I have a confession to make.
Before I share it with you, please note that some of the links in this article will lead to content that uses strong language.
I'm into hard rock and classic rock. As a drummer in multiple bands, I've mostly played rock and grunge bands, with a side of country from time to time.
But lately, I seem to be listening to a lot of pop punk. I think it's in large part due to Machine Gun Kelly and his latest album, Tickets to My Downfall, which just dropped. I'm a huge fan of “Kells,” as Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker would call him, and his new style. “It's so sick,” as my nephew said to me.
If you're not too familiar, MGK, for the longest time, was a rapper in the hip hop scene. He even got into a controversial feud with Eminem a few years ago, recording a “diss track” called Rap Devil, which got him noticed. And notoriety.
But his latest album is a departure from rap in favor of pop punk. Some people said he shouldn't have left his roots. But the vast majority have called it brilliant and a shining example of an artist who is finally coming to his own.
Search trends and downloads (including the plethora of fan covers, such as of his song My Bloody Valentine) seem to agree. I have to agree, too.
Which brings me to my point.
Finding your voice as a recognized expert is not an easy task. And it certainly isn't an overnight one, either. It took five albums and eight years for Machine Gun Kelly to find his. I first started in 1992, and it wasn't until 1997 that I slowly began finding mine.
And guess what? I'm still finding it. Or better said, it's still finding me. I think it's Million Dollar Consulting author Alan Weiss who said that he changes every five years, and that change is inevitable when you're a professional.
Says Weiss, “Change is a constant in consulting.”
But for me to get to that point, I had to write. A lot. I wrote a lot of content. It was almost always about marketing, but I dabbed in different topics to finally find the subject matter that resonated with me.
I don't mean to sound philosophical, but when people say “follow your passion,” they tend to interpret that to mean dropping and ignoring everything else — but then wonder why they're always struggling or go broke in the process.
Mike Rowe, the host of Dirty Jobs, once said: “Don't follow your passion, follow opportunity.” I think that's true to some extent. But I would say, “Don't follow passion at the expense of opportunity.”
I truly believe that trying different things and talking about different subjects (in your profession or area of expertise) will open doors for you in more ways than you think. You will not only find what you're passionate about but also come across or create opportunities along the way.
So I think it might be better to say, don't follow your passion, let your passion follow you. I think my story is a great example of that.
When I was a young marketing consultant and copywriter specializing in doctors (my first company was called “The Success Doctor”), I published a daily email newsletter called “The Profit Pill.”
Every day, I wrote an article on positioning, Internet marketing, and copywriting. It was while writing that newsletter (which grew to over 10,000 subscribers at the time) that a software company hired me to become their newsletter editor for one of the first Internet marketing ezines.
The rest is history.
I would not have found my voice (and subsequently, the opportunity that became the springboard for my career) had I not written articles every day.
Every. Single. Day.
I'm doing it right now. By writing every day I'm always evolving. Today, I love writing about SEO and CRO — topics I only dabbled in 20 years ago — just as much as I do marketing and copywriting.
I encourage you to do the same. It doesn't have to be pretty. It doesn't have to be perfect. It just needs to be written.
If you want, you can do short articles to start. Maybe a tip or an idea a day. You can post it to your blog, which becomes your journal. You can go back and edit later on. It doesn't matter. Not only that, but going back to edit previous articles will also give you a great indication of how far you've grown.
That's the beauty of having a diary. Even though you write on your subject matter, content that's meant for your audience, you are, in some sense, journaling. Even if only to yourself.
Take Brandon Scott, a YouTube drummer. He published a video about creating videos. Sure, it's about how to record drumming videos. But go watch it, even if you're not a drummer. Brandon makes some valid points that apply just as well to blogging, article writing, or newsletter publishing.
He says you should record videos because it's fun, you can track your progress, and you learn editing skills in the process. It's also good to see your progression and how far you've come.
Plus, he shares some of his cringeworthy beginner videos that are nowhere near the level of skill he now displays today. But his point was it doesn't matter how terrible you think you are.
As Zig Ziglar once said, “You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” So start write now. 😉