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A common question I see from new or newer bloggers is “What should I write about?” or “What niche should I choose?”, and they always seem to get the same answer. “Write about something you are passionate about.” I believe that is an incomplete answer. I feel that follow your passion is over distributed advice that is easier to give than the whole truth. It should really be, “follow your passion with discipline and hard work.”
Passion is an emotion. It waxes and wanes over time. It can be incredibly deceiving. Is it a genuine lifelong passion, or something you just discovered that you really like? It can be interrupted by old passions coming home to roost, or new found passions you never knew existed. I was just reading an article about someone who started a blog solely on a topic they were passionate about. They talked about how wildly successful this blog was, but further into the article, they also state that they haven’t touched this blog for almost a year now because they started another one and they were spending their time on the new one. Their passion only garnered them a few months of work before they got a new idea. Most blogs are abandoned within their first year due to a declining interest. Passion alone is not enough to carry you through to success. You also need self-discipline.
If passion is the driver of your success, than discipline is the fuel it runs on. Discipline is stability, and direction. It is the foundation that good habits are built from. It is all too often that social media makes life look so easy. The world is full of successful bloggers and writers making thousands a month on their products. The truth is, if they are making anywhere near as much as they say they are, it’s not easy. They have had to work for everything they have. I recently saw a pole question asked of bloggers. It was “How much money do you make from your blog, and how much work do you have to put into to it to sustain that amount?” If all of the answers were honest, then anyone who makes $1000/month or more put 5 hours a day or more into their blog every day. That is a minimum of 35 hours a week. That’s a full-time job.
How many of you are still passionate about your full-time job? Probably very few, but you still get up every day at the same time and manage to make it in. You have to treat your blog as what it is. It is a small business start-up. If you had opened a storefront you would go to work every day until it was successful enough that you felt comfortable handing the management duties off to someone else. You wouldn’t just go to work on the weekends. You wouldn’t work only in the evenings while watching T.V. with your family.
Your self-discipline is what carries you through the periods of dwindling interest. In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains that habitual behaviors come from the basal ganglia, the part of the brain that controls memories, emotions and patterns, while decisions are made in the prefrontal cortex. If you decide to work on your blog every day at 9a.m. for 4 hours, then it will become a habit. You have to first make the decision to build the self-discipline required to run a successful business. Then you have to decide every day that whether or not it is still what you want to do. Running a business is not easy, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Remember, follow your passion with discipline and hard work.