Revealed: The Best and only Way to learn Writing

Everybody wants to be a writer. I have seen no one who isn’t interested in writing. Because everyone wants to write, many are bemused about where to start. They want to know the best way to learn writing. Few days ago, I met someone who read some of the posts on my blog. He was so enthusiastic and told me: “Shehu, what are the secrets to writing.” To him, there are secrets writers hide from their audience.

Likewise, two days ago, a high school friend of mine called after a long time. At the end of our discussion he said: “Shehu, I visited your blog days ago, and I am impressed by what you do. Though I find it easy to express myself in speech, it’s always difficult for me to write.” He confessed.

This is happening  within a week. These and many more are questions I get from friends, family members, colleagues and readers of my blog.

Writing is both difficult and easy. Your perception to it matters and goes a long way in shaping you.

Today, I am revealing the best and only one way to learn writing.Before that, let me make three shocking revelations:

 

  1. You have no excuses for not writing:

    Most at times, whenever you are asked about writing and why you have not started writing. It’s easy to bring up one thousand and one excuses. These excuses may include: Lack of talent, No adequate writing resources, Lack of mentors, Writing is difficult, There’s no time to write etc. While most of these excuses are true, it’s true that even with all these, you will still make excuses.

Peter elbow, while making his submission on this in his book, Writing without Teachers, aptly puts it thus:

People without education say, “If only I had education I could write.” People with education say, “If only I had talent, I could write.” People with education and talent say, “If only I had self-discipline I could write.” People with education, talent and self-discipline – and there are plenty of them who can’t write – say, “If only …” and don’t know what to say next. Of course, you can make excuses for not writing but there are none actually.

  1. Writing is your right:

    Yes, you heard me right. It’s your right to write, and it’s only when you write that you can claim your right. Without writing, you’ll lose your right to be right, but when you write you’ll become right.

Abdullahi Muhammed in his book, Your right to write puts it this way:

A lot of people are so scared to assert their right to write. I was scared too. Very much frightened. How could I call myself a writer? I had no Degree or certificate to show for it. I feared I could be challenged. That I was only pretending. That I was a serial impostor. Maybe you are, too. But in actual fact, you need no certification to write. It’s a right you’ve always had …your birth right. If you write, you’ll be right. Go a step further and author… that’s how to become an authority. Whatever you conceive, and solemnly believe, you can achieve.

  1. No barriers to Writing:

    If there is any profession that gives everybody the freewill to do whatever they want to do, in the best way they can do it, irrespective of their backgrounds, then writing comes first. There is no barrier to becoming a writer irrespective of your discipline. What matters most is your ability to learn how to write and writing always. Many great writers today, never studied Arts or Humanities in College or University. Though studying these related courses is good, but not studying them isn’t a barrier. I love the way Seth Godin puts it: “The biggest challenge is that there are no barriers. If you want to do it, go do it. Ideas worth spreading, spread.” And I say: “If you want to write, just write. Ideas worth writing, write”

Now, you know that:

  • No barriers to writing
  • Writing is your right
  • You have no excuses for not writing.

 

Then, what’s the best and only way to learn writing.

If I may ask you:

What’s the best way to learn how to walk? Walking, isn’t it?

What’s the best way to learn how to speak? Speaking, right?

What’s the best way to learn how to cook? Cooking, am I correct?

So, the best and only way to learn writing is:

Writing

Writing, and

Writing.

There are no two ways about it.

It is only when you write that you can master the art of writing.

Hear this:

If you read the best of books on writing

Possess the best resources that can aid your writing career

Subscribe to blogs that can make you a better write

Attend writing conferences to equip you better.

Does these actions make you a writer?
Definitely not.

The truth about writing is that, if you don’t write, you are not a writer.

So, if you want to learn writing, you need to write.

Stop procrastination. Pick up your pen right now and write.

The first draft might look messy and frightening, but that’s the best way to go. When you write, you learn and master it. But if you fail to write, you can never learn writing. Proficiency isn’t what you need now. You need to start. When you start, you learn and become better.

On a Final Note

Writing is a daunting, time-consuming and lonely task I admit. But if you wish to learn it, you need to start writing. It’s only when you write, that you can be called a writer. When you write, you claim your right. When you author, you become an authority.

Over to you:

What are the fears you have about writing? How has writing made you a better writer? Make your submissions in the comment box.

Can’t keep up? 7 ways to write quality blogposts always

Blog
Blogging

It is 7am, your night was awesome. You have forgotten that you slept worriedly the night before. After deciding to take action, you want to serve your readers with fresh articles on a weekly basis. Still basking in the euphoria of the success of your last article, the number of shares you got in the social media was mind-blowing, you have gotten new friends on Facebook, new followers on Twitter and quite some views on LinkedIn. Yes, a writer I am, you tell anyone who cares to listen.

Today, is another day and you have to write, you want to replicate last week’s success, you want to gain new followers, but there is a problem. Yes, you have ran out of ideas, you don’t know what to write about.

The truth is, every writer faces this situation, writing is a lonely and arduous task, but how is it possible to churn out quality articles week in week out. Today, I reveal the secrets of established writers, and how they are able to write articles, that are always interesting, enlightening and factual.

  • Writers Read always: Reading is an activity that established writers do always, they are never tired of it,  hence they are full of ideas. As a writer you must read something out of everything. Good writers are avid readers, because when reading, you get a lot of ideas which shapes your writing always.
  • Make Google thy friend: Google has been around for a while, but most writers have not found it a worthy friend. If you are a writer, and you think you can generate great ideas always without Google, then you need to rethink your strategy. Many a writer are under-utilising the search engine, and have forgotten that it has the best answers to our questions. In fact Google, can give you an insight into what people are searching for, and you can write about it.
  • Learn from the best: There is no industry where there are no authorities. Writing is not an exception, as we have writers who have made names writing and have been doing it for decades. Many writers fail today, because they feel they can be independent. Kallen Diggs puts it this way:

    “There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Accepting the help of others will usually shorten the learning curve in anything you want to pursue in life. It does not make you any less independent.”

    As a writer, you need to visit the authority blogs and websites. Topics written on these blogs can give you ideas of what you’ll write next.

Write

  • Be a good listener: A good writer must also be a good listener. Listening will let you know what your readers want, how they want it, and why they want to it. Today’s post is a product of a question one of my readers asked last week. Every writer must listen to the readers always, this could be in form of reading their comments, conducting surveys, and asking them what they want etc.
  • Write down ideas: This is natural, and many writers fail to utilize it. Many a times, you could be walking on the street, be in the public bus, or on the train, and an idea on what you can write about comes to mind. Established writers do not joke with this, they jot them down and revisit when it’s time. You should always write down the ideas you have as they come. These ideas if not useful now, will count one day.
  • My niche my Interest: Have you ever asked yourself, what interests you the most? Every writer MUST have an interest, which is referred to as niche. This interest could stem from your course of study, religious/social/cultural affiliations. Your niche is unique to you, and you should develop it. Many established writers/bloggers have gone ahead to build an empire with their niches. Examples of this include: Darren Rowse, Brian Clark and Jon Morrow best known for blogging tips, Seth Godin known for self-development, Zac Johnson known for Affiliate Marketing, Carol Tice and Bamidele Onibalusi known for Freelance Writing. Jeff Goins and Abdullahi Muhammed known for coaching writers. These writers/bloggers have honed their skills in these niches over the years, and they have been writing about them ever since.

On a Final Note:

Writing gives you the voice you crave for. It gives you a right to pen down your thoughts and make an impact in the world. While it’s generally interesting, it could be frustrating at times especially for newbie writers. Knowing these secrets and putting them into practise will ensure that you don’t run out of ideas anytime soon.

Over to you:

As a writer, what are your secrets to writing quality articles always without running out of ideas?

Taking Action: The Newbie Writer’s Guide to Success

The Newbie Writer
writer’s desk

Admit it. You have always admired great writers in your field. You have read lots of blog posts, articles, and newsletters on how to get started as a writer. You have even joined some writing e-courses that take you through the nitty-gritty of writing. You’re a daily visitor to some of the popular blogging/writing websites in the world such as Copyblogger, Problogger, Smartblogger, Goinswriter, Writers in charge, Make a living writing, Grammar Girl, Seth Godin, TheWritelife and the list is endless.

You understand writing is the calling for you, you respect writers and always wish to be called one anytime, you believe that great writers produce great ideas, and ideas rule the world always.

Just as Paul Graham puts it:

Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them, if you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you will miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.

But, you’re held up. Not only do you procrastinate beginning your writing career, you are afraid of failure. The ideas are perfectly in your head, but you don’t know how to get started. You read that established writers make a lot of money writing, but you think you can’t withstand their expertise.

The Reality: Being in motion Vs. Taking Action

In his post, The Mistake smart people make, James Clear aptly describes it thus:

Motion is when you’re busy doing something, but the task will never produce an outcome by itself. Action on the other hand is the behaviour that will get the result.

Let’s cite some examples:

  • If I outline 30 ideas I want to write on, that’s the motion, if I actually write and publish just an article, that’s an action.
  • If I read a blog post on How to make money as a freelance writer, that’s motion, if I actually put it into practice and start making money, that’s an action
  • If I study for a test, that’s motion. If I actually take the test, that’s action

Motion is good but action is better

I love the way Leonardo da Vinci puts it:

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

Motion is good because it allows you to prepare and strategise and learn as a writer, but it will never produce a final result. Yes, motion will show you the way but action will definitely take you there.

Taking action
Taking action

Are you ready to take action?

As a newbie writer, you should understand that actions matter a lot, if indeed you want to succeed. It’s the actions that the established writers are taking that stand them out from the crowd. If you wish to be successful in your writing career, I advise you to do the following:

  1. Start small: Don’t be in a hurry. Take calculated and important steps always. Simply put: begin with one task and get it completed before going to the next
  2. Reconnect with the present moment: Don’t be a hurry to make a name
  3. Focus on how instead of ifs: What if’s can really make you lose focus. So instead of letting your mind get lost in what if’s focus on the how.
  4. Put distractions away: These days, our devices are with us everywhere and it takes just a second to get distracted. So you need to be wary of that and do the needful always
  5. Utilise your time judiciously: Your time is an asset that you must guard jealously. While you shouldn’t harbour stress and tension about time, allow it to work towards your goals
  6. Get motivated: Make sure that you have some incentives to get self-motivated. The more motivated you are, the more actions you take
  7. Don’t be a perfectionist: Don’t wait to be a perfect writer before you start. Expertise is not attained one day, it’s learned on the job
  8. Don’t follow the majority: As a newbie writer, you need to figure out what makes you happy, what you can write on consistently over time, and follow it to the latter. Don’t be a copy-cat
  9. Be enthusiastic: Enthusiasm is a great emotional state to be in to take action. Be proud and happy to be called a writer, tell whoever cares to listen that you’re one.
  10. The time is now: If indeed you want to take action, there is no other time better to do that than now. Do not wait for the perfect moment, make this moment a perfect one.

On a Final Note:

John Wooden puts it this way: “Never mistake activity for achievement”. If indeed you want to be successful in your writing career, then you must begin to take actions. And I say: “Don’t wait to be an expert before you take bold steps. Start something today, learn on the job, be determined and remain consistent. Indeed, Expertise is earned over time and not a day’s job.”

What has been hindering you from kick-starting your writing career? Do comment in the box below.