Learn Two Timeless Secrets Of Success

Humans will always find the word ‘secret’ irresistible. To the average adult, a secret is a bridge between where they are and where they want to be. Even the greatest of companies and corporations have secrets on which they have built their success over the years.

Here’s a hard fact: beyond hard work and knowledge, dedication and passion, process and result, lie the secrets of everything: Time and Practice.

We know them, we hear about them, but we mostly ignore.

Let’s start with time.

Life is a superstructure of opportunities, outcomes, and choices balanced on eternally rooted pillars—rules and principles. Everything that is and becomes in life is life’s response to the application of rules and principles.

Time is one of those principles.

When a farmer plants a seed, he does not expect it to sprout in five minutes. He understands that regardless of his efforts, the seed needs time to grow. Unlike the farmer, many of us are impatient. We pluck infant dreams out of the soil because they did not burst into harvest soon enough. We abandon new enterprises, deeming them unworthy of our pursuit because Forbes did not recognise them in two years. A lot of people are so devastatingly impatient that they equate success to pace.

You must understand that time is the language of growth; the multinational corporations and conglomerates you admire are sitting on decades of effort, years of refurbished mistakes, countless hours of break-neck work. You cannot arrive at their results without putting in as much time, as they have.

Let time take your fragile dreams and build them into rock-solid achievements no one can take from you.

Be patient.

Now the second secret—practice.

Walter Pater says, ‘The way to perfection is through a series of disgusts’.

The frustration that comes with watching great people and being unable to achieve what they have is heart-wrenching. Sometimes, it seems as though they are beyond us by ten lifetimes. They know more; they’ve done more. The sight of them drives us crazy with hunger. When we ponder on it, we realise that successful people did not do anything out of the ordinary; instead, they gained mastery.

How did they come about it?

They practised.

Practice is an unravelling art; it strips bare the tapestry of any and every field, exposing it to you to conquer. It is an exploration to the haven of mastery. Stop moaning about how little you know; the difference between you and the people you think highly of is practice.

Put your back into it—practice like a maniac. Read, gather knowledge, attend classes, and then practice some more. In some years, you’ll be a pro. 

Finally, these two are all you need to be successful at anything. First, put in your best but give it time. Do not abort effort and resources because success did not come fast enough. Secondly, masters are not born; they are made. It doesn’t matter how much of an amateur you are; throw yourself into rigorous practise and see what happens.

How To Enhance Your Writing With Creativity

There is a popular myth among people about writers and writing. It is the belief that writing comes easy and natural to writers. You may even have had that assumption when you first started writing yourself. However, while it is true that writers like other creatives have moments of inspiration, a lot of what is created happens through hard work and discipline.

As a result of lack of inspiration, writers often find themselves in a rut, especially if working on some serious topics that are out of their comfort zone. There is the temptation to get down to business. That often means that creativity and imagination are at risk of being thrown out of the window.

Yet creativity and imagination are just the ingredients you need to connect emotionally with your audience, touching them in ways they do not expect, as you, as a writer, go the extra mile in stretching your writing abilities by putting your own spin and unique take on an issue using both imagination and creativity.

Now, let’s get down to business. Below are tips you could use in enhancing your writing.

  1. Expand your reading palette

For most writers, their love for words comes from their passion for reading. It is by reading that you learn about the world around you; reading takes you out of your own experience and into another person’s experience. As a writer, if you want to get better at writing, the one thing you can do and should do is to read more. The more you read, the more you learn how to write. Expanding your reading palette means that you develop your writing capability. The result is that over time you can begin to write different genres and go beyond your comfort zone. Every writer has the style or type that comes naturally to them, but reading a diversity of books opens up your mind to the possibility of trying out different styles and genres.

  1. Practice writing from different perspectives

When trying to be creative and imaginative, just thinking about things from a different perspective could be the answer. It can be the change you need to add more life to the article or story you are writing. First, writing from a different perspective requires that you are well-read on the subject you are writing about. Then using your imagination, you can tell, narrate, or describe from different perspectives. When you write from different angles, you enrich your story and give your readers more to think about and relate with as they get to be part of the story. Besides, writing from different perspectives stretches both the writer and the reader’s imagination, as it gives the writer the room to tell a more productive and more nuanced story.

  1. Be specific and detailed when creating settings, examples, and scenarios

Sometimes, as writers, we focus on the central element of the story or the characters. But if you are searching for ways to spice up your writing in the creativity department, then look no further than where you set your story, the examples as well as the scenarios you use in telling the story by being specific and detailed. You can create a rich and diverse world for your characters or have the story painted in more powerful ways that have more of an impact than just getting straight to the point. Detailed settings and scenarios allow you to add more texture and colour to your storytelling.

Conclusion

No matter what style of writing you are working on, thinking creatively and using your imagination will enable you to take your work to a different level. So why not give it a try the next time you find yourself stuck as you write that paper that seems to be going nowhere.

5 Tips To Staying Fit Mentally As A Writer

Vikram Patel says, “Being mentally fit improves our overall wellbeing and prevents other illnesses.” And since deficiency in the mental status will have a severe negative impact on anyone, making it a priority can remarkably improve our quality of life.

Really, the importance of our psychological wellbeing cannot be stressed enough; neither is it out of place to assert that other areas of our being depend hugely on this to function optimally.

But sadly, especially within our demography, this singular aspect of our lives receives zero or no attention. There are various ways to maintain positive mental health and live a fulfilling and enjoyable life.

As a writer, there are few things to pay attention to:

  1. Refrain from negative thoughts: No matter how overused this may sound, you are your thoughts. You act out what you brood over, which, if negative, can torment you mercilessly. So, it’s essential to pay attention and change them.
  2. Shun toxic relationships: If it’s not improving you, it’s not worth it. If they are not helping you get better, they deserve no space in your life. Moreover, why give your time to irrelevancies at the detriment of your mental health. You deserve better!
  3. Tend to your errors with love: How do you react to your mistakes? What do you say to yourself? “Oh! I’m such a failure,” or “I never do anything right.” Truth be told, we cannot completely erase our chances of tripping but we can control how we react to them.

Your first draft was nothing close to your expectation. Okay? The beautiful piece you invested all of your energy to develop received smothering criticisms. Okay? Well that’s not enough reason to crucify yourself.

Quit the cursing and self-belittling as they don’t solve anything. Instead, take a deep breath. Relax. Appreciate your efforts. Reward yourself for taking those courageous little steps. In reciprocity, your mental health would be bountifully rewarded.

  1. Take care of yourself: This cannot be stressed enough. It is vital, no matter where you fall on the mental health spectrum. Self-care is a necessity! 90% of the time, our job as writers requires that we sit for a good portion of the day.

To minimize the toll that this can take, get up and stretch at intervals. Go for a walk if you can. When you do this, you’re improving blood circulation, which also helps to stimulate brain function. And when you return, you’d be a lot more productive. In addition, scrutinize your nutritional consumption thoroughly. Watch what you eat. Rest well.

And I cannot forget to add exercise as there are significant mental benefits hidden therein.

  1. Unwind: Sometimes, we get so caught up in the daily demands of life that we forget to truly live. Once in a while, step out of your comfort zone and give yourself a break. Your body and overall health will thank you for it.

It is up to you to start making healthy choices. Not choices that are only healthy for your body but also your mind. Your mental health is a priority. Take care of it and stay fit.

Do you have other tips capable of helping us stay mentally fit as writers?

We look forward to hearing from you.

How to Write a Book Review

Review writing is one of the most relevant modern-day writing skills. More so, it is used in selling books and analyzing their content. What sells a book are the reviews written on it, although the role of the words of mouth cannot be overemphasized too.

A book review is a critical appraisal of a book, article, play, film, etc. It is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style and merit.

There are two kinds of book review:

Prepublication and

Post-publication review.

Whereas prepublication review is written for libraries and bookshops that are going to purchase the book in bulk, the post-publication review is written for people who are potential readers of the book being reviewed.

Approaches to Review Writing

There are two approaches to writing a book review: descriptive and critical review.

Descriptive review gives the essential information about a book. This is done with description and exposition, by stating the perceived aims and purposes of the author, and by quoting striking passages, dialogues, etc., from the book.

Critical review describes and evaluates the book in terms of accepted literary and historical standards, and supports this evaluation with evidence from the book.

A book review is expected to answer two questions:

  • What is the book about?
  • How good is the book?

Understanding what a nonfiction book is all about and how good it is, for instance, is relatively a straightforward process. The reviewer only needs to determine if the author was able to express his thoughts and ideas clearly in a way that the reader can understand.

Determining how good a fiction piece is, on the other hand, requires that the reviewer understands the five elements of fiction: character, setting, plot, theme and style and how effectively the author used these elements.

Becoming a good reviewer rests on only one factor – experience. Experience is developed through consistent writing, in-depth understanding of book content and the ability to explain the same.

How to Beat Writing Procrastination

The phrase, “Procrastination is the thief of time,” is a famous mantra we employ to prompt ourselves to get into the game and get the work done. It is a reality we are no doubt familiar with—the fact that procrastination, if not correctly dealt with, can stifle specific opportunities and even cause us to miss out on some incredible rewards.

Yeah, we know all these. But the truth is that sometimes we just can’t help the urge to procrastinate. Whether it is postponing the instruction to take out the trash before it overflows or changing the oil before the engine breaks down or meeting that deadline at work before the time for appraisal, procrastination can creep in slowly until we are blindsided by the consequences.

Unfortunately, even as writers, we get bitten by this bug too often. There we are, staring at the blank page, and we just can’t summon any motivation to get started; or perhaps we have gotten started, and we keep pushing back the timeline for completion.

Several factors are responsible for our procrastination as writers and here are three of them:

  1. Getting bored or frustrated with the subject matter: Yes, this is very much possible. One of the things that keep writing flowing on an even keel is the writer’s continuing identification and interest in the subject he is assigned to write. Once that is lost, the writer inevitably puts off work on the project.
  1. Fear: This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination. The fear of failing, criticism, and not meeting up to expectations have caused many a writer to push back what would have been great pieces of writing.
  1. Laziness and lack of consistency: Practice and consistency are defining traits of any good writer. The more you write, the better you get at it. On the other hand, the less consistent a writer is, the easier it becomes to procrastinate until he ends up not writing at all.

Fortunately, no matter how deep the tentacles of procrastination seat, we can beat this monster and get right back to our writing game. The following five ways show us how:

  • Choose a writing niche you are passionate about: The more a writer enjoys his work, the faster he longs to get back to it. If you desire to overcome procrastination, then get involved in subject matters or themes that you are passionate about rather than ones that put you to sleep.
  • Schedule your writing and set a deadline: When it comes to writing, it is easy to think you can just fly by the seat of your pants and wait until inspiration strikes. But more often than not, inspiration is a product of discipline. Therefore, it is crucial to plan out each writing project and set a deadline for finishing. Doing this goes a long way to keep you committed to the work and to stave off the temptation to tarry.
  • Deploy tools to fend off distracting influences: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other forms of media entertainment have been the bane of productivity for many writers. While they are not bad in themselves, the difficulty lies in knowing when to indulge or abstain. If you seek to jack up productivity and overcome procrastination, then it is vital to block out such distractions from your workspace. Apps like Rescue Time and Self Control are deployed to limit such frequent usage and visits to these sites.
  • Get an accountability partner: Often, knowing you are being watched and rated may be the key to getting rid of procrastination. Get someone trusted who can keep you accountable and disciplined enough to follow through on your projects. Note that this must be a person whose instruction and mentorship you are willing to follow.
  • Institute a reward system: Our psyche thrives on pleasure and reward. One way to beat procrastination is to set ourselves a target for each project and create a reward for every milestone reached. Knowing that you have something worthwhile to look forward to can accelerate the pace with which you approach the work and hasten the process of completion.

Finally, as writers, overcoming procrastination starts with the willingness to devote ourselves to the art of writing. These tips and many other suggestions that abound will be fruitless without a sense of dedication and commitment to the craft.

Therefore, don’t let procrastination steal your thunder; get working instead.