Do not aspire, write.
Aspiring work does not exist, only written work does.
When you are starting and dabbling you can call your self ‘amateur’ but don’t expect anyone to ever pay you if you do.
When you have spent enough time on your craft, writing for friends and family and for free, then you must decide if that is enough or if you want more.
Writing contests are a good way to get your work recognized and to finally see a cheque, some cash or a credit alert.
So look for contests that interest you and enter all that are free. You will only gain by so doing: fame, fortune and joy or at least a finished piece.
Set your writing goals be as lofty as you please then set your targets: little things you can control and guarantee.
Value editing and the voice of your beta-readers, remember no one can see his back except through a glass.
Most advice is false but the ones that are meant for you will look you in the eye and you will quiver with recognition. Four of these are however universal: read, read, read, write, read, read, edit, and submit/ publish.
Iron sharpens iron so find the literati and sit with them. Many good things have happened to me this way: contests, calls for submissions, anthology invitations, submission fee grants, free books and so much more. The child by the pot is fed before those outside the hut.
Find those whose work you deeply admire: people and journals. Study them, mimic them and maybe find your calling.
Be consistent, time flies and you can lose much by simply watching the days and deadlines flash by. Know all the time sensitive parts of your goals: the Under 18, 21, 30,35,40 and so on.
Don’t be too full of yourself or your art, make friends, appreciate your readers and fans.
Remember the tripod of writing success: read with purpose, write with passion and build your community.
Support the work of others but don’t be afraid to disagree.
Don’t let anyone put you on a hole, write anything you want to write, use pseudonyms if you must.
Don’t quit your job (if you have one).
Don’t publish first drafts. Don’t be distracted by sub-plot. Don’t pretend to be what/ who you are not.
Commit to being your best self. Send your work to people who can tell you the truth about it (hard and painful and cruel) before you send it to the world.
Lastly, stop aspiring my friend, this is writing not a presidential election.
Yours in the fellowship of the pen,
To help writers who want to achieve more with their work but aren’t sure how to do this, we are starting a writing group called Eagle’s Crest.
To Join, send an email to Stnaija at gmail
Thank you for reading the NaijaWriter.