Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Success Starts with Passion: How to Build an Audience Doing What You Love

Note: This is Part 1 in a series on how to build a popular blog. In this post, I’ll share the first secret to successful blogging and a few lessons I’ve learned.

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

—Nelson Mandela

My writing journey began as a search for accolades and awards, recognition and fame. Instead, I found frustration and disillusionment, not realizing this search was actually keeping me from the very thing I sought.

Rocky Balboa Statue

Photo Credit: LeoLondon via Compfight cc

For years, I seethed with envy, watching other bloggers succeed while I stood still. As jealousy turned to resentment, I began to see the world through murky-colored glasses, finding fault with everything these people did.

And for awhile, this feeling consumed me. However, eventually I had to come to grips with reality: being jaded was doing me absolutely no good.

  • I didn’t become a better writer.
  • I didn’t become famous.
  • I didn’t get a book published.

After years of feeling this way, I decided to make a change: Instead of letting external factors dictate my success, I would focus on what I could control: my attitude.

Tip #1: Focus on passion, not results.

What this changed (eventually)

At first, nothing changed. I was doing my work, the same as I ever was. But internally, I was changing. Instead of a pay check or pat on the back, passion was now my most important metric.

If I showed up to write — for love, not accolades — then I had done my job. At least for that day, I’d succeeded. And tomorrow was another day.

This released me up from the pressure to perform, gave me greater artistic freedom, and made the work a lot more fun.

If nobody but me showed up to read my words, I would still write.

If I never won an award or got published, I would still write. 

If I never earned a dime, I would still write.

Tip #2: Do your best work when nobody’s watching.

Isn’t it ironic?

Wait a second. I thought this was going to be a series on building a popular blog? Well, it is.

But there’s a paradox in the pursuit of fame: those who try the hardest to earn others’ attention rarely get it. Conversely, those who scorn the limelight are often the ones dodging the paparazzi.

Of course, this isn’t always the case. But with writing and other artistic crafts, I’ve found it to be undeniably accurate. Something interesting happens when you make passion your chief pursuit: People start to notice.

The world is desperate for, even envious of, people living purposeful lives that are free from fear. We are all inspired by those brave enough to shirk the trappings of fame and do work that matters.

What happens every time you see a film or read a book about some hero who risks it all to complete a quest that matters? You’re inspired. Captivated, even.

When I began to write for passion, at first nobody seemed to care. But I kept at it, kept doing the best work I could no matter how many (or how few) paid attention. And slowly over time, people took notice.

Why? Because there is something attractive about passion.

Tip #3: The less you care about your audience’s affections, the more your audience will be affected by your work. [Tweet]

Don’t do it for the money

I’ve talked to dozens of successful artists, authors, and entrepreneurs about why they do what they do. And they’ve all told me essentially the same thing: It’s not about the money.

Billionaire Donald Trump once said:

Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.

If you’re setting out to master a craft, to play your own game, maybe you hope to some day become famous or rich. But if you were to dig a little deeper, you might find that such a goal isn’t what you’re really in search of.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with money or the acquisition of it. Nor is there anything immoral about wanting a large audience or a best-selling book. It’s just that those things aren’t enough to fulfill you.

Because what happens on the days when nobody shows up to read your words, watch your work, or experience your art? Do you still do your job? Not if it’s about the rewards.

Creativity is a process, not a product

Our work is more than what we do or make. It’s the entirety of effort that goes into each step of the process. In a sense, it’s what we don’t see.

So when you’re sweating and bleeding and loving every minute of it, remember: this is the reward.

What, do you do, then, when you create something you’re proud of and people don’t appreciate it? Do you quit? Give up because your work isn’t “relevant”?

Or do you push forward, remembering that history’s greatest artists were often misunderstood by contemporaries?

The most memorable creations are rarely comprehended by the masses — at first. This is what makes good art. It exceeds our expectations and sometimes offends our sensibilities.

Take heart, though. Some day, someone will get it. And they will be transformed. Until then, you must learn to love the work.

Tip #4: Respect the process, and results will come.

Isn’t it ironic?

You know, the Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: “Did he have passion?”

—Dean Kansky, Serendipity

When we set sail in search of our life’s work, this is what we must seek: passion. Not fame or rewards or riches, but a willingness to quietly do our work, trusting the sowing-and-reaping nature of life. Remembering that good things come in time if we do our jobs well.

So where does that leave us? Where, practically, can you go from here? Strive to do your work with gratitude and generosity. Because this part is not you paying your dues or delaying gratification until payday. This is the best it gets.

The grind is the reward. [Tweet]

And if you aren’t okay with that, then quit now. Because it’s only once you’ve mastered this mindset that you’ll have any shot at making it, at getting rich and famous.

What this meant for me was admitting that writing was my passion, something I couldn’t not do. And truth be told, when I was doing it for the wrong reasons, I knew it. Constantly anxious and uneasy, I wrote with apprehension. It felt unnatural.

Only when I surrendered to the work, did I find peace — and my audience. Maybe as you chase your passion, you’ll make a similar discovery.

Next steps

Now, wouldn’t it be frustrating if I left you lingering there? But I won’t do that. If you’re ready to take the next step, here’s what I recommend you do:

  1. Change your mind. Make a decision to consciously reject negative and envious thoughts, admitting these thoughts do nothing to move you closer to your goals. Dedicate yourself to passion, not the rewards.
  2. Commit to a practice schedule. Just for a week, set aside at least 30 minutes per day to work on your craft. You may share your work, but stay diligent to the discipline of writing for passion.
  3. Create something people disagree with. No, don’t be contentious for the sake of being contentious. But write with conviction, in such a way that can’t help but offend at least a few. This is an exercise in disabusing ourselves of constantly chasing others’ approval. Pick a fight. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose. Just take note of the thrill you feel when letting go of that “what will people think?” worry.

After you’ve done those three things, take a breath and thank God for the opportunity to do something you love. And tomorrow, get up and do it all over again.

Note: This was the first post in a three-part series on how to build a popular blog. Next, I’ll share the next part, which is about how to get people to pay attention to you and listen to your message. If you don’t want to miss a thing, make sure you’re signed up for email updates.

What would truly chasing your passion look like for you? Share in the comments (include links to anything you write that’s inspired by this post).

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

Ever Wonder If Your Blog Post Is Good Enough?

We built a free tool so you don’t have to worry about that ever again.

1. Pick your goal of the post
2. Answer 5 basic questions
3. It tells you if it’s good enough and how to make it better

Click here to use the tool.

  • I really like your ‘create something people disagree with’ idea. Speaking to the choir and telling people what they want to hear does nothing to grow your own voice.
    I’m looking forward to this series! 🙂
    https://forthisisthetime.com/

  • Amy

    It would look like writing every day (whether in my blog or towards a book) without worrying about the outcome of writing. I’ve learned that anything we do with passion is not done in vain. That’s my focus. Not money or accolades, just getting to do the thing I want to do most.

    I have a tendency to start writing a book and then be like, “Agh, this is only the FIRST draft. I will have to rewrite this possibly over and over again. And what if it’s still not good enough?” and then I never even start.

    I used to write stories and songs and poems left and right growing up because I loved to write and loved where my imagination could take me. I want to be there again. Just writing because I love it and love telling stories. If the rest is meant to be, I will focus on it when I get there. Right now, I just want to write because it’s my passion.

    • This is great, Amy. If you keep this mentality and don’t give up, I believe you will become quite good.

  • Donya M Dunlap

    I think my favorite part of all this is that you quoted Serendipity. 🙂 But aside from that, thank you for this post. My focus has gotten lost in the work to build a platform. I’ve been trying to pinpoint the problem and I think you hit it on the head. I’ve gotten distracted away from my deepest passion. Thank you for not giving up when it got rough for you. Many people, myself included, never would have been helped by you if you had.

    • Gotta be honest: I LOVE that movie. 🙂

      • Donya M Dunlap

        Me too! Right under You’ve Got Mail in the rom-com department. It’s got some great lines…the above quote being one of my favorites.

  • mhelbert

    I blogged for years with an eye on a particular audience, seeking their approval. All that has gotten me is frustrated and a tad pissed off. Thanx to some of the views I’ve been exposed to recently, including those here, I’m beginning a process of self-discovery. Hopefully, I’ll get out of the box I’ve created for myself.

    https://mikehelbert.com/2013/06/17/where-i-come-fromand-a-bit-about-where-im-going/

  • anabellebf

    Speaking of disagree, I find the “passion” argument a bit trite after having heard it so many times. “Follow your passion”. “Do what you’re passionate about.” I’m super passionate about studying literature and yet I dropped out of my PhD because no matter how hard I worked, my chances were so small that the time and money investment were not worth it anymore.

    Have you ever read “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport? He debunks with passion myth quite well and shows that expertise, not passion, is the deciding factor in whether you are happy in your work life or not.

    Sure, passion counts, I suppose, but passion alone gets you nowhere. If you’re not good at something, and not constantly striving to be better, there’s no reason for people to notice you. The truth is actually the opposite of “follow your passion then you get good”: it’s “get good at something and you’ll grow passionate about it”.

    • Yep. Totally get it. I hope my article didn’t communicate that passion was enough. It’s not. But it is where you begin. And without it, the work is not sustainable.

      You can’t strive merely for the reward or return. You’ll run yourself ragged.

      Newport cites Steve Jobs as an example of someone who was an opportunist, which is true. But that’s not the whole story. What about NeXt, the computer company he started after Apple, which utterly failed?

      And what about those years of picking Apple up out of the gutter in the mid 90s? What drove him then? It was his passion that kept him going — and his ability to sense opportunities that allowed him to succeed when others might continue chasing stuff that excited them.

      Sure, we need to be good, but how do we get good when we’re not? What causes us to continue when our work is terrible? Isn’t it passion, love of the work?

      Sure, passion doesn’t work if you never spend time practicing. But I find that the only thing that drives me to get better is the fact that I enjoy my work.

      Note: this is Part 1 in a three-part series. I’ll cover more than passion in the following pieces.

      • anabellebf

        I think that the point Newport was trying to make is that Steve Jobs *developed* passion over time rather than began with it. Newport argues that there is no passion to be “unearthed” or “discovered”, but rather valuable skills to develop that eventually turn into loving what you do, because you do it so well and people reward you for it. Passion, despite being important, is NOT the starting point. That is all 🙂

        I know that’s not all that you’re saying, no worries 🙂 I just find it misleading that beginning with a passion is the solution to everything. Begin with something you’re good at (and possibly passionate about, but it’s secondary) is a better launching point, I think.

        But that’s just how I see things 🙂

        • Conversely, Ana, the same can be said for focusing too much on what you’re good at.

          The world is full of people stuck in jobs they’re good at but don’t love. What would your advice to them be?

          I’m not just speaking esoterically here. I spent YEARS trying to do it the other way, getting praised for being skilled at something I wasn’t excited about doing anymore.

          Once I began to focus on my passion, my craft improved, and eventually I achieved some amount of “success” that I had never before seen. It worked, at least for me.

          In a world where everyone’s an “expert” at something, I know this can come across as disingenuous, but I hope you hear my heart here — and understand that I’m not just speaking from lack of experience. This isn’t theory. I’ve pursued both talent and passion. And in my experience (and according to that of many others I’ve met), passion is the better goal to chase.

          • mhelbert

            I’m with Jeff here. At least to a point. Someone can be passionate about something but really suck at it. However, I’m like him in that I’ve been doing something for 40 years that I’m REALLY good at, but can’t stand doing. No passion; no desire. That’s why I’m trying to move into something that I am passionate about.

            • Certainly, I’m not encouraging folks to do what they love and not worry about getting good at it. But if something’s worth doing, it’s at least worth doing badly at first.

              Our goal as we search for success and meaning in our lives is to find that beautiful intersection of what we love, what the world needs, and what we’re good at.

              If you take just one or two of those and exploit them, you might not succeed. But all three is a recipe for awesomeness.

              • mhelbert

                Absolutely!!! Thanx!

          • Donya M Dunlap

            This is great Jeff and so true. I’m a fantastic admin assistant. I really am. But it isn’t my heart anymore. I’m an okay ministry director, designer and writer, but I LOVE all three and can’t imagine not pursuing what I’m passionate about. Money-wise I’m struggling. But I can’t imagine going back to doing what I have to do for the steady income.

            • I think this is an important realization, Donya, that some people sadly never make in life. Good for you for being so self-aware and committed to finding your vocation.

  • Another great post my friend – it’s obvious that you are living your passion. Love the thought – those who try the hardest to earn others’ attention rarely do.

  • Josey Bozzo

    This is what I’ve been trying to get my mind around for the last month or so. You are the second person to say this to me in a matter of weeks. I guess I need to listen and start doing this.
    And thank you for the movie quote. It’s one of the things I do (use movie quotes tied in with scripture) and I so love seeing others using movies to get their point across.

  • Michelle Connell

    My mom always says that living only for the weekend is not living. So many don’t know what their passion is and they don’t live a very satisfying life.
    I am a freelance writer,too. I’m in a small of group of 3 and we started a blog a little over a year ago. Nobody reads it, but that’s ok. We are practicing putting ourselves out there and disciplining ourselves.
    This past Jan. we made a pledge to write 30 minutes a day. I have missed very few. Writing is my passion, and like someone else said about building a platform, I’m not worrying about that anymore. I’m just writing.
    And my last blog post was entitled: Social Media: An Oxymoron. It’s at http://www.bredkrums.wordpress.com. I’m sure if anybody read it, they would disagree with me. So, I am doing some of what you suggested.
    Thanks for posting today’s blog–it will be helpful to others as well.

    • That’s awesome, Michelle. Doing something for just 30 minutes per day will cause you to grow in ways you couldn’t imagine! Keep up the great work.

  • Liz Morrow

    Hey Jeff! Thanks so much for this inspiring and educational post. I just bought your “Get Published on Kindle” audio/workbook and I’m working on publishing my first ebook. You have been a real encouragement to me. I truly appreciate your honesty and generosity with the knowledge you’ve gained. I love to write. It’s maybe the only thing I’ve ever consistently loved, and this post helped remind me to keep doing it because it’s my passion. The timing of this series is great for me. Thanks!

  • joysnotepad.blogspot.com

    I am so happy to find your page. All I know is I like writing and reading. I have been writing a diary to express my feelings. I write my prayer journals and the inspiration I am receiving from God everyday. Actually, I started blogging because maybe I can inspire someone and also learn a lot from others too. To share how God transformed me from rags to riches.

    Still, I have so much to learn. My grammar is imperfect, but I do always write form my heart.
    Having someone read my blogs had been my inspiration to continue. I love also getting to know talented people like you who inspires. Thanks for the wonderful tips.

  • Yesterday I read this in the Message: “Be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God…” (1 Peter: 5:6-7).

    That’s what chasing passion looks like for me right now: living a wide-open spacious life, carefree before God, trusting that His hand is on me and my calling.

    Great post, Jeff – thanks for a treasure trove of wise tips.

    • Katie Suarez

      Thanks for sharing that verse, Michelle. I especially like the part that says, “Don’t put on airs.”

      I tried for a long time to force my musical talents, and ended up in a bad place. I’ve learned now not to “put on airs,” but to place my talents in God’s hands, and pray that I can use them for His glory.

    • Thanks Jeff and Michelle for your words of encouragement and about what really matters!
      I have a newfound passion for sharing my story and am so excited to chase that passion more and more. Blogging has brought me such encouragement and blessing. I am trying to live “wide-open” and “carefree before God”.

      http://www.lifebeyondthewindow.blogspot.ca

  • Katie Suarez

    Thank you for another beautifully written post. I enjoy your writing style–inspiring, and bold, yet vulnerable. My mom and I started a blog about a year and a half ago. We poured ourselves into our research, writing, and photography. We had a good following, but gradually (like you), I became bitter and envious as I watched other (younger) blogs explode with success. I wanted to scream that it wasn’t fair–we were doing this to help people and change lives (nothing too lofty), while those other blogs were probably doing it to line their pockets. At first, we posted every week, then once a month. Yesterday, I was trying to determine if we should continue at all. However, after reading your post, I’m wondering if perhaps we CAN get back to that place…back to the spark that inspired that first blog post. Back to the passion and drive that said, “I don’t care if 1000 people read this or just one…I’m going to show up, and I’m going to write.”

    Thank you again,
    Katie Suarez
    https://www.eatforyourlifetoday.com/our-story.html

  • Kathy Brunner

    I do believe passion is something that drives you to action regardless of whether you get paid for it or not. It’s great to tie passion with income if that is what you want. It’s more important to tie passion into your everyday life, because when I did, I approached everything from a different perspective.
    It’s like that old line, ” It’s wanting what you have, not having what you want.” When I realized God would (and could) do anything to help me discover and use my purpose, I started putting my passions in His hands, and it made all the difference in the world. I think we first have to embrace our calling before we can get others to embrace what we do with it.
    Great post and thoughts, Jeff.

  • So this isn’t really just about creating a successful blog.

    • Nope. 🙂

      Most routes to success (in anything) are roundabout.

  • Laura Hebbeln

    Jeff, thank you so much for this post. I have wasted a lot of time feeling jealousy for successful writers, and of course, it got me no where with my own writing. I have finally decided that it is time for me to stop feeling jealous and to just start writing. I have started a blog, not with the hopes that I will have a lot of readers, but hoping it will get me writing more than I already do. My latest post fits in with your 3rd criteria, creating something that people could disagree with. While writing this I wondered, “what will people think when they read this?” and felt apprehensive. But I had a lot of fun writing it, and that happiness I felt is inspiring me to keep moving on!
    NSA and 1984
    diaryoflaura20.blogspot.com

  • Taiwanda

    Great post! You’re right on though. I agree that most of the time when you’re not seeking fame or fortune as your main reason for doing what you do, you will be noticed when you’re just doing it because of passion. I remember some years ago when I was teaching, and I put a lot into it, staying after work late for hours, taking work home, trying to think outside the box to craft lessons to engage and help my students learn who were disadvantaged and many had learning difficulties as well as behavioral issues, praying often for them, visiting homes when parents had difficulty coming to the school to take care of things, not taking a day off for over a year and so much more, but you know, none of what I did was a second thought. I did it because I felt that’s what I had to do because I wanted my students to succeed. One day, when things I was so worn down and felt like I had failed, I felt like it time for me to give up. I was encouraged by a colleague for what I had been doing that, that it was more than expected and there’s only so much I can do. Throughout all this time, one thing that I wasn’t thinking about was the election for teacher of the year of my school. Of course, it wasn’t on my mind with all the great teachers at my school who had been teaching for years and with me having been teaching for less than 2 years there myself. Well, at the end of the next day, as I sat in my office, as they gave the end of the day’s announcements, they announced the teacher of the year. That’s when shockingly, I heard my name and my students cheering in the classroom! It wasn’t something that I ever sought or wanted or even had any idea that I of all the great teachers there were at my school would be voted by my peers to be, especially being so new and learning along the way. All I knew was that, I wanted my students to succeed, and I put forth all I felt I could to try to make that happen. So, I guess others took notice.

  • Jeff, thanks for the reminder about why we should be doing anything. I am looking forward to your next two posts. I appreciate you sharing about this topic. It is a little reality check.

  • This is so true! When I write and think, “Lots of people (by our blog’s standards) will read this,” it’s a terrible day, traffic-wise. When I just write from my heart, our numbers usually soar, in comparison. Something about the passion just bleeds through and people are more likely to share and comment, even if they don’t agree 100% with the thoughts.

  • Good reminder, Jeff. Many years ago, the message one Sunday at the church I was attending was about passion. Our “homework” when we left that morning was to answer the question “What are you passionate about?” That was the beginning of what has been a beautiful journey and chapter in my life. My answer was one that was hard to define. All I knew was that I wanted to inspire others with my story. I was passionate about helping others overcome, to not give up and to point them to hope.

    Over the years, I found myself in roles where God has made it possible for me to serve in this way. I get sidetracked if/when I start comparing my journey with the journey someone else is called to take…you can’t take my journey and I can’t take yours. There are days I need that tattooed on my forehead!

  • Jessica Sullivan

    I am a photographer, so for me it would be to create photo shoot after photo shoot and producing images that speak to the viewer and say this is “so and so how I see them. Aren’t they lovely?” I just want the model to feel beautiful and to believe it after the experience of our photo shoot. That is my dream goal:)

  • Amy Flaherty

    Jeff,

    Thanks so much for this great post! I am a baby-blogger and have struggled with having a limited amount of success. When I took the blog classes online, they made it sound like it was so easy to just post something and then be successful from your couch! Sadly, I’m finding this is not the case but I am attempting to take small steps and view those as successes. I’m a therapist in private practice and have begun teaching sandtray therapy and blogging about this as well. The first class I taught was about half full but this weekend the class was full about a month and a half ago and I had to close out the class! Just from talking about my passion, it seems to have made a snowball effect. I now have many signed up for my class in October and then others using word of mouth. Thanks for the concrete tips and encouragement. I’m looking forward to more of the same in the future. Keep up the great work:)

  • Melanie D

    Jeff, your post brought tears to my eyes. Writing has always been a “driving force” in me, that even at times I’ve tried to squelch, but without success. Last fall I lost my “day job”, but instead of heartfelt sympathy from co-workers at the loss of my income, they kept telling me that they “knew” this would only be a “beginning” for me. I’ve been floundering in my soul, with this God-given drive, not knowing “what” I was suppose to write, to generate an income just to keep me afloat. Your blog was what I needed and struck a chord in my heart. I am going to change my focus, use my passion, and trust, through my self-discipline developing my craft, that everything will fall into place. Thanks, again, Jeff!

  • Melanie D

    Jeff, your post brought tears to my eyes. Writing has always been a “driving force” in me, that even at times I’ve tried to squelch, but without success. Last fall I lost my “day job”, but instead of heartfelt sympathy from co-workers at the loss of my income, they kept telling me that they “knew” this would only be a “beginning” for me. I’ve been floundering in my soul, with this God-given drive, not knowing “what” I was suppose to write, to generate an income just to keep me afloat. Your blog was what I needed and struck a chord in my heart. I am going to change my focus, use my passion, and trust, through my self-discipline developing my craft, that everything will fall into place. Thanks, again, Jeff!

  • beth coulton

    As usual, this post is timed perfectly to come in to my life. I have a full and busy schedule currently, but the end of the school year is almost here and then my days are free…to write, and get into that 30 minute (at least) habit! I remember how much fun I had last summer following along with the 15 habits campaign…so here I go again to a summer full of blogging/writing. It’s much harder for me on my work days- I’m still trying to figure out a way to fit it in.

  • Stéphanie Noël

    Thanks fo this post. It just gave me an idea to write about something that I really believe in.

    • Mike B.

      Do it!

  • Great advice, Jeff. Except for creating writing that people disagree with, I feel I’m in the groove. Actually, if some Christians read my books critically, they might disagree theologically. But I’m still waiting for sales to pick up to get that kind of feedback.

  • Mike B.

    Sometimes I have to remember that I started my blog just to practice writing, not to make money. It’s changed and now I want the blog to grow into something much bigger than a blog, but its primary duty right now is to be a training ground.

  • medical exmas

    Thanks for sharing your precious thoghts.

    https://www.medical-exams.com/

  • Gerad Forte

    I read this post from the library, just prior to reading it I was reading Robert Greene fascinating book Master which is filled with biographies of some of the most accomplished men and women in history. Greene’s discussion of connecting with a calling or inclination meshes well with the idea working with passion. I have often held myself back because I was too preoccupied with future outcomes to truly invest myself in doing work that matters. The first few posts at https://www.ezrabai.com sat in the drafts folder for months. I got the domain at the beginning of the year but quickly got drawn into the urgency of my current situation. Meanwhile my situation remained the same and I have no work to show for it. But I have recommitted. I know it is a day by day process

  • Two words that Chris Guillebeau always says: Freedom and value! I love the fact that I’m not tied down to anything, we can get up and go enjoy life and still be ok financially. Value in the fact that I’m helping people see something they already know but are afraid to act on, I help them see that’s it’s totally possible.

    Tip #2 is so true, you have to take this seriously from the start, it will make a huge difference when people do show up!

  • This is a fabulous post, Jeff! Even if we never reach fame and fortune following our passion, we’ll at least have a great time along the way. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Kevin J. Resurreccion

    Thank you for that post. I appreciate the effort that went into this.

  • I love this and needed this! I have a Sage in my life who encourages me by saying there’s a tremendous difference between Art for Commerce and Art for Gift. When I try to skip past and immediately land at Art for Commerce, that’s when I tend to get lost the most!

  • La Rafael

    So true just enjoy the journey , Im a part-time photographer and throughout the years was able to build an audience just because I keep at it, https://www.facebook.com/larafaelphotography

  • You remind me of words from Steven Pressfield in a little plastic frame on my desk:

    “What do I feel growing inside me? Let me bring that forth, if I can, for it’s own sake and not for what it can do for me or how it can advance my standing. The work comes from heaven anyway. Why not give it back?”

    And Van Gogh: “Others have had to bear it too. I repeat–work in spite of all indifference is not easy to keep up, but what is easy isn’t worth much.”

  • Tanakorn Numrubporn

    Jeff, I begin to confused. This feeling come from your book “You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One)”. The first part of this book said the same thing as this article. But the second half of the book, which said about marketing, said something totally difference. It said that sometime you have to care for editor because they know the audience better so when they recommend you to the subject of book/article or the modification of your existed blog content you should follow them.

    But this time you said that you care about your craft or yourself and then the audience will find you (maybe automatically). The questions are “how can I do that?” “Have we must care about marketing stuff” “Or we can focus only our craft and let the world determining it whether good enough or not?”

    Sorry for this confused feeling but I want the answer from the source of my question, which come from your confused but inspired book, like you.

    Thank you for awesome content.

  • what the home

  • Thanks for this post, Jeff. I thought it was full of great ideas and helpful information. I found myself nodding my head in agreement through most of this. I’m wrestling with a lot of similar ideas right now while trying to improve my blog technically, but also still trying to find my voice and not always write to please others first. I also found some of the discussion in the comments very intriguing. Looking forward to the next part.

  • Michele M. Reynolds

    Thanks I get in this slump sometimes.

  • josey bozzo

    Ok, it took me since yesterday, but I wrote something people will probably disagree with and might not like. But I did it, it is truthful, it is was what I learned in that particular situation. “So let it be written, so let it be done…..” HA! (read the post, you will understand)

    https://jbozzoblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/if-it-looks-like-duck.html

  • Dan J. Marder

    I’ve been fiddling with my blog’s layout for weeks on end, and haven’t written a single post yet. Trying to figure out how to make it perfect before I begin to move forward. It’s just so easy to get lost in monetization strategies and marketing.

    “If nobody but me showed up to read my words, I would still write.
    If I never won an award or got published, I would still write.
    If I never earned a dime, I would still write.”

    Thank you for this reminder.

    Today I’m just going to write. That’s why I created the blog in the first place.

  • Jeff, I read this from you in your comments: “Our goal as we search for success and meaning in our lives is to find that beautiful intersection of what we love, what the world needs, and what we’re good at.”
    Now that’s good stuff! I’m going to have to use it in my next quote collection post 🙂

  • This really inspired me! 🙂 Thanks for the great post Jeff!

  • Jeff, this is really great stuff. It is very practical and these are all obvious traps that ANYONE will fall into. Tip #3 especially brings freedom for me personally. Thank you!

  • Love the process. Thank you!
    http://www.brilliantcommotion.com

  • Your post reminded me of several lessons that I learned in audience building. For one thing, this line of work ISN’T for the impatient. It takes a lot of time and effort to lay the groundwork, and results won’t come until much later. And you’ll also have to do several things that seem counterintuitive (like doing your best when no one is watching, not caring too much about the affection of your audience, etc.)

    But stick to it and it’ll all pay off. And that’s why passion is such a critical ingredient here. Because if a person isn’t passionate about what they’re doing, they won’t be able to stick to it long enough to see it pay off.

    Thanks for this inspiring blog post, Jeff. 🙂

  • Thanks for the great post Jeff!

  • If I could do what I am most passionate about I wouldn’t be able to pay the rent. Maybe someday! 🙂

  • Thanks for what she has made ​​it really meaningful. To be successful I think passion is indispensable.

  • grandbaskets

    I need ALL of this post in its entirety on a poster by my desk, please!!! 😉
    This post has really hit home with me~big time. THANK YOU!

    “Going for it” for me would be to write with abandon…just let loose. I would write a fictional novel about my complicated past {that is scary to recreate because it was so painful but is so unbelievable that it could truly be a lifetime movie} and a historical fiction book about my heritage country, Scotland {of which I know not much about at the present time} of some of my real ancestor’s stories. Don’t know where to even start…

    I would also create a free ebook on my blog for young women {like a newlywed for dummies} to live their lives to the full for Christ while performing old-fashioned tasks that aren’t so popular these days but that I am loving more and more each day. Just speaking Titus 2 wisdom into them, ya know? Don’t know where to even start…

    But you know what I keep hearing YOU say that I’ve read before on your blog {and it IS getting me closer to these goals} ???

    JUST WRITE!

    Thanks for you candid blog and the helps that you provide!

    Blessings,
    Shan Walker
    The-How-to-Guru.com

  • Raoul Derit

    Really inspiring and helpful. Thanks, Jeff.

  • Darlene Collazo @ {In Pursuit}

    When I first started blogging, I had 7 subscribers (most of which were family, lol). I remember wondering if I was wasting my time, I felt the Lord saying, “Can you be faithful with 7?” It wasn’t always easy, but it helped me to take my eyes off the numbers and place them on God. As the number goes up, my prayer continues to be, “Lord help me to be faithful with ____.” It truly is about the passion behind what we do. Thanks for sharing your passion with us, Jeff!

  • Tara

    Needed that today! Very sincere and inspiring – thank you for that!

  • “The grind is the reward.” That reminds me of the mantra I used on my last, extremely challenging, backpacking trip, “Every step of the journey, is the journey.” If our goal is to enjoy the journey, not the destination, we need to enjoy every step.

  • giantsofdiving

    I particularly liked your 3 “Next Steps” at the end. #1 reminded me of something I wrote. https://mybrainsmoke.blogspot.com/2010/06/everything-and-nothing.html

  • Jaki Dixon

    Jeff, you have so many tweetable comments in this post. I love how you express yourself and speak to those insecurities that stop us from pushing through. You are an inspiration to your audience. Bravo to you for following your passion!

    • TK

      I agree, tweets and facebook status’ for days in this one post. I already know everything that has been said in this post but remembering to always put it into practice is the challenge. To avoid the thought of money and fame is a big enough challenge, humans are greedy. Today I vow to never let greed get in the way of passion.

  • CarolOCasey

    Just what the doctor ordered. Thanks, Jeff, for encouraging us to press on and pursue our passion.

  • For me, tip #3 is the game changer. This is a great start to what I know is going to be an awesome series. Thanks Jeff.

    • You’re welcome, Nathan! Thanks for sharing that.

  • Lana

    I love what you say and how you say it with such ferociousness. You are a great help on my blogging journey.

  • Jeff, I (and others) absolutely love the clarity with which you write. Please keep doing what you’re doing. I’m going to take you up on your challenge to write for at least 30 minutes each of the next 7 days. And if something good comes out of it, I’ll link to it here. Keep rockin’ it.

  • the runner

    Jeff, I am loving the site and have found it very useful and inspiring. I have melded my two passions on my blog– https://runrunnerrun.blogspot.com.
    I agree that writing for the passion and not the dinero pays dividends.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Irfan3

    The Idea of writing everyday makes sense for me. As an athlete must exercise everyday, so writers do need to write everyday.

  • thank! because has share this information

  • Great post Jeff! I have a blog but my passion is not about writing, but about sharing the thoughts & knowledge I have in the area of wealth building in order to live out your dreams. I have been blogging & marketing my blog for about a year with little increase in numbers. As a business man it’s difficult not to focus on the numbers (or lack here of). Would your advice be the same for those who aren’t passionate about writing but rather sharing ideas/tools to help others?

  • Marsha

    I think I have passion in writing… but I don’t know how to start. As I was reading this article, it struck me to the heart.

  • pixelpastor

    One of the best articles on Blogging I’ve ever read. Matches a lot of my own story, too (well, except for the successful part – but we shouldn’t focus on that anyway, should we?). Great!

  • Ariana

    Absolutely amazing!

  • Kerri Ho

    Wow! I resonate with every single word as it is something I have been convicted of recently. Thank you for sharing. I wrote an article only a couple of days ago (before I read your post), that shares similar thoughts (though your article is definitely more comprehensive). I’m amazed at how God is affirming my conviction daily and your article is certainly one of the affirmations! Blessings to you. https://kerriho.com/why-i-quit-a-job-i-liked-to-pursue-a-life-i-love/

  • Cynthia Tucker

    Your post inspired me to write this, knowing that it’s a controversial topic among Christians. https://wordtruthlifebible.com/christians-and-halloween-a-biblical-view/

  • Great post Jeff. Many times I have struggled with the thought of wanting to be noticed more, but I always try to get back to the writing and the passion. Thanks for the reminder!

  • I loved this, Jeff! I soaked in every word, and I feel like this is the exact place I’ve been in. My passion is writing, and my dream has always been to publish books, but somewhere along the way, I got sucked into the vortex of wanting to be a famous blogger, and I lost sight of what really inspired me.

    Recently I started a brand new website, and this site focusing solely on encouraging others, and myself, to seek out those things that leave us inspired. When I’m inspired, I find myself passionately chasing the gifts and talents that are natural to me, and that leaves me free to pursue my craft with my whole heart. I’ve never felt more free than I do right now. 🙂

  • Arline

    Great post. That’s why I try to write as much as I could. I am continuously discovering what is it I am passionate about. Thanks a lot again, very helpful.

  • Romeo Salvador II

    Thank you Jeff for your consistency, your humility, and your gift. Thank you for putting in the sweat, the years, and the unrecognized work. From Wrecked for the Ordinary to today, you’ve always been the real deal and I’m thankful to God for your passion.

    • You’ve been there for the long haul, Romeo! Hope you are well.

  • Pam Long

    Jeff,
    Your email was perfect timing for me today! I know a lot of people tell you they “needed to hear” one thing or another but I REALLY DID! I especially loved the part about writing the words whether no one read them or not. I confess I’ve not been a very faithful blogger at all but you have inspired and encouraged me to get back on my horse and RIDE!
    Yee Haw! 😉
    thanks, Jeff!

  • Jeff – My passion is being revealed to me in the words I read and the words I write. I published a post this morning. I wrote the post last Tuesday. I’m sure, somehow, your words inspired me in some way.
    https://ricktheule.com/why-I-write/

  • JaniceSakataSchultze

    I loved this post, too, Jeff. I especially related to “doing your best work when no one is watching,” which is something that I felt was true for me during these past few months. I was thinking about how anyone could really generate writing work, whether they feel it’s their best or not, just journaling out or writing down whatever “garbage thoughts” are in their head before they start the day. I’ve used Julia Cameron’s morning pages technique, but I think that any kind of journaling will do. That’s what’s helped me through this rough spot in my work.

    And now, I’m starting to get the responses that I was so desperately seeking – your contention that when you don’t care as much what your audience thinks, the more they can be affected by what you write.

    Everything you’ve said here is pretty much playing out in my life, right now. Can’t wait to see what else you have for the rest of the week!

  • Jeff, Thanks for the reminder and challenge. Isn’t it funny how when we let go of what we want – be that money or accolades, God blesses us. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head by focusing on passion for that’s when our best work comes out and we can give others something worth having. It goes back to putting others first. The hardest part, probably for our egos is to put something out there that might make people mad. Hard but probably a good exercise. Thanks again.

  • denisesultenfuss.com

    As a fellow writer, thanks for the encouragement. Good writing is birthed from passion.

  • I’m living it brother and for me it’s freedom. Freedom to live life on my terms and be able to spend my time on things that aren’t important. It’s been a blessing to live this out.

    • You rock, Kimanzi. So proud of you and excited for you.

  • dorubere

    Great article Jeff! Question: Is there a benefit to including a credit line when using photos in your articles? I figured since I purchase the license to the images I use, adding more information about the photographer or the stock house I purchased the image from just clutters the space, but I noticed many bloggers do it. Is there an additional benefit to doing so?

    • Not necessarily, just that it gives credit where credit is due. I do it because legally, it’s the ethical thing to do, since they’re creative commons license (I didn’t buy the stock images and rights to use them).

      • That makes sense! Thank you Jeff!

      • Thank you Jeff! That makes sense. Always enjoy your articles!

  • Susan Bailey

    The work is the reward – yes! I have just started work on my first book to be published next year and I LOVE the work. And I have had a sense that right now is the best part. Best of all it gives me official permission to live inside my head without guilt. Wheee!

  • Thanks, Jeff! Was just thinking about St. Patrick today and his passion for Ireland! Thanks for reminding us to chase our passion! To me, chasing my passion looks like discipline and resilience – yep! Discipline to sit my rear down in my chair and WRITE what I sense I am led to write and then develop the resilience to STAY THE COURSE when the rejections or negative voices try to persuade me to get a “real” job — So, I’m putting on my running shoes because you’ve inspired me to keep chasing the dream! Here are a few lessons I’ve gleaned from St. Patrick! https://janellrardon.com/2014/03/17/passion-defines-purpose/

  • Julia Tomiak

    I love this, especially step #1- deciding NOT to be negative or jealous. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been guilty of this, but in my rational moments I realize that it doesn’t get me anywhere and robs my energy. Thanks for sharing this Jeff. Can’t wait to read the rest!

    • Me, too. Doesn’t do any good, though. :-/

  • I’m so convinced of the importance of pursuing one’s passion, that my whole ministry is based upon that fact. I believe that God has given us specific passions that when we pursue them, we can enjoy meaningful spiritual transformation, and we can help others to enjoy it, too.
    Thanks, Jeff, for the reminder.
    Gracia & Paz

    • Paz a ti! Sounds like a great ministry, Alex.

  • Susan

    As usual, things show up when you need them. Passion! That’s what I’ve been neglecting as lately I’ve slipped into a rut with my writing. Thanks for the reminder.

    • You’re welcome, Susan. I’m actually reconciling with my own attitudes towards my work, realizing I need a fresh dose of passion.

  • I especially love the line in the third point, “Pick a fight. It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose.” When I’m working with a performer or athlete, this is a counterintuitive idea that they have to understand in order to give their best on stage or on the field. If we are doing what we love and we don’t care about the results as much as we care about the action of doing it, we are free to unlock our best performance!

    • Definitely. And you tend to grow the most when doing stuff that could, and often does, fail.

  • So glad you’re sharing these articles again! It’s always good to step back and remember why we are doing this. #3 is usually my hardest, worried what others think as they read. I need to remember that God is the only judge of my work that I need to be mindful of.

    • Tell me about it! I am a total people pleaser. Hang in there. Your message deserves to be heard, Kim. I know that for a fact.

  • Marissa S

    Love it! Somewhere along the way I’ve lost sight of what I’m really passionate about… and it’s left me feeling unmotivated and defeated when it comes to my craft. I know I need to find my reward in the work, and for a while I had started pursuing that, but here I am again. I needed to read this because I so desperately want my reward to be in the work. Working hard like that makes me thrive. So thanks for sharing this today! I’m glad I clicked on this e-mail in my inbox. Back to making time to do the leg work, and fall in love with doing so!

    • Excellent, Marissa! I love hearing that. Inspiration keeps us going, gives us breath in our creative lungs to make it through another day.

  • Roger Whitney

    Wonderful Jeff. It is so easy to limit ourselves by doing it for others. The “hey! look at me” mentality is easy to fall into. Thanks for your voice

    • You’re welcome, Roger. Thanks for reading.

  • Honestly, thankfully…truly chasing my passion looks a lot like life RIGHT NOW. I hung up a nice career in healthcare PR to do the be-at-home mommy gig while pursuing my writing endeavors on the side. For a month now, I’ve been editing a manuscript in the mornings, working on the blog front when the munchkin naps (or watches Thomas and Friends for the millionth time), and offering to write content for other blogs and newsletters. It’s a lot of work, but my thought life feels so alive. Writing helps me wake up to the rest life, in general. And you nailed it…THAT, in and of itself, is the gift!

    • I totally agree, Rebecca. I write to understand the world and what I think about it.

  • Very usefull article Jeff..i feel like get new spirit to do my work. If never earned a dime, i would still be blogging :). Your article slap me!

    • Love it… except for the slapping part. 😉

  • Charlie Boy

    As someone about to graduate soon, and aspires to become a writer/journalist, let me just thank you for the boost and inspiration! God bless you!

  • I know I read this series the first time around, but this time while reading I know that I’ve committed to follow your lead and so my writing today is all about chasing my passion. And I love it, and God has truly blessed my writing life. Thanks, Jeff, for resurrecting this series.

    • You’re welcome, Sherrey! Glad you’re enjoying it.

  • Scott Smail

    Excellent post Jeff! I have a passion for something but sometimes I get concerned with sharing it because it will rock some boats. I definitely needed this post…it may not be for everyone, but it was extremely beneficial to me. Thank you!!!!

    • Awesome, Scott. So glad to hear that.

  • This is an inspiring and honest post – thank you Jeff. I think the thing I enjoy most about writing a blog is that it’s my own private piece of creative space that I have control of. There’s very little writers have full control over because our work is constantly edited, revised and has to be accepted before it’s published. At least with a blog we can publish what we like, when we like – and as passionately as we like! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Kulandai Swami

    Excellent post. But excellence is lost in overdoing it. A sense of frustration seems to lie behind it all. Doesn’t passion mean desire and desire, ambition. ‘In ancient Rome, ambition was the only virtue by which any other could flourish’! Rome fell eventually, but what a mighty fall it was! History records it in such a way that ancient Rome and its might still get portrayed in enchanting movies, best-selling books, videos, etc.

    • Maybe. But passion could be found in becoming content with what you have, being driven to keep in tact the relationships that matter most to you, as well.

  • RM Reoma

    One of memorable reads for the week. Excellent, indeed! In the name of passion…

  • Jenny Sim

    This is a very inspiring blogpost! For years now, I have written blogs in wordpress, blogspot, and received only a few of readers. There were times when I have written an essentially inspiring post but I didn’t get even a single read! It saddened me, true, but it doesn’t stop me from writing. Rather, it motivated me to even write better. For deep inside, I know that my time will come. And I’m happh to tell you that just recently, I have my first book published. =) Patience, indeed, is a virtue.

    Here’s the link for my book.
    https://www.createspace.com/4652002?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026

  • Lisa Marie Gelhaus

    I love what you’re saying, but it sounds like a dream. I’ve seen the opposite so often. I know plenty of musicians and a couple of very good painters who cannot do anything but follow their passion, it is their lifeblood. But they cannot seem to get noticed by the right people. They have to do uninspiring jobs to just pay the rent. They keep at their passion, with ups and lots of downs, but it never becomes a viable career. I have kept my music to a hobby because I love my freelance work, even though it’s not my true passion. I’m Just getting by economically and passion-wise, dabbling in my passion. It feels like going nowhere…

    • Joe Murphy

      Good point, Lisa. Unless we’re trustfund babies, common sense has to be a part of all this…and we all have to keep groceries on the table and bills paid. So we keep at our passion, with realistic expectations – while we keep our day job. If we get noticed, awesome…but if we never do, life is still good, because we enjoy the pursuit (or the grind, as Jeff G says). And then we get up and do it again. Amen. Rise and fall, turn the wheel, ’cause all life is, is really just a circle.

  • Njaleruma Kigozi

    Exactly. I held my breath when I was reading this post-about Passion.It portrayed the all me.Is that the right word? I hope it is.The post actually left me empty because I was writing without passion All the time I wanted to see my articles
    sent to the Editor of a Magazine or a Newspaper published.One time I got disturbed with the Government Newspaper that continued to publish articles of particular individuals and left ours including mine in what I called a refuse box.Those indidividuals had Byline,anyway I was simply a guest writer.Your post have created with in a genuine passion and inspiration to write.Thank you Jeff.