Why I write on Medium
I’m not sure why I started doing this, or maybe I am. I’ve only published eight posts over the last two weeks and I don’t think I have anything left to say. Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be a published author. I want to tell my story of growing up in one of Johannesburg’s most scanty suburbs. I want to show those teachers who mocked me, that I have a voice, that I can be an author and that I am an intellectual with something to say.
The need to be heard, tied together with day time televisions, ever so posh “Oprah’s Book Club”, which featured books and authors on the Oprah Winfrey Show, sparked my dream of being an author. An idealistic dream, if you take into account that my spelling has always been atrocious and my command of the English language only enough the score a B- in high school. English is not my mother language, she have only ever been a second mistress to me. Despite the fact that I, in no way, resembled a literature great like Tolstoy or Dickens, the heart wants what it wants.
Robin Sharma, the author of “Leader Without A Title” and “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” first inspired me to be BIW [best in world] in everything I do. Sharma’s belief that ten thousand hours of practice would make you proficient and skillful has triggered this daily practice of writing. I have written, on and off, for years in note books and on other blog and online writing platforms. The challenge has always been simple, write a post every day of the week and post it.
There is no endless editing, re-reading or scrutinizing. The process is simple, I choose a topic, set thirty minutes aside and bang on the keyboard until I have enough words to call it a post. I don’t plan the post, and I don’t do a huge deal of research on the topic. Planning and research are skills I have already mastered and the point of this exercise is not to polish skills I have, but to cultivate skills I don’t have.
Angela Duckworth, in her book “Grit”, explains that effort counts twice as much as talent when it comes to mastering a skill. Duckworth’s research has shown that those who succeed in any chosen field or career, have what she calls grit. Grit is not talent but rather a person’s interest and passion focused on the act of practice. Those who try until they succeed are more successful than their more talented peers, and what make successful people keep trying is grit.
Talent would certainly help me to reach my goal of publishing a book a lot quicker and easier but it isn’t a determining factor in my success. That is why I post four to five hundred word a day, every day of the week. When a post is published, I leave it alone for six months and then return to edit it. Usually, I can’t believe I published it as it was and make numerous edits. This way, I can see my growth over time, taking all I have learned from writing workshops, reading and online courses and putting it into practice.
In the words of Angela Duckworth, “Fall seven, rise eight”.