I’ve been writing a lot lately. Between my paid blogs and my own web content, sometimes I feel like it’s hard to keep up. But when I turn to friends for support, I’m surprised by their advice. They tell me I’m not writing enough. Specifically, I am not writing privately.

Almost all the writing in my life is public. The blogs I write are first and foremost a form of advertising. That means I am constantly writing for my readers. Because I do ghost-blogging, most of the time, I’m not even writing for my own readers, but for someone else’s customers, potential clients, and referral sources.

All of that publicity (notice the small “p”) leads to a certain pattern of writing – practiced, careful, with just enough humor to keep things interesting. What it doesn’t have, often, is passion.

I noticed that this week when a client sent back a blog for revision. Her law firm was really trying to push a particular topic, so I had written about it. What I didn’t realize was that she was sending letters out to her client base inviting them to contact her for help with this topic. She was fired up. And my blog – it fell flat. It didn’t have the same passion she had for the issue.

That’s because passion comes from a personal connection to what you are writing. For me, that connection is usually about helping my clients build an audience. When I’m writing my own work, my voice shines through a bit more as I engage with topics I find interesting.

But what about the things I am truly passionate about? When do I write about those? Many of my passions have no business on a law blog or here on Legal Linguist. They are entirely private. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t write about them.

The secret my friends shared with me is that writing, for me, is not just a profession. It was never just another hobby either. It is a medium. It is the way I express and organize my thoughts. Sometimes it’s how I figure out what I think in the first place. So when I stop writing privately, all those private thoughts stay jumbled up in my head and never find their outlet.

Writing privately is essential for all of us who call ourselves writers. It’s not just about marketing or even making money. It’s about giving ourselves space – often in the literal form of a blank page – to really delve into our thoughts and give them voice, even when that voice is the sound of a library whisper.

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist, based in Ferndale, Michigan. She provides blogging and web content services to law firms and small businesses. If you need a thoughtful voice for your website, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.