Happy Labor Day! This holiday got me thinking about the writing process. For many writers, writing–whether a book, an essay, an article, or a blog post–becomes not a labor of love but just labor. It becomes hard work rather than something you love doing.
We lose the infatuation we had with writing as we get caught up in all the other “stuff” that goes with wanting to be a professional writer or a bestselling author. And this other stuff involves really working at our writing. It involves wearing a business hat as well as a writing hat.
Writers like to write. They don’t like to be businesspeople or do business-relate things, like promotion or keeping track of sales. They also may not like editing and revising.
When we get caught up in this other stuff, or just lose interest in our writing project, it becomes work. We may even begin to suffer from writer’s block. We can’t write. We don’t want to write. We don’t run to our desk every morning unable to wait to be reunited with our loved one–the piece of writing we currently are working on. We don’t kiss it goodbye and walk away slowly, lingering, not wanting to leave each evening.
So, how do you remain in love with your work and keep it a labor of love? Or how do you fall back in love with your writing work? For the nonfiction writer, this can feel a particularly hard task. We aren’t involved in creative writing per se. It’s not about creating characters and telling a good fictional story. Many times we simply write what we know or put information out into the world.
Why do you offer that information to your potential readers? Try to remember?
I believe you, like me, do it to serve them. You offer that information as a gift to better their lives.
Yes, you’d like to make a bit of money on your book or on that article or essay. But get honest. If you couldn’t get it published traditionally or in a magazine or newspaper, would you simply publish it yourself? Would you self-publish it as a book or post it on your blog? Or would you just file it away?
I know I would put that work out into the world, and I did, for instance with this three-part series on how to create books publishers feel compelled to buy. I tried to get it published as an article in a writing magazine before I published it on my blog.
People ask me why I enjoy blogging. I enjoy it because I serve people with my blogs. I get notes from readers saying I touched their lives. I can reach more people per day with one of my blogs than I can with a book. According to Publisher’s Weekly, the average book sells only 500 copies per year. I have the potential of having that many readers to a blog in a month, a week, a day. I don’t yet, but I have enough to make me feel I am making a difference.
I enjoy writing books, articles and essays for the same reason. All my writing goes out and touches people–inspires them in some way. That fulfills my purpose.
Purpose is a kind of woo-woo, New Agey word. But maybe you feel a sense of purpose about your work. If you focus on the fact that each time you sit down to write, you fulfill that purpose, you’ll fall in love with the work you do and the piece of work you are writing. Amazingly, that purpose will shine through in your writing, making it more successful in the world.
Today, Labor Day, think about the reasons you write. What do you want to accomplish with your writing beyond fame and fortune? Share these with me below in a comment.
Let those reasons help you make your writing a labor of love and not just labor.
It’s not too late to register for my small group blog-to-book coaching, which begins tomorrow! Fulfill your purpose and serve others by getting your book blogged. Get started now! http://bit.ly/smgrpblogtobookcoaching
Photo courtesy of Dave at Morguefile.com.