How to Fall Back in Love with Writing

It will happen. Eventually. You’ll do something you love, and after awhile, you’ll forget why you started. You’ll build a platform that’s successful, and it won’t matter. You’ll grow to resent the thing that brought you so much attention.

How to Fall Back in Love with Writing

You’ll find yourself writing for the approval of others and no longer be satisfied with your craft. You will feel trapped.

But this is not the end. It’s just the beginning. You’ve yet to create your best work. To live (and write about) a life that inspires others.

It wasn’t until I stopped writing for accolades that I found my true audience. Not surprisingly, I’ve seen more writing success in the past year than in the previous five.

This is the paradox:

When you stop writing for approval, your work will move more readers.

So how do we do this? Where do we begin?

There are three shifts I went through that helped me fall back in love with writing.

When you stop writing for approval, your work will move more readers.

Jeff Goins

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Become a writer (again)

A few years ago, a friend asked me what my dream was. I told him I didn’t have one. He called my bluff, “You know, I would’ve thought your dream was to be a writer.”

I said that was true, I guess, that I wanted to be a writer. One day. If I was lucky.

He told me, “You are a writer; you just need to write.” So that’s what I did. I started writing. Every single day. And the crazy part: I started to believe I was a writer.

Here’s how you can, too:

  • Turn pro. Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, says you have turn pro first in your head before you can do it on paper. I had the opportunity to interview Steve once, and I asked him when you become a writer. He said, “When you say you are.” Before others believe what is true about you, you’ll have to believe it first.
  • Find your voice. If you’re a communicator, we’re relying on you for insight, not to pander to us. You have to be yourself — to speak in a way that is true to you. The best way to do this? Practice.
  • Write for yourself. The only person you need to worry about writing for is you. This is the secret to satisfaction: doing what you love and enjoying it when no one’s watching. The funny thing is when you do this, you’re not really writing only for yourself. There are a lot of people just like you.

The only person you need to worry about writing for is you.

Jeff Goins

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Pursue your passion

For five years, I wrote a blog that nobody read. I measured traffic and stats. I did everything possible to maximize the impact.

All the while, my heart slowly died, and I grew bitter. I watched other writers succeed in ways that I hadn’t and envied them. Eventually, I resented them. Why? Because I wasn’t doing what I wanted. I wasn’t enjoying the process. I was only chasing results.

So I went back to the basics: writing for the love of it. Not profit or prestige or even analytics. Just for doing it for the sake of doing it. You can, too, if you want.

Here’s how:

  • De-clutter. There are a million distractions in our world. The biggest for me is social media. You know what being a member of 25 different communities really is? Stalling. Procrastinating the real work, which is writing. If you try to stay on top of every new fad, you’ll spread yourself too thin. You can’t create and react at the same time.
  • Cancel contingencies. Most writers have more ideas than they know what to do with. They have a hundred half-written articles and a few books in them. How much have they finished? None. Do you know what’s really at work here? Fear. Of picking one thing and sticking with it. Here’s the truth: There is no wrong thing. Just begin.
  • Fail forward. As you cancel contingencies and find something to stick with, you’ll need to learn how to ship. To move through fear, which means you’ll have to face the inevitability of failure. Real artists fail every day. Why not embrace it instead of running away? When you fail, you don’t really fail. You learn. You find new ways to move forward.

Real artists fail every day.

Jeff Goins

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Build a community

When I started blogging years ago, I was chasing numbers, not people. I thought like a pollster, not someone starting a conversation. And ultimately, I failed.

If you fall out of love with audience approval and embrace your craft, something amazing will probably happen: people will be attracted to your work. They can’t help it; passion is contagious. They’ll want to hear what you have to say.

But you need more than an audience. You need a community. Here are three relationships worth building:

  • Find your true fans. When you start writing for the love of it, you’ll gain people’s attention. But what you do next is what matters. In order to keep an audience, you need to help people. One way to do this is to give something away for free. This will build trust and extend your reach. And it’s a whole lot of fun.
  • Earn patrons. These are mentors and advocates who will help you succeed. For Tim Ferriss, it was Robert Scoble. For J.K. Rowling, it was the little girl who convinced her father to publish a book about wizards and witches. For me, it was Michael Hyatt and others. This won’t just happen; you’ll have to be bold and ask. However, if you’re doing great work, people will find it hard to say no.
  • Make friends. As your fans increase, you may even make a few real friends in the process. Not just followers, but genuine companions. This is the most fun part — getting to be part of someone’s story. Friends will help you even when you don’t ask for it. They’ll hold you accountable. And you will thank them for it.

Of course, I can’t really tell you how to fall in love. I can only tell you how it happened for me. But if you decide to pursue passion and write for the love of it, I would love to hear about it.

More than anything, remember that writing is an illustration of life. Art, as Stephen King says, is a support system for life, not the other way around. So the best way to write inspiring stuff is to live an inspired life.

The best way to write inspiring stuff is to live an inspired life.

Jeff Goins

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A final challenge

The world doesn’t need more safe writing. Write something dangerous, something that challenges the status quo. Something that moves you (maybe it will move others, too). Then, no matter how scared you are, share it.

If you post it online, share the link. I hope to hear from you.

Get the attention your work deserves and connect with other writers at Tribe Conference. Early bird prices expire this week. Get your tickets now!

What’s your love story? Share in the comments.

210 thoughts on “How to Fall Back in Love with Writing

  1. Thanks for this. After a number of emotional traumas through the years I’ve struggled with falling back in love with my craft and writing for the sheer joy of putting words on paper without caring what others may think of those words. In the words of Dark Wing Duck, “Let’s get dangerous!”

  2. This was awesome! Thanks for sharing this Jeff. I really needed to hear this. I definitely want to write for the sake of sharing what’s important and the truth, not just what people want to hear.

  3. Thank you Jeff for this writing. Not only is this message one that opened up my heart and mind but answered many questions that I haven’t asked. I know I have a story to share that will help others but have had a very difficult time writing it and you have helped me unlock that closed door in my mind. See you in September!

  4. Jeff this is a great post. I started blogging a few years ago. Then about six months ago I stopped, for not reason. as the months went by I found it more and more difficult to start again because I thought that I had better produce something really good to justify the hiatus. Eventually, as a kind of New Year’s resolution I took the plunge and I’m back behind the wheel. Thanks for your encouragement in these posts.

  5. Spot on – stop stalling and just begin. Thanks for your ongoing meat-and-potatoes inspiration. With your urging, I continue to work at prioritizing my daily writing habit – back on track 2 days ago and vowing to stick with it even if I can’t manage more than 5 minutes. I have all the pieces for my platform in place – I just need to put in the writing time and get ‘ir done.
    Your post reminds me of something Jenny Lawson says in her book “Furiously Happy” – “Don’t make the same mistakes that everyone else makes. Make wonderful mistakes. Make the kind of mistakes that make people so shocked that they have no other choice but to be a little impressed.”

  6. This is something I’ve just realized recently. I had been blogging for other people and lost interest and stopped. I’m slowly getting back into it and have started writing a book as well. This time, I’m writing for me. Thanks.

  7. This is awesome Jeff! It is important to find your fans. My task is to get my 1000 fans!

    Rohit I Lifeselfmastery

  8. The strategies in this post are on target. They speak to the power of “how” to move forward. And, the quotes are memorable. Thank you. I’ll be connecting and back for more inspiration. Sandra Piccolo –

  9. Wow, you were really in my business with this post 😉 Thanks for helping me remember my love for writing again! I really do miss it!

  10. I really appreciate this post, Jeff. I used to love writing so much when I was younger. Now that I’m trying to use this gift to make money, I feel like I’m beginning to resent it and have lost the love and passion I once had. You’re right, I need to stop writing for an “audience” and start writing for myself and to connect with others. It can’t be about making money, but about spreading my passion and helping people.

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