I spend time focusing on business (and personal) planning at the end of each year. As I was going through my planning process, I was reminded again 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, 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 social message 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 these questions:
- 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.)
- What type of work/writing comes easily to you? (Answer quickly)
- What type of work/writing do you honestly enjoy doing? (Answer quicker)
- 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?
- 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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