How do you write a great novel? You just cut open a vein and let the words come out. It's not an exact quote, but it does convey much of what writing is about. A good story requires a plot, a setting and a voice (to name a few elements) but there has to be something more to get the writer and the reader to connect.
Starting out on my own writing journey many, many years ago, I had one end in mind. "I want to be the next great novelist." Along the way I have discovered that while this is not a bad goal to aim towards, this is NOT a passion. It will not drive my words or form a bond with my readers. It is simply a goal. Reaching that goal will requires that I be willing to dig into my heart and unlock a passion that can fire up the imagination and spur action that will lead to the fulfillment of the dreams.
1. What do you do that strengthens and excites you? Some people enjoy organization, some enjoy entertainment, and some enjoy the great outdoors - just to name a few possibilities. Discover the things that give you joy and energy and you will be well on your way to uncovering your passion.
2. What are you good at already? I know people that are natural born story tellers and when they start talking the whole room pays attention. There are others that can cook anything, anywhere and in any kitchen and make a great meal. You have talents, gifts or things that just come naturally. These will help you find the passion that can drive you to success.
3. Where is your heart? Discovering the real reason why you do what you do is one of the most important steps to finding your passion. Is your goal to help others, to grow others, to feed others or to make others smile? Why are you doing what you are doing? (Hint : if it's just for a paycheck then you are a far cry from your passion)
Answering these questions will help guide your writing. You can still write fiction, non-fiction or what ever genre you enjoy, but you will have more direction and stronger stories if you let your passion guide you.
A novel that is written with heart will win the hearts of the readers. A novel that is written for a paycheck will turn the readers away in droves.
Write with passion - cut open that vein and let the words pour out - write what you feel and you will be on your way to being that next great novelist (and you will enjoy the journey no matter where it takes you).