I wanted to write. At last I knew this from my very early years when I was in class five or six. During those periods, I would write something that looked like a poem but lacks all the qualities of a poem. I called it poem anyway, because I wrote it. And I decided what it should be called. I tried my hands on short stories. Most of these short stories ended up in the book I wrote them and didn’t go anywhere. The ones I sent to publishers of children magazines never got published. I believe the editors didn’t read beyond the second sentence.
That was then. I found my passion and yet didn’t have the courage to follow it. You see, the call of passion comes to us very early in life. We pretend not to hear. We lose the voice then we lose our way. It’s only when we are grown that we begin searching for what has been with us all our lives. I started searching for what is it that I’m passionate about. Then I found it’s writing because it’s the only one thing I do that feels like no work at all.
I decided to get better. I started searching for how to get better at writing. Then I found these;
#1. Always see what is not there
In the 2012 drama film, “The Magic of Belle Isle,” Morgan Freeman’s character, Monte was mentoring a little girl on how to be a writer. Monte asked the little girl to look yonder and see what’s there. There little girl replied, “There’s nothing there.” Monte responded, “never stop looking for what’s not there.” Writing fiction is about looking for what’s not there and bringing it to being. The power of imagination has everything to do with it when you want to write and really write well.
I learned from that quote. I’ve been looking for what’s not there since that day. Each time I try, I find myself a story and I allow my imagination to lead me through till the end. It’s easy to see what’s there. It’s more enchanting to see what’s not there and actually bring it to life.
#2. Be vulnerable to create connection
People love to read things they can connect with. Build connection through sharing your truth, sharing your failures and your struggle. No one has it together including yourself and no one is interested in how much you have in your bank account and how much you bought what you bought. People want to feel connected to you through your stories because they too are going through the same struggle. James Altucher said “Nobody’s perfect. We’re all trying. Show people how you are trying and struggling (too)”
A friend of mine hasn’t blogged for so long. He told me, “There seems to be nothing to write about. Everything had been said before.” That’s true, but Andre Gide also said, “Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.” Say it again. Say it with your voice. Someone hasn’t heard it before. Someone has heard it before but didn’t understand. It’s only when they hear it from you and from your perspective that they’ll understand. Find a topic someone had already written about that you think is interesting. Re-mold it in your own way and add your flavor to it. The story is now yours.
#4. Read like a writer
I’ve forgotten who and where I got this tip from but it has helped my writing a lot. I’m yet to meet an excellent writer who isn’t himself an excellent reader. Readers are usually writers. If you want to be a better writer, you have to read the books of the writers you look up to and learn their style of writing. Read while you take inspiration from the way they write. That’s how you learn to become a better writer. Read a lot and take inspiration from other better writers you read from.
#5. Deal with excuses
Resistance. That’s what Steven Pressfield calls it. Till today, it’s a huge problem I always have to deal with, “I don’t feel like writing.” “I have to have this and that ready before I can write better.” The weather is too warm and it’s very uncomfortable to write.” I always have a reason not to write. Steven Pressfield calls these excuses resistance. The only way to beat it is to get up and write.
#6. Write Everyday.
That was very difficult. To write everyday even when there’s nothing in your head? It was difficult for me but I learned a way to do it. Sometimes I will write blog posts. Most times I have nothing to write about so I go on Facebook and look for status updates that interests me and comment on it. Other times too, I’ll post something to get the views of others and make sure I replied everyone who comments on the status update. That way, I’m able to write something and able to write more than thousand words a day.
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