The world of a writer can be as funny as looking at two hippopotamuses trying to climb Mount Everest at 6:00am and still at it till 10:00pm. This is an analogy to the fact that writers are not always in the space you expect them to be. It is very much possible for a writer to wake up and be completely blank of anything related to writing, word pun or creativity. I have often wondered if a good creative piece is dependent on how many times a writer goes blank before he or she comes up with an idea, it really is funny. I can definitely tell you right now that I am experiencing one of these odd moments but I am still typing nonetheless.
Ever before I realized I could write, I merely saw writing as a fun activity that was as simple as taking a slice of bread and dipping it in tea and viola, we have a piece but a few years down the line, I am still adapting to the world of a writer and thinking of more exciting ways to evolve and present my creative pieces.
I have been asked severally especially during my university days a lot of questions about my writing skills such as:
- When did I start writing?
- Was I trained?
- Is it a natural embellishment?
- What is my greatest motivation as a writer?
- What gift can Nature give to you as a writer?
- How do I make words seem so magical and beautiful at the same time?
- Can I mentor others in being good writers?
I am going to be giving answers to these questions as much as I can as this piece goes on, so I will read in-between the lines if I were you.
I don’t think I can pick a date and say, ‘yes, this is when I actually started writing’. I believe writing has been a part of me for as long as I can remember but I decided to nurture my writing skills in my second year in the university when I took a course titled ‘Creative Writing’. I had read about this course online and even connected it to one of my favourite writers, Chimaamanda Ngozi Adichie, who actually lectures on this particular field. I immediately picked interest and got to write my first story which had a lot to do with me at that point in time to the extent that my lecturer who handled the course called me to his office and said; ‘Ruth, I love your story, it’s quite interesting. It’s one of the best if not the best I have read so far amongst your classmates”. At this, I was so excited especially realizing that it is my first story and it was already gaining this kind of weight. Well, my lecturer continued; ‘but I can’t help but notice how true this story is. I have a feeling that this guy is real and this girl is real. So I ask, who is the guy cause I can tell that the girl is you?’ It happened that we were given an assignment in the course to write a self-composed story without picking from any book. Our lecturer wanted us to try our hands on something new and exciting. After so much brain cracking and mind steaming sessions, I actually decided to write a true life story with fake characters that truly had a lot to do with me. I kept laughing and trying to distract my lecturer but he insisted and I promised I was going to bring the guy though I never did and no I am not sharing that story on my blog at least not any time soon. I know some ‘amebos’ are itching to read that story and I bet my last box that my classmates who will across this piece will say to themselves, ‘so we guessed right, she was actually writing about that guy’.
Consequently, writing has grown to become more than a hobby but a passion that has found its nest deep in my heart with so many little creative birds still building more nests for greater creative exploits.
One of the most popular questions I have been asked since I became professional with writing is, ‘Ruth, who trained you?’.
Many writers will tell you that they were not trained but they were born with it while some other category will tell you that they draw from both worlds which they means they have the natural ability to write almost anything but they needed to nurtured in the art of writing. I believe I belong to the latter. Growing as a child, I would pick my comprehension textbooks and give sequel to many of the stories I felt did not end well. I even wrote an episode of my favourite cartoon back then, Ben 10. That episode had ended with Ben’s watch which was called the ominitrix, if I remember correctly, being stolen. I know I almost cried at the end of that episode and really wanted Ben’s watch to be returned because that was the only way the world will be saved. So, I grabbed a pencil and my little journal that I had access to and made sure Ben had his watch back in the next episode in my own imagination and you know the funny that happened? The next episode the watch was actually retrieved but Gwen, Ben’s annoying cousin got it instead. I guess those who were Ben 10 freaks like me will get the whole gist. So, yeah, that is how long I have been writing but I knew I could be better, I just needed furnishing here and there. Thank Goodness, I went through that course in school, I got exposed to so many things that writing could help e achieve and how instrumental and influential one’s writing could actually be. I ended up being nominated for a creative writer’s award at a regional award ceremony organized by PALEC AWARDS. Till date, I don’t know who nominated me, I just got told that an anonymous person saw what I was doing with the Creative Writers’ Club in my University and saw me deserving of the award. Yipeeeee!
I use this diagram below to explain better the two categories of writers and how they interface:
BORN WRITERS TRAINED WRITERS
The diagram above simply explains that writers are word players and can be either born writers or trained writers. Moreso, a born writer can be a trained along the line while a trained writer could be a born writer or probably just grew the interest and nurtured it.
As a writer, I get motivated by anything and everything even the ants on their way to store food for the winter season is so much inspiration to draw from, the little children playing under the rain, the unkept public toilet, the left over bottom pot beans, the burnt rice that turns brown, the beautiful bridal dress, the cute dude who passes by my street every evening by 4pm, the mean old man who is so stingy with the mango tree in his compound. All these and more are inspirations on their own. I try as much as possible not to draw from one source but diversify my creativity and allow my environment and those around me speak to me in different languages as long as it is in the creative language of my pen, phone keypad and lappy, if you know, you know.
Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! I impart as much as I can to those who are still finding their way around becoming a writer. I hope to do more with a wider platform and follow in the footsteps of my all-time favourite, Chiaamanda Ngozi Adichie, who is doing so much right in Lagos with her creative writing workshop.
BASED ON TRUE EVENTS AS WRITTEN