Chasing money? Or passion?
I was reminded yesterday, when I was interviewing another author, about the importance of writing about what you know…
He’s been having a lot of success in one particular area — the ‘make money online’ niche.
It might seem to someone on the outside that would be a pretty good niche to get into.
Make money? Online? Got to be a winner, right?
But, no. You’d be wrong
As we chatted about what we’d recommend for people who were just getting started, we both had exactly the same same view.
It matters less what you think is a good money-making opportunity, than it does what you feel passionately about and understand deeply.
He’d been online, and making money with different business models, for about five years. He knows his stuff and he has a lot to write about. He’s experienced what works and what doesn’t.
Same for me. I like to write about what I know. I love to learn and for me it’s part of the same process. We learn better by teaching.
Write from your soul
Writing for me is about teaching. It’s often the early part of structuring my ideas and putting them out to see how they feel. And how they might sound to others. Starting a conversation maybe.
Those first ideas often come from somewhere deep inside. We don’t always know where.
And then there were two
And then it becomes a conversation. And that’s what helps your writing develop — and helps you sell. Sell your ideas and sell your work.
You don’t just write what you know; you don’t just write about what you love. You need to listen to the reactions of other people.
And you’re looking for that very special place between what you know and love and what your readers enjoy and find inspiring.
Whether you go about it with hard research — looking at amazon sales, researching problems and frustrations, noticing what your facebook fans like and share.
Or whether you see it more as an art — more like a dance between you and the reader. It’s all the same. There are two of you in the conversation.
But what about making money?
Yes It’s a concern. But chasing the money can lead you down a lonely path.
I know it’s tempting — and you’ll come across people telling you to follow the money. Some one spots an opportunity, reads a book, or maybe two and thinks they can string together a few thousand words and start selling.
But, in my opinion, if you chase something purely because you think it’s a great opportunity, then there’s a good chance you’ll write a really bad book. You can’t write as richly about a topic you don’t understand in depth as you can if you really know and care about your subject.
And I think readers can tell the difference. You might fool some people, but you won’t fool everyone. And, at the end of the day, you won’t be able to fool yourself.
Strive for mastery
You need to work at it and in it. You need to live it and feel it. To see what works. To really get inside your topic, your specialism, your industry. Watch the trends and know what they mean. Collect some great case studies.
I think it takes about three years to become a pretty decent expert at something. To be able to talk confidently and understand what you are looking at and analysing.
I don’t have any scientific basis for saying this. And I’m not talking about the level of word-class expertise that Malcolm Gladwell means when he relates the research on the 10,000 hour rule.
I know from my experience that things don’t come to us overnight. That perspective and judgement take time. The confidence comes — but slowly.
But don’t wait
If you are driven to write now then start. Read, consult, interview, talk, and above all, write. Think like a journalist. Be an investigator — ask and talk to people who do have that experience you crave.
People love to be interviewed. Have a genuine interest and treat someone with respect and you’ll find most people willing to talk to you.
You’ll learn faster that way and you will create a magical community of people who also love what you love.
And there’s more to it than writing
Whatever you do will probably extend beyond the writing.That’s usually where the business is. Maybe it’s events, or teaching, or media.
As an expert in your own right, part of your role is to give your reader something bigger than just information. And you can’t do that if you don’t know your subject. Know it deeply. You won’t build up a base of raving fans and you can’t build that sustainable business at the end of it.
What do you want to be known for?
What do you really want to be known for? Books on a ton of different topics, or some good quality, solid content that makes you hold your head high and feel proud?
And if you don’t know where to start, then just start where you are. Make notes, journal. It will help you build confidence to express your expertise. Trust me, you owe it to yourself and your readers to share what you know.
There are a lot of people out there teaching how to make money by writing what sells. But, for me, life’s too short to do something you don’t love. And honestly, I believe it is better business.
Write what you know.
It’s better for your soul.