Stories are a powerful tool. They can inspire hope and teach valuable lessons that can change the way we see life and give us a new perspective on things. One of my favourite authors, Ted Dekker, says we each live in a story and as writers, we write to change our story. That pretty much sums up my journey, but let’s get into the details.
My love for stories is what has propelled me on my journey as a writer. From my kindergarten days, I have been referred to as a storyteller. In primary school, I could hold a classroom full of students spellbound with my reinvention of a classic African tale. The library was my favourite place in the whole world. But as it is with Nigerian families, my father had great dreams of me becoming a doctor. So I was guided into the sciences while my love for written arts was considered a hobby. By Secondary School, I faced some challenges on the home front, and someone advised me to write down my feelings (journalling). As I did, I discovered poetry. I wrote confessional poems that were dark but highly literary. Writing stories was my bright and happy place, and soon I gained a reputation for it (when my first novella got stolen).
My teachers encouraged me to consider writing as a career but my father was against it, and as a good Christian girl, I wanted to ‘obey my parents in the Lord, for it is right’. Because I knew growing up I had an aversion for the sight of blood; I chose Architecture rather than Medicine. As expected, I got jammed by JAMB and had to settle for Computer Engineering where I got a diploma and Bachelors degree. Once again, my love for writing stayed with me. By this time, I had begun writing short stories, interviews of true life stories and songs. One day during a night reading session on campus, a friend introduced me to a book sales man as a writer. At first, I was scared, but from the moment I accepted it and told myself I was a writer, my life began to change.
Unable to switch to mass communication or English and literature, I sorted out ways to improve my writing skill. I read up every free resource I could and every book on English I could get my hands on. I started writing for small scale magazines and newsletters. In church, I got to work in the publication department. It gave me confidence in my ability, showed me the ropes of press production and gave me room to express myself freely. Soon I became the first female and longest serving leader of that unit. It seemed more people believed in my ability to succeed as a writer than I did. Fears held me back.
“What if I’m not good enough to be a writer?” “What if no one likes my work?” Fears that got validated with the rejection of my first novella by a publisher just before I got married. Fears and doubts that keep coming up whenever my work doesn’t win in a writing competition or gets rejected by industry moguls even after they say I am talented. As a writer, there will be many rejections you will face, try to develop a thick skin or else you’ll lose sight of your purpose.
My husband saw my passion, believed in me and supported me whole heartedly. He paid my tuition for a long distance writing course, encouraged my decision to quit my job and begin a freelance writing career. He supported me financially when I decided to self-publish my first book (The Quilt) and handles the kids so I can soar in any public speaking event I go to or leadership role I am called upon to carry out.
Sometimes in life, we all need that one person who will believe in us and push us to be the best version of ourselves. I’ve been blessed in life to have a few. In return, I have devoted my self to the cause of empowering and encouraging people to follow their dreams and passion, especially for writing. I go to secondary schools and speak with students, firing up their passion for reading and exploring writing opportunities.
So far, I have authored two books, a fiction called The Quilt which is selling on the Okadabooks app and in London, Lagos, Warri, Benin City and Abuja. While non-fiction ebook, Being Mummy and Me (#BMandM) has enjoyed positive reviews since its launch date. Besides running a full-time freelance career, there are many more stories still in the pipeline waiting to be revealed. I run a blog Life, love and anything goes and multiple Facebook pages where I share free writing tips and opinions on current happenings. I recently began a book review show titled Book Lovers Alley on Nimabox TV online.
My story is far from done. There is still a lot to accomplish, and I’m always striving to improve myself. I write to change the story of my life.