When I was in high school (and even in college), writing wasn’t fun for me.
In fact, I’d even say I HATED it.
It’s not that I wasn’t good at writing. I’ve always written half-decent papers.
The problem was that it took me sooooo long to do the work.
I was a slow writer.
And it made me dread writing.
I’d sit at the keyboard and struggle to put words on the screen as 14,324 thoughts bounced around my mind.
Know the feeling?
Steven Pressfield calls this force Resistance and it’s not a creature you’d want to poke in the eye.
But eventually, I learned to overcome it (on most days at least).
And I my love of writing grew.
…Along with my ability and quickness at the keyboard.
So how did I make this transformation?
And how can you do the same with any skill you currently despise (yet dream of mastering)?
I’ll tell you my disappointingly boring strategy in a minute.
But first, I gotta give credit where credit is overdue…
You see, I was reminded of this story the other night when I started reading So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport (who’s one of my fave authors).
And in the book, Cal lays forth a simple yet controversial hypothesis (in my own words):
If you want to enjoy the work that you do, don’t start by pursuing a passion. Instead, identify a valuable skill, work tirelessly to master it, and by doing so, you’ll develop passion for it over time.
He described this as the mindset of a craftsman.
And to me, it intuitively made sense.
I had the exact same experience in my career.
As I mentioned, I didn’t pursue copywriting because I LOVED writing. I did it because I knew that it was a valuable skill that I could use to help achieve my long-term goals (like building a successful business).
Then, the more I learned about copywriting… the more I practiced the craft… and the more I experienced success as a copywriter…
The more I enjoyed my work.
And as a result, I’ve gone from a lowly intern of a financial blog who could barely eek out a paragraph every 30 minutes…
To the managing partner of a business education company who loves writing copy, reviewing copy, and teaching copywriting to anyone who’ll endure my rants about the craft.
If there’s a task in your business that you absolutely hate (yet requires a valuable skill), don’t give up hope.
Practice not only makes perfect.
But it makes passion as well.
Your pen pal,
P.S. If you’ve yet to read any of Cal Newport’s books, there’s 3 you should definitely check out: