Friday Speak Out!: Feeding Your Passion, Guest Post by Elizabeth Flora Ross

Friday, July 09, 2010
Feeding Your Passion

by Elizabeth Flora Ross

A writer I follow on Twitter recently posed the question, "Do you set a time limit on your writing?" That gave me a very good laugh. Time limit? My issue is finding time! I continually strive for balance between my passion for writing and my role as a mom. The latter comes first, and I fit the former in the best I can.

I am not alone. Very few writers actually write full time. Many have "day" jobs and other responsibilities. They struggle to find time to devote to their craft. In fact, most people find it challenging at best to pursue their interests. Here are some strategies to help you feed your passion:

Carve out time. For me, my daughter is my priority. I am a stay-at-home mom and care for her full time. I'm also a wife, and I can't neglect my relationship. At the same time, writing provides an essential creative outlet I need. So I strive to dedicate one hour a day to it.

Set goals. Goals push you and give you something to work toward. But they have to be attainable or you will lose your motivation. You need to have realistic expectations. Sometimes you may be working against external deadlines. Make sure whenever you have the ability to influence deadlines, you do so. It helps no one if you agree to something you have no hope of achieving.

Utilize tools. I take advantage of the latest software to schedule things like blog postings, Facebook updates and tweets. That way I don't have to be tied to my computer at specific times.

Capture your ideas. Ideas aren't just going to come to you during your dedicated time. They can pop up at the most inopportune moments. You need to be able to capture ideas so you can incorporate them when the timing is right. I use the Voice Memo feature on my iPhone.

Celebrate progress and accept setbacks. You finished a chapter? Raise a glass. Received another rejection? Get busy and send out more query letters. You are going to have good days and bad days. Learn to make the most of both.

Be flexible. Events beyond your control can get in the way of your writing. You have to be prepared for that and not let it get you down. As I said, I strive for one hour a day. If I get more than that, I'm very happy. If I can't find one hour on a particular day, I try to carve out more time on another.

It's important for you to be able to feed your passion. It helps make you a happier, healthier, more well-rounded person. I spent the first year of my daughter's life ignoring my own needs, and suffering as a result. Now that I have dedicated myself to writing, I have a revived sense of energy, excitement and achievement. Find your passion and feed it!

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Elizabeth Flora Ross has been writing professionally and personally for close to 20 years. As a communications and marketing professional from 1993-2009, Elizabeth wrote for some of the biggest names in business. She self-published her first book, MAKING FRIENDS WITH PAIN: LEARNING TO LIVE WELL WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS, in 1999. From 2003-2006, Elizabeth wrote a web column for the Florida Times Union. She is currently working on her second book, exploring the decisions women raised during the second wave of feminism make concerning motherhood. (blog) (Twitter)!/pages/Elizabeth-Flora-Ross-Writer/344259972801?v=wall (Facebook)


Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Margo Dill said...

Elizabeth, thanks for the great advice. It is always good to be reminded of what we NEED to be doing!


Duane Smith said...

More women should be speaking out!

My name is Duane Smith. I am a public speaking professor, and speech coach at Los Angeles Valley College. Not only do strong minority women make up the majority of our campus (60% female – 40% male), but I am blessed with not only a brilliant wife, Fleur, but four wonderful daughters, Sierra 6, Skylar 5, Savannah 3, and Scarlet 2! Women’s issues are of great importance to me.

During my undergraduate studies I was awarded a scholarship to Northern Arizona University for public speaking. While competing nationally and internationally for NAU, my two most successful speeches were focused on two of the greatest atrocities being faced by women still to this day. In 1994, while competing at the International Forensics Association (IFA) International Public Speaking Championship Tournament held in Munich Germany, I was awarded first place for persuasive speaking. I spoke about, “The Need to Officially Recognize Rape as a War Crime.” And in 1995, at the Interstate Oratory (U.S. National Championship Tournament for Persuasive Speaking), I placed 7th in the nation for a speech about a little known at the time disease called “HPV: Human Papillomavirus.” The speech was later published by the IFA.

Now as a father of four future women, I am even more vested in women’s issues, which is why your organization caught my attention.

I am a tenured, full time college professor. And I coach one of the most successful college speech teams in the United States. In 2008, my national championship claiming team’s roster mirrored the school’s gender stats with 6 young women, and 4 young men. I am also the CEO and founder of Empowering Speech. Additionally, I have over a decade of experience teaching public speaking to English-as-a-second-language-speakers. My history, services, and testimonies can be viewed at I am always looking for new challenges and opportunities to serve where there is a need.

Duane Smith

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