I once saw a very hilarious picture posted by someone on LinkedIn. I didn’t get it at first but then I looked closely. It was a very tiny keyboard with only three keys on it: “Ctrl”, “C”, and “V”.
Underneath the picture of the keyboard, a description was written: “This is the blogger’s keyboard, because all they do is copy other people’s content and paste on their blogs”.
I laughed so hard because what I just saw resonated a whole lot with me. You see, I typically write my articles on the weekends and submit to BellaNaija for publishing, and then they get published on Tuesdays
most of the time.
On Tuesdays, just to see if my article is online yet, I do a Google search for it. And I’m no longer surprised to see tons of other websites with my article ‘featured’ on there.
They copy from BellaNaija’s website and paste on their blogs. Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V.
At least, some of them are so gracious as to mention me as the author. Many others just wipe out my name outright, and present the article as theirs.
So, of course, I could relate to that picture and the message underneath it. What I couldn’t relate to was the little note the fellow who posted the picture wrote as an addendum to the post. He wrote something about how he doesn’t blame the Nigerian youth for stealing people’s content and posting on their blogs to attract traffic and make some money. He argued that if the Nigerian government had done a good job with the economy, then such plagiarism wouldn’t be happening in the first place because people would have jobs.
Okay, now that just sounds very much unfounded and I’m not going to focus on that in this article. I’m going to focus, rather, on knowing your craft.
How can you call yourself a ‘writer’ (or a blogger – someone who creates web logs as their personal journal for public viewing) when you don’t write or actually blog? Shouldn’t you call yourself the appropriate term used for people who do what you do?
Your craft is a profession or activity that you do, which requires skill and training, or experience and specialized knowledge. It is not something you do because it is “the next big thing of our time”.
And you see this every day: Linda Ikeji buys a mansion, everybody starts a gossip blog. Iya Basira builds a house, everyone starts selling street food.
They are motivated by the wrong things – the by-products of creativity and not by creativity itself. It’s a lack of knowledge of who they really are; what their gifting and talents are. And so, they cannot convert them into useful skills. They do not know their craft.
They have to begin by understanding what truly motivates them, then find out what their Gifts and Talents are. When that is done, they then begin the process of converting those into skills – skill sets that people would pay handsomely to hire.
It takes a long time to hone your craft after you discover it. It takes repeated trial and error, failure, learning, tweaking and growing every day. It’s literally and every day affair. And you don’t know when that every day would end. It usually never ends.
There is no shortcut, there’s no Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. There’s every other letter on that keyboard. And the sooner you accept that you would have to type using all those letters, to become sustainably successful, the better for you and your generations to come.
I know for sure that I’ll have a good laugh today, because I will see this very article posted somewhere, by a blogger who didn’t bother to read its content before posting; indirectly calling themselves out. But it’s all good. The message is clear:
Devote time to discovering what makes you tick (you can click on the links within this article for helpful write-ups on that), self-study to show yourself approved as that workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed because they know their craft and they can rest assured that one day, they would be handsomely rewarded for it!