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Feeling Inadequate About Your Writing? Do This…

Feeling Inadequate About Your Writing? Do This…

We’re all victims!

At one time in the past – or maybe even till now – we’ve felt like we’re the most laughable writer out there.

Some folks write better. Some have won writing prizes. Some have blogs and their posts get comments. Some others have published books. They’re living their dreams.

But for you … you’re just there. Writing words that suck. Words no one reads. Entering contests with no luck. Dreaming to start a blog and get published.

Tall dreams, frantic efforts, no results!

Can you relate?

I’ve felt like that many times in the past. Maybe it’s universal to writers.

And now, the BIGGER problem is, we let all those feelings of inadequacy transform into envy and disgust for those ‘making it’.

I used to think I was poor

Until few weeks ago.

As you probably know, I’m a bachelor (poor me 😉 ). I sometimes have to, but I hate eating in an eatery.

So I went to a stall on my street to buy frozen fish to make some stew. I was bargaining the price when a woman arrived and begged to be allowed to pack three fish heads lying neglected on a table.

“What would she do with these waste products?” I wondered.

“Go ahead!” the stall owner approved. “Let me get a polythene bag for you.”

“No! Thank you Ma. I don’t want to waste your money,” the woman said, as she hurried away, the three fish heads clasped in her fist.

I was too shocked to utter a word. The situation simply perplexed me. Obviously, she was going to make a delicious meal of what the original buyers considered too mean even for their dogs.

I watched her from behind as she departed. She looked sane. Her clothes neat. And her walking steps regular. She was a ‘normal person.

“So what would she do with these skeletal fish heads?” I thought aloud.

“She eats them of course,” the stall owner’s voice brought back my mind into the present. “That’s how she comes. She’s a widow. And that’s about the most nutritious food she and her kids get.”

As I prepared my meal back at home, I thought to myself: “Maybe I’m not poor after all.”

The gift of gratitude

I instantly gave thanks to God for the resources and opportunities He’s blessed me with. I figured it was sheer ingratitude to keep looking at some ‘superstars’ whom I crave to be like without appreciating what I have which dozens of others wish they had just a fraction of.

Instead of feeling inadequate about my less than 8,000 email subscribers and growing jealous of writers who have hundreds of thousands of them, maybe I simply need to look at those behind me and be thankful.

Instead of feeling laughable about never having won a single international writing prize and envious of Temitayo Olofinlua (one of the 2014 Naija Writers’ Coach Essay Competition judges) who’s won at least 3 international essay contests, I could look at those still struggling to have just one prize and appreciate God for my 11 national writing prizes.

What about you?

Instead of feeling sad you’ve not finished or published your manuscript when someone has published half a dozen books, can you look at those unable to string words together intelligibly and show gratitude?

Instead of growing disgust for Chimamanda Adichie because she’s living her writing dream and getting depressed that you can only dream your own dream, can you move ahead with your life one step at a time and be thankful?

…because in the end, you’ll realize these people you envy aren’t the reason you’re not yet at your dreamland. Growing moody and bitter can only make your journey farther.

And yes, you might have limited resources, abilities and opportunities, but you don’t own all the problems in the world.

If your blog doesn’t get readers and comments, be grateful still. Someone dreams of having a blog just like you.

If you can’t afford to own a blog yet, show gratitude still. Someone doesn’t even have a PC. And another doesn’t even have hands to type.

Believe me, many people dream of being in that situation of yours you consider terrible.

So smile.

Show gratitude.

You’ll never have everything you want but you can always be thankful. [Tweet that]

Be thankful

Have you ever experienced a situation that made you appreciate a challenge or need you had? What do you need to be grateful for today? I’d love you to share your story in the comments below.

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-- Dr. Mahfouz A. Adedimeji | Fulbright scholar | Senior Lecturer, Unilorin | newspaper columnist

About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.


  1. This is wonderful, I have found myself severally in such situation that I was about to quit blogging due to the situation I was going through without anyone noticing me. Just then I checked my email and behold I saw 5 persons just subscribed to my site…since then, I really appreciate what am doing. Good work boss.

  2. So True. The lessons resonate with my thoughts.
    “The Greatest complaint is to take action”

  3. Gifted Hands Emmanuel Daniels says:

    You really inspire me.

  4. You really inspires me.

  5. Ayeyemi Taofeek Aswagaawy says:

    This post in it’s entirety relates to me. Poor me, poor write-ups, no PC, no blog and the likes. Today, I’m happy I can boastfully say that I’m a writer whom those who can and cannot write calls “the golden pen.”
    Its a testimony that I’ve learnt herein, and I’m still learning……………………

  6. Samuel Edet says:

    Its really #inspiring

  7. Well said by coach. This is an issue that almost everybody is guilty about, I wish we understand what destiny is and live by it. Strive for greatness and attainment of success should be our goal but not at the expense of been ungrateful to God. We should always appreciate what we have because there are many out there striving,working hard, and praying day and night just to have smaller percent of what you have. Be thankful always, appreciate what you have and you'll get more.

  8. Coxon Dappa says:

    Just as the statement goes: One was crying because he does have shoes until he encountered someone without legs.

  9. yea, well said. there are thousands of people all scaterred around world, who would’ve wish to ready this same post with me but they couldn’t. people whom would atleast be thankful of the resource post, but here are am i commenting

  10. Assalamualaikum, you really connect to the heart of your readers. Barakallaah

  11. gershon says:

    very true. This january when I went to rewrite my waec, when I got to the village I got a room which I paid for it and pack in. I notice one thing that made appreciate God for what I have and what he has done for me. The kinda food my land lady cook which seem to the regular without changing bothered me.
    One fateful day, her boys fought over food if not for prompt intervention surely one of them would have endup dead. Because the younger brother was hit on the head with a big stick and was bleeding profusely and cut his hand on the door they destroy.
    That day my body was shaking by what am seeing. We have to rush the boy to a nearby clinic were he was been treated.
    I thank God for what he has giving me many want to attain were I am. Its grace

  12. Wa alaykum salaam. Thanks. Aameen.

  13. Glad I could help.

  14. Thanks for the feedback. It's my joy I could help you.

  15. Anytime 😉

  16. fantastic piece coach.

    let me add this….the way out of envy is to embrace contentment, gratitude, and appreciation – contentment with our own modest achievements (which to some others are milestone); gratitude for God’s many blessings; and appreciation of those whom we’d otherwise have envied.

  17. A. A. Alafara says:

    I’ve thought I was nothing several years ago. I meant I couldn’t write anything at all. But in the long run, I now disern I’m writing rightly since I’ve learnt where I’s constantly faulty. Thanks for your immeasurable help.

  18. Tohir Olaitan says:

    You write to inspire these days and this makes me to appreciate you more for I like being inspired alot in whatever I read,hear or do. Thank God nw,that I see philosophy in ur works.

  19. Odetoyinbo Ibrahim says:

    Reading through your website inspire me to own a website and start blogging….. but don’t know where to start from need your help and advise. This is my mail “”.

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