6 years, 6 lessons: my journey from being written off to driving content for a popular e-commerce company
They say if you do something for 10,000 hours you become a master at it. I have written for more than 20,000 hours and I still think I have barely scratched the surface.
My interest in writing started when I was a child. I started with writing poetry as a teenager and articles for my artist-father. Writing soon became my way of expressing what I feel. I have been writing professionally for the past six years and I believe there is no special talent in me except that I never quit.
Believe it or not, I am a writer without any degree in language (read: English, Hindi). I am a product of perseverance. In my first job as a content writer, many had tried to knock me down with their criticism. My seniors had almost written me off. There were days when I was extremely demotivated by all the rejection, but that provoked me to work harder. Looking back, I am amazed that I stuck with the intense learning curve and never thought of changing my course despite the negative noises that surrounded me. Instead, I became fiercer and more focussed.
I knew the fastest way to become a proficient writer was to make writing a daily routine.
Here’s what I did:
I wrote rough drafts before everyone was awake; I wrote blogs when everyone was asleep; I wrote copies when everyone was on vacation; I wrote during office hours and after office hours; I woke up in the middle of many nights to write. I was unstoppable, and I did this for six-long years before I realised that after having written 17,40,000 words (and counting), I still have a long, long way to go. But I have definitely arrived.
Six years ago I started off as an average content writer. Six years later, I now head an extensive team of writers at Bewakoof.com. I can boast of founding a unique content product model—Paperless Postcards, an initiative which is fast becoming a hub for aspiring writers.
In my process of bringing out my inner writer, I have bookmarked six major takeaways for life:
Passion over package
Do it with passion or not at all. If your focus is on attractive packages, you might as well look for something else that pays you better. Trust me, content writers are paid well, but not when they are naive. If your passion is found playing small, and your reason becomes money, you will lose the game sooner. Focus on sharpening your skills. Know your game well enough to rule it.
Don’t plan, just plunge right in
There’s no good time to start writing. In order to discover your love for writing, you need to continually jump off the cliffs and develop wings on the way down. The more you noodle around ‘getting ready’, the more time and opportunity you are losing. Just fill your paper, and do that honestly!
If you have been following self-protective strategies, switch to constructive self-criticism. Be honest to yourself. Don’t let ego come in the way of self-improvement. Invite criticism from others, look at it without being defensive, and then retrospect. Having a learner’s attitude is key to success.
Power of many projects
Do more, get better, and repeat! Write as much as you can, for whoever you can. That’s how you will know the difference between bad writing and better writing. When you have more ideas than one, your development process gets faster. Finish your day when you still want to continue and not when you have nothing to write.
Work under deadlines
The more time you give yourself to write a piece, the worse it gets. If you dream of becoming a better writer, give your dream a deadline. Focus on ‘soon’ and not ‘slow’. Keep your eyes and ears wide open and rush. Read, rehearse, research.....and then write to follow clear timelines.
Never give up
Keep moving forward and be without fear. If you have failed, write again. Sketch your copy in the mind and write again. Run your passion again, and try it again. 'Again' is the practice you should follow, because that’s what will help you improve. Break your phases down into steps, and then see how you accomplish great things.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)