How to Find Your Purpose as a Writer

How to find your purposeRealising it was time for a change last week also made me realise that I don’t want to just be a good writer. And I don’t want that for you either.

This week I want to go deeper and explore how to find your purpose in your work and in life, and relate this in turn to your writing. (Because you know as well as I do that these are inextricably linked to one another.)

Why do you need to find your true purpose to be a better writer?

The opportunities for writers are endless these days. The Internet has opened up a whole host of doors for bloggers, content marketers, article writers and even novelists looking to market their work and publish it online. While this might sound like great news for you and your life’s calling, it also means that the marketplace has become confused, congested and, well frankly, sometimes a bit bland.

I’d be doing you a disservice if I wasn’t honest with you here so brace yourself:

You’re not helping the situation by doing what everybody else is doing. What’s more, by following the crowd and casting your net too widely you’re speaking to everyone so that no one can actually hear you.

Let’s get offline for just a second and think about it this way; if you were to stand in a large hall the size of a football stadium, packed full of people chatting – some shouting out to others, some just nattering away among themselves – do you really think anyone would listen if you started talking about what you do and how great a writer you are?

No.

No, they wouldn’t.

This is why clients aren’t biting your hand off when you pitch to them. This is why nobody’s approaching you to write for them, despite you having made it clear with your website and on social media that you’re a good writer and available for hire.

So what do you do?

You get focused. You hone in on a particular mission, angle, market, topic, approach or style. You find your sweet spot, your niche; your true and specific calling.

Knowing your purpose will not only firm up in your own mind what you want out of your life and career and propel you towards your ultimate goals, it will also let potential clients know what you’re all about – and that you mean business.

In other words, they’ll know you’re the real deal.

If you know your purpose you can position yourself firmly, and it will be reflected in everything you do and in every word you write – whether that be on the ‘About Me’ page of your website, in a pitch to a client or in a quick Tweet to the people who follow you.

How to find your purpose (and kick-start your writing mojo)

Those who are completely unsure about their purpose might want to grab a pen – this may take a while. For those who have a small inkling about their purpose – you can probably just do this in your head.

Don’t think about this too much, but do answer me this:

  1. What inkling flashed through your mind when you read the sentence above: ‘For those who have a small inkling about their purpose’?
    (It might have flitted across your mind momentarily, like a nimble springbok accidentally leaping across lion territory. No doubt it was quickly chased down again by the mind’s greatest predators: Doubt and Fear. Go find that thought. Claw it back. Hang on to it.)
  2. What type of work/writing comes easily to you? (Answer quickly)
  3. What type of work/writing do you honestly enjoy doing? (Answer quicker)
  4. What do you read about until two in the morning, until your eyelids ache and your mind is fuzzy yet alert with a strange blend of tiredness and exhilaration?
  5. What sort of thing are you the ‘go to’ person for among your friends and family? What does everybody ask you for help or advice with?

Next, look to see if the same answer came up more than once.

I don’t wish to alarm you, but I think you may have just found your purpose.

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12 Comments

  • Shawanda James

    Reply Reply April 9, 2013

    This was such an inspiring post because it helped me realize that I’m actually on the right track. I had recently begun to question if I should do more so that I can offer more. You’ve taught me through this post that it’s more important to be effective with my purpose rather than miss the mark trying to do it all.

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply April 9, 2013

      Exactly Shawanda – you put it much more eloquently than me! Glad you enjoyed the post. Keep writing and keep focused ;o)

  • Jeannette

    Reply Reply April 10, 2013

    Great questions. I pretty much know the answer, but I am going to sit with the questions when I have quiet time tonight and dig deep to clarify.
    Thank you for the gentle push!

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply April 10, 2013

      You’re welcome Jeanette. Hope you get something out of your quiet time and thanks for dropping by.

  • Susan Cooper

    Reply Reply April 10, 2013

    I love this article. So many people struggle with what they really want to do. Writing is not am easy thing. It is part of your soul and some people have a hard time breaking down those walls. When you really find your voice and passion, you will know you are on the right track. 🙂

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply April 10, 2013

      Thanks Susan – too true. Finding your purpose and your ‘voice’ go hand in hand as a writer.

  • Jon Jefferson

    Reply Reply April 11, 2013

    I agree, blindly following the crowd can take you places you may never want to go.

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply April 11, 2013

      Exactly. It’s great to get tips and advice from others that are where you want to be perhaps, but in the end your ‘purpose’ has got to come from you. Thanks for commenting Jon.

  • Kelly Wade

    Reply Reply April 11, 2013

    “Speaking to everyone so that no one can actually hear you.” You’re dead on with this post. People who strive to be writers can’t just take what’s popular or going to reach a broad audience, those who actually write compelling material are creative enough to come up with interesting and truly engaging ideas.

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply April 11, 2013

      Thanks Kelly – wise words.

  • Becc

    Reply Reply April 15, 2013

    I wish I knew my purpose. I feel like i am one of those people in the middle of the crowd getting lost.
    I am trying to hone in on what it is, my purpose and will use your tips to gain clarity.
    Thank you for leading me in the right direction 🙂

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply April 15, 2013

      You’re most welcome Becc. I’ve checked out your website and it’s great – your writing style is so authentic and honest. Keep at it – your purpose will come I’m sure 🙂

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