sort of like in a novel your protagonist has to peel away layers of motivation to uncover what their true motivation, aka passion, is.
What is your passion?
Why do you write?
What are you looking for internally?
What are you looking for externally?