Whenever I’m to go for an event and the ‘stress’ is much, I usually would still go because that tells me there’s something I need to learn there and I’m about to miss out on it. That was the scenario I found myself in before deciding to go for the Connect Nigeria 3rd Writers Conference, tagged “The Business Of Writing” on the Saturday, 21st May 2016, which was my first!
Like I said, I got in quite late with 2 hours left to go and I’m wondering “why did I burn N145 per litre of PMS and a family time-out to get there?”, but I didn’t regret it a bit. I’m still excited and motivated and on a whole new dimension. When it comes to my articles, I’m so looking forward to the next conference. I guess you won’t understand it until I share what is making me gush even days after.
My time there started out with Efe Paul Azino, he is an interesting fellow. If I saw him on the road, I would readily call him a sculptor or painter (he had those hands and keen eyes) but he’s a poet! You see, I was discouraged before now about my poetry, by someone I shared the desire to publish them years back, as in his expert opinion (a doctor by the way) “Nigerians don’t read much, talk-less of poetry”. Listening to Mr Efe say things like
- To be a really good poet, “your consumption = your production” READ! READ!! READ Everything!!!
- When it comes to performing, if you like theatrics, go ahead and perform yours like that. If you prefer to read out the poem, by all means, do that. Just perform it the way you are.
- For a wider audience, try writing poetry in other languages. I’m trying out my pidgin English skills on this one.
- Find your voice! Be original, so whenever anyone reads your poem, they can tell it’s yours. I would refer to this as your USP!
- Learn to withdraw amidst all your successes and recreate yourself.
- Form or join other poetry groups.
…I’m ready to go beyond the stars with the poems.
Mr Onimisi Adaba spoke for 5 minutes on the importance of having audio books, as some of your audience might not be the hard-copy crowd. For an intelligent writer, it is expedient to meet the needs of your diverse crowd in a fast-paced world, “Don’t just do hard copies, bring your words to life with the requisite emotion and pronunciation, using audio books.”
I’m not sure I was expecting to gain much from Ike Nnaebue a renowned Nigerian Movie Director/Screenwriter, as I’m a poetry and prose person, but by the time he started speaking I was yearning for more and already seeing myself as a screenwriter or applying the elements to my poetry and prose. As Mr Ike gave the ELEMENTS necessary for a good Screenplay Writing and I sat awed.
- The Art of storytelling = The Art of Seduction. Try to woo, lure, entrap, persuade and capture your audience to remain in that world you have created till you are done and ready to release them. I love this! Yummy, I tell you.
- To be a good writer, continue to ask question, make your audience asks questions too! Do not answer their questions, until you have new questions for them.
- Have a unique idea. Make your characters, hate-able or likeable to the point that you create an emotional bonding.
- Make your tale unpredictable by creating unique dialogues. Step out of the norms. Try not to use the first idea that comes to your mind, keep writing, more and better ones will come.
- Though you are to consider the budget of your market, low budget doesn’t mean mediocre. Let your creative juices flow!
For Okechukwu Ofili, a self-published author and a non-conformist, Self-publishing is the way out. He expounded on his 10 Rules of writing. I love those rules and even when we refer to him as a non-conformist, all he said is a re-enactment of what others said. Be unique, everyone has got the same number of alphabets to work with, be interested in the writing as well as the sales amongst others.
It was a time well-spent seated amongst people with like-minds and if you want more, check my tweets @imaniking . Connect Nigeria Writers Conference 2017, here I come with other writers!
©2016. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved