Love Your Work, but Love Ain’t Enough

— April 17, 2017

One of the oldest axioms about your work is do something you love. That way you’re tap dancing on your way to the office, and it’s not work. Supposedly. Trust me, there will be days, weeks and months, even, while you’re building your dream that you’ll be doing things you don’t like, let alone love.

Love and passion are the fuel

Loving what you do is of the utmost importance, right up there with oxygen.

After all, you left your job, put your own future and that of your family on the line for this gig. What happens if it goes belly up? You thought about it for years, you dreamed about it. It’s your baby. If you don’t love it, you’ve got problems.

When you think about something all the time you either love it, or fear it. The fact that you decided this was to be your life, means it’s something you’re passionate about. The passion is gave you the hope to take that huge step into the dark, not knowing what was going to happen.

Passion and love are essential. They are also what makes the difference between those start-ups that fail and the ones that succeed.

Be Smart About It

But in the end, just loving it isn’t enough. There will times when you’re not going to like what you’re doing. But some things must be done, whether or not you like them. Just like eating your vegetables.

To make it work, you’ve got to take a smart approach to it.

Passion and love is great, but if you’re not smart about it, you’ll wind up in the drink.

Years ago, I heard a quote attributed to the British composer Gustav Holst, “Only a second-rate artist can afford to be unconcerned about the business of his business.” Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to verify exactly who said it. But whoever did say it was on the money. If you can’t get people to look at and pay for whatever your product is, you’re dead in the water.

You’ve got to treat your business like a business, not a hobby.

So, take those brains of yours and apply them to your dream, and make it a solid reality.

A Writer’s Approach

David Wolverton is a critically acclaimed, bestselling author. He first became a NYT bestselling author in the sci-fi field. Then he moved to writing fantasy, and again hit the lofty NYT bestselling status, under the name David Farland. Being a writer is an artistic pursuit, but just like everything else, there is a business side to it.

When he decided he wanted to write, he learned all he could about it. He read recreationally, but as he read, he was making it a point to pay attention to what the writer was doing. Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novels did the same thing. (Incidentally Child, a Brit, graduated from law school but never worked a day as an attorney, he went from law school to television host to novelist. Lesson: Grab opportunities when they come at you.) Wolverton also made it appoint to study writing and grammar, as they are the tools of all writers.

As a result, when he won the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest, he already had a novel outline ready for the agents and publishers who attended the banquet.

The Small Things Matter

Wolverton having the novel outline ready is one of the small things that make a difference in succeeding and face planting. The same thing applies to you and your efforts. What small things can you do to prepare for your future success? That’s an important question. Although you’re caught up in the day to day battle—and sometimes struggle—of making things a reality you have to look down the road and anticipate things.

Will you make mistakes? Of course. Just accept that fact. It’s a given in the world of business and entrepreneurs. Looking ahead and planning and paying attention to the small things will make your efforts pay off.

When Wolverton wanted to make the jump from sci-fi to fantasy, he looked at some of the best authors in the business, including J.R.R. Tolkien. What he noticed was that some of the best writers in the field such as Tolkien, Gene Wolf, and Roger Zelazny all had their books on the lower shelves, where people had to bend to get at them.

So despite their talent, often they didn’t have the numbers in sales (with perhaps the exception of Tolkien) just because people tend to buy what’s near the front of the section, and what they don’t have to bend over to get. So when he made the switch, Wolverton used the name of Farland, which put him squarely in the middle, and his works where more people would see them. The results speak for themselves—NYT success all over again, and higher sales than his sci-fi stuff.

Love and passion are essential to making things a reality, but they’re not enough to take you over the top. Being smart about what you’re doing and learning about it, are essential and the small stuff makes the difference.

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Author: Fabrizio Moreira

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