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.

  • AFB

    I think this a great article! And I’m right to think so.
    I can imagine the time and effort it takes to write this kind of content. Keep it up bro. You’re getting there.

    • AbdulGaniy Shehu

      Thanks for the comments. Nice to hear from you

  • Karimous

    Hmm. Cool work.
    But I some times have problem of ‘what to write on/about’. Just put me through. Thanks?

    • AbdulGaniy Shehu

      Thanks Karimous for that. About what you should write about, there is no rule of thumb for it. The fact is that as a Writer, there is an area(s) where you are comfortable writing in, or can make research on it comfortably. This itself is the first step in determining what to write about. This is what is called Niche. Look inwards and start writing on your niche.

  • Karimous

    Thanks a lot sir 🙂

  • Man, I respect the depth of your post! The allusions are mighty. Big ups.

  • Julie

    Interesting read, great ideas – thanks!

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