I wrote my first story when I was six.
It was about two horses, and I had drawings to match. The horses had names I can’t remember, and they were (poorly) drawn on my dad’s pale yellow legal pad paper. I stapled them together, and that was my first story.
My mom laughs when she talks about the other early stories I wrote. I had a common theme of writing about my wedding, which was a tad disconcerting because I struggled to spell “husband” correctly. But one common thread from my elementary days to essays in college was that my writing was significantly better when I was passionate about a subject.
I write every day in my job for Springfield Public Schools’ communications department. I write blurbs for e-newsletters and press releases for our website; I write tweets and Instagram captions. I love putting texture into my writing with emojis and alliteration. I love including little subtle bits of slang on Twitter as a wink and a nod to our high school students. It’s fun, but I sometimes have to fake it a bit. Most days, the passion’s not there in my writing, and for those who have been reading my writing for a long time, you can tell.
So I have to find inspiration outside of my 9 to 5 to fuel my creativity in the words that I type. I’ve been reading more; I’ve been writing more for fun. I’ve been taking long walks in the evenings with my husband, talking through story ideas and being much more selective in the television shows I watch. I’ve been eating better and drinking less wine. I’ve been creating spaces in my day where I take a quick mental break and separate myself from the grind to create space for innovation and quality.
As I get older, I’m finding more and more that passion is something you find, not something you have inherently. I’m passionate about the mission of the company I work for and often life-changing practices of our district. I’m passionate about a great lead sentence. I’m passionate about creating visually interesting graphics that celebrate our students’ accolades. I’m passionate about helping my team members and boss succeed.
I’m passionate about the work that I do 9 to 5 because I allow myself to have a richer, more meaningful 5 to 9.
I’m gardening. I’m trying new restaurants. I’m baking more. I’m sending more notes in the mail. I’m planning day trips and vacations. I’m taking more evenings off and spending more mornings enjoying the sun outside.
I’ve found my passion in writing again because I am filled from my passions in life.
And that’s enough to have me love writing about anything — even horses.