Someone read one of my pieces. He met me and told me that after reading the piece, he felt intimidated and that he never wanted to write again. (I guess he was only joking and paying a compliment because that is not what I intend my writing to do.) However, I told him something then which I am going to tell you now.
I’m good at what I do.
The person I mentioned at the outset of this piece, wants to be a writer in future. He wants the world to read his pieces and be inspired but he thinks he doesn’t know how to write. He looks at his articles and compares them to some others and thinks, “Will I ever be that author?” I say, Yes, he can. But there’s a BUT.
I asked him how often does he write, how much of his time does he dedicate to writing, how many other people’s works has he read, what does he give up to get better, how much has he invested in honing his art, sharpening his skills and training himself? His answer is funny to me. He doesn’t write all that often. He doesn’t have chance, there’s no time.
Someone told me something some years back when I told him I didn’t have enough time for myself. He said, Val, there really is no time for anything worthwhile and important in life. You CREATE the time for it. I’m glad I have never forgotten that advice. I have realised that I’m never ever going to live to see the perfect time for some things in my life. If I have to see them, instead of waiting for the time, I’d have to create the time for them.
Back to that boy. It’s simple. If he doesn’t create the time out of his ‘no time’ to write, it means at least two things. ONE, writing is not important enough to him. TWO, he’ll never get better at writing.
You can’t tell me you want to be great singer in ‘the future’ and right now, no one around you even knows that you sing and neither have they ever seen a single bar you’ve written. It’s so bad that even your shadow has never caught you writing a song. I’m sorry but you’re just dreaming.
You want to be a great singer? Sing in the shower. Sing in the toilet. Sing while you’re cooking. Sing while driving. Sing while you’re eating (as long as it’s not some hot spicy food). Sing while you walk. Sing in your sleep. Sing every opportunity you get. Sing until people tell you to shut up. Then sing some more. Invest in honing your art and sharpening your skill (and be sure you are in the place of purpose). Someday, these same people would clamour to get your CDs and queue for your concerts.
Frankly, I can’t count how many articles, papers, stories et all I have written in my one life. There are several times I have written several sheets worth of paper and, after reading them, I tear them up and throw them away or simply delete them. There is presently a piece I wrote some three years ago and I’m still working on till now because I think it can be better.
I write every opportunity I find, with everything I find; pen and paper, pencil, cell phone (ninety percent of my first fifty notes on facebook where typed on my phone. Can you believe that?! Check them up to see their length and really appreciate what that means), laptop, scraps of paper, my little yellow book… I find a topic in everything I see. Some of the things I have written, I never intend them to get published. They might never even be read until I’m gone. But I kept on practicing because every opportunity to write and every opportunity to speak was to me, an opportunity to hone my art. And, like Fela Durotoye said,Practice is the name given to the period when performance is not rewarded.
I am being rewarded now for what I have invested in years past but if you sincerely ask me where I think I am relative to where I am going, I would say I am still booting up at less than five percent. As far as I am concerned, this is still rehearsals. I’m not nearly where I see myself being.
I’m not good at what I think. I’m not good at what I wish. I’m not good at what I want. I’m not good at what I dream. I’m good at what I do. And I get better as long as I constantly do it and consistently seek ways to do it better.
The same applies to you. You will only get better at what you do. Not what you dream, not what you wish, not what you think big about, not what you blast tongues about, not what you confess positive about but what you DO.
Remember I have said before, No one will pay you for your wonderful talent. People will only pay you for a talent that has been converted to a skill and a skill that they recognize as capable of adding value to them.
What do you want to be in ‘future’? If no one, including yourself, has seen you dedicating your time to it, that ‘future’ is far indeed. If you really want to be a great anything in the ‘future’, you must recognize that when you started reading this article, this point you are reading now was still ‘the future’. Now you have read it, it’s ‘the past’. In essence, the future is not some distant place. Open your eyes, THE FUTURE IS RIGHT NOW HAPPENING.
If you want to get better in the ‘future’, get better NOW.
You’re good at what you do- and will get better as long as you consistently do it and seek ways to do it better.
AKPOVETA, Valentine ‘t