Love of the written

We bandy the word ‘passion’ around too much, but love of the λόγος (logos) should drive our written expressions.

Jules’ guest article focusses on what drives us to write, or what could and should.

Love. This tiny word is arguably one of the most complicated and powerful concepts in the English language. Its various meanings and accompanying emotions make it almost impossible to define, and yet its essence permeates every aspect of our lives. This is particularly true in writing; what other subject has been written about so profusely for centuries? Yet love is not only a subject matter, but a necessary concept for both the creation and influence of excellent, passionate writing.

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”
James Michener

Writing should be strong and powerful, and in order to create those things we need to feel them emotionally. When we think about the concept of love, we might consider that it involves sexual passion and intimacy, and indeed writing should be sexy; not necessarily in a literal sense of course, but certainly metaphorically. But there are many different types of love, and each of them can, and must, fuel our writing. Platonic love, for example, is still passionate; such love is about caring and sharing, and so we too must care about what we write, nurture it, and turn it into something beautiful to share.

Unconditional love is sadly rare in relationships, but not so in writing. How often do we, as writers, sacrifice our time, our energy, our health, and even our relationships, in order to write? We may hate it at times, we may feel like throwing our computers through a window and never picking up a pen again, but we always return. No matter how badly writing affects us, we always forgive. Our love for the written word runs through our veins and we can never give up:

I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.”
Isaac Asimov

Writing is both a learned skill and a natural talent. Those of us who are lucky enough to experience its joy have a unique insight into a world that can only ever exist for writers. Our love for writing forces us to view the world differently, and especially so when we also love what we are writing about. Viewing the world through a pen is like seeing it with a pair of magick glasses. As humans we are just like everyone else; but as writers we see things that others don’t, we hear things through our eyes, we feel with an immense intensity, and we find love in the smallest details. When we love writing, both ourselves and our world become more.

We talked about our voices as writers – how they are strong and brave, but how as people we are wimps. This is what creates our craziness. The chasm between the great love we feel for the world when we sit and write about it, and the disregard we give it in our own human lives.”
Natalie Goldberg

When we’re writing about something we love, it’s easy to portray the passion we feel and make the piece believable and inspiring. But even without love for the subject matter, our love for the act of writing in itself should be enough to inject passion into our work. So love also plays an important part when we are writing about something we may not particularly like or have a great interest in.

It may seem strange that we could love something we do not like, but doesn’t that happen in all relationships at times? Can we not sometimes dislike someone for a while, but never stop loving them? The ability to love through adversity is a great tool in writing; by focusing on the love we feel for our craft and by viewing the bigger (and sometimes smaller) picture, we are enabled to write with passion and grace about subjects that may otherwise bore us.

Lovingly crafting a piece of writing could be likened to developing a relationship. When pen and paper first meet they are tentative, unsure of each other and too worried about making mistakes. But as the ink begins to flow, confidence develops and our love is able to permeate through. Mistakes are still made, but we use them positively and learn from them; creating even greater work because of them.

Love the writing, love the writing, love the writing… the rest will follow.”
Jane Yolen

I feel I cannot write about the concept of love without mentioning hate, as the two are intrinsically linked. It is of course quite possible to hate a ‘thing’ without ever loving it, but it has often been said that true hatred for another person can only be borne out of love. There is often a fine line between love and hate because they are both such powerful emotions, and it is that very same power that is so important in our writing. Hatred without love is merely apathy. Writing without love is merely words.

So, the concept of love is of great importance both for the style and quality of our writing, and also for the content. Excellent writing should be full of passion and loving care. It should inspire, motivate and enthral. In addition, and possibly the most difficult skill of all, it may need to influence. If our audience feels our passion, feels our love, then they are far more like to believe our words. Through love, all these essential requirements of fantastic writing can be achieved.

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
William Wordsworth


Jules runs the largest eraser emporium in the world (AFAIK) and you can find out more at
Jules also runs FirstSigns with me, and is a keen writer with an eye for detail like an electron microscope.

Photo credit: chocolate geek

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