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.
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.