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Know Jack #302 Two Things

I want to tell you a true story. Some of you youngsters may need to consult Google or grandpa to understand some of the terms. I’m violating a rule of writing by leaving that task up to you, but I feel a little rebellious.

I had an old Ford Grand Torino, it was old when I got it, but a nice car. One day it left me stranded. With some effort and my dad’s help we got it home and diagnosed the problem as burnt points (like I said, look it up). I promptly went to the parts store and bought a new set, got them installed at the proper gap setting, and turned the key—no fire in the hole.

After a couple of hours searching in vain for the problem and coming up empty, we resorted to our last, best hope, my brother-in-law Jodie, mechanic extraordinaire. He seemed perplexed at first, but reminded me of a valuable fundamental truth, to get an internal combustion engine like the one in my car to even begin to start required two things—fuel and a spark to set it off.

“Go back and make sure you have those two things,” he said and added a last word. “Those new points may not be any good.”

Before I even started looking elsewhere, I went to the parts store again and bought new points. I put them in, and one smooth purring engine answered the turn of the key.

Writing a book requires two fundamental things. Inherent talent, words skills, and a knowledge of grammar are good things to have but they are not the foundation. The two things a writer must have are passion and determination. They are the writer’s spark and fuel. If a person will get these things working on a story, it will start. They may need an editor, proofreaders, and a refresher English course to make it all run smoothly, but with passion and determination, it’s going nowhere.

Passion is that spark of imagination that fires the heart, inspiring the story and setting it in the forefront of the mind. This is the old familiar yearning in so many hearts to write a book. These books now sit in forgotten desk drawers, ancient computer files, and trash cans around the world. I have a few myself. Passion and talent won’t do it—nor will passion and skill.

A writer must have determination, an iron will to see the thing through to the end. Writing will test the will—and it will have help. Voices will cry out for you to give it up. Your own thoughts will join the chorus to quit and have a hundred good reasons why. Sometimes being stubborn can be an asset and when passion starts to wane, it’s good to have a little mulish streak.

Have a dream, have a vision—and never give up, never give in.


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