Monday, January 13, 2020

Passion—Three Keys to Success by Peter Leavell

One of my favorite authors sat across the table. My palms were suddenly sweaty. I’d learned long ago if I didn’t say anything about my emotions, I would hate myself later. How this would go down?

I looked up and opened my mouth to catch her attention, but then I was interrupted. As faculty at the conference, other attenders wanted to chat about my books and workshop. As a famous author, she had people chatting about her books as well. I tried again, but it didn't work.

The interruptions allowed me to observe her personality.

She was shy. Kind. People around her seemed interested in what she had to say. She tried to get others to talk about themselves, deflecting attention away from herself. It worked. She was truly interested in them.

After a few attempts to get her attention, I noticed a puzzled look on her face. She was looking at me, and probably perceived my efforts to say something to her. So, I blurted out my admission, “You’re my favorite author!”


She smiled, and as we chatted, those at the table listened to two veteran, literary historical fiction authors talk. And a few times over the course of the week, we managed to trade industry tips.

Most of the time, she remained reserved, but when she talked of American history, her voice rose above the conversations in the room. Color sprinkled her cheeks. She sat straighter, her elbows flared, and her hand motions were wide and generous. Her reserved manner turned into Jonathan Edwards preaching to crowds of tens of thousands. Everyone listened, enraptured. I found myself loving American history, renewing a passion for the past that had fallen dormant. The feeling was so strong, I’m adding a master’s degree in history to my MA in Literature.

In that moment, I learned three things about passion.

—Passion passes from person to person. Smile, and people smile back. Have you a passion for your books? The genre you write? The subject matter you work with? Your fans feed off of the emotion. Talk about your passion. They will buy your books because of your hunger. They will look at the world through your eyes.

—Passion burns longer than grind. If you don’t like your subject, marketing, editing, or some other aspect to writing, you will burn out. And quickly. Continued passion is sustaining.

—Passion makes life fun. Strong emotion makes the quiet person the center of attention. Passion chases away the shadows of doubt and inconsistency, replacing the darkness with vibrant colors that appears in your work.

Choose passion. Indulge in those things you love most. Talk about them. Write them. Make your passion your playground. You won’t regret it as people flock to see what has you so excited!

Passion and three keys for success in your writing. @peterleavell #seriouslywrite #writerslife

Passion in you creates passion in your writing. People will want to know what you're excited about, and will buy your books. @peterleavell #seriouslywrite #writerslife

The passionate person gets noticed—three keys to success using your passion. @peterleavell #sereiouslywrite #writerslife

Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and currently enrolled in the University's English Lit Graduate program, as well as History Graduate program, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. An author, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at