5 lessons I learned through writing - it's a marathon and not a sprint
When you first start with anything, you are inspired by the top players. You only see the tip of the iceberg - that 1% of people who have achieved success. You don't see the remaining 99% who are still in the bottom rungs and trying to get to the top.
When you join in any new field, you too are at the bottom of the pyramid. You decide to make a steep climb, but you forget you can take steps to make more sustainable and gradual progress.
When I started writing, like anyone else, I wanted major publications to accept my articles and when they didn’t, I’d be a little sad and a lot confused. I didn’t understand what I wasn’t doing right.
Today, when I go back and read some of my articles; I want to tear them apart. Yes, it’s that pathetic. But I am happy I wrote those pathetic pieces and published them. That helped in moving one step closer to my goal.
I still have a long way to go, but I now know the mistakes I made and how I can improve them over the course. If I had not written them, I wouldn’t have any articles to compare.
I am a big sucker for knowledge. I love to grasp as much information there is out there. I wanted to know everything about writing. And I did. I enrolled in writing courses, read several million blogs, and made notes on what I need to do.
The part I didn’t do was then apply those lessons in practice. I wasn’t writing as much as I should.
It’s good to be a forever student, but you got to graduate soon and start working too. When you think you have learned a few things, practice until it gets registered in your subconscious mind.
If you don’t that lesson is useless. An average person can only have around four things in mind at once, for up to 30 seconds. That means you’d forget everything you learned today unless you repeatedly remind your brain about it.
Get coached by the experts
One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t take any courses in writing.
I was adamant about learning on my own — reading, analyzing, and experimenting.
But that takes a long time. And you may run out of motivation if you don’t see results from all that work.
Also, the experts might help you connect the missing links, which you can’t solve on your own. It takes a village to raise a child.
And think of the experts as the role models and not your competitors.
Competing with yourself is the ultimate positive sum game — Sahil
Don’t measure yourself against instant success or failures.
When you are building a masterpiece, think long-term. Think of the end goal.
Don’t fret over short-term failures. You may get rejected. You may not have a single taker for your project. You may get paltry views.
But don’t kill your stupid dream. Think of what it would take to reach there and keep pressing towards it.
Don’t lose yourself in the process
People love authenticity. It doesn’t matter to them if you haven’t perfected your art. But what matters is that you are honest and you are comfortable in your skin.
Your confidence will resonate with others who think alike. But trust in yourself and in what you believe.
Different things work for different people - keep trying new things until you find your sweet spot.
Repeat the formula that gave you success
Don’t let your one viral piece fool you into believing you have made it. If you can’t recreate that magic consistently, your virality will be lost in no time.
Overnight success will get lost the following morning.
Don’t be after a single masterpiece. Build a habit that helps you in sustaining that success.
When my article ‘The 8–8–8’ went viral, I didn’t leverage upon the same formula. To be fair to me, I didn’t even understand what the formula was and to a certain extent, I don’t know to date — however, I do see a few mistakes I didn’t write on a similar topic often.
You need to build a web of content from the ones that stick to your audience. That will help you in gradually exploiting your potential.
If I could go back in time, I would have expanded my web on productivity more often.
It resonated with my readers and they loved the concept. So, I need to give them more of what they like — that’s how you leverage on the momentum.
These are the five lessons I learned through writing on how to achieve success. If I have to select only one out of these five, I'd suggest you start with the first one on putting your learnings to practice and repeating them each day. I am now actively practicing my craft - I am writing an article almost every day. Hope you are able to build a habit that you can sustain to create your masterpiece.