To the aspiring writer, to the advanced writer, to you struggling to write your very first story or to finish editing that draft for 72 hours straight now — these tips are for you.
1. Let go of the need to make every post a masterpiece
I don’t care if you’re a “perfectionist” or whatever you like to call yourself to feel better about procrastinating. A written and published article is always, always, always better than the unpublished draft you keep editing because you’re too scared to release it.
If you write a story today and edit it tomorrow, that’s fine, because your ideas have time to “settle down” and you can refine them with a fresh pair of eyes the next day. But your post will never see the light of day if you keep aiming for perfection and frankly, that’s stupid.
Master the basics first, and the quality of your work will improve as you go.
Which leads me to the next point.
2. Produce quantity
In the beginning, your writing will suck, and it’s supposed to. You should write as much as you can without giving too much thought about claps, stats, and praise.
You’ve read a million times about the importance of getting into a routine of writing and publishing, that’s because it really is the most important part.
This doesn’t mean you should produce mindless content just for the sake of putting it out there. You should always keep your readers in mind and offer them material as qualitative and insightful as you can.
But your focus — especially when you first start writing and even when you’re more advanced — should be on creating a solid body of work to attract readers and experiment with different styles.
3. Train your writing muscle
An athlete masters the sport by mastering a specific set of movements he exercises on a daily basis, consolidating the motor task into so-called muscle memory.
In the same way, you can strengthen your writing muscle — show up and do the work each day until it becomes second nature.
I know, practice and consistency are not what you wanted to hear when you asked for the secret of success. Well, hate to break it to you, but there’s no way around it. Either you’re in, or you’re not. Simple as that.
If you still think you can make it without putting in the daily work, you’re going to fall hard. Been there. Not good.
4. Make daily writing non-negotiable
When you attempt to become a writer, you basically sign up for a staring contest with Fear every day. Resistance is real, and it will try to stop you. There’s not much you can do about it, except for acting in spite of it.
Writing in itself is not scary.
What we expect from it is. People’s opinions, or worse — no reactions at all. Facing the blank page is. Comparing ourselves to other writers is. Assuming that we will eventually run out of ideas is. Feeling not good enough is.
There’s one thing that will help you beat your inner resistance to doing the work. Make writing a non-negotiable task. If writing is no longer an option but a necessity, a habit, a matter of course, chances are you’ll beat your excuses more often than not.
And that’s the goal.
5. Take yourself seriously
Especially in the beginning, it’s not easy to consider yourself a real writer, and you will feel like a fraud most of the time. This applies even to the established writers out there— read Ayodeji Awosika for instance. He’s incredibly successful, and still, he doubts himself and his work.
I know this might not sound helpful at all when they have, like, 41k followers and you have, say, 43, or even 1k.
Let me ask you a question — do you think they had that many followers when they published their very first story? I doubt it. Were their first pieces of writing as crappy as yours? You bet.
Say it — “I am a writer”.
Now say it again, and this time you mean it — “I am a writer”. Feels weird, I know. I promise there will come a day when you own it.
You need to put things into perspective. Yes, the journey is a long one and others are miles farther ahead. Yes, it takes a lot of work, patience, and above all perseverance to make it as a writer. Yes, you are going to want to quit, often. Yes, you will not know what to write sometimes and doubt everything.
Is it worth it though?
Go find out.