Today I want to ask you a question. Why do you write?
(If you prefer audio, you can listen to this episode on the Smarter Artist Podcast)
It takes a lot of hustle to be a successful indie author. With all the talk these days about writing to market and building your author business it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of why we started writing in the first place.
To steal Sean’s favorite phrase, know your why.
He uses that in reference to choosing how you spend your time, what projects you work on, making marketing choices. But it goes even deeper than that, and it comes down to why are you writing?
You may be passionate about educating or informing people.
You are a superhero and you’re the only person on Earth who has the unique combinations of what you know and what you’ve been through of your experiences.
You can use that to educate or inform people.
The things you have experience in, you can share through your writing and maybe that is why you’re writing.
I love to imagine I’m sitting down over a cup of coffee with another writer and sharing the experiences that I’ve been through, sharing the lessons that I’ve learned the hard way, and helping you guys to not go through quite as much pain as I did.
Imagining having coffee with you is what keeps me going a lot of times.
If you know why that is, if you know that’s why you’re writing, then use that to fuel your writing time.
Your passion might be to encourage or inspire people.
That is a great way to take some of the things that you’ve been through in the past that might have been difficult.
I started blogging about ten years ago talking about our adoption.
I did it partly to keep my friends and family updated but I also did it to encourage other people who were passionate about adoption, or who were considering it.
That helped keep me going and get me started.
You might be passionate about entertaining people.
I love reading stories, creating stories and making up characters and throwing them in a room and seeing what happens.
It also helps me process through my fears of a worst case scenario thing and that’s why I write thrillers.
But I figure if I’m having fun with it, my readers will have fun with it too.
If you’re passionate about just entertaining people, that’s great.
The thing is if you choose to make a living as a writer, and especially if you burn the boats and you quit your day job before your books are already earning enough to pay all your bills, you will eventually have assignments that you’re not passionate about.
You’ll take on a freelance job or a ghostwriting job just to pay the bills.
You’ll have to write advertising videos for a small business or sales letters, or articles about travelling with pets.
I did a whole series of blog posts about dog information that I was Googling and learning about. I did it to pay the bills.
You’ll learn from those jobs and they’ll help equip you and nurture your skills.
But that development alone and those paying jobs alone won’t motivate you to keep writing if you’re not really remembering your passion and your why.
I’ll always remind you to keep at least one passion project going all the time, even if the writing and keyword articles and whatever you’re doing to pay the bills is taking up all your time, try to keep one passion project going and remember your why so that candle never stops burning.