When I was a kid, I wanted to be an author. I also wanted to be a veterinarian for a little while, and there was a “Spy Kids” phase too. But I always came back to writing. It was my one constant passion at a time when my hobbies changed with the weather. My name — or some eccentric pen name, for which I had many options — would appear on hardcover books, and talk shows would want to interview me because of my novel’s wild success and I’d be an icon by the age of 25.
I’m 21 now, and I’ve written a few poems and a couple short stories, mostly for classes. For my senior thesis, I’m writing a collection of fantasy short stories, but so far, my main hope is to get it done on time and have it be halfway decent. That’s pretty much how I feel about everything creative I write these days. Publication is a distant hope; wild success is a pipe dream.
So, am I passionate about writing? Does being truly passionate about something require endless excitement about it? If that’s the case, am I actually truly passionate about anything?
Passion is sort of like love — the kind of passion and love I mean when I say that I love writing. When it comes to something like writing or cooking or dancing or anything we work into our lifestyles, passion is the enactment of love. Real, lasting love requires a certain amount of intention and work, and the same is even more true for passion. You cannot just proclaim to love something; you have to do things.
But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. That’s where we get imposter syndrome — the feeling that you are faking your way through your relationships, career or whatever else. Constant action and enthusiasm is, in my experience at least, exhausting and unsustainable. It’s impossible to be actively passionate about something all the time, no matter how powerful your love is.
I love writing; I’m passionate about it. I take small, deliberate steps to become a better, more creative and expressive writer. But there are plenty of days that I don’t write at all, which sometimes makes me feel like a failure or a fake.
We can’t always trust the things that our minds tell us about ourselves, especially when it comes to what is good and what is good enough in a society that so encourages comparison and competition. Passion is one of the best things we can learn to implement in our lives, but we have to accept that it isn't easy. We have to forgive ourselves for our imperfect passion.