AMATEUR WRITING HABITS TO LEAVE BEHIND AS WE START THE NEW YEAR BY DAMARIS IRUNGU OCHIENG’

We’re about to get into a new year and some of us have achieved their goals and some of us haven’t.  Some of us will blame it on covid. But for some of us, it’s really amateur behaviour that has made us miss the mark on our goals. Let’s look at some of those habits and how we can nip it the bud for a successful 2021.

  1. You Don’t write every day:  Writing is a muscle that needs to be flexed every day, you don’t flex it, you lose it or you stay an amateur, it’s that simple. If you want to make it as a successful writer, you have to flex that muscle every day. Observe the successful athletes, I’ve watched documentaries on Eliud Kipchoge and how hard he works, Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, Catherine Ndereba when she was active. They trained every day! Writing is a muscle. You have to flex it.
  2. You Don’t take charge of your career:  Dear writer, you need to take control of your career and run with it. I saw Athlete David Rudisha interviewed once and he was cleaning his own shoes, he said ‘I want to be in control, no one else washes my shoes, I have to know where it’s worn out and so forth.’ If a gold medalist gets his hands into dirty water to clean his shoes to make sure he has all his ground covered, who are you to put your feet up and think you have arrived? Let’s get down to work in 2021.
  3. You Don’t read: My heart skips a bit every time I bump into a writer who says they don’t read. Your words are your tools of trade, how then are you comfortable not reading every day! You have to take a keen interest in how words play on the page, how story flows, your characters develop, this will only happen if you read scripts, read novels. Find free scripts to read @ www.simplyscripts.com BBC writers room also has free scripts to read every so often so check that out as well. Read non-fiction stuff as well, read new reports, all this helps you stay abreast with current happenings but also expands your knowledge. Writers should be some of the most knowledgeable people, you should be hungry for knowledge. So refill that creative well every day.
  4.  You Dream but Don’t Do: Dreams are great. Lupita Nyong’o reminded us all that our dreams are valid. But it takes a doer to move dreams from just dreams into a reality. We’ve had covid to blame this year for all the goals we didn’t hit this year, that excuse will run out in 2021 because now society has found its way to live with this and make the most out of life. So again, what actions have you put in place to move your dreams to reality? Write them down and put dates on them. Start the year right.
  5.  You let your feelings control your life: Feelings are great, otherwise we wouldn’t be human. But when your feelings run your life you risk the chance of not getting to your goals. You don’t feel like writing today? No problem, you can write tomorrow, so you shut your laptop, go to the couch and binge watch your favourite show. Tomorrow comes and you don’t feel like you’re creative enough, so you spend the day on social media admiring other people’s lives and wishing you had a successful writing career. I can assure you that, the success writer you’re admiring doesn’t let their feelings control them, instead they show up for their dreams every day, work hard, flex the muscle and shut their feelings up until the job is done.

So friend, we’re about to turn a new year. Leave amateur habits behind for a successful 2021 writing year!

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See you on the other side of a successful 2021!

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