I was ten years old when I decided to become a writer when I grew up. I’d just finished reading a novel that made me feel emotions I’d never felt before. For the first time in my life, I realized the power of words. And I wanted to wield that power.
Many years later, I am a writer. But when I look back over the years, I see many people who have made me who I am. My mother introduced me to reading as a child and took away the television. The absence of the distraction of television made me fall in love with words at a very young age.
I joined a school in my Primary Five where the library was stocked with so many non-academic books and novels. The librarian became my friend, fanning the fire of reading even brighter, until I could no longer spend a day without reading.
My teacher of English at that school became one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, even though he was the most feared teacher in the whole school. He made me fall in love with English grammar.
When I scored a D2 in English in my senior four exams, my English teacher and I were shocked. I’d never scored less than D1.
My dad allowed me to use his business’s computers to learn how to type. When I downloaded articles on writing, using his internet, he allowed me to print them. I ended up with a fat file folder full of all sorts of articles on the craft of writing. Those articles were my writing classes.
My mum bought me my first laptop which I used to write my first book. A friend gave me my first editing job, then another, and another. Now I’ve edited numerous books, and I charge over ten times what my friend gave me for the first book I edited.
Another friend offered me a job as a copywriter in his company, knowing well that I had never done any copywriting in my life. For a full year, he mentored me in the art of writing copy for advertising.
There are so many other people who have come into my life and taught me a thing or two on writing. I’ve attended many writing workshops. I’ve met people who have enjoyed my writing and have encouraged me to write some more. The people who have paid me to write and edit their work have given me the confidence to believe that I can actually write.
That is why I can’t stand and say that I taught myself how to write. I can’t lie and say that I am a self-made writer. My success hasn’t been only because of my hard work and persistence. I’ve had a lot of help.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to learn that I am not the only one who is not self-made. Actually, no one is self-made. No billionaire ever made money without the help of other people along the way. No musician played or sang without the help of producers, musicians and coaches.
So if you’ve been trying to do anything on your own, hoping that you can make it in life without anyone’s help, stop. There is no quicker way to failure. You can never make it without the help of family, friends, teachers, colleagues, and one or two strangers. Today, be grateful for all the people you have come across on your life’s journey that have got you to where you are. Afterwards, look ahead, see where you are going, and determine to find people to partner with on your way to success. You are not self-made.