I present to you a quote:
"A virtue must be deliberately and rationally chosen. But the emotional and passionate dimension of each person's being has a place in the process as well. A virtue is a habit of one's whole self, not just one's intellect."-Brendan Myers, The Other Side of Virtue
A virtue, then, is not simply an absent-minded character trait, an inborn part of the personality. A virtue is a chosen idea about the proper way in which one should behave, and this can become second-nature over time by choosing to continue to exhibit this behavior whenever relevant. A virtue is chosen. There are many reasons why we choose the virtues we as individuals hold most dear, but the ones that stick are the ones that we believe with our whole being to be the right manner in which to behave.
I won't say that writing is a virtue, but this vein of thinking has me thinking. Writing is something that we choose to do, but unless we choose to do it with our whole selves, allowing our emotional and passionate dimensions to have a place in our work, it will never be what we hope it will be. If we want writing that is alive, we must first breathe into it all the emotions and passions, desires, hopes, fears, and dreams that live inside of us. Writing should be an extension of the self.
We all have our own dictates regarding right and wrong, correct and incorrect, and many of those dictates are variations of the same themes: courage, prudence, honor. These are noble notions for us to uphold, and if we apply the same rules of engagement to our writing that we do to our lives, there is no limit to the ways in which we can connect and touch other people through our writing.
When you have done something well, when you dream your dreams, when you feel your fears take hold of you, and when you find the honor and glory of triumph for facing down the odds, choose to write. It is these moments, full of your emotions and passions, that truly make your work a work of art.