I have a 9-5 job as a data analyst that I enjoy for the most part, but I wouldn’t classify it as my number one passion in life. What I really love doing in my free time is writing and creating. Writing can be challenging work but it’s something I do every single day because it’s meaningful to me. I consider each day successful if I’m able to wake up and write for a few hours.
My love of writing and finance is why I started this blog in the first place. But not long after I started this blog I began to catch what I call “Blogger’s Fever”, where I began to focus more and more on the page views and how to monetize the site.
A few months ago I was feeling particularly discouraged about my low monthly page views and my inability to monetize this blog. I was frustrated that I couldn’t turn my passion into a source of income. I was at a point where I questioned whether all my writing was in vain.
One morning I decided to write a short letter to myself as a reminder of why I even started this blog in the first place. It turned out to be a tremendously helpful wake up call that helped me realize my passion (writing) did not have to be my job (data analyst).
I hope this letter might inspire other people to pursue their art, craft, calling, or passion even if they’re unable to turn it into their full time job. Here’s the letter I wrote to myself in it’s raw, unedited form:
Consider the fact that your blog and your writing may never ever be profitable and you might not make a single dime off of it. Consider the fact that you might never get more than an average of 10,000 page views per month and you’ll never be featured in a magazine or on the front page of Yahoo. Consider the fact that you could write relentlessly for the next 6 years and still never be profitable or ever become well known from this blog. Would you still write? If yes, why would you still write? What drives you to still write if nobody ever reads your stuff and you can’t make a living off of it?
It’s because writing transcends money and fame. It goes beyond just having the satisfaction of a lot of page views and making a lot of money. Writing is about the human experience. It’s highly likely that you’ll ever make a living off this blog. But write because it brings you joy, because it’s about more than forcing a good thing to be profitable. It’s about more than money, it’s about how I can share my thoughts on how to live a good, meaningful life. It’s about how other people can read an article of mine and just maybe be inspired to live 1% better.
Screw writing for page views. Screw trying to get featured on big websites and being disappointed when you’re not. Write because it’s the right thing to do. Share content for the sake of pushing out good content. Write for you. Don’t write for the stats, the money, or the audience size. Don’t write to turn this into a full time profession. Don’t obsess over the popularity of the blog.
Screw the stats, the money, and everything else. Write for the sake of writing. Be territorial, not hierarchical. You’re writing to flesh out your own thoughts and ideas on how to live a better life, on what it means to live a meaningful life, and sharing your own unique journey with others. Write because it’s your voice and you have something to say. If zero people listen, it’s no less worthy than if 1 million people listen. Write to write. Writing needs no justification. It goes beyond everything tangible. It speaks to the soul.
Ever since I wrote that letter it has been infinitely easier to pour more time and effort into this blog because I no longer obsess over page views, followers, or the general popularity of the blog. I even turned off the Stats section of WordPress so I can’t see my page views each time I log in. It helped me remember my reason for writing: because I believe anyone can radically transform their lives if they get a grip on their finances, and I want to share my thoughts on how to do so. This letter was a beautiful slap in the face that I desperately needed.
Obviously I would love to see this blog grow over time and even become a steady source of income, but that’s no longer my top priority. I’m more concerned with writing content that adds value to the world. Receiving an email from a reader who says my blog convinced them to buckle down and get their financial life in order makes me feel better than any paycheck ever has.
I think all of us have unique skills, abilities, and interests that we can use to provide value to the world. But I think things get sticky when we try to force our favorite type of work to be our primary source of income. Worst of all, when we try to force our passion to create income, our incentives change. We no longer create because we feel driven to do so, we create for profit. This almost always leads to stress and causes us to produce work that’s less than our best.
I don’t dream of being the world’s greatest data analyst. But I do plan on using the income from my data analyst job to create a financial situation that lets me do more of what I really love: writing and creating. I think this is where I can have the biggest potential impact on the world.
So for the time being, my day job isn’t my number one passion in life. But that’s okay because I don’t let that stop me from enjoying my passion each day.
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Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
His favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, a site that allows him to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free, has no trading or maintenance fees, and even allows him to set up automated target-allocated investments.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
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