Why do we spend so much time researching, creating, optimizing, and promoting our content?
And you’d be absolutely correct.
But that’s not what I want to focus on today. I want to look at the personal motivations and goals of people who decide to become writers and content marketers — people like you.
The eye-roll heard round the world
When I hear people glamorize writing as a profession, I buy a one-way airplane ticket to Eye-roll-Ville and fly high above the fantasy that writing is a special job.
Writing is hard work and always incomplete.
Why would someone think it’s exciting and “cool” to be a writer?
That’s the question that always brings me back down to Earth because the answer is … being a writer is actually that exciting and cool. I need to remember that.
The hard work part is still real, but the personal joy writing produces is incomparable. “Fulfilling” is an understatement.
Perhaps the most driven to communicate clearly, artists who are writers take on many different roles. They’re teachers, mentors, philosophers, trailblazers, revolutionaries.
They don’t just “do work,” they love the work they do.
Personal goals can fuel business goals
In the 1981 hit “Working for the Weekend” by Loverboy, the sentiment is that we have to get through the week. The weekend is what we look forward to, our reward.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of the weekend. And it may seem a bit absurd to dissect the chorus of a lighthearted pop song, but the point I want to highlight is:
If we spend the majority of our time working during the week, shouldn’t we strive to make that time enjoyable as well?
I also support taking breaks during your workday and making it a priority to not get burned out, but those aspects aside, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of loving the work you do so much that you’re not desperate for an escape.
Writers and content marketers tend to gravitate toward that intersection of personal and business goals.
They first get clear on the “why” that gets them out of bed in the morning and carries them to work each day, and then take steps so that some part of their daily reality (even if it’s not their full-time job) consists of progress that helps them achieve their desired lifestyle.
They find the space where hard work and fun coexist.
So, if you’d like to spend more of your time “working for the weekday,” let’s talk about getting clear on how you can start moving in that direction.
Answer these 3 questions to get clear on what you want
Before a content marketer writes her first word to promote a product or service, that product or service had to be born. Someone had to decide to build something that solves a problem.
In a notebook, write down these three categories across the top of a piece of paper:
- What do I love to do?
- What do people need related to those interests?
- What solutions can I offer that will help establish me as an authority?
Jot down anything that comes to mind for each question.
Don’t hold back here because sometimes you won’t see a brilliant connection between all three categories that will become your content, product, or service concept until you release all of your ideas and get them written down.
I always go through this process with a pen and paper because it’s supposed to be messy. A digital document — that allows you to seamlessly delete some of your answers into oblivion — is too clean and organized for the madness that is necessary to have a breakthrough.
Self-indulgence as either self-care or self-harm
Is doing work you love self-indulgent and worthy of criticism?
Like anyone who chooses to pursue a career path that makes them happy should feel a little guilty … like what makes them so special that they can do work they find fun while other people are stuck at jobs that make them unhappy?
Consider this: self-harm is just as self-indulgent as self-care, but self-harm is often viewed as much more acceptable.
Staying at a job you dislike. Sleeping too little. Drinking too much alcohol. Eating an unhealthy diet. Normalizing all of those choices as just a part of modern life makes taking care of your well-being almost seem out of the ordinary.
Let’s say any self-indulgent action is either considered self-care or self-harm.
Self-care would be an action that helps support long-term happiness, while self-harm would be an action that satisfies a need and/or briefly produces joy, but does not support sustainable contentment.
When someone feels safer on the self-harm side of self-indulgence, clinging to the belief that happiness only occurs in fleeting moments and that the majority of existence is suffering … that’s a choice.
And if we’re willing to overlook those self-harm actions as understandable and necessary to navigate through life, then no one should be criticized for valuing self-care actions and taking the time to explore the interests they want to pursue professionally that would help them serve others.
Help people discover what you have to offer
Passionate writers want to reach everyone who will benefit from their work.
The thoughtful content on your website that you research, create, optimize, and promote is a reflection of your passion — and it attracts the people you aim to serve.
Do you love your work? If not, what can you do today to start moving toward a more fulfilling career? Commit to your next step in the comments below.