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How Passion Can Transform Your Blog

By Leo Babauta from Zen Habits.

Many of the problems that many bloggers face — not drawing enough readers, not knowing what to write about, not writing well enough, not finding the time to blog — can all be solved with one solution.

And that solution’s name is Passion.

All of the problems mentioned above, and more, arise from forcing things. When you write about something you don’t care much about, you’re forcing it. When you sit down to write but have nothing to say, you’re forcing it. The blogger who has no time to blog, to make his blog better and really produce the great content needed to attract a larger readership, is forcing it as well.

Forcing things makes them worse. It’ll show up in your writing. Readers aren’t interested in reading something you’ve forced, and they’ll go elsewhere.

Passion is the exact opposite: it will infuse your writing with excitement, make it more interesting, compel people to read. They’ll share your posts and the passionate content will draw others.

It’s not the answer to all problems — you still need to be a decent writer, and share really useful information, and help people solve problems, and write great headlines. But focusing on passion can really transform everything about your blog and you as a blogger.

Here are a few ways:

1. Write what you’re passionate about

What do you really care about right now? What have you been reading online, passionately, and what changes have you been making recently in your life? These are good indicators of what you’re most exited about at the moment. And if you write about these things, you’ll write well, and won’t need motivation to write.

2. Find something to be passionate about

If you don’t already have this passion, you’ll need to find it. Don’t live a passion-less life — not only is it boring, but bloggers who don’t lead interesting lives (in one way or another) are boring. To have something to say worth listening to, you need to care about something, deeply. Seek out this passion by opening your mind to it, by looking for things that are interesting to you, by reading about interesting people and emulating them, by trying new things and being willing to make mistakes, by getting good at something through intense practice, by allowing yourself to get excited! You might not find this passion on your first try, but by looking, you’ll start the process and eventually find it.

3. Write when you’re excited, not on a schedule

There’s something to be said about writing at the same time, every day, but when it’s forced, it’ll show up in your writing. You need to notice when you’re getting excited about something, and take that opportunity to sit down and write, right then. Close off the distractions of the Internet, and just write. Let the excitement of the moment pour out into the writing. Seize the moment, wherever you are, to write.

4. Pump up the jams

The right music can get you excited, and help motivate you to write with passion. I like anything with a good beat, from heavy metal to rap to punk. Avoid the mellow stuff — while it’s incredibly beautiful and soothing, it doesn’t induce passion.

5. Coffee

Lots of it. Gets the passion flowing like nothing else. Interestingly, the worse the coffee, the better it works.

6. Write passionately, become a better writer

When you write with passion, not only does it show in your writing and help motivate you, it actually makes you better. You’ll falter at first, but the strength that this passion gives you will pound at your writing and pound at it until the writing has no choice but to be better. This happens over time, but it’s inevitable — the writing becomes transformed. It’s not a magical quality — it’s basically just the idea that the more you do something, with intensity, the better you’ll be at it.

7. Read others who are passionate

The best writers and bloggers have passion, and reading them will inspire you to do the same. I like the inspired rants of Aaron Swartz, the poetry of Idle Words, the lyricism of Textism, the humor of Dooce, and many others. Find your own muses, and let them fire you up.

You can read more from Leo Babauta on Zen Habits or on his new blog on minimalism, mnmlist.com, where he is offering a new free minimalist WordPress theme called mnmlist. Follow Leo on Twitter.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. This post is so fitting.

    The past 3 months I let my blog go. I didn’t write or update it for 3 months.

    A couple days ago I started writing and posting videos to it, because I had kindled a newfound passion for it.

    Now I have 200% more traffic than I ever had before.

    Passion works, people.

    ;)

  2. Some people force themselves to squeeze out posts and it shows in their posts.

  3. @Casey – By my understanding passion isn’t discouraged in Buddhism, but the attachment to passion. It’s the desire to have something be apart of your life forever which is an impossibility as nothing lasts forever. That’s how I interpreted it at least.

  4. SeoNext says:

    Great Tips….Leo..it was really an informative post.Thanks for sharing these tips with us.Really a nice post.

  5. I think you are absolutely right: Passion makes a lot of things happen, not only in the case of writing. I dance tango whenever I have the opportunity, because I’m passionate about tango. Nothing can light my day more than a good tango, so I sticked to it, worked hard for it. Passion shows in anything you do. If you’re passionate about your job, your work will reflect it! If you’re passionate about what you’re writing about then your writing will reflect it! Great post!

    (Coffee might be bad for me, but I love it anyway ;) )

  6. Whahoo… a blog after my own heart! I hate blogs that obviously are there just to sell you something or for the ads. I love your stuff….

    Wake up people and smell the coffee!

  7. Great suggestions! Esp love the coffee tip! It is so obvious that you love what you are doing here… keep the great content flowing!

  8. Roschelle says:

    Truer words have never been spoken. I guess that’s why my blog is such…well I call it a “hodgepodge” of ideas, rants, views, opinions, and issues that I AM truly passionate about. I could never get into the “niche” thing because too many things are going on in my head at any given moment.

    I would hate to be confined to one bit of subject matter the entire time I’m blogging.

    Another great point was posting when you’re excited not on schedule. I do that a lot and just save some of the material for later.

  9. You are very right if there is no passion then a blog usually will be a flop. I ran into quite a bit of trouble with a few of my blogs because I did not ever want to write on them and of course when this happened the readership suffered. I kept the blogs that I really loved writing which was my business and marketing blogs and have been successful with them. I also love what you say about coffee your right got to have the coffee when blogging lol. Anyway thanks for the post.

    Kris,

  10. Leo,

    I can relate with the topic of passion. I’ve recently felt more passionate about what I do and it’s shown in my work and productivty.

    Passion speaks through the words you write. When you really love to do something, people will notice.

    Excellent advice.

    RB

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  12. It’s hard to be passionate all the time, but when you are make the most of the opportunity to write. Not sure, if coffee is really needed. A brisk walk or a bit of exercise would be more natural and just as effective.

  13. Mom says:

    Writing is very vital for children. It’s never too early to enroll them into a writing class. This will give your child an advantage in school in terms of writing skills.

  14. Whenever you can really apply passion into your work your audience will feel that passion and pride.

  15. I understand the value of coffee in blogging. But unfortunately the International Blogging Commission is considering classifying it as a performance enhancing drug and banning its use. Not only will they test for caffeine but high doses of cream and sugar as masking agents.

    That triple scoop ice cream cone could get you in as much trouble as the grande expsenichino.

    But seriously folks…. I do place a lot of value on not scheduling blogging. This runs a bit counter to the notion that readers appreciate regularly update blogs. But having to come up with a blog entry just because its Monday morning is as passionate as a cold shower.

    The key is to find alternate sources of content that can satisfy readers while allowing you to blog as passion moves you.

  16. Passion can sometimes take a dive, especially when ‘the walls are closing in’.

    On behalf of all who read this, thanks for the reminder to stay positive, keep focused and ultimately, to keep pushing the keyboard!

  17. Chris says:

    Your passion just doesn’t come through in your writing, it also comes out later when your doing really well. I think passion has a lot to do with not giving up too. If you passionate you’ll keep trying until it works.

  18. Wayne says:

    Thank you for this inspiring post. I have been struggling with finding my passion and one source is Janet Attwoods new book “The Passion Test” helped me identify my passions.
    I find that when an inspiration hits me – - I sit down a write myh blog right then, I do the best writing!

  19. Claudia says:

    Ah Leo from Zen Habits on Problogger – fame meets fame.

    Of course passion is every thing but sometimes people just lack ideas on how to get really passionate about something. And you’re right nobody wants to read dead, forced content. Ack just the thought of forcing myself to write for the sake of a niche sends shudders down my back.

    As for the coffee I’m not so sure – being a committed raw foodist myself and having dropped the coffee for green smoothies I can only tell you I’m experiencing increasing levels of good vibes & energy.

  20. The one (well, there are many) is that pressure to keep things fresh and new. I feel as though I will lose my readers if I don’t have something unique, entertaining, insightful every day. It’s such a burden sometimes! Thanks for relieving a small bit of that pressure, though doubt it will go away.

  21. ITrush says:

    Passion, we all need it and that’s the very reason why we keep on moving. Thanks for the tips.

  22. Isabel says:

    Hi Leo, this post is a lifesaver to me, because I have felt demotivated lately and experiencing a bit of writer’s block. This will give me the push I need to get inspired again and look forward to interesting subjects to write about.

    Thanks a lot!!!

  23. Absolutely true…every word. I especially agree with the coffee advice! If I haven’t had a cup, or six, before I write then I might as well go count sheep.

  24. Best. Post. Ever.

    So wonderful to be reminded of this… “Write when you’re excited, not on a schedule” You have inspired me more than you’ll ever know, yay! thanks.

  25. To feed others, I’ve got the feeling that I should be fed first.

    I must read enough so that some opinion is formed in my mind. Then, I can write my ideas in form of new posts. This will be out of passion for me.

  26. aurel says:

    Wow, this post is very relevant to me at the moment, I have been thinking a lot about starting to write and maintain a blog though, the only issue I had and have is the question of, am I good enough and what if at the beginning I will not be as good (which is understandable ) though would the readers and the community within the targeted audience understand that.

    There is also the idea that we write the things that we love and that we know, basically, the things that we have learned through the journey of reading other materials, is that an issue.

    fantastic

  27. It does seem that passion about your subject is one thing that you can’t do without!

  28. You’re absolutely right about all of these suggestions. Here’s another suggestion –
    Reboot! Sometimes you need to take a day off from writing. It’s easy to get burned out, especially if you’ve got several writing projects going at once. Take a rest – do something inspiring – take in some new scenery – go for a trip, do something new to spark those creative juices again.

    5 Tips for Writing Engaging Content: http://affiliate-helpdesk.blogspot.com/2009/07/5-tips-for-writing-engaging-content.html
    http://www.twitter.com/krenee76

  29. Paul Hassing says:

    Amen.

  30. Susan says:

    I WRITE TO MAKE THE WORLD BETTER. That’s passion.

    Too many shootings, suicides, and corruption… Try faith.

    WiFi Faith

  31. Benny says:

    I certainly think passion is important for anything you do in life. If you’re looking to start your own business, you’ll hear about passion.

    Blogging you definitely need passion especially when you want to stand out above the thousands of other blogs out there.

  32. shraddha says:

    great post!!

    I do not believe in writing when you feel like concept though.
    I prepare my posts and mostly post at 12.01 am on mondays.Except if its a holiday.

    For my dot com blog i do this.

    But for fun…i love particpating in writing challenges.i write for writers lounge at weandwords dot blogspot dot com
    There is only one catch, its open only for asian writers.

    I used this idea and have extended it for everyone
    It has same name as my dot com but at blogspot!!

    Here i plan to write as much as i want… whenever i want.

    lets see with time how these sites develop.

    Shraddha

    if you feel i am silly…just know that i started at wordpress dot com on 20th june this year.Shifted to wordpress dot org like 3 weeks ago.
    I started blogspot blog just few weeks ago!
    Hmm…so i am like really new!!

  33. nathan says:

    Writing about passion is good but if you’re serious about making money on your website, I don’t think it’s the best.

    if you’re doing something in which you earn low, you got a hobby but if you’re doing something that earns you quite a good income, then you have a job.

    Well, this is just my opinion and everyone has the right to believe what he/she wants to believe. ^-^

  34. So true about the coffee. I went to visit a friend across the country in LA and saw that he bought a huge tub of Foldgers. I thought that’s stupid, but when I started the blog 2 months ago, I bought the same one. He laughed at me!

  35. Absolutely dead on… passion is absolutely essential because in order to be successful you must create great content and lots of it. You will be married to your topic — I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be married to anything I am not passionate about.

  36. Kat Eden says:

    Sacrifice good coffee in order to inject passion into my writing?! Now that’s simply taking things too far :-)

  37. nathan says:

    I’ve been inspired by this post and made one about it on my blog. Thanks and Godbless! ^-^

  38. We all know this, but thanks for restating and reminding us that passion is the fuel we must continue to tap no matter what the job.

  39. DeniseD says:

    @Elizabeth Adams – I think the coffee suggestion was probably a joke, but even if it wasn’t, why so harsh a response? If you don’t like coffee, don’t drink it.

    As for the rest of the article, while passion isn’t the end all and be all (exhibit A – Octomom), infusing passion into something you hope to make a career out of is essential. Suggestion #3 makes a lot of sense to me – write when you feel it, it makes a difference. Good suggestions.

  40. This is really true – if i dont feel the passion for one of my blogs i find that the effort just doesnt happen and it feels like this awful chore that i have to do.

    kind regards

    sam
    X

  41. Kayla says:

    This is a lesson hard-learned for me. I’m trying to get back in touch with the roots of why I started my blog in the first place, and my efforts are beginning to show. I often was trying to just grind out posts because I needed to get some sort of content out. I quickly learned that passionless content isn’t worth it.

  42. Moni says:

    Its gr8 piece of information provided.

  43. Hi buddy.. i’m coming… i think that you’re gonna be a great blogger.. someday.. But Many of the problems that many bloggers face — not drawing enough readers, not knowing what to write about, not writing well enough, not finding the time to blog — can all be solved with one solution.
    And that solution’s name is Passion.

  44. Scott Webb says:

    I didn’t take the coffee part serious. I thought it added a nice bit of comic relief.

    My take is to throw passion out the window.

    Seriously. Don’t be Passionate. Be youthful and child-like! You don’t say that a child is passionate. You just realize that the child is doing what it wants and when it wants, without a care. They don’t care if they are writing well, or drawing well. They are just so happy to do whatever. Be free and set passion free into the wild, you’re holding yourself back by limiting yourself to a ‘passion.’

  45. Jeffrey George says:

    Leo,

    Passion rules my world and points to the direction for the road it drives on. Right on!

    I never have blogged or even commented on a one. My first time.

    Thanks for the start-up…

    :)

  46. You do need passion in the blogging world otherwise why would any of us stick at it.

    I love it when I am on a roll. Not having to think of ideas because they just keep comming one after the other. Then I have to start writing lists to keep up with them.

    Sometimes the ones on the list don’t ever get done because if I don’t do them right then and there the passion for them is gone. If I try to write about something I am not passionate about, this is when I have to force it and it will take twice as long to write.

    Forget the forcing bit and go with passion every time. You will get more achieved that way.

  47. Coffee! Sure remembered those days with the famous (infamous) huge coffee mug that you have.

    1 more point to add on passion… PASSION is contagious! Reading from a passionate writer can get another blogger — like me — finding great points and adding in personal experiences to write about! :)

  48. TMac says:

    Leo-
    I couldn’t agree more, as I sit here gulping my nasty cup of black coffee with all the passion I can muster.

    What I think people miss is that when you proceed with passion, its not work, its fun! What a better way to die than from an overdose of caffeine with a smile on your face and love in your heart! Thanks!

  49. Joelle says:

    Your article is so true.. I used to blog on topics I was not passionate about… but gave up soon… it was too ‘painful’.. trying to act passionate and forcing myself to write…. Now I blog about what I love… writing is so much easier…

    ——-
    http://www.mymillionairegoal.com

  50. Heinrich says:

    It is becoming more and more difficult to choose the good ones. There are so many blogs and so many people are writing good and interesting things. As a result the whole content is getting better and better. As a normal user I can not regularly more than 10 blogs. SO what should I do?