Writers’ Blokke
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Writers’ Blokke

on writing

New Writers: You Can Benefit From These Mistakes Of Mine

And stop yourself from calling quits

Image credits: Canva

I never had any proper writing experience, apart from the occasional ones I did as assignments and some intermittent diary entries. Yet, the moment I started writing as a writer, I fell in love with the process.

As I continued writing, I was enjoying it more and more. It was a great phase of discovering something new in myself and pursuing it.

But then, as time passed, things happened. Despite all my efforts, I was dragging myself. It felt like I have plateaued and it was all that I had. I must have run out of juice.

Self-doubt.

What followed was a pause. A big one.

I had given up.

I even started venturing into alternate things. Luckily, I steered back. But many don’t.

So, if you are a new writer like me- this article is for you.

Giving up prematurely

The initial phase of me as a writer was great. I was pumped up and could see the stars. I was all into the game and running full throttle.

The problem arose when I started expecting a quick windfall. I was expecting things to happen fast.

Immediate results, immediate money, immediate fame.

And that did not happen exactly like I was hoping. And the expectation was sapping away all my enthusiasm.

There are writers who have achieved much in very little time. But, not everyone is the same. You have to be like the river and shape the stone with sheer persistence.

Give yourself one year without any expectations. Just do one thing — write.

There will be various high and low points. Neither let them elate you nor dissuade you. Expect things that they will happen- a low viewership, a low read meter, rejections from publications(ouch, that hurts the most), or the almost ono-existent financial outcomes.

Detach yourself from everything and do one thing.

WRITE.

ONE YEAR.

Wonderful writers like Samra, Ayodeji Awosika have sworn by their persistence. They just kept at it. Ayodeji shares his story on Youtube about how he, along with friends, had started writing in Medium at the same time. While his friends dropped out eventually, he kept on. And after a year, he started seeing wonderful results.

Take inspiration from such things and give a whole dedicated year to your writing.

Comparing myself to other writers

Reading is an essential tool to hone one’s writing skills. Without doubt. I also did that. Was all good, till I started comparing myself to them.

I read their articles and then I read mine. The difference was stark.

Will I be able to reach that standard?

It’s too uphill a task. Should I pursue?

Self-doubt.

We see the success today and admire it; conveniently forgetting or ignoring all the effort that has gone behind that success.

The comparison doesn't make sense at all! How can one compare a seasoned writer to a rookie one? I did that and suffered the consequences. Give due credit to the writers who have worked on their skills and are here today standing tall.

So, stop comparing yourself to a successful(in fact, any) writer. Read stories — but with an open and receptive mind. And grow.

If everyone was to follow someone, the world wouldn't have been so diverse and unique. You are different. Act like one. Discover yourself. Stop trying to find someone else within you.

Seeking acceptance from others

Read that as big publications.

Once I was into writing, I started dreaming big time. My name in the biggest publications. My stories as editor’s pick. But everyone dreams and that is a healthy practice.

But then;

a little humility does wonders when it comes to learning a trade.

After a little while of writing articles, I straightaway aimed for the biggest publication houses. And tasted rejections. Yes, plural. A lot of them.

The problem was not in submitting articles to them or being rejected by them, it was the bad taste it left behind, from which emanated various uncertainties and doubts. That eventually dampened my writing spirit.

So, am I suggesting not to submit to big publications? No.

No one’s stopping you from testing the waters. But don’t sink into it. Don’t read too much into the outcomes. Take them assertively. Grow along with them.

There is no such point in any skill or trade where one has reached, beyond which there is nothing more to learn or know. Don’t read acceptance as triumph and rejection as failure. Noboby has ever benefitted from such inferences.

The real objective here is not to be published in big publications. It is to become a better writer each day. To write things that people like to read.

Hesitating to send out crappy articles

As a newbie, it was not surprising that my stories were crappy. I lacked structure and flow. And the more I kept reading great stories, the more hesitant was I about publishing my creations.

All that resulted in a list of unfinished stories sitting on my laptop, never to see the light of the day. And as the list became longer, the more detached I became from the process. Disinterest seeped in.

The more I left my articles unfinished, the more critical I was about myself in the next one.

Nothing was good enough.

I lacked the understanding that I have to let go of the burden of the fear of being judged by readers. I had to accept the shoddiness of my stories and build from there rather than just leave it unfinished, and deprive myself of a sense of completion.

I cannot become best without being better.

In a nutshell

I know a lot of you are struggling to be where you want to see yourself. You have a lot to say, but writing them seems so distant.

Worry not. You are not alone. Many have traversed your path. And many more are with you. Writing can be at times look challenging, like any other creative art. From my experience, keeping these things at bay will not only help you in seeing better days but also keep you from hanging your boots.

  1. Give yourself one full year. Just bury your head and write fervently. Don’t look at what is happening around you.
  2. You are you. Be yourself. The moment you try to be someone else, you lose yourself. Stop comparing yourself with others. That will only take you more time to discover what you really are.
  3. Never make acceptance as a parameter of success and rejection, a declaration of failure. Accept rejections as opportunities to grow.
  4. Be unashamed. Unabashed. Your stories are who you really are. That will speak louder than a made-up one.

Here, I have said it all. If I have to put everything above in one sentence, or rather in a word, it would be:

WRITE.

So, all the best, my buddies.

Before you leave:

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