Are you happy? I mean, really happy? It’s one thing to write, it’s another thing to write on topics we enjoy every day. When a writer is truly happy and enjoys what he or she does, it shows. When a writer is simply going through the motions and writing for the paycheck and little else, that shows too. I’m not saying it’s wrong, just that most readers can sense passion in the writing. When there’s no passions, a writer is simply putting out another product.
I think passion is the key to success, as many successful people will attest. Passion allows us to share from the heart, rather than the finger tips. Passion allows us to paint a picture with our words, instead of merely stringing words together on a page. Passion drives us farther than a paycheck ever will. Passion is the difference between a best-selling byline and getting by. Passion is what gets us out of bed early instead of hitting the snooze button over and over again.
Product is a finished piece of writing. We’re not emotionally attached to it one way or another. Our clients paid us to write about this topic and we did. It’s a good piece of writing and will be well received but it’s missing heart.
There’s nothing wrong with churning out a product. As writers we do it every day. Not all of us are able to write about our passion every day. Many of us have to start out writing about undesirable topics as we get a foot in the door. To me, “making it” as a writer doesn’t always have to do with how much money I earn, it has to do with writing and blogging my passion each and every day.
I’m willing to bet if you hire two writers to craft an article on the same exact topic and one writer is passionate about the topic while the other is emotionally detached, you’ll find a big difference in the writing. Passion shows through.
What’s your passion? Does it show through in your writing?
Jack Busch says
I read you loud and clear. In the beginning of my career, I found myself writing very banal tutorials (“How to Boil a Pot of Water”) but as my client-base has steadily grown in esteem, so too have the opportunities to write on engaging topics. Now, I find that I can muster a decent amount of passion for almost every project I work on. It just comes down to finding the right angle or understanding what is truly unique and compelling about the client’s product.
For the former example, I just spent a few months working on an extensive project that was essentially a household cleaning blog. Not particularly riveting, but by approaching it from a “ways to make a cleaner and greener home” kind of angle, I was able to invest myself in the subject matter more fully.
In the latter case, I’ve been working to build out some content for a plastic surgeon. While I don’t think I’d ever consider plastic surgery myself and initially knew very little about the industry, I am finding myself increasingly concerned with some of the issues facing doctors and patients. By framing the content in the scope of educating potential consumers of the dangers and complications involved in cosmetic surgery and offering my client’s services as a solution, it feels much more like I am doing a public service than merely advertising.
The same goes for an affiliate/advertising revenued blog on credit cards that I’ve been writing for recently. I myself have never paid a cent of interest because I never carry a balance. But by following the recent credit card legislation and learning about the usurious practices of the credit card industry, I found it very easy to align myself with the interests of the millions who struggle with debt.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel like there is potential to feel passionate about almost any topic. You can take “Why does new carpet smell?” and change it to “Environmental and Health Impacts of Carpet Manufacturing.” Of course, there are some topics that are just flat out humdrum (“How to Clean Brick Tile”), but in most cases, if you aren’t inspired by your subject matter, it’s likely that you haven’t explored all the nuances of the topic.
Very good post. I don’t have passion for most of my writing, I’m afraid. I write so much and on so many topics that I have no interest in that it’s something I just do for the money these days . . . and I don’t like that. I want to get more into my own stuff, writing ebooks, cookbooks, blogs, etc. to focus on the things that actually interest me.
I agree with Jack on this. If you think about passion as something outside of yourself that just happens, you won’t feel it very often. I like to think of passion as something I can create from inside myself. If I have to do the work anyway, I may as well find something about it that I can be passionate about. It can be a stretch sometimes but the exercise is worthwhile.
T.W. Anderson says
I only take projects that I’m interested in writing about.
I do not view writing as a job in the sense that I feel like I’m putting effort into it. The reason I love my job as much as I do is because each and every project that I take is something I’m either already passionate about, or something I want to become passionate about, and writing about it is the perfect opportunity to do research and become familiar with the subject in question.
Why write if you hate what you are writing about? I’m here to have fun and enjoy life, not drudge around feeling crummy about the topics I write on.
Travel, food, wine, health, fitness, home improvement, TV shows, films, books, mythology…I always make sure to choose something I love 🙂
When I’m not able to work on a project with a subject I love, I make sure to set aside time each day to work on a personal project. That’s helped keep me engaged in my writing.
You’ve reminded me of what I’ve been doing wrong for a while. Most of what I’ve been getting paid to write lately has been rather dry–nothing creative, just straightforward articles. I’m supposed to be spending my time writing novels and screenplays in the hope that someone will buy them. And writing these articles takes up my time (much more time because I usually don’t want to write them) and sucks a lot of my creative energy. And it all sounds like the same problem I had when I worked at the newspaper, which was the reason I left for grad school back then.