It’s been a while since I’ve been here. I took a long unplanned hiatus from my blog and never made it back. I allowed the hustle and bustle of life to overtake my writing and got sucked into this rat race we call life in Nairobi. I used to tell myself “Marion, you really should write something.” and my response to myself was always” Tomorrow, I’ll write something for sure.” I met some friends who always asked why i stopped writing and my response was always that I’d write something tomorrow. That tomorrow never came and a year and a half later here we are.
That’s the funny thing with procrastination, you never realise how bad it is until you look back and see how much time you’ve lost by postponing what you needed to do. I knew I hadn’t written in a while but i was shocked when i saw the stats: my last blog post was in November 2015! That is the horror of my procrastination, I almost wrote to WordPress to confirm whether the stats were really mine. A year and a half! What have i been doing in all that time? I could have written a whole book in that time. If i had a baby they’d be walking and starting to talk. I could be halfway through paying a three-year loan which would feel great! That’s how much time I’ve lost since I last wrote here. It is shocking and sad.
There’s an old cliché that goes “the best things in life are free” which I think is the biggest fallacy of our times. Nothing on this earth is free apart from oxygen and salvation. And if you’ve ever been admitted to one of our fine hospitals you will realise pretty quickly that not even oxygen is free, they will charge you for the plastic bottle they put it in. The only difference is that not all costs in life are monetary in nature. Some things will cost you sleep, others will cost you your determination while others still will cost you mental or emotional energy.
I used to think that becoming a writer meant sitting down and writing a couple of words every once in a while. That you had to wait till a brilliant idea popped into your head in order to explore it further by writing. I thought it was all fun and games and that eventually you’d get to where you were going somehow. Writing is fun, and it should always be fun for you and those who read your work. However, becoming a writer is serious business. In order to perfect any craft you must work at it it everyday. Not every other day, every day! Michael Phelps gets into the pool every single day to practice his strokes. He does this every day even if the competition he is training for is four years away. Usain Bolt runs every single day of his life for hours on end to be able to run a 100m race in 10 seconds. Stephen King, the horror writer writes 2,000 words every day and is able to complete a 180,000-word novel in three months. All of this is impressive, and it emphasises one thing: to be good at anything you have to work at it every day and give it your all. One of Stephen King’s quotes reads:
“While it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, and while it is equally impossible to make a great writer out of a good one, it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication and timely help, to make a good writer out of a merely comepetent one.”
Underline hard work, dedication and timely help and you start to get the picture. I recently took Biko Zulu’s writing masterclass, not just to see the infamous forehead, but to learn more about his journey and what it takes to become a great writer. I won’t give away the class, you’ll have to go and see the forehead for yourself. One thing I will say is this, writing like all other crafts is all about discipline. We who love Biko’s blogs log in religiously every Tuesday to read and never appreciate the sheer amount of work and effort it takes for him to feed our addiction every week. It looks easy sometimes, but it is nowhere near easy, not for writing or anything else.
Everything in life you put your mind to do requires discipline. The discipline to commit to your passion and to make it come alive. I think it’s important to decide what it is you want in life and set out to get it. If you want to lose weight you have to commit to an eating plan and exercise, both of which require discipline to follow through. We all struggle with this part of life in our own ways. We start out great and somehow along the way we give up or slow down and before you know it our dreams are rusting away in a small pile of forgotten plans. Getting back on that horse is sometimes so hard to do; we tell ourselves we’ll do it tomorrow or next week and the next thing you know years have gone by and we can’t go back.
So dust through that pile of abandoned dreams and plans and revive what you’ve always wanted to do. Start that business, join that gym, write that poem, finish that degree or take that long holiday you’ve dreamed of. Whatever it is, commit to it and make a plan to see it through. There’s little we can do to change the past but there’s a heck of a lot we can do to change the future.
So here I am, one and a half years later, getting back on the writing horse. It might be a little wobbly but it will steady in time. I’m developing the character and discipline of a writer by writing every day. I will be sharing my thoughts on this blog every week. I have purposed to do it every week, so help me God.
I’ll see you guys next week!