writing

Finding my Way

Sitting at my computer is my favourite part of the day. Sometimes though, I end up not writing much and I make plans and have to be reminded by an alarm. That’s okay.

But sifting the contents of my PC dug up some interesting documents and I wonder why I have not been able to do much. I realize that discouragement is a big part of it. Some would say, “who blogging epp?!” Amidst all this, I noticed that my fan base is growing organically with over 800 followers so I must have written some really beautiful things in the past.

Lately, I have been trying to race against deadlines and submit stories for contests not just because of the award money, but for my morale. A morale I am struggling to rev up.

Which is why I decided to make a list of the writing on my computer to figure out the genre I am most comfortable with. Here’s what I dug up.

List of Books in Progress

What should I be doing differently, seeing as I wrote a book titled One Book Doesn’t Make You an Author? Drop a comment or two and let’s get the conversation flowing.

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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.

“I FEEL A STRONGER DEMAND TO WRITE”

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It was difficult to get a hold of the gentleman who was the subject of this interview. The traditional form of interview appeals to me so I had to get him to make a pact. Anyway, the recipient of the Farafina writing award spoke to me about his foray into writing.

Give me a little background.
My name is Chijindu Umunnakwe, a graduate of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where I studied Microbiology.

Tell me about your foray into the literary world…
It started in my days as a literature student. We drank from the fountains of great authors like William Shakespeare, Daniel Defoe and Chinua Achebe, not forgetting Charles Dickens. My dad was my number one motivator in writing and availed me of some of his books including Canterbury tales by Geoffrey Chaucer and some collections from African Writers Series.

At what age did you start writing?
I started writing at the age of twelve, writing about the stories that always fluttered in my head.

Which authors served as models for you?
Chinua Achebe, Cyprain Ekwensi, William Shakespeare and Daniel Defoe. But more recently, Chimamanda Adichie.

What do you think is lacking in African literature?
The platform for developing the art of writing. A good market sells itself. When you have a good work, it goes a long way to speak for itself. Many books are in the market but only a few are written with the dexterity of literary creativity. People need to learn more about the craft called Writing. Another point is the lack of literary agents in Nigeria who can compete favourably around the world. These agents help discover talent, support their works and groom talents to world class standard. But such platforms that assist writers are not very much here.

You recently won an award in writing, tell me more about that.
I won a place at the keenly contested Creative Writing Workshop. More than 1070 entries were received from which twenty-six of us were selected. The workshop was organised by Farafina and sponsored by Nigerian Breweries. It proved to be a great experience. Chimamanda Adichie was the facilitator.

For how long did the workshop last?
It lasted for 10 days with a literary evening that was open to the public. The literary evening was held at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Did your experience at the recently concluded workshop help you to form new impressions?
Of course. I loved it because I was almost saying goodbye to fiction. As the publisher/editor of a magazine, I do a lot of journalism than on creative writing. So when I met young people from around Africa who were excellent in writing, I opened my mind to learn more. The way a soup can be unique with spices so also can a work of writing be garnished to make for beautiful reading and understanding. A lot of people do too much telling and not showing thereby making their writing bland. But one can get better by reading extensively.

What awards have you won as a result of your writing?
Three awards. First was in 2010, 50 stars at 50, a national essay competition organised by Intercontinental Bank. But earlier in the year, I was one of the top ten winners in the second National Orientation Agency Essay competition for Nigerian youths. We were hosted by the agency in Abuja in May this year. And more recently, the award given by Farafina.

How do these awards make you feel?
It makes me feel a stronger demand to write. When you do something out of passion and it is appreciated, then you know you have to step up your game. I am making plans to write more and inspire many with my works.

Where then is the meeting point between microbiology and creative writing?
The meeting point between microbiology and creative writing is passion.

I must thank you for your time.
It is my pleasure.

Find him on facebook http://www.facebook.com/chijindu.umunnakwe 0806 428 4852
e-mail: mail2chijindu@gmail.com

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