Many years ago, I started out as a writer. Prior to that I had only written school compositions, letters to high school boyfriends, in my personal journal and later for my fellow students at the university in the campus rag.
I was so anxious and timid when I got my first writing job for a regional publication. Usually, I would write a story assigned to me and then send it to the editors who were located in South Africa for further scrutiny and amendments before it was okayed for publishing.
The wait was long because you didn’t know how bad the feedback was going to be. Sometimes, one could be asked to rewrite the story or bin the idea. The first few rejections of my copy would see me alternate between wallowing in self-pity and questioning my career choices.
I had always thought I could write. I had always been that child who won the public speaking competitions and had her compositions read out to the class, but here, someone was telling me that my writing wasn’t that great and that I needed to learn more.
And they didn’t even know me, just voices from the other side of the world. And so I faced the truth about myself. That I would only do well if I could take their criticisms and turn it into lessons. And so I read more, asked more questions and with time I got better.
Soon, my copy came back with fewer red marks and eventually, I got a promotion. What if I had given up? Or believed my own hype and disregarded their advice.
I now know for sure that if you believe that you know everything, you won’t get very far. That if you don’t aim to be better at your craft today than you were a year ago, you will be buried in mediocrity.
Wonder why even those who seem to have ‘made it’ continue learning? Check out page 12 to find out the book list that some industry leaders are currently loving.
And let me know the book that has changed the way you think or work.
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