You do something that you really like, something that you love… but, after a while fighting, you forget why you started. You have built a platform that works and that gives you good results, but none of that seems to matter to you, because you are resentful with yourself, with that part of you that has led you here.
Over time, you find yourself writing to please others and you are no longer satisfied with your work, everything you do sounds forced. You are trapped and you do not feel comfortable.
But this does not have to be the end. You’ve worked hard to get here, you’ve worked hard to earn a living from what you write. Now, perhaps, the time has come to give them something back: stop worrying about what they want, write to inspire others.
I didn’t find my true audience until I stopped writing for the gallery. To my surprise, I have achieved more in this last year than in the previous five years. It is the paradox of writing: when you stop writing what readers want to read, you get dragged more readers.
Make no mistake, either. I write many things, some are no more mysterious: product descriptions, articles for brands or articles for blogs in certain niches. There you write what your client or the public needs. With this difference made, we can move on.
So how did we fall in love with writing (again)? Where to start? I went through several phases before falling in love with writing again.
Become A Writer (Again)
A year ago (more or less) I was quite overwhelmed, I could not find a job and the prospects of finding one were quite low. One day my partner asked me: What do you want to do? What is your dream? She already knew that my dream was to write, but at that time things were not very good. So I answered: I don’t know, I suppose I would settle for working. Whatever.
She looked at me, in that special way she looks at me when she knows I’m lying, as if forgiving all my bullshit (which are many), and she said: Don’t be silly, you’ve always wanted to be a writer. It’s what you do best, it’s what you are.
And I thought: what reason is he. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I have always wanted to write. And my dream was to be a writer. Someday. With a little luck.
She told me something that made me change the chip: You are already a writer. But you have to write. You can’t quit. And that’s what I did, I started writing, every day of my life, like crazy. And best of all: I started to think like a writer.
Do You Want To Think Like A Writer?
Become a professional. Steven Press field, the author of “The War of Art, " says you need to think like a writer, to write like one. Before others believe what you say, you must believe it yourself.
Find your voice. If you want to be a communicator, you have to believe what you say. Nobody likes to be tried to sell the motorcycle. You have to be honest, you have to be yourself, how? Practice.
Write for yourself. The only person you should care about is yourself. This is the secret of personal satisfaction: Do what you want and enjoy it . The funniest thing is that when you do this, you won’t be writing for yourself. Because there are a lot of people like you out there.
Pursue Your Passion
For five years I have written many blogs that no one read. I checked the statistics, I checked the SEO, the keywords, everything … But nothing seemed to work.
Little by little, my passion faded and with it my love for writing was dying. I was bitter. I saw other bloggers and writers succeeding where I failed and I envied them. Over time they took a mania. Why did it fail? Because I wasn’t doing what I really like, I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing. I was only looking for results.
So we go back to business as usual: write whatever you want. Forget the money, the readers, and the followers, leave the statistics alone. Write because you enjoy writing, it’s that easy.
How do I do it?
Concentration. There are a million things that are going to distract you. Social networks can be a problem (for me they are not, because I do not like them). For me it is boredom, I need to fill the spaces with something and … tach an! I love video games, my problem is that I tend to get hooked. Procrastination is an invisible and silent enemy. You have to watch, you have to be attentive and not lose concentration.
It ends. Many writers have more ideas than time. We all have hundreds of articles, short stories and even half novels, waiting for a worthy ending. How many of those did we actually finish? None. You know why? For fear of getting stuck with something that is not worth it. Do you want a revelation? The only thing that is not worth it is what you leave halfway. Finish what you start.
Advance. As you take up the projects and finish them, you will have to learn to live with fear. Which implies that you will have to accept the possibility of screwing it up or failing. No one is perfect, we all fail. Are you afraid of failure? Well, you hold on and face it. Every failure is a lesson learned, so… screw it up!
Build a Community
When I started blogging and ghost writing five years ago, I was chasing numbers, not people. I became a usurer of readers, I was not interested in talking with them, and I just wanted more. Of course, I didn’t get anything.
If you are in love with writing and enjoy what you write, without waiting for the approval of the audience, you will find something magical: you will attract more and more readers. They can’t help it, passion is contagious. They will want to hear what you have to say.
But, you are going to need more than an engaged audience, you need a community to support you.
Find your true fans. When you start writing out of love, you attract people’s attention. What you do next is what matters. To maintain an audience, you need to help people. One way to do this is to offer them something. This will make them trust you. It is much more fun.
Look at the patterns. Everyone has patterns to follow, we all look at someone or something. I have Seth Godin as a pattern to follow in the blogging world, and Stephen King as a great figure to “imitate” in what I write. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, if you do things right, people respond well.
Make friends. As your audience grows, you’ll make some good friends along the way. Not mere subscribers or followers, true trench companions. This part is really special, because you become part of someone else’s life. Friends help you, even when you haven’t asked for help. They always support you and that is appreciated.
Of course, nothing I tell you will make you fall in love with writing. I can’t tell you how to do that. The only thing I intend with this article is to show you how I did it. But if you decide to pursue your passion and make it your life, I will be happy to hear from you.
I Throw You a Challenge
The world does not need more secure writing. Do something controversial like I did with this article about review blogging on Ánima Barda, and write something that destabilizes the status, write something dangerous. Write from the gut. No matter how much it scares you, share it.