Cultivate the positive mental qualities you need to reach the pinnacle of excellence

Think You’re Cut Out For Doing Writing?

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ―Maya Angelou

 

Growing up, Mother’s two youngest sisters, both only a few years older, were our icons. Trendy, bright, and attending top girls’ schools, they loved and lived the good life. They introduced us to the emerging entertainment scene in Nairobi. The seventies and eighties saw its explosion and our youngest aunt, Jo, took us to discos, movies, and parties. With the emergence of karaoke, she showed us how to create our own entertainment. My attempts to mimic the late Barry White’s magnificent baritone voice amused my listeners. In contrast, when Auntie Jo sang, my whole being trembled.

 

My aunts were also voracious readers. Their appetite for reading created an enthusiasm for books in my brother and I. During weekends and holidays, we would lie on opposite ends of a bed, read and complete a book each, and then switch the books before we picked another set with the aim of finishing reading by the end of the following day. Some books we bought; others we borrowed from the library. Yet others, we exchanged or loaned from friends.

 

Loosing myself in an engaging book has always been one of my pastimes. Sometimes, long after I have completed reading a book, I find myself continuing with the story in my imagination. This is what first triggered the thought of writing a book a few years ago.

 

I set time to write but I struggled to construct the opening sentence. When I finally managed to write a few paragraphs, they were uninspiring. I realized that writing a book is no walk in the park. I enlisted the help of a friend, an established author, to guide me in shaping my idea. Within a few months, I had a draft. I sent it off to an editor for critiquing, asking her to be brutally candid. I wasn’t ready for the kind of feedback I received, the 22-page report made me cringe. She had burst my bubble. It took almost nine months for me to gather the courage to get back to the manuscript.

 

I took a break to rewrite and traveled away. It was then that I felt the full weight of my editor’s incisive critique. Rewriting was going to be hard work. It’s like I was beginning all over again. I finished the draft, the third one, in three months and decided to send it to another editor. Her recommendations required me to dig deeper and deliver a story that would touch the reader’s heart, which meant changing the storyline and therefore rewriting substantially… again! By now, I was feeling weary. I was faced with a decision:

 

  • Be discouraged and give up altogether, or
  • Be determined and press on

 

I chose the latter and ended up rewriting the manuscript not just one more time, but three times! Although all my editors were supportive in their critiques, I however started wondering when I would get that pat on back and hear the words, “well done!” Nonetheless, I soldiered on, refining my idea bit by bit.

 

It took four-and-a-half years, from the time I started writing, for my book Champion to be released. I would have been proud to present an autographed copy to Aunt Jo for stoking the fire of reading in me, and for putting me on the path to scribe-dom. Sadly though, she passed away in Italy before I could make her proud. Cancer took her away. Her legacy, nonetheless, lives on.

 

©2015 David Waweru

4 Comments

  1. david david
    March 29, 2015    

    A nice read sir, thanks. I believe I’m cut out for writing. The first sentence of the first paragraph is daunting, I attest to that.

    • March 29, 2015    

      Thanks a lot, David.

      Believing in yourself is a necessary condition to becoming a good writer. I’m glad to hear that you believe you are cut out for writing. Keep learning and improving… and have fun along the journey!

      All the best,

      David

  2. March 31, 2015    

    I have always wanted to write but somehow, whatever I pen down remains stashed away for my own entertainment in later years. I think I am cut out for writing but have always feared criticism, which I now know is a necessity for success. Thanks for sharing David.

    • April 3, 2015    

      Hi, Maria

      Thank you very much for your note. I visited your blog, and I can say that you are a viable writer!

      The fear of criticism is real for many writers. It is the fear of being hurt by what others say about our work. For new writers, criticism may even feel like personal attack. I think criticism is a necessary “evil” for the writer who wants to learn and grow, especially when it is constructive. Celebrate it. But it isn’t always that you will receive constructive criticism. When that happens, and you feel stung, be brave and keep writing.

      I would recommend reading The Writer’s Manifesto by Jeff Goins.

      I look forward to your next post.

      Very best,

      David

Leave a Reply

SUBSCRIBE

* indicates required

MEMBER

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER

CATEGORIES