author

Overcoming my Restlessness to Write For Literary Magazines

I rested like I promised myself I would if I took a break from the constant connectivity of online social networking. But barely three weeks after I started to get bored.
I had too much spare time on my hands that I could find better use for so I enrolled in some online courses. I started with film making courses because I became curious about that world since I ventured into scriptwriting.
I still wanted to know more so I took a screenwriting class that involved writing a script for TV. Then I found a creative writing course as a 5 course specialisation and I enrolled.
I had some additional reading to do in between while I sourced for sponsorship for a creative writing contest that I run every year. After months of knocking on closed doors, I gave up and decided to organise a workshop. In class than three weeks, it took form and it was a success. Even more than I expected.
I learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way and up until now, I try hard not to procrastinate.
Despite keeping myself busy taking these courses, sometimes running two or three concurrently, I was still restless. The bird in me felt caged. I wanted to test wings that had not taken flight in a long while.
Meanwhile, my novelette did not do well mostly because I did not have a solid marketing plan in place so that whenever I came across the book, it put me in a mood. And in an eureka moment to shake off the figurative cobwebs that entangled my brain, I wrote an eBook. One book doesn’t make you an author.
The moment your book is in published and released, in print or online, you are considered an author. This book however was not written to stir up an argument about who was considered an author or not, but to remind myself of where my journey started. It was a stark reminder for me not to rest on my oars and to get up. I needed to reeve my creative engine and I had no one to prod me.
I realised I needed a tribe, a support system, a loyal following. Their job would be to cheer me on when I was on track and prod me when I needed tough love. But I didn’t have that so I surfed the internet subscribing to different blogs.
Currently, I work as a freelance writer while also serving as director of projects at a Tech start-up. The job is flexible and I can write. But I wanted to do more with my freelance writing so much that I made several lists of paying markets for literary fiction, a different one each time based on the genre I wrote.
But I needed street crew beyond the local dailies. My list had new and old markets so I started submitting stories, articles and poems everywhere I could. I got accepted with a literary non-fiction piece at The Writing Disorder and with a story at Kalahari Review.
Shortly thereafter I got a freelance script writing job with an animation company. I now have varied experience in addition to the street creds. I also have pending projects that merit my attention.
I have some ways to go still but I am confident that I am once again off to a good start. The second half of the year has started out well with pleasant surprises and I am hopeful that it would come with rich rewards.
Before long, I hope to purchase my old domain, damilolaniyi.com, and I am certain you will not abandon me on this journey. In my next post, I will tell you about the blogs I subscribed to, my blog feedback, my obsession with traffic and how I plan to make money off freelance writing.
So what are you waiting for, drop me a line in the comments and let me know what you think of my ramblings.

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MAC-JANE: MY FAVOURITE PLACE IN ANY HOUSE IS THE TOILET

Jane

Mac-Jane Chukwu is a blogger and she was a hard one to track given that she has her fingers in so many pies; a bundle of energy! With her bachelor’s degree in International Relations, she is now pursuing her masters’ in this field with a dream of specializing in National Security Affairs; she hopes to become the first youngest female president of Nigeria.  With her background in media production, Mac-Jane is equally interested in building people, hence her involvement in projects that encourage positive change. She is the Executive Vice President of the International Student Cultural Organization (ISCO), currently the Graduate Administrative Assistant with the career services at Troy University, and founder of Tower of Hope Teaclub, a foundation to help troubled street girls. Like Joseph in the Bible, Mac-Jane wears a coat of many colours!

Tell us about you, what we won’t find on Google.

Hmm… well, there’s a lot not on Google but I’d tell you that I’m a pretty reserved person. My favourite place in any house is the toilet, if it’s fancy though. (Laughter) I love the mic. I used to keep a collection of cute baby pictures especially twins. LOL. I make one of the best pancakes anyone has ever tasted. LOL. I’m ever ready to learn, I sing but I can’t dance and I love my family so much. I talk to them every day and oh yeah, I’m in love with Snickers bar but my friends rather think I’m addicted. Yeah, that’s a lot.

How did you enter the world of writing?

Well unlike most people who would probably say “I’ve been writing since I was born”, writing for me was not something I thought of any significance in my life. I started writing in elementary school and my favourite part of any assignment was “How did you spend your last holiday?” But after a series of short stories I wrote, my mom felt that the world needed to read my books and that was when she encouraged me to publish my first book. After that, I realised writing was a passion for me as I began to write everywhere I went so long as I was inspired. It could be in the church, toilet, restaurant, anywhere; as long as I had a writing pad.

I know you have a blog, what informed it?

Well a friend of mine thought it would be a great idea for me to have a blog so he went ahead to create “The world according to Mac-Jane.” And it took me a while before I finally decided to start publishing my stories there instead of Facebook. Today, I’m grateful for that push as I have readership from all across the globe.

book

That’s encouraging. Tell me about your published book.

Open Secret is a novel that talks about high school relationships, sex and HIV/AIDS. It is a mixture of my personal experiences as a child and fictional imagination. Everyone should read it since it is a first-hand experience of what goes on in the minds of young adults and how growing up really is.

What else should we expect from your stables?

I hope the world will see more of my books. Aside from writing a lot of research papers which isn’t so much fun sometimes, I hope to publish my next book soon. Look out for that. More seriously, I hope to share with the world a females perspective, what women really face in diverse cultures and nations and I pray that through my works the world will see Jesus through my eyes.

mac-jane

A lot of writers have diverse views about religion, what’s your take?

Well religion for me is not just an institution, it is a lifestyle. I try to live what I believe. I don’t judge others for whatever they believe. I deal with people every day who are members of various religions but all I try to do is live the truth and let my life reflect Christ. I don’t want to be called a Christian and yet be known for hurting other people. Jesus showed love and that’s exactly what I try to do: show love to everyone irrespective of religion, culture, race, gender.

Where can we find your book and what genre do you favour?

My book will soon be available on Amazon but if you’re in Nigeria I have contact people you can buy from and those in the U.S can just contact me. I write mostly Christian romance fiction and real life experiences.

Advice aspiring authors.

Get a notepad, keep a pen handy or rather ensure whatever device you have has a notepad or journal app. Write, write, write! Whenever you get the urge to type something, do it. Start small, do a little at a time and before you know it you would have a book finished. And more importantly, read, read, read! Read the works of other people, get information about all things, watch the news not just fashion and style(laughter), and know a little of everything!

I must thank you for your time.

Oh no, it is my pleasure. Thank you.

Charity Begins at Home

 

Book stack

A very popular saying but then, knowledge is power. I agree with that. But you see, flashy things have a way of drawing us; the glitter, the shine… So, this leads me to ask-

Do you patronise ‘Made in your country’ products? Or you think that they are not good enough?

Let me explain why I asked. If you are reading this now, you must be a lover of words and by extension, books. But do you only read books based on the Name of the Author, the colour of skin or worse yet, the authors’ gender?

Sadly, some book lovers I know select books based on those criteria but is your next read as good as skin colour, a popular name or gender? I am personally offended when I meet a fellow book lover who says he cannot read a book written by a woman! I would not pitch Chinua Achebe against William Shakespeare nor will I pick Longfellow just because of the name! Each writer has his/her own unique style. Black skin, pink skin, yellow skin; it does not matter!

On the issue of gender, permit me to dwell a little. Sidney Sheldon was a wonderful writer, no dispute. Agatha Christie, on the other hand, is just as good a read. If I would read a John Grisham because his law thrillers keep me wanting more, then I would most certainly read a Danielle Steel whose tragic romance has me addicted! Sefi Atta, Patricia Cornwell, Luanne Rice, Kathy Reichs, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, J.K Rowlings; all these women will stand their ground against their male counterparts Tom Clancy, Wole Soyinka, Robert Ludlum, Helon Habila, any day!

So answer me this: do you read that Nigerian author only because it was prescribed as a Literature text? Do you spend your last kobo on a novel written by a foreign author but you cannot buy that book that has your countryman’s name on it? you have to review your preferences- without bias!