Quite recently, I participated in @anomadsoul hobby contest, and I wrote all about my encounter with writing, and how we feel in love. I’d try to make this a little more comprehensible, and try to curtail my rambling hands so this comes out looking half decent and understandable as all of my stream-of-consciousness articles never do.
Books Made Me
I loved writing before I even made up my mind to start writing. In the terms of written words, I grew up surrounded by them. My dad is an ardent reader (I still don’t hold a candle to him), and one third of our house is occupied books. It was my only way out of the house, it was my visa to anywhere in the world.
I grew up introverted, something I still wonder which had a hand in, nature or nurture. The walls familiar to me where that of my classroom, my home and our family church. Seventy-five percent of the time I spent growing up was within the walls of my home. In that sense, home was where I basically grew up, sheltered and locked, and in the home, were books, different types and varying sizes. We had a no-go area in the house, it was my Dad’s study. It was actually a room cum study, because we lived in a rented apartment, and the rooms available were all customized for people to live in and not books… There were other rooms available in the house and so that didn’t poise a problem. Carpenters were called in, and shelves were made. His books out grew their shelves, and so another was made, and soon enough that was overwhelmed as well. To make it less clustered (the room was also made to serve as a rest room), there was no use blocking everything and everyone from it. And so the wardrobes were put to good use, and soon after that, the chair. These precious assets had come in close proximate with the *area scatterers and invaders, such as my sisters, and me. so it was mostly locked. But that didn’t deter me. If only, it made me curious.
And absolutely loved the smell of them, and so since I couldn’t sneak in there alone, I trailed in behind Daddy, and promised not to touch anything.
The first gift I ever won in primary school was a book. I won it for the being the best English student or something. Even though I can’t remember the name, its cover design is forever etched on my memory (it was yellow, and had a sword drawn on it). To me it was the best present I had ever received. I slept with it for days, and it went everywhere with me. And then came secondary school, and I had to deviate from it but not really from it. I choose the science option, while my sister opted for the art option. And whilst my books held little appeal for me, I read all of her readers, and literature books even before she did.
And that’s how it started for me. Writing words, words which I couldn’t make sense of until they were let out.
Books were my first love, writing was just bound to happen. Or maybe they weren’t. For as long as I can remember, I have been in love with the art of writing, but I never considered myself good enough to try it out.
The more I read, the more I justified that reason. But that was just writing fiction. I didn’t think I could create make-believes, or grasp words like a wordsmith, plunging their words, as swords into the hearts of people to elicit emotions. I was content living in the world created by others, but deep down I wished I could do that someday.
A lot of writers can point to the books that changed them, and set them on the path they now follow, or to the writers who did. I can’t. Because they are loads of them I really look up to, and all for different aspects of things that I learned from them. From Chinua Achebe, to Oscar wilde, to C.S Lewis, Phil Allcock, to Wole Shoyinka, to Chimamanda Adiche, to Cecelia Ahern...Some contemporary, some classic, but all, timeless. I loved them, I really did. I still do. But they didn’t inspire my writing, if anything, they inspired my not-writing.
What they did, was deepen the conviction I already had; that I was so lacking, and could never be as good as them.
It must have been inborn, I thought. There was no way there got to that stage in life by learning it. And so I took solace in my then justifiable reason, enclosing myself in my conviction.
But as was prone, I thought I’d try it out. I didn’t start off writing fiction. I started off with thoughts. Scribbled at the back of my book, scribbled in between pages of my school book, hidden in blank papers and tossed into inconspicuous places but never in a diary; that would have been a bobby trap because I had siblings who couldn’t differentiate a diary from a public ledger.
It hasn’t been two years since I started writing (minus the first mini book I created when I was about five?). I had just gotten done from the University. It just started as something I did to pass time and entertain myself. I made my story writing, public, about fifteen months ago, when I had finally garnered the courage to test myself on the internet. I created an account on Nairaland (the largest internet forum in Nigeria), and I started writing on there.
I wrote my first couple of stories on that platform, and even started out my first book on there. I didn’t take a professional course in writing. Matter of fact, I have a degree in computer science, which is about this far extends both hands away from body from literature. But I know my heart has always been in the latter, long before I even discovered it.
I know I probably don’t have much experience in it, laughs I literally don’t have any, but it’s really one thing I am willing to give my all to. I am the point where I have to choose priorities and not give in to wistful wishes, and I am as practical as that gets and so I have to make sacrifices.
I know the real world calls for its dues, and hiding behind the pages of a book relieving things that were, or were never in existence, is as far as it gets.
Even though I want so bad for it not to be.
And then late last year, few days before I discovered Steemit, I opened a book blog.
My original idea was to diverge from the norm, by making books more appealing (less hideously boring) to potential readers, and incorporating some of my short-stories was also a ploy to get more people engaged.
To be or not to be
If I were to explain my writing style, I’d say narrative. And I picked it up from what I call; Playing persons. Some days while I am on the road, or in the bus or anywhere else. I stare at people; young, old, rich, poor, and I imagine what it’s like to be them. I imagine they are they, the same way that I am me. I try to draw up the lives they live from their appearances and posture. I let their wrinkles tell tales of the sufferings they might be going through, and their gait tell the dreams they might have had or still have.
I write in other POVs, but the first person’s stuck.
I mostly write in first person because I feel more connected to my characters that way. I haven’t reached the level where I would bow my head, and extend my hand in greeting when I am being introduced as a writer, but I certainly know what’s it’s like to walk in the shoes of my various character, and step into the little world I wrote them up in. I might be an amateur, but I am still their writer.
Getting into sndbox would mean so much to me than might be obviously stated.
I know you don’t need any validation from others to keep believing in yourself, and most established writers try to hammer in their thoughts and positive reactions to rejection; the need to want something so bad that your will to keep trying, finally spurs success. And rejection isn’t the end of the road, probably just a stepping stone to be climbed over, or bypassed.
Which is quite true.
But let’s face it, rejection is still devastating.
Getting in would mean I have a chance at writing, and learning.
It would mean more time for Steemit, because I would be less distracted with other offline jobs I try to take up.
It would inspire me to keep writing, thanks to the recognition and support, thereby bettering my art, and improving myself.
Improving myself, would mean better content for Steemit, because you can’t really give what you don’t have.
You’re in, what next?
So hopefully, when I do get in, I’d try to extend my hands in service to others.
Engage in writing communities, and help others who would feel as lost as I did, before I got in.
Give back to the community by conducting contests, and giveaways.
And try not to spam the block chain while I am at it.