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When Practice Does Not Make Perfect…

When Practice Does Not Make Perfect…

Image credit: Culpwrit.


Last Saturday, I posted this piece I wrote 2 years ago on my Facebook note. The piece is littered with grammatical infelicities, the expressions were incoherent and the flow is absent. I was amused and embarrassed reading the piece and seeing how I had struggled to assemble the words and sentences.

I posted it without any editing. I just wanted the world to have a feel of how I wrote then.  How I struggled with drab diction, dining and wining with patchiness. Maybe one or two aspiring or struggling writers would see it and find solace in it. Maybe they would be encouraged that they can also improve.

Honestly, the piece was written to the best of my ability then. The disjointed storyline and expressions represented the best of my writing skills.

Looking back today, I’m grateful for how tremendously my writing has improved. If you ask me, I can distill my growth down to 3 factors:

  • Starting
  • Courage
  • Learning

#1: Starting

Writing is like walking, not driving. You learn to walk by walking. And to master it, you just must start it. When a child starts and does it regularly enough, it becomes effortless.

To be a writer, you need no permission to start. You need no training or formal guide to start. You just must start. Then in trying, failing and learning, you make headways. But you’ll never progress unless you actually start.

The same doesn’t apply to driving. You must first learn it before you attempt it. Else, it becomes a try at suicide.

#2: Courage

The writing life is rough for a starter. Many ugly challenges would waylay you and attempt to kick you into oblivion. In my own case, some of them were time constraint, financial incapacity, dearth of access to research resources and an abundance of distractions.

But I didn’t give in. When I had no PC, I typed on my phone. When I had no spare time, I sacrificed little of my night rest. When I had no Internet access, I made do with library research. When distractions came, I shut myself off. I discussed this point well in my free book, Your Right To Write.

#3: Learning

For every rule, there’s an exception, goes a notorious cliché. Practice makes perfect. That’s a fact. But now I’ve learnt the exception:

Practice makes perfect when you’re properly guided. Practice without knowledge makes mediocrity. [Tweet that]

It’s like writing an exam every year for a century without studying, and hoping to excel. Improvement doesn’t happen that way.

That‘s why I’ve written Vertical Writing. To teach you how to write polished essays. So that when you push yourself to start, summon the courage to dare challenges, you also keep learning and growing.

Those 3 factors have polished my writing over the years. They’re still helping me. I never will graduate from learning. And so should you.

Vertical Writing launched this week with a big bang. If you’re yet to get your copy, you can save 20% and get your copy for N800 ($5.5) if you buy it before Sunday 13th October, 2013.

If you really cherish your writing dreams, you must start writing, be courageous and keep learning.

Question: What important things have helped or can help your writing dream? Please leave your 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. Ayeyemi Taofeek Aswagaawy says:

    I have different problem in ♍γ̲̣̣̥ writing life. $Ơ̴̴̴͡ I could say a different story. The story will be interested only when I curb the menacing challenges. H̶̲̥̅̊ό̲̣̣̣̥w? Be more courageous, not to worry on failures, keep learning and writing.
    Practicing mediocrity will only perfect ones mediocracy.
    A̶̲̥̅♏ learning…………………………not ready to graduate though.

  2. I’m so happy catching you in a mistake! Wow! I think I deserve a prize for this…

    “That‘s why I’ve written Vertical Writing. To teach you how to write polished essays. So that when you push yourself to start, summon the courage to dare challenges, you also keep learning and growing”.

    In this paragraph, the second sentence was actually meant to be a continuation of the first but was ‘hacked’ off by that fullstop after ‘Vertical Writing’. This slight mistake renders the second sentence incomplete and hence meaningless…

    I’m really excited![winks]. But to be sincere with you, you’ve really climbed the ladder of writing. Thumbs up…

    • LOL. Thanks Chizi 🙂

      What you cited is never a mistake. I used it deliberately. If you read my blog well, you’ll find loads of incomplete sentences used for effects.

      If you read American thriller writers, you’ll find such creative language usage in abundance in their writings. Some of the English composition rules we all learnt in college can be broken appropriately for creative effects. But you must understand them well to break them.

      So it’s not a mistake 😉

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