I woke up this morning listening to J. Cole’s song “Love Yourz.” My favorite line in this wonderfully poetic number is “It’s beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success.” For me this lyric captures the spectrum of human experience, and in particular the challenge of becoming a writer.
My father told me once when I was younger that nothing in life worth doing will be easy. I never fully grasped what he meant back then. However, his words always come to mind every time I find myself confronted with a daunting challenge. Such as now, as I am embark on my journey of becoming a writer. In the middle of a pandemic no less! I seriously couldn’t have planned it more perfectly. Working from home affords me more free time to write, while social distancing means I have fewer distractions from other people and can focus more on honing my writing craft. The Corona lock-down should be an ideal time for the creation of a blockbuster hit that will take the literary world by storm!
Unfortunately, it has not been so easy. The blockbuster joke aside, writing during this pandemic has not gone as I had imagined. Becoming an active and engaged writer is a ton of work, which distracts from writing. From promoting my latest books Fresh Ereba: A Collection of Caribbean Bedtime Stories for Children and Walking in Footsteps of Promise, to researching ideas on how to encourage people to leave reviews (it’s a hell of a lot harder than finding volunteers for a root canal!), to blogging on my author website; I have found myself spending an exorbitant amount of time on the non-book writing part of becoming an author. But I guess it is part of the process I have to get used to – nothing in life worth doing will be easy.
The more I learn about how to sell more books, how to get reviews, how to engage with my readers; the more I realize that I still have a lot to learn about the literary world beyond just writing. And the more I appreciate that it’s beauty in the struggle of becoming a writer, not in breaking through and making it big with a bestseller. The value comes more from the mistakes I have made and lessons I have learned, than from the successes I have had. As this Covid-19 pandemic wears on I am certain of one thing. Whenever it ends, and it will eventually be over, I will be a better writer. Here’s to all my fellow writers who are walking a similar path. Stay safe and healthy!