You are a writer. You want to publish a book this year. Everyday, you stand before the mirror and say to yourself ‘I will publish a book this year’. You really want to but wanting isn’t doing. Dreams are great, but unless we pick up our pens, sit in our chairs, and write down some words, dreams are just smoke. Writers, like every other human, love shortcuts to success. But, no shortcut is worth the risk.

Writing is not easy. But if you use these hacks, I can promise you’ll make progress if you start now. Tomorrow is too late. Momentum is like a fire. It needs you to feed it to keep burning. And when it cools, you’ve got to poke it to reinvigorate it again. But, sometimes we confuse dreams with momentum. We often say:

“I want to write a chapbook next year.”

“I want to become a bestselling author.”

“I want to be the next Chimamanda Adichie.”

It’s cool to want to do stuff but wanting isn’t doing. Wanting is just a wish. It is until you act on the wish that it becomes a reality. Dreams are great, but unless we pick up our pens, sit in our chairs, and write down some words, dreams are just smoke. Should there be a strong wind, the smoke is dispersed with ease.

Dreams make sleeping memorable, but does that mean one should sleep all day? Nopity nope! Action is what makes dreams come true. So, you got to wake up, get off the bed of wishes and put pen to paper. You’ve got to write.


1 Write Down Ideas Whenever They Come

Keep a physical notebook or note app somewhere where you can record all those ideas that come to you. You do not have to wait until the idea is complete before you pen it down. The little that sneak in, grab it and pen it down before it’s gone.

Later, revisit your diary/note, and you will find those drafts helpful. Maybe you use one and throw away another. Maybe you marry two of them and take a new slant on an old approach.

Just catch them before they get lost. Writing them down ensures they stay.

From now henceforth, make it a habit. Take out a piece of paper. Grab a pen. Write the first word that pops into your mind. Send your internal critic on a break while you fill the page with nonsense, profundity, and everything in between. When you’re done, you’ll have something to work with in later date when you’re ready to do the real writing.

2 If You Don’t Use An Idea In A Week, Toss It

This approach may sound radical. But it’s not. When you buy a bunch of bananas, you have to eat it soon or it will be rotten. When it’s rotten, you don’t save it for later, hoping it will taste better. In fact, the longer you keep it around the more it stinks.

Ideas are a lot like that. Act on them while they’re hot. Otherwise, you’re just stirring dust.

You’re most creative when you write about something sooner than later. Later, you’ll have grown and maybe that thought won’t make sense anymore. Maybe you’ll have learned a lesson that made that idea irrelevant. A week is long enough.

If it’s a big idea, take some action on it now. Even if it’s just making plans. A long-term project can take a year. There will be lots of parts. Small actions are movement that keep the idea alive. Do something now to move that idea forward. If you can’t, you probably won’t.

3 Write Daily And Momentum Will Come, Stay, And Grow

Your work won’t always be perfect. Know this and know peace. In fact, it never will because it can’t be. This isn’t something to worry about.

When a baby learns to walk, it doesn’t care about perfect strides. It cares about effective walks. It doesn’t care how it looks while it’s learning to walk. Baby just cares about walking.

Be like a baby and write every day. Do the best you can. Do it consistently. Do it even when it makes no sense. Do it when the words are bleh and bland. Just don’t stop writing. Do something better tomorrow than you did it today. But don’t spend all day today worrying about how perfect you want to be tomorrow.

Just pick up your pen and make some magic. Want to be a better writer? It’s simple. The trick is just doing the work- Write!

4 Print Out A Calendar And Record Your Progress

It’s great to have an accountability partner if you can get one. But honestly, you are your best motivator. You can create this magic by hanging a calendar on your wall. You don’t have any? Print a simple calendar online. If you don’t have internet connection or there’s nowhere to print, draw a calendar.

Every day, circle the day’s date to signal, with red ink, to yourself that you wrote something.

When you’re feeling like nothing you do matters, the calendar will remind you that you’re making progress. You’re writing. You’re testing the boundaries. You’re doing the work. You’re not lazy.

You’ll only reach your destination when you take the steps every day to get there.

5 As Soon As You Reach One Goal, Set Another

Never forget to celebrate little wins. Imagine at the end of the month, you look at the calendar on your wall, and not a single day isn’t circled in red ink. That’s progress! Just take time to celebrate the win.

But, don’t stop. I’m urging you to keep moving. Life is meaningless without a map. Your map are those red circles on the calendar. We all want maps because we all have dreams we want to come true. Maps show the territory in front of you. Goals are the cities you want to visit on a map. You pave the road with the steps you take to get there. The key is:

  • You know WHAT you need to write.
  • You know HOW MUCH writing is required.
  • You have a DEADLINE.
  • Be ACCOUNTABLE to yourself.

When that manuscript is done, you write another one if you want to call yourself a author.

Writing every day is a goal. Writing a chapbook/novel/collection is a goal. If you want to move forward every day, you’ve got to set a goal every day. Write a poem a day. If you can’t write a poem a day, write a verse a day. If it’s a novel, write a paragraph a day. Daily, you’ll make progress.

6 It’s Great To Have Lots Of Ideas. It’s Better To Turn Them Into Reality

All your ideas won’t work. That’s why you need lots of them. A whole lot.

You can also tweak your ideas and effectively turn them into new ones. Your pen is your friend here. Every morning play around with your thoughts. Play with words as they come. Take them in whatever direction your mind leads them to. There might be gold in the shadows. You might find pearls beneath those ashes of thoughts. It’s your responsibility to discover what that is.

You don’t have to publish and share all your thoughts. But you do need to explore the ones that stick around and keep popping up in your idea notebook.

7 Keep Experimenting. It’s Better To Learn Than To Guess

If all you do is read this article, you’ll be wasting your time. It’s good to read and acquire knowledge, but if you fail to apply it, you’re wasting your time.

Read. Learn. Then go do something with what you learnt.

Test. Fail. Try again.

Learn. Unlearn. Relearn.

Build. Renovate. Rebuild.

Reading this article alone won’t help you. So, go get busy. Use what you’ve just read. Write something. Now. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.

Go Make Magic

The magic of writing is in the doing. When you do it daily, and give it your all, you’ll get better. Your message will matter. And people will read your stories. Your message is your story. It’s the hope you sell to your readers. It’s the secret that, when revealed, frees them to be their best selves, achieve the status they want, and make their dreams real.

Reading time is over, darling. Go write! Now!

30, a collection of poems by Jaachi Anyatonwu
Jaachị Anyatọnwụ
Jaachị Anyatọnwụ is a poet, editor, and publisher living in the suburbs of Aba. He is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Poemify Publishers Inc. Jaachị is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. He is also a fierce advocate for the boy child and sexually molested.

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