My professor is going on and on about derivatives and all I can think about is a story that has a hold on my heart and won’t let me pay attention in class. This is my life, every other day…

I am not exactly sure when I started writing. I woke up one day and wanted to tell a story; something different from what I heard on the radio, something other than what played out on my tv screen daily, anything besides the commercialized stories in paperbacks. I was not sure how to begin so I settled for learning at the feet of the masters. John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, Sefi Atta’s Everything Good will come…I learned to write by reading.

My foray into The Writer Competition was completely unplanned. I had written a Christmas story a few weeks before I stumbled upon TNC’s ad describing the competition. I thought to myself ‘what do you have to lose?’ I had a readymade story anyways. All I needed to do was to submit the story, and submit I did.

I never thought I would make it to the top ten. In fact I still wonder how I got that far seeing the worthy caliber of writers out there. Making it to the top ten was surreal. The competition proper was everything other than surreal. It was hard work and frustration. I hated being told what to write about. I balked against the time and space limits. I disliked the brutal comments from readers when I didn’t write a good story. There were times when I wasn’t even sure where the next story was coming from.

Today I am The Writer; not because of anything special that I did or some amazing story I told. There is a Yoruba proverb that says ‘People are my clothing’. The people, their votes, their comments week after week, were what made this competition worth every minute. Two words alone will never be enough but I still will go ahead and say thank you. The people also gave me my most important lesson so far as a writer – stories are being told everyday but who is listening? It is one thing to write for myself and it is another to write for others. They are two very different things-KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.

Thank You, God- we both know there is no me without You. Thank you TNC for this wonderful opportunity and of course the prize money. Thank you spectacular Wema Bank. Thank you PEOPLE…

Responses

  1. ada
    Nice one girl, I write too and its really good to know that there are lots of writers in Nigeria. My advice is: Never stop! You've started and came out tops. God be with you.
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