By Ejedegba Samuel
There are some clichés that go with being a successful writer. A Chimamanda Adiche, for instance, might tell you that hard work and perseverance are prerequisites to becoming successful. But there are so many talented hard working writers who do not get the credit and accolades that they deserve. And others who, though not as good or hardworking, become quite popular. The truth is, even geniuses do not attain success by just their intellectual capacity and diligence alone. There are other underlying factors which we have found to be a common factor.
So, we are going to look at real-life reasons you are not a successful writer.
- You are not Famous at Doing Something Else: Toke Makinwa comes to mind. Many may be able to write better, more thoughtful books than Toke, but her book quickly became a bestseller simply because she is Toke Makinwa. Even some politicians who can’t string words together to make a correct sentence now write books through ghostwriters (like us) and they become bestsellers. This is simply because you are more important than what you do. You need to have a core following that will buy and help you broadcast the arrival of your book.
- You are not Well Connected in the Publishing Industry: When you are not someone famous, nor connected to someone famous (most especially a successful writer), your writing dreams can become really bleak. If in future, Chimamanda Adichie’s child decides to write a book, chances are it will blow up way more than an ordinary writer can ever dream of. This isn’t because the child of this legend is more talented and hardworking than others, it is simply because they are associated with a name that sells.
- Privilege is a Great Head Start: Do you know if William Shakespeare was female, no one would have known he even existed? This is simply because at that time, women, in general, had remarkably fewer opportunities than their male counterparts. Of course, today, women have greater opportunities but that is not to say there aren’t other hindrances to becoming a famous writer. sometimes, race might be a factor. But let us bring it down Nigeria where race might not be an underlying factor. The biggest barrier to you becoming a successful writer will be…yup, you got it, Money!
- Luck: Truth is, you might not have the first three privileges but might just hit a bit of luck. You might be writing for a small magazine that immediately blows up. The right editor might come across your manuscript and decide to read it or a wealthy humanitarian might come across your short story on Social Media. But one needs to continue to place him or herself in situations where they might get lucky. Get into writing competitions, create a blog and get active on social media, send your works to magazines and big publications, etc.
This isn’t to say without any of the above, you cannot be a successful writer. There are many writers today from humble beginnings who achieved remarkable success by applying themselves consistently and taking advantages of opportunities, even the ones that seemed so small.
There is a saying in football that the better teams tend to have more luck. The same applies in life; the better you become as a writer and through taking advantages of opportunities, the more likely you are to become a best-selling author and successful writer.
Ejedegba Samuel is an aspiring investment banker with a penchant for writing.