If you had been on the road near my home this Sunday, you would have witnessed a rather unusual sight. My friend’s 4-year-old daughter, Ruhee, was dancing her heart out and requesting (or, more accurately, forcing) me to dance with her. The dance was a mixture of hip-hop, some tribal dance, and a little bit of Bharatnatyam. And while I was getting just a bit conscious, Ruhee remained blissfully unconcerned.
She didn’t care if her dance moves were amusing to others. She didn’t care that her left hand was barely coordinated with her right hand. Her dictionary doesn’t have the word “embarrassment” in it. For her, dancing was pure joy, and nothing else mattered.
Me? Well, that was a different story.
A similar thing applies to writing
After having worked with numerous content creators, it’s pretty clear that for most of us, writing isn’t fun. It’s simply a task that needs to be ticked off from our To-Do list. We don’t write because we like it. We write so that eventually we get some business results.
And it works
For a while, at least. And soon, writing becomes a chore. And then a burden. It is like pushing a 187-pound rock up the mountain.
The alternative is simple.
Make. Writing. Fun.
The question is – How?
How can writing become this effortless dance?
Let’s dig in.
1. Stop pandering to the algorithm
Often, marketers write what Google wants them to write. Perhaps, they have an Excel sheet with a list of 287 highly searched keywords relevant to their topic. And if they use these keywords in their article, Google Gods would be pleased and grant them a place on the first page.
And in this precise moment, writing stops being fun.
Instead of being the artists we are meant to be, we are now mindless zombies writing to please Google. It’s similar to putting on a mask and pretending to be someone you’re not just to make others like you.
Imagine doing this for five years. Does that look like a sustainable strategy? We would rather write to serve our audience (not Google) AND express our genuine thoughts.
But that’s a really bad business decision
As I talk about having fun, I imagine an SEO expert looking at me through his half-moon glasses, saying, “That’s a really bad decision.” And perhaps it is. Only if SEO provides oxygen for your business. Most of us aren’t. Most successful creators achieve success not because of their brilliant SEO strategies but due to the quality of their content.
Talk to your audience and take questions from them
Or even better. Take out one person on a coffee date (or Zoom) and let them ask you questions about his challenges. And then, you write an article that helps this specific person. A question from a real person would be far more powerful than the topics we get from Google keyword research. Writing becomes fun when we use creativity and curiosity to solve a specific problem.
And speaking of curiosity… let’s move to the next point.
2. Curiosity killed the cat
But it won’t kill you.
Ever been baffled by a question? A question that you couldn’t Google? Or perhaps a concept you desperately seek to understand, and no answer keeps coming through?
- Why does this thing work?
- Why doesn’t this thing work?
- How does this work?
Curiosity is innate to us, which is an excellent fuel for our writing.
This article is an example
While working with a member from our writing community, I could see his ongoing struggle. Despite our attempts to keep him accountable, writing for him was always a burdensome task. Barely 5 minutes into his writing, he would start with long, wide yawns. Clearly, this was an uphill battle, and he wasn’t winning.
He had his inner demons
He was not clear about the audience that he wanted to write for. He was unclear about his unique brand story. Most importantly, he doubted how his content would be different from all the content on the same topic.
And this led me to write this article
Pushing him hard wasn’t going to be the solution. I had to find a way to make writing fun for him. That’s when I went on a journey.
And voila, this article was born.
I am glad I went on this journey instead of writing another article on “6 ways to build a writing habit”. That article would have been lost and buried under the hundreds and thousands of articles on this topic which would have been frustrating.
This takes me to the last point.
3. Just vent out your frustration
While the Buddha told us that anger is like holding on to hot coal (and I am not suggesting that anger is healthy), writing is an effective way to channel this frustration. There is always something broken in our industry that we can rant about. Surprisingly, this rant can become something beautiful. Numerous brands were built on frustration.
Jay Acunzo was frustrated with the obsessive focus on ‘Reach’.
Louis Grenier was frustrated with BS marketing.
Jonathan Stark was frustrated with hourly billing.
How Kunaal is channeling his frustration
My friend Kunaal is an expert in Data Science and helps professionals to get a job in the field. It may seem that getting a job in Data Science is straightforward. Spend a good amount of money on a 12-month course, and a job will be handed to you on a platter.
Kunaal wants to change this
After watching multiple professionals struggle with this approach which cost them money and time, Kunaal felt like pulling his hair out. He made it his mission to change this, and his frustration has become the foundation for his brand. We leaned into this frustration as we worked together to sharpen his brand story. And also saved Kunaal’s hair in the process.
Through his content, Kunaal simplifies getting a Data Science job and is openly at war with long, expensive courses.
There is something quite satisfying about opening your Google Doc and unleashing your wrath on the keyboard, and pounding away your frustration.
Writing is a lot more fun… when it’s fun. It’s a far better approach than making it a ‘business activity.’ The first step is to stop pandering to Google and social media algorithms. Writing becomes fun when we follow our curiosity and channel our frustrations. Remember, the key is to have fun.
And that’s exactly what I learn from Ruhee every day. Not to take yourself too seriously.