Learning to write is easy – there are plenty of books and groups that will help you master your craft – but figuring out what to write can be difficult. I started with a novel, then I picked up freelance writing for the bylines and some extra income. I wanted as much experience as possible, so I pursued and accepted every writing opportunity I could find. It didn’t take long to realize a few things:
1. I’m not a journalist: I hate writing “hard news” – having to chase down people for comments and trying to give an unbiased account of what happened. Bleh. I don’t like to bug people and I’m opinionated. I’m not a journalist.
2. I love writing human interest stories: It can be hard to hunt down a councilman to get his reaction to a piece of local legislation, but it’s usually pretty easy to find someone to tell you about their life. Then you basically write a short story about it. Easy peasy.
3. I love helping others: Writer, editor, coach – a lot of people ask me what that means. It means I love writing and editing, and I really love helping others learn how to do it well. As much as I’d love to make money editing books, I’d rather help writers learn how to write well so their books don’t need as much editing.
4. I’m not interested in everything*: I can’t be passionate about the economy. I don’t care about zoning ordinances. There are certain things that will never interest me, and trying to write about those things will result in flat, uninteresting copy.
*This realization is what helped me figure out what I write because it helped me figure out my passions: fiction and copy. Once I discovered my passions, I was able to focus my time and talents. Now that I’ve focused my time and talents, I’m getting more done and actually making more money.
While I have no doubt as to my ability to write a memoir, devotional, or news article, that’s not where my heart is. It took me a long time to figure this out though. It doesn’t have to be as difficult for you. I learned this late in the game, but here are some great tips for finding your passion:
- What do you read?
- What do you search for on-line?
- What distracts you on Facebook?
- What keeps you up at night?
- If you met someone new, what would you want to talk about with him/her?
Those are probably your passions, and that’s where I would encourage you to focus your energy. When you love your topic, your reader will sense it in your writing. When your writing is passionate, it will grab your reader’s attention, and that’s the trick– keep them reading and you’ll always have an audience to write for.