How to Take Your Writing Temperature

With any artistic endeavor there are levels of passion. I know you’re passionate about writing, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. But just how passionate are you?

Have you ever taken your writing temperature? Here are four questions to ask yourself to take your writing temperature and see if you have writing fever.

Do you feel compelled to write every day of your life? You know what I’m talking about. You can’t explain it but there is this irrepressible urge to write. It’s an urge you can clearly identify. It’s an urge to say something; not for the sake of saying it, but for the sake of the audience that needs to hear it.

It’s a compulsion your family and friends see in you but can’t possibly feel. It’s like non-writers are deaf but you can hear music. “Can you hear that?” you say, but they respond with only a blank stare. When you attempt to explain your impulse to write you can’t make them understand. Instead, they smile and give you a look that says, “We’re happy for you.”

And every day you fail to write something, anything, you feel a twinge of guilt. Sound like you? Then you’re running a temperature—for writing.

Does writing dominate your thinking? Do you have a strange craving to write on napkins? Do you have a notebook by the bed? In your car? In the kitchen, den and spare bedroom? Heck, do you have a notebook virtually everywhere you go?

Isn’t it odd that you always have a pen in your pocket or a half dozen in your purse? Have you noticed how much you love the feel of a pen in your hand when you’re away from your laptop? Or that you have more ideas to write about than you have time to write?

Do your friends or family say writing defines you and shapes your life? As you jot ideas down on a napkin your family and friends pretend not to notice. When they glance at you, they raise their eyebrows, and think, “He’s at it again.”

While they don’t always congratulate you on your published pieces, they see your passion. They’re not sure if this strange compulsion is just a hobby like say, woodworking or knitting, but they concede that it defines you, shapes you or controls you like an addiction, albeit a healthy addiction.

Is writing a fire that consumes you? The best way to know how passionate you are about your writing is to see how you respond to the rejection mill. When you’ve had just about enough of this fruitless labor and you decide to give up. That’s when you’ll know your true writing temperature.

If the day after you officially call it quits, you feel the fire start to burn inside again, you’ve got writing fever. Relax, it’s not fatal but there is no cure. The only thing you can do is continue to treat this chronic condition with daily doses of writing time. Rest if you must. Wait patiently for publication. Achieving your dreams is just down the road.


The Writer’s Refuge blog is a place for writers, like you, to break away from your daily routine and for just a few minutes find insight, inspiration or simply a word of encouragement.

Blog entries are posted on Thursday.

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Published in: on July 12, 2012 at 7:16 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] How to Take Your Writing Temperature ( Rate this:Share this:TwitterFacebookMoreEmailPrintDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Published in: […]

  2. I would add a fifth test — do you see an article or story or book in every experience of your life? Do the circumstances and conversations and coincidences of life scream to you — “write about me!”?

    • Dave,

      Thanks for your comment.Your fifth test is a good one. I appreciate it and I am sure my readers do too. Thanks for following this blog so faithfully.

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