A Writer’s Guide to Overcoming Rejection

A Writer’s Guide to Overcoming Rejection

A Writer’s Guide to Overcoming Rejection

26

FEBRUARY, 2018

Samuel Osho

Toyota is a popular brand but it’s not everyone’s favorite. Coca-Cola has stayed with us for more than a century but some consumers will choose Pepsi ahead of Coke. Does that imply that Coca-Cola is a terrible product? No! Simply because your cousin is a fan of Toyota has nothing to do with the market share of Nissan. If you will go far in your chosen field, you must know how to handle rejections and its sibling – criticisms.

As a writer, you may have the power to control many things but the choice of your readers is not one of them. Life will be with fewer worries once you know that you can’t write for everyone. Not everyone is going to like you or click a love button for your posts. Just the same way, Coke is not the favorite drink of everyone.

The stark disapproval of your work where you expect a resounding applause can be frustrating especially when your literary work is neglected like a weakened bridge set to become a pile of rubble. Or perhaps you have an inbox clogged with countless rejection letters from editors who felt your work is not good enough. If you have plans to make any phenomenal impact with writing, you must be ready to have your fair share of rejection spell.
From my interaction with writers, many quit writing because they could no longer bear the burden of rejection. The writing instinct could no longer breath under the blanket of obscurity; it undergoes suffocation until it became lifeless. The ability to write blossoms when it enjoys the rain of consistency.
The illustrious stories of some celebrated writers carried a faint shade of the scars they sustained during their period of rejection. This list contains brilliant writers that authored famous works. The world only got to read their inspiring stories because they had the courage to silence the voice of rejection.

 

  1. Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl was rejected 15 times before it was published.
  2. Carrie by American author, Stephen King, was rejected 30 times before it was published.
  3. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by American philosopher, Robert M. Pirsig, was rejected 121 times before it was published.
  4. George Orwell’s classic allegory, Animal Farm, was rejected because “there is no market for animal stories in the USA.”
  5. Dune by American science fiction writer, Frank Hebert, was rejected 23 times before it was published.
  6. The famous writer of detective novels, Agatha Christie, had to wait four years before getting published.
  7. The popular work of J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was rejected 12 times before it got published.
  8. American novelist and poet, Gertrude Stein, submitted poems for 22 years before having one published.
  9. Gone with the Wind by American author and journalist, Margaret Mitchell was rejected 38 times before it was published.
  10. The Thomas Berryman Number by American author, James Patterson, was rejected by 31 publishers. It won an Edgar for Best First Novel.

Finally, you have no reason to doubt me when I say that you are not alone in the school of rejections. This parcel of inspiration should take away your worries when next you encounter any form of rejection. However, I’d like you to pay attention to some truths about rejection and criticism.

Practical Truths About Rejection

1. You are not alone

The ten authors listed above produced some of the best literary works that world has ever seen and received massive approval from readers from different parts of the world. But they had their own fair share of the sour grape – rejection topped with some scathing comments from editors. If you want to be a writer, you have to brace up knowing that this is just a phase of life that will soon be over. Expect it, prepare for it and overcome it.

2. Rejection hurts

Even if the world of letters is your oyster, a pinch of rejection hurts. It’s like the sting of a starved bee. I can imagine how it feels. After enduring hours of solitude before a blank screen, you weaved a beautiful fabric of letters and only for it to be thrown into a trash can.

3. Don’t take it personal

If you are facing rejection from an audience, it’s very important for you not to take it as a personal attack. It could be that your readers don’t have interest in your work and not necessarily your personality. Rejection of your work has nothing to do with who you are as a person. Learn to separate the approval of your work from the love for your personality; they are two different entities.

“We all learn from lessons in life. Some stick, some don’t. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success” – Henry Rollins

4. Be Objective and open-minded

In situations where readers or editors reach out to you with comments about your work, be objective in your approach and focus on comments that will improve your work. About two years ago, one of my frequent readers reached out to me on Facebook and pointed out how I usually confuse “being” with “been.”

It was a good call for me, I paid a visit to my grammar textbook and became more conscious when I use those words in my writing. This is just one of several instances where comments from my readers have helped improve my work. Approach criticisms with an open mind believing that you will find ways of getting better in your craft.

5. Take a break

To navigate through the trenches of rejection without getting hurt, you may treat yourself to a short break. If you feel overwhelmed by the knocks, take a break from active writing for two weeks.

Travel to new places, hang out with friends and explore the literary works of your favorite writers. In this transient moment of recuperation, your wounds will heal and you will find the strength to write again.

 

In conclusion, rejection’s ploy is to stop you from writing but one of the profound ways to soar above rejection is to keep writing. Consistency in writing will break the spine of your rejection letters.
Rejection is the opinion of others about your work and it should not in anyway decide your fate in life. Push hard, press on and walk through the thickets of oblivion to embrace the glamour of the limelight. In the end, it’s difficult to silent or kill the writer in you if you write solely for the love of the art and not the cart of praises.

 

10 Must-Have Tools for Writers

10 Must-Have Tools for Writers

10 Must-Have Tools for Writers
19
FEBRUARY, 2018
Samuel Osho
A surgeon without a scalpel has no business in an operating theatre and a sailor without a compass will soon hit an iceberg. In today’s fast-paced world where we swim in a sea of distractions, a writer needs more than a pen and a paper to truly survive and stand out. Tools give leverage which translates to speed, accuracy, and efficiency in the execution of our daily projects.
There is a school of thought that believes that writing is effortless and a lazy man’s job. This is why you get a weird look anytime you tell someone that you are a full-time writer. Writing is not for the fainthearted but these tools bring ease and comfort while you do what you love – writing. In 2018, there is a bevy of online tools provided by the soothing womb of technology to assist writers. All you need is to take advantage of them.
I hope these tools make life easy for you as much as they have assisted me.
Writing and Editing Tools
If I was an affiliate marketer for Evernote, I should have raked in hundreds of dollars by now. Ever since I fell in love with Evernote in 2013, I have introduced the writing app to almost every passionate writer that crossed my path. I just can’t stop talking about an app that has a variety of features such as work chat, photo editor, PDF viewer, MS Office viewer, voice recorder and many more. You can install the app both on your phone and personal computer; it syncs your work on both devices in seconds. You can create several notebooks depending on the number of projects you are presently working on.
Evernote is a must-have for spontaneous writers who would love to get their thoughts and ideas at the points of conception. In other words, I mean if a scene inspires you, take a photo or video using your Evernote, save it in a note and work on it later.

 

2. Google Doc

The most popular writing software is unarguably Microsoft Word but in some instances where you need to collaborate with a teammate on a project, Google Doc is a lifesaver. In December 2017, while working on a project with a friend in the United Kingdom, we had to settle for Google Doc because it allowed us to work on the project at the same time. It’s beautiful and amazing! Another feature on Google Doc which I find fascinating is its ability to incorporate Google Search especially when you are looking for external hyperlinks to support your arguments and facts.

3. Cliche finder

If you have read any of my articles on editing, you must have caught a glimpse of my hatred for clichés. I encourage writers to ditch clichés in their writings. This is one of the fundamental laws of writing that I learnt from the sagacious author of Animal Farm, George Orwell. Clichés and redundant statements rip off the wings of your articles, they squirm in places where they are meant to fly. Cliché finder will fish out the clichés in your writing and decorate your work in a stylish fashion.

4. Grammarly

Asides its growing popularity, it’s one of the world’s most accurate online grammar checker. After using your checklist for personal editing, Grammarly can assist in adding finishing touches to your article. It does more than just detect spelling errors, it contains explanatory notes that support its suggested corrections. It’s a cool way to learn more about English grammar.
In addition to improving the quality of your text, the premium plan has advanced features such as plagiarism checker and vocabulary enhancement. However, the free plan will polish your writing.

5. Hemingway Editor

If you want your writing to ride on the sophisticated wings of clarity and simplicity, then you need to run into the waiting arms of Hemingway Editor. Hemingway Writing App makes your writing bold, clear and direct. It’s two in one; you can use it for writing and leverage its editing features. It calls your attention to overly long sentences, passive voices and needless adverbs. The primary goal of the web application is to make the readability of your text excellent.
“True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, as those who move easiest have learned to dance.” – Alexander Pope

6. OTranscribe

If you have ever worked as a journalist, you will agree with me that it could be very challenging to transcribe recorded interviews. Transcribing is a formidable task; it saps your energy and could be nerve-racking. OTranscribe makes life easy for you. The web application is a powerful tool because of its ability to process different audio formats. Let me show you the icing on the cake; it can create text from the YouTube videos and it’s all for free.

7. Hipster Sound

If you are a storyteller or a novelist, you will appreciate the artistic beauty of Hipstersound. It creates the sounds that characterize a real-life environment such as coffee shop, restaurant, heavy rainfall and many other fascinating scenes. In the comfort of your room, you can feel the pulse of the clumsy coffee shop and allow the garments of your imagination to get wet in the rain.

8. Online Thesaurus

Just like a thesaurus; it is a library of synonyms and antonyms that can add variety to your writing. It’s an online web application and it’s free.
Productivity Tools

9. RescueTime

Time is one of the most democratically distributed resources in life but very expensive because it’s irretrievable. Now, to the scary part: time is running out, you don’t have any control over it, you don’t have all the time and you don’t even know how much you have left on this planet.
When you install RescueTime on your phone and personal computer, it will create daily reports showing your productivity levels. The productivity chart is created using data generated from the time spent on different applications on these two devices. If you binge on Netflix or YouTube, it’s recorded as downtime. This can show you the lapses in your time management and hence initiate an improvement strategy.

 

10. Focusbooster app

Productivity comes at a price – discipline and effective management of distractions. Focus booster app was designed based on the Pomodoro technique and it has a proven track record of increasing productivity amidst freelancers, employees, and writers. Focus on a task for 25 minutes and get a break of 5 minutes at the end of each session. When you are done with the fourth session, you can embark on a break of 20 minutes to restrategize and plan your schedule again. I always advise people to do one thing at a time, focus booster will assist in maximizing focus and getting amazing results in a short period of time.
In conclusion, I only recommend tools that I have used personally. These tools will help you in achieving your writing goals in 2018. Let me know in the comments which tools you use in your writing that were not mentioned here. I’d love to check them out!

The Ultimate Editing Checklist for Every Writer

The Ultimate Editing Checklist for Every Writer

The Ultimate Editing Checklist for Every Writer
05
FEBRUARY, 2018
Samuel Osho
Editing is the magic button that can make or mar your work; it can show the beauty of your research or reveal the ugly skeletons of your laxity. The choice is yours! How often do you return from the grocery store rebuking yourself for forgetting to get an item you have always craved for? Yes, it happens to everyone especially if you don’t fancy the idea of making a list of your needs. It takes about five minutes to create a checklist but we often trivialize its importance. A checklist is a lifesaver!
Are you ready to polish your work? All you need is a toolbox of tweaks and it’s embedded in this checklist. It’s a goldmine for all who care to learn.
Today, I have made an audacious attempt to give you an ultimate editing checklist that you can use for your writing projects. It’s simple to use and void of complex theories of semantics or mechanics. If you are a freelance writer or you write for fun, this checklist will come in handy. You need an editing checklist to save you from unnecessary embarrassment especially when you are in a rush to complete a project.
When you have a piece stained with errors and mistakes, your readers tag you either as unserious or unprofessional. A single error can make a reader lose interest in your writing. It’s in your interest to ensure that you present a written piece that reflects your professionalism and diligence. Writers fall into the trap of unpardonable errors because only a few consider editing as a job on its own.
Writing is beautiful and spending a lot of time on research is commendable. What justifies the number of resources you have invested in your writing is the output. However, the output is at the mercy of editing and therefore editing can’t be shoved aside. It’s the most crucial stage of your writing process.
The checklist will handle the basic things you should watch out for when editing; it will fine-tune the quality of your work. You can download a copy for your personal use in your future writing projects.
Before you use the checklist for the editing of your work, do these two things:
– Take a break – this helps you to check the written piece with fresh eyes.
– If possible, use the hard copy (printed on paper) for your editing.
The Checklist

I have:

  • Avoided tricky subject and verb agreement traps, such as “One of the girls are (is) running” or “Neither of the tires are (is) good.” I have also done the same for other indefinite pronouns such as everybody, anybody, either, each and any.
  • Chosen the right pronouns for my sentences. For example: “Sam and me (I) ate pizza” or “The boxer slapped he (him) and I (me).”
  • Paid attention to the three-fold purpose of an apostrophe. (1)”The Obama’s lodge is for sale.” (shows possession) (2)”Don’t” (form contractions) and (3)”It’s high time you stopped using if’s, and’s, or but’s.” (to pluralize special words)
  • Avoided pluralizing nouns that have only a singular form, such as furniture, feedback, cutlery, wheat, happiness, scenery, news, advice, lingerie, information, luggage, and bread.
  • Deleted all unconventional or shorthand abbreviations, such as “Ped Xing (Pedestrian Crossing)” or “OK (okay).”
  • Spelled out a recurring acronym at the first point of its introduction.
  • Written out all numbers less than 10 in full, numbers 10 and above were represented numerically. For example: “There were eight balls on the pitch during the soccer game” and “The king has 20 wives in his palace.”
  • Substituted “said” with powerful and acceptable verbs such as: replied, whispered, answered, asked, commented, shouted, murmured, demanded, and inquired.
  • Crossed out unnecessary and extraneous words especially glaring redundancies. For example: “stand up,” “sit down,” “clap your hands,” “end result,” “basic fundamentals/essentials,” “false pretense,” “final outcome,” “unexpected surprise,” “unintended mistake,” and “repeat again
  • Removed unneeded sentences.
  • Deleted “that” except when it is needed for coherence.
  • Rewritten lengthy sentences to achieve more clarity.
  • Improved my punctuation.
  • Replaced long words with short ones, such as “Heidi is not smart (dull),” “Bill did not remember (forgot) the Super Bowl Sunday.” Another example of brevity is: “U.S. President Donald Trump …” instead of “Donald Trump, who is the president of the United States.”
  • Deleted all the common metaphors and similes used in print. For example: “life is a journey,” “the apple of my eyes” and “ideas in motion.”
  • Substituted all the passive sentences with active ones. For example: “The broken cup was replaced by Martin” should be “Martin replaced the broken cup.”
  • Replaced all complex and ambiguous words with simple words.
  • Used strong nouns and verbs instead of overusing adjectives and adverbs.
  • Read it out loud; observe its flow and smoothness. (Let this be the last thing you do)

 

After attending to the checklist, you can use a grammar spell checker software such as Grammarly or Microsoft Word Spellchecker. They detect some errors but I will advise you to be careful because they could be unreliable. For example, a spellchecker can’t distinguish between nights and knights, eight and ate, there and their, and fast and feast – provided each is spelled correctly.

 

Therefore, it’s advisable that you go through the text meticulously until you are satisfied with the flow and clarity of your words. You can use Hemingway as an editing tool for removing complex and passive sentences from your manuscript before hitting the “publish” button.
For extensive studying on editing, I recommend The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. The book is my grammar bible and I think every serious writer should have a personal copy.

7 Insightful Reasons Why You Should Keep a Writing Journal

7 Insightful Reasons Why You Should Keep a Writing Journal

7 Insightful Reasons Why You Should Keep a Writing Journal

21

JANUARY, 2018

Samuel Osho

Autobiographies are hewn out of accumulated sediments of daily journals and presented either in form of a compelling documentary movie or an inspiring prose. You don’t need to be a celebrity before you keep a journal. Regular journaling has immense benefits and can positively influence your personal life. If you are a writer, it will go a long way to make a writing genius out of you. Journaling helps you to make daily writing a habit.

Keeping a diary may sound like a tradition for exuberant teenagers who want to chronicle the minutest events of their days. Growing up, I remember how teenagers especially ladies hold on to their dairies tenaciously; they guard it jealously so no one was privy to its details. For diligent diary keepers, a diary serves as a compilation of varying moods and delectable memories. It’s a personal property, it’s their best pal and the one with whom they can share their deepest secrets. 

Well, people hardly keep diaries these days except for folks who are yet to get a hang of the crazy social media. All in the name of audience engagement and brand building, our social media pages gradually become the place to share what is usually considered “private” in the past.

 

This blog post is not a crusade for instilling the culture of having a personal diary but to encourage daily journaling of your most treasured moments. The benefits are numerous but the taste of the pudding is in the eating. It means you’ll never experience the reality of its merits until you do the act itself. In the act of journaling, you’ll engage in the art of writing but there is more.

 

The Seven Insightful Benefits

1. Journaling Helps You Find a Lone Time

In 2015, while reading Platform, a book authored by American writer Michael Hyatt, he talked about how he created time in his daily schedule to have a personal meeting with himself. At that time, it sounded weird but I now understand the importance of salvaging a lone time for yourself; the world is noisy, busy and constantly moving at top speed with strategic events meant to distract you. Journaling helps you create a lone time for self-reflection and meditation; this is how creative people recharge. This will help you do more and cover more grounds in no time.

2. Journaling Fosters Your Focus

Keeping a daily journal where you write your daily goals, achievements and shortcomings can stimulate your ability to develop focus. Focus means the strength and vigor to concentrate on a task and complete it. To remain highly creative and productive, you need to be focused on your goals. You may never know how daily journaling will increase your focus until you start.

3. Journaling Increases Your Imagination

Turning thoughts and memories of the day into words is a product of imagination. Chronicling the peak and low moments of your day makes you relive those experiences. The words in your journal crystallize from pixels of mental pictures and add positively to your imaginative acumen. If you can imagine the past, then you can paint the future.

4. Journaling Boosts Self-Esteem

Journaling opens your eyes to the steps you have made towards achieving your goals; it’s an accelerometer that shows your pace and keeps you in check. When you cultivate the habit of writing a daily journal, you will be able to see your progress along the line of your set goals. Be thankful for the little victories and the seemingly minute triumphs.

Gratitude makes your face the headquarters of joy by dishing out millions of smiles to people; it makes you look good. In her book, Things We Could Not Say, Diet Eman describes journaling as, “this pouring thoughts out on paper has relieved me. I feel better and full of confidence and resolution.” Keeping an attitude of gratitude boosts your self-esteem and helps you build confidence.

5. Journaling Unveils the Writer in You

I became an addicted writer through journaling. I started daily and conscious journaling in January 2015; it contributed immensely to what you see today as the writing side of me. Often, I will be in my room writing stories from my daily encounters with people. In this daily process of writing, I found the creative side of my brain deeply rooted in the love of letters. To be honest, something will ultimately happen to the writer in you when you are devoted to journaling your experiences. Journaling is an open secret to becoming a powerful writer. Journaling will assist you:

 

  • Develop formidable writing habits.
  • Help you find your voice.
  • Locate your tribe.
  • Produce powerful ideas that can fuel other projects.

“The young John Quincy Adams begins it lifelong habit of keeping a journal with reluctance that he might one day have to read it. He hopes, though, that the flaws in his earlier entries will be balanced by the progress he is able to see.” – Paul C. Nagel

6. Journaling Increases Your Sensitivity

Ever since I started journaling, I have developed an interesting habit of paying attention to the details of my day. Whenever I am having a random but rare conversation with people, I take notice of such conversations with an intention of getting something meaningful for my journal. They always turn out to be stories that can inspire others or serve as portals of lessons for me in my daily endeavor. When you start journaling, you will have increased sensitivity to your daily interactions.

7. Journaling Helps You Develop a Positive Habit

This is a grand opportunity for you to develop a positive habit – writing. You ultimately become what you consistently do, journaling adds one more positive habit to your list of daily routines. It may be hard and tough at the beginning but it will become easy with time. Journaling will steal some minutes from the hours you waste on social media; it will make you more positive about life and forge ahead with clarity.

How Do I Start Journaling?

Before I conclude, I think it will be great if I can share some tips for first-time “journalists.”
Location: 
Get a comfortable and quiet place where you can be isolated from distractions and disturbances. Preferably your bedroom or a place in your house with a reading table and chair. You can play a soft music in the background; I will suggest classical music or instrumentals. You can check out this playlist on Spotify.

 

Time:
I will suggest you do it early in the morning before you hop on the social media train or late at nights before you sleep. If it’s in the morning, you should write about the reflections of the previous day and if you choose evening time, you can write about the just concluded day.
Resources: 
You can go for whatever is convenient for you, either a book and a pen or you write electronically using your personal computer or phone. If you are using your personal computer or phone, I will suggest you install Cold Turkey or Freedom to disable your internet and social media apps when writing.
Tasks: 
You can focus on the following when starting out before moving on to other areas:
  • Your most memorable moments of the day.
  • Your interesting encounters with people.
  • The places you visited especially the ones you visited for the very first time.
  • Things you could have done properly or ways you can improve the outcome of your daily output.
  • Completion of tasks that got you excited.

 

 

In conclusion, I implore you to commence journaling this week and you will be amazed at the stunning outcomes. It will help you steer your life in the right direction and help you become the best version of yourself. You are doing yourself a lot of good and creating a collage of history notebooks for the unborn generation. You have a story and it’s worth sharing with the world. Before you can share it, you must first write it down.

It is your turn to share with me. I am curious! What’s your take on daily journaling?

Top 10 Writing Lessons of 2017

Top 10 Writing Lessons of 2017

Top 10 Writing Lessons from 2017
17
DECEMBER, 2017
Samuel Osho
Oh! My good friend, the year 2017, is waving goodbye but its departure is never without the blessing of a diary filled with memorable events. From the swearing-in of Donald Trump to the death of Don Williams to the massive blow of Hurricane Harvey to the numerous sexual harassment scandals, 2017 will always be remembered.
To my utmost surprise, 2017 happened so fast. However, my major personal highlights have the recurring themes of learning, unlearning and relearning. As a writer, I conquered my fears of rejection and stepped out in grand style with my personal website. It’s crazy how I have to show up every week with new ideas fleshed out in fresh blog posts. Alas! This is my 11th blog post and I am still alive – that’s good news.
To be honest, I am still a rookie in writing but I have got some simple truths to share that will inspire you. There is a lot to learn in doing the things you talk or write about, you earn a wealth of experience that stays with you forever. Your experience is golden and it’s priceless.
I’ll be drawing lessons from my personal experience and daily interactions as a writer in 2017.
The Top 10 Writing Lessons

1. Don’t Be Scared of Starting

Just as a crawling baby gets scared of taking the first steps of walking, it’s the same way with life. Everyone feels that pinch of fear whenever there is a push to start a new adventure. Fear emanates from several quarters: risks, doubts, rejections, and uncertainties. It’s natural but you must not allow it to kill your dreams.

Starting a blog is not a child’s play and publishing your first book takes an amount of boldness but you just have to start somewhere. It’s funny how the majority of the things you worry about don’t eventually happen.

2. Choose Your Path

Writers churn out poems, novels, blog posts, non-fiction books and articles. A writer employs writing in creating several products which are all content related. It’s a fantastic idea to be multi-faceted and dexterous but it will be hard to make an impact as a writer if you want to be active in the creation of works for all genres of writing.

You cannot write for everybody. Choose a path you love, stick with the flow and grow till you become the best. I chose the path of creating blog posts on themes such as writing, public speaking, personal development, and productivity. I love writing poems but you will never see my poems here because it’s no longer my priority.

3. Stay Focused

The power of focus cannot be overemphasized. In a noisy world, there is a multitude of busy people but only a few productive persons. I have learnt that it takes concentrated focus to complete a task. Yes, you have chosen a path but you need to be focused on your path or else you start misplacing your priorities.

 

For instance, if you want to be a genius in the world of fiction, it’s time to stay focused on reading and writing novels. Focus is a key that unlocks the power within and unleashes the ingenuity in your brain. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to stay focused, the more reason why it works like magic when you switch on the light of focus.

4. Starve Your Distractions

The world is swimming in a sea of distractions. Attention spans are rapidly decreasing; we blame everyone including the social media except ourselves. People that attract success are individuals who have learnt how to detach themselves from distractions.

Distraction is a subtle killer and reduces the worth of your time from gold to pennies. I recently told a friend how I create my own night during the day in order to find time for writing – I shut down my phone and I switch off the Internet. Twice this year, I had to uninstall Facebook App from my phone when it was becoming a huge distraction for me.

5. Be Committed to Deep Work

In the school of content creation, the big players create quality works and not junks. Quality work is a product of deep work; the successful execution of a demanding task. Blog posts, articles, and books that often become reference points are creative works forged in a place void of distractions.

In the process of scripting solid and robust blog posts in 2017, I learnt the importance of personal commitment to deep work. The term “Deep Work” became popular after an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, Cal Newport, authored a book titled, “Deep Work.” You should consider adding the book to your library. Deep Work is intense and can be very demanding but it is the only way to stand out.

“You can make anything by writing.”
– C.S. Lewis

6. Be Consistent

Every creative mind knows the essence of consistency and its ability to earn you more followers. In 2017, consistency impacted my writing life immensely in two ways: improvement in my writing style and increase in the number of my readers. It’s true that things get better with time; showing up every week with fresh content is a profound way of honing your writing skill. The more you write, the higher your chances of getting better at it.

Regardless of the message you have, consistency is a flavor that attracts others and gives them an impression of the authenticity of your passion. Someone I have come to deeply respect for his consistency is the American author and marketing expert, Seth Godin; I get emails from him every day and they are always fresh and profound thoughts.

7. Chase Progress Not Fame

If the only reason why you write is to get famous or win awards, the chances are high that you’ll soon be frustrated. The social media is built in a way that people use fame as a yardstick for measuring effectiveness. Unfortunately, fame is ephemeral and it puts writers under undue pressure. I’ll advise you to avoid that trap.

Chase progress and improvement in all you do instead of pursuing fame. The worse thing about fame is that at the end no one wins the race, there is always a tipping point for any viral content and it’s unsafe to live your life based on the lifespan of a viral content. Enjoy the process of honing your craft and fall in love with the craft itself – writing.

8. Seek Personal Growth

The mind is created in such a way that there is always a room for new knowledge and a space for learning new things. In the quest to seek personal growth, it’s highly imperative to read relevant books and enroll in online courses. In 2017, I expanded my skill-set with courses from Shaw Academy, LinkedIn Learning, and HubSpot Academy. These decisive steps have been very rewarding. Be deliberate about your personal growth – it’s a sure way of reaching the apex in any chosen path.

9. Connect with Others in Your Tribe

When you find a member of your tribe, you’ll know. Often, people in your tribe share the same passion and do the same work you do. Connecting with your tribe is a fast way of learning solutions to challenges that are commonly faced by people in your field. Starting a blog as a writer was done with ease because I connected with the likes of Jeff Goins, Bryan Harris, Neal Samudre, Joel Friedlander, Michael Hyatt, Tim Ferris and Seth Godin. I have learnt so much from these virtual mentors and thought leaders; all I had to do was connect with their platforms and listen to them.

10. Everyone’s journey is different

At the end, you need to know and understand that everyone’s journey is different. Desist from comparing yourself with others but compete with the best version of yourself. I admire a lot of great writers but I sincerely don’t wish to be like anyone. I seek to be the best version of myself and that is why I stick to my path with a keen focus on my goals. It’s time to plan for 2018 and hit the ground running.

These are my top ten writing lessons for 2017, I hope it inspires and motivates you to do amazing things as a writer in 2018. Always remember that you only fail when you quit. Stay focused on your path and give wings to your ideas.
What are your writing lessons from 2017?

 

 

Meet the World’s 10 Highest-Paid Authors in 2017

Meet the World’s 10 Highest-Paid Authors in 2017

Meet the World’s 10 Highest-Paid Authors in 2017
10
DECEMBER, 2017
Samuel Osho
Writing is a tough job. The ubiquity of writing has made it an indispensable tool for content creation in any space. To communicate an idea, it is either you speak or you write. Writing is one of the oldest forms of communication and it is here to stay. The world is prodigiously blessed with a sea of writers but exceptional writers are scarce.

Except you are making the headlines or you are raking in money, a lot of people believe that writers are jokers or lazy people. From a pile of stories, it’s true that making a living as a full-time writer can be an arduous task.

However, there is a myriad of successful writers in contracts running into millions of dollars. These writers who have redefined the face of artistic contribution through the portal of writing are sources of inspiration to young writers. However, the stories of successful writers have the same recurring themes – persistence, rare talent, diligence, and luck.

With the recent influx of digital tools that support self-publishing, life just got better for writers. From the inspiring stories churned out in 2017, it can only get better. It’s a season of earning big-time money for writers who are diligent in honing their craft and showing up consistently with riveting works.

 

Let’s look at some intriguing figures from Forbes’ top 10 highest earning authors for 2017.

 

The World’s 10 Highest-Paid Authors in 2017
Photo Credit: The Big Issue

1. J.K. Rowling ($95 million)

Leading the clan of the world’s highest-earning wordsmiths in 2017 is the British Queen of letters, Joanne Rowling. Though the magical idea of the Harry Potter fantasy series was conceived in 1990, the book did not hit the shelves until 1997. Ever since 1999, Rowling has topped the Forbes’ highest-paid authors list three times.

In a writing career spanning two decades, she has sold more than 400 million copies of her books. Rowling’s total earnings of $95 million in 2017 quadrupled her earnings for 2016. Her astronomical financial growth can be attributed to the 2016 releases of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The stage play script/book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child co-written with Jack Thorne emerged as the best-selling book of 2016 with over 4.5 domestic million copies sold. The movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, tickled the interest of the Harry Potter fans and subsequently paid off in huge sums for the British novelist.

Rowling has this to say about persistence:

“I’ve been writing since I was six. It is a compulsion, so I can’t really say where the desire came from; I’ve always had it. My breakthrough with the first book came through persistence because a lot of publishers turned me down!”

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times

2. James Patterson ($87 million)

Patterson is not a stranger to the Forbes’ list of highest paid authors. Before slipping to the second position in 2017, he held the first spot for three consecutive years from 2014 to 2016.

The award-winning writer is best known for the crime fiction novel series – “Alex Cross” and several of his works are being adapted for screenplays. America’s richest author has written 147 novels, 114 have appeared on the New York Times bestselling list. He holds The New York Times record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers by a single author, a total of 67, which is also a Guinness World Record.

He has sold over 300 million copies worldwide. Even at 70, Patterson is ready for 2018, it was announced in May 2017 that Patterson will co-author a crime fiction novel with former US President Bill Clinton. It’s expected to be a blockbuster and rake in more money for the prolific writer.

Patterson talks about doggedness in a conversation with TIME Magazine in 2010:

“I worked my way through college. I had a lot of night shifts, so I started reading like crazy. Then I started writing. And I found that I loved it. When I was 26, I wrote my first mystery, The Thomas Berryman Number, and it was turned down by, I don’t know, 31 publishers. then it won an Edgar for Best First Novel. Go figure.”
Photo Credit: The Wimpy Kid

3. Jeff Kinney ($21 million)

American cartoonist and author of children’s books, Jeff Kinney is best known for his book series – Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Upon its release with an online version in 2007, it became an instant hit. In April 2007, the book was published. Up to date, thirteen different titles have been published in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series and has sold more than 60 million copies.

Kinney made huge returns from his creative work this year because the ninth title in the series – Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul made it to the movies.

Kinney shares this about his passion for writing:

“I only work on my books at nights and at weekends. It is really just like a hobby.”
Photo Credit: The Daily Beast

4. Dan Brown ($20 million)

If you have watched Angels and Demons and perhaps you fell in love with The Da Vinci Code, then you must be familiar with Daniel Gerhard Brown popularly known as Dan Brown. The 53-year old American author has carved a hunt for himself on the hills of thriller fiction with suspense wrapped around themes such as keys, symbols, codes, cryptography and conspiracy theories.
He has written seven books with five out of them serving as subjects of major controversies – the Robert Langdon series: Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, Inferno, and Origin.

 

He has three movie adaptations of his works from the Robert Langdon series – Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and Inferno. Inferno was released in 2017 but it could not replicate the sterling performance that made the first two screenplays spectacular. However, Dan Brown made considerable cash from his newly released book – Origin.

 

“When I graduated from college, I had two loves–writing fiction and writing music. I lived in Hollywood CA for a while, doing the songwriting thing. Aside from a song in the Atlanta Olympic ceremonies, I never had much success in music. I woke up one morning and decided to start writing fiction again. Digital Fortress was my first attempt at a novel. I certainly feel blessed that it sold; I’m not sure I would have had the patience to write another one on spec!”
Photo Credit: The Daily Beast

5. Stephen King ($15 million)

The King of horror novels has written a myriad of thrillers that have earned him millions of fans across the world. More fans equal more sales and more money. He is one of the world’s wealthiest authors having sold over 350 million copies of his books.

King’s most popular novels – The Shining, It, and Misery, all have movie adaptations. It made it to the theaters in September 2017 and gathering storm with raving reviews while King’s recent novel, End of Watch sold 1.9 million copies in the U.S. in 2017.

In his book, On Writing, King shared about how he handled rejection as a teenager while trying to publish his short stories:

“By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”
Photo Credit: Famous Authors

6. John Grisham ($14 million)

The sixth spot is equally shared by two successful American novelists, John Grisham and Nora Roberts. John Grisham’s exceptional style of crafting legal thrillers has made him the fancy of many readers across the world.

His books have been translated into 42 languages and published worldwide; his first bestseller, The Firm, sold more than 7 million copies. Nine of his novels have screenplay adaptations: The Chamber, The Client, A Painted House, The Pelican Brief, The Runaway Jury, Skipping Christmas, and A Time to Kill.

He recently published three novels: The Whistler in 2016, Camino Island and The Rooster Bar in 2017. The Whistler emerged as the third bestselling book of 2016 with over 660,000 hardcover sales in the U.S. and the sales of Camino Island is not doing bad either.

Grisham talks about focus:

“My name became a brand, and I’d love to say that was the plan from the start. But the only plan was to keep writing books. And I’ve stuck to that ever since.”

“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time it was too famous.” – Robert Benchley

Photo Credit: Screen Junkies

7. Nora Roberts ($14 million)

Nora Roberts dubbed as the Queen of romance novels and also known for her prolific nature published four novels in 2017 with two new titles ready to hit the bookshelves in 2018. In 2017, Roberts raked in sales from her latest novel, Come Sundown after topping the New York Times bestselling list.

 

She is one of America’s wealthiest writers with a net worth of about $370 million. She has authored over 200 novels and a handful of them have been adapted into screenplays earning her the screenwriter’s credits.
“Every single book is a challenge. No matter how many you’ve written, you’ve never written this one before. And each book has to receive your best effort every single time. No slacking. But that’s the job. I’m lucky to love my job. Certainly the plagiarism, and dealing with the fallout of it, was the most difficult thing I’ve ever faced since I started writing.”
Photo Credit: CBC

8. Paula Hawkins ($13 million)

Zimbabwe-born British author, Paula Hawkins, debuted on Forbes’ list of highest paid authors in 2016 and clinching the eighth spot implies that she is on top of her game. Hawkins strolled into the limelight in 2015 with her psychological thriller, The Girl on the Train, which was widely accepted by book lovers across the world. She has sold more than 2 million copies of the book in the U.S. over the past 12 months.

 

She has other novels under the pen name, Amy Silver but she is popular in literary circles for the ingenuity portrayed in The Girl on the Train. The thriller was recently adapted into a movie and making ripples at the theaters after it grossed $173 million in 2016. Her latest book, Into the Water, was released in 2017 and the rights for its film adaptation was acquired by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners.
In an interview with The Guardian, Hawkins has this to say about her record-breaking book:
“It’s great to break a record. It’s also, though, a slightly artificial thing, isn’t it? I’m not even sure when those records began, and from an author’s point of view, that’s not the most important thing.”
Photo Credit: Forbes

9. E.L. James ($11.5 million)

English author, Erika Mitchell, popularly known by her pen name E. L. James, is the author of the bestselling erotic romance trilogy – Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed. The first book in the series, Fifty Shades of Grey, was published in 2011 while the other two sequels reached the bookshelves in 2012.

Sales from the trilogy pushed James to the top of Forbes’ list of highest-earning authors in 2013 with earnings of about $95 million. She is in the eight spot in 2017 because of the film adaptation of the second title in the series – Fifty Shades Darker, the screenplay failed to receive massive approval from her fans.

The 2017 movie grossed $379 million worldwide, nearly $200 million short of Fifty Shades of Grey. She published a new novel this year – Darker: Fifty Shades Darker as Told by Christian while the film adaptation of Fifty Shades Freed is set to hit the theaters in 2018.

James talks about writing:

“Write for yourself. That’s it. And write every day.”
Photo Credit: Forbes

10. Danielle Steel ($11 million)

American prolific author, Danielle Steel, shared the tenth spot with Rick Riordan after a very eventful year despite her recent induction into the septuagenarian circle of literary sages.

 

At 70, Danielle is rock solid like a steel; published six novels in 2016, seven in 2017 and she has four ready to hit the bookstores in 2018.

 

The novelist known for her romantic stories is the best selling author alive and the fourth bestselling fiction author of all time having sold over 800 million copies of her books worldwide. Asides her prolific nature, her books top the charts and 24 out of her 110 novels have movie adaptations.
In an interview with Goodreads, Steel sheds light on her rigorous writing process:
“I work for about six months to a year on an outline and do it by hand mostly. Eventually I type up what I’ve got, send it to my editor, get comments, and alter it, send it back, get comments, alter it again. And I eventually sit down to write the book, and when I do that I pretty much lock myself up for about a month and do only that for about 20 hours a day. And it goes back and forth like a tennis ball between me and my editor for about two years while I rewrite it. I’m usually working on four or five books at once.”
All earnings listed here are for June 1, 2016 through May 31, 2017 before taxes and other fees.
Credits: This post was made possible with the annual list from Forbes Magazine.

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