It’s been almost two years since I started writing. To say that the journey has been bumpy and exciting would be an understatement. I’ve gone through the days when my adrenaline levels were high above the roof. Yet I’ve also had moments when I struggled to believe that I was meant to write.
There are days when the comments sections of my articles generated such bile that I wanted to close my eyes and never wake up. Then there are days when my articles generated such positive vibes that I felt so honoured to be the author of those articles.
I’ve been called names at the same time, I have acquired a sizeable number of supporters. I have gone to high-level meetings and when I introduced my name, some people in the room kind of went like “You are the guy who writes?” those moments give me immense joy. Don’t get it wrong, though, I don’t write for affirmation. For me, this is a tool that God has placed in my hand to make the world a better place.
You know the hummingbird story? Yes, I look at my writing as my contribution to humanity. Yet when I get people who inbox, tweet, WhatsApp me and basically say that they enjoyed my writing, it makes all the bashing worth it. Those words kind of atone for the writer’s block days. Those words soothe the pain of opposition. Such words inject in me a passion for keeping on writing.
So what lessons have I learnt through this journey?
Only you are responsible for your dream
I’ve gone through lonely days when I didn’t feel like writing. Those were the moments when I considered this gift to be a curse. I couldn’t go past the first sentence. It was so hard. Sometimes I wrote articles from my perspective but some readers got it off context. Sometimes I dug deeper into the reservoirs of my pain and experiences to do an article but the readership was so kidogo I got discouraged.
Along the way, I had put my trust on specific individuals who I thought had connections that were relevant. Yet they never came through like I had expected. I begged them to hold my hands to the Promised Land but nothing came out of my requests.
That’s when it hit me that no one is responsible for accomplishing your dream except you. The number of fans cheering you along the way should not deceive you. It doesn’t matter how loud the opposition can get. It shouldn’t bother you how many mountains are erected on your way. You have to do all it takes to make your dream come to pass. You have to sacrifice all that is required to realise your dream. With God, all things are possible. Whatever it is you ask, you will receive it. The size of your expectation is what will be met.
I have realised that those we admire as successful people never gave up on their dreams. They stuck it out until it became a reality. Therefore today, go out and make that dream a reality. Go back to the place where you suspended your dreams and revive them. Like a parent, nurture your dreams till they are able to walk by themselves.
Statistics are overrated
When I started writing, I gained a lot of goodwill in the office and the entire blogosphere. It’s like I started from the top. Because my first article went viral and it trended on Twitter.
But as I painfully came to realise, after a while, people begin to mind their own business. For a new writer, statistics are sometimes everything. Statistics affirms you that you have an audience who are reading your work and it can be deceiving.
I work in an industry where you are only as good as your last piece. Your pieces of work are judged by how widely they are read. The rush to churn out viral content then takes over. “How many Facebook likes did the article get? When was the last time we trended on Twitter? What’s your traffic on Alexa ranking? How many comments do you get on your article?” Those become the questions that consume your mind.
While it’s good to have a loyal fan base, that should never worry you. Because as long as you are focused on perfecting your craft, a market will come. Loyal followers will come around. But many of us put the cart before the horse. We want the customers without perfecting the products first. We want to harvest before we plant. We want a dedicated readership audience before we hit the 10 thousand hours as noted by Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers.’
Just work on your art and perfect it to the point where people will look for it. Luxury brands have taken hours and hours to perfect. Good products will always sell.
Opposition is healthy for your progress
The hallmark of my career so far was when an agency called me to ask if I was interested in going to South Africa, a fully paid trip for the launch of the Ford Ranger. The sooner had I received my travelling documents did the opposition arise. I got furiously mad until I had headaches. The people who I thought were going to be happy for me were the very same ones who were snitching on me. They opposed me by erecting unnecessary barriers on my way.
But I stuck to my guns and went for the trip. I did not just go but I also extended my stay. When I landed in South Africa, it all made sense why there was that opposition. You remember when Herod ordered the murder of the boys after a prophecy came that a Jewish king had been born? Remember how boys were murdered when Moses was born? The enemy’s agenda is to cut short your dream by killing it at the infant stage. If my trip to South Africa had been stopped prematurely, I wouldn’t have met the people I met. I wouldn’t have learnt the lessons I learnt.
As a propeller is to a helicopter so is the opposition to your success. Unless there is opposition, it is very hard to shatter the glass ceiling. Since I started writing, I’ve realised that opposition is the mark of purpose. When you are really being opposed, you have to trust your gut instincts and do it anyway. Because nothing will give you so much satisfaction than knowing that you conquered giants.