Although Mr. Engel was primarily addressing people hoping for careers in the Hollywood entertainment industry, his cry in support of passion spills over to novel writing and other goals as well. I can't count the times would-be writers have asked, "Where do you get your ideas?" The question makes me want to sigh. Myriads of potential ideas for stories swirl around us every day. Kernels of ideas pop out of current events, out of historical records, out of our life experiences, and out of the fun old question, "What if...?" We all receive different gifts. I wish I had the gift of tearing down an engine and rebuilding it, but I don't. In the same way, I'm persuaded that would-be writers who wonder where to find ideas to write about simply may not have the gift of story telling.
Now, imagine this type of individual: Her head is brimming with ideas. Snippets of dialogue or portions of scenes pop into her imagination and she can't help but write them down and save them. She can't have peace of mind until she hurries to a keyboard or a notebook and captures all these fictional elements. She never asks where to find ideas to write about, for they automatically well up inside her, and she is passionate about writing them and sharing them. At first, her grammar and technique might not be the greatest, but she realizes this and constantly strives to improve.
See the difference? In the first case, there are people who--for any number of reasons--would like to be writers. Maybe they think it would be cool to have their name on a book cover. Maybe they seek respect, or affirmation. Or maybe they simply have great admiration for certain authors and aspire to be like them. But in the second scenario, our young lady might not aspire to be a writer, yet she has the driving passion to tell stories and is automatically "writer material" in the making.
Friend, I can't tell whether you have the passion to succeed as a writer. I can't know that. But if you have what it really takes to dig in and make it as a novelist, or short story writer, script writer, or whatever, you will find yourself doing that no matter what. Yes, life will be busy, but instead of offering excuses for why you aren't writing, you will force writing time into your schedule, even if it's only a few sentences each day. Human beings generally find ways to do what they really, truly enjoy doing. Perhaps the bottom line isn't the question, "Would you like to be a writer?" so much as "What do you truly enjoy doing?"
Whatever your passion, follow the one God has given you.
If you've read this far, either you agree, or you disagree. Feel free to share your thoughts below. I'd love to hear them!