Many of the previous posters on the current Blog Chain (discussing whether you write for yourself or for the market) say that they need to write stories they feel passionate about. In particular, Eric's post has given me something to ponder today. To paraphrase, he says that when he writes what others want him to write, the writing is forced. But when he writes for himself, the words flow. While I do love the times when the words flow, there are spots in my projects, even the ones I love, when I have to push myself through them. I'm having this issue now with a scene near the end of Across Two Universes. Perhaps the words aren't coming because I'm not really sure this scene is needed; the reason I added it to begin with is to place a character my hero loves in potential jeopardy. For now, I'll write it and decide later if it's necessary.
Passion seems to play a role in the writing of the first draft, but what happens later, when you're going through endless rounds of revision? How do you keep the feelings and the voice of your story then? This is especially crucial if you're getting feedback from other readers; sometimes, when revising according to their suggestions, you can lose sight of your goals and your voice.
One thing that helps me keep going through draft after draft is passion for the craft of writing itself. I want to improve what I've written; I want to make it clearer, make my voice stronger, bring the emotions and settings to life. I often find myself rewriting during this stage as new ideas come to me, so there's still some of that first-draft creativity present. When I receive feedback from others, I consider how well it fits. Some suggestions are easy ones to make, but sometimes people will suggest changes that affect what I want to do with the story. In those cases, I try to consider the intent behind the suggestion. Sometimes that inspires me to go off in a completely new direction as a way of fixing the problem my way.
Perhaps writing a novel, when you're working with something over months or years, is like sustaining passion in a marriage. You have to be willing to change with your partner and try new things. Does this analogy make sense? How do you keep the passion alive in your nth draft?