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Why Every Writer Should Have A Secondary Passion

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Climbing became a big part of my life in college, filling the spaces writing left behind. It forced me to leave my desk and go out into the world, to meet new people and have adventures. To exercise and take risks and feel brave. To live a life that supported my work. Whereas writing satisfied me on an intellectual and creative level, climbing fulfilled me physically and spiritually. Together, both practices made me feel whole.

As I loaded my schedule with workshops and wrote my first short stories, climbing became the thing I leaned on when the writing felt bad. When I was climbing, the only thing that mattered was the wall and how I was going to get up it. When you’re at the top of a sandstone crag in the Ozarks, looking out at a valley of trees dressed in their best autumn colors, a mean comment in a fiction workshop feels infinitely and beautifully irrelevant.

Despite climbing all through college, I never got very good. But that’s not the point of climbing — at least not to me. To me, the point was to challenge myself and force myself toward fear. To undertake an activity that seemed absolutely impossible but was so fun I couldn’t imagine not doing it. An activity that was, at least in this way, exactly like writing fiction.



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Here's a plot twist: the work I do in my local church is my primary extracurricular passion - writing is my secondary passion.

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1 hour ago, suspensewriter said:

Just out of curiosity, how does the time split go?


It works great. When I'm doing stuff for church, I feel my creative juices swirling and marshalling. And when I need to do something mundane - like mowing the lawn at church - I spend an hour and a half brainstorming. When I get home, I'm ready to sit down and write.

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