Becoming a Writer.

Introduction.

I felt like this one needed an introduction, a place to commemorate where it all begun.

Here’s the actual image: Before

Here is what I, as a writer, might see: Before

The source.

My dad is a writer (a professional one at that). A playwright, a philosopher (there’s a time we had to calculate how much we would owe God, if he exists), a physicist and force to reckon with. He had no chills, you feel me 🥶. I look upto him. My elder brothers and sisters used to call him main. It’s funny cause in programming, main is usually a programming nuance, a method/function, that we use to run a program.

I could write an entire novel on how he brought us up. However, today I am going to focus on his writing skills. As a software developer and technical mentor, I constantly have to focus on how my code is written and how I share my ideas.

Side note: blog on how to create a full role based authentication system in Django coming soon.

For the last couple of days, I got really frustrated. Not only because I had a bug in my code, as usual, but because I had a mental block when it came to writing as well. I did not know what to write. Who I was writing to and why I was writing. I knew I needed to write though. It is a form of self expression. Mask off while exposing your vulnerability to the world, being real.

Google is your friend and fiend. I’d much rather duck duck go though.

For the next few days / weeks / months / years 😂😂😂, I am going to learn how to be a writer. I have a friend who is constantly telling me my life is like a grand play by some renown writer like Shakespeare, and he simply has to write a book about it. I await impatiently to experience it from a different perspective other than the one I am currently living.

Have you ever read a script/text and moved by the beauty of it all? I would like to have my readers, you, experience that. Being able to clearly articulate your thoughts is a very important skill which I lack a lot.

Become a better reader.

More often than naught, listening is better than speaking.

It turns out, to be a better writer, you need to be a better reader. No skimming and scanning as we were taught in high school literature. Simply put, the more you read, the more you get acquainted in high-quality writing. Reading gives you ideas if nothing else and the more you read, the more ideas you get. Personally, I love reading as opposed to watching stuff. I would rather read a novel than watch a movie. My imagination goes wild. Things that seem fictitious start to exist in my mind’s eye. They get form and meaning, curving this path on untrodden grounds where I am both the explorer and the inhabitants.

Get Critiques.

As mentioned previously, be thorough with your ideas, share them, beat them down. Improve on them. Get feedback and actively work on constant growth and improvement.

Write drunk, edit sober.

Just write.
Once upon a time, I discovered a book called a moleskin book (introduced to me by one of my mentors). I loved it cause the cover was made from leather, you could smell it, and the pages were plain. No lines, you were free to create whatever was in your imagination. My best friend took the book after I filled some part of it, I am yet to replace it.

Side note:

I have so so many mentors. Many a times people have tried to introduce me to people who might mentor me onto greater heights, but I let them slide. I find it better choosing my mentors from people I consider as friends. You know the saying, “If you are in a group of 4 wise men, you will be the 5th”. I therefore strive to choose my friends wisely for they challenge me to become a better person than I once was, and make a mentor out of them. Most times, the people I consider as my mentors never even know they are mentoring me 😅. Is that creepy🤔?

I find it better that way cause then they remain real, and don’t tell me what I simply need to hear.

Stick to it and rewrite it.

Starting to write is easy, but then constantly and continuously coming up with content is on a whole different level. You just have to stick to it. And just like in programming, you had better refactor that code least your future your hate on your present you 😃. I feel like Gandhi.

A lot of the times once I write and publish my posts, I go over them to find my mistakes, my friend (he has a keener eye than I ever would) constantly sends me screenshots of my grammatical errors and teels me to correct them. (See what I did there? It is human nature to create shortcuts and make meaning where there is none). It is a maintenance job, I feel like I should write about maintenance, not only code wise but life wise too.

Once you feel like you have rewritten whatever you need to write a couple of times, rewrite it again.

Now that you’re drowning in red ink, you can start sifting through it.

Keep what’s valuable, and make all the necessary changes to make your work the best version of itself. If you are a programmer, need I remind you of version control?

Just because you like a piece of writing doesn’t mean it needs to be part of the story. I am still internalising what that means to my writing. That is why I have a feedback forum. I will create a private contact me platform on my blog as well so that I can get more personalized feedback.

Keep up with it even though you face some rejection and/or negative feedback.

Negative feedback is a point for positive growth.

Share it.

Bestow your thoughts and ideas and general knowledge upon the public until they scream in frustration, “Aaah, but we have just had about enough of you!!!!”

Take a deep breath and sail into the unknown. You never know what you might find.

Remember, by sharing your thoughts onto the world, you have done an incredible feat that some people only ever dream about (I used to be part of that “some people”).

Conclusion.

Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith. Becoming a writer is not an impossible task. Once you put your mind to it, it becomes a habit and second nature. You get better at it, you learn better phrases to use, how to better indulge, entertain and captivate your readers. How to enlighten them.

Doesn’t it feel better to make something than it does to critique it? Once you have faced the danger, I’ll bet that something was gained.

All it takes is the first step.

Newton Karanu

Newton Karanu

I’m a fullstack software developer who loves coffee, travel, adventure, poetry, photography and blogging.