I’ve been away from this blog for a long time. Little did I know, when I wrote the previous article on Productivity for 2018, that I was about to take a journey of my own through the icy winters of introspection. Thankfully, it’s warming up in here.
I remember when I typed my first story, not when I fell in love with words. It seems like yesterday, but it’s not.
Fourteen summers ago, I learned to use the computer. I had written a lot before then, but that year was when I was first introduced to the microsoft word and (yes!) the legendary comic sans font. My story, one good turn deserves another, was an adaptation of the Biblical “good Samaritan” parable, with the wounded traveler coincidentally given the opportunity to bless the “good Samaritan” at a later time.
I was privileged to attend primary school with kids who had wealthy parents from whom I was exposed to many foreign-authored books, my favorites being books by Enid Blyton and R.L. Stine. Though I never traveled out of Nigeria until my twenties, I dreamed of marshmallows, lemonades and kids club houses. I also read my ample share of African works like Sugar girl, Mother’s Choice, Tunde on the run, Without a silver spoon, Arrow of God, Bottled Leopard, The virtuous woman, Things fall apart, The incorruptible judge, Too cold for comfort, The passport of Mallam Ilia… (I really feel nostalgic right now). I sincerely think I read every book my young self could lay hands upon.
Saying I enjoyed (I still do!) stories is an understatement.
“The Lord gave the word: great is the company of those that published it.” Psalm 68:11 KJV
As I read, I wrote. I created worlds in my mind, then painted them on paper. I did some folk tales, romance (yes!), sci-fi and detective stories, many of which have been lost to time. I enrolled in writing competitions and joined the young writers club fresh out of primary school. When I found msword (as we called it), I was glued but not in destructive ways. It was years before the diffusion of the communication pathways. Connection was not nearly seamless as it has been made today by the internet, electronic devices and social media. We didn’t have a PC at home so the only way to share my story was to print it out and physically distribute. So, Yes, I did print out stories and articles and share with people at church and school.
Journey to Publication
I looked onto publication early in life but didn’t know how to go about it. Self-publishing was not a new concept in Nigeria, and except for landing a deal with traditional educational publishers like Macmillian, Spectrum, Evans, University Press and Heineman, anyone who wanted to be an author just wrote and printed it at a press. I saw many of these independent authors with great story concepts churn out subpar books due to careless editing, typos and poor design, a far cry from the foreign standards I adored. Though it would be many years before I published my first book, Donut, I can say it pleasantly surprised a lot of critics.
My introduction to the world of computer design followed a similar framework. I loved to draw and I was good at it. My earliest fascination was the Marvel Superhero Universe and the Herge’s Adventures of Tin Tin issues. I created heroes, drew comics, and made paper crafts until the summer of 2005 when I attended a month-long training in graphic design while waiting to transfer to a public senior school. I was naturally excited about the electronic art media form, hence my journey into graphic design and publishing. It was glaring that the intersection of my literary and artistic interest were not a coincidence and passion for a fulfilling life had found a medium to blossom.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8 NIV
Life has always been to me an adventure on an uncharted terrain and I have been guided on this journey of dutiful delights, even when I didn’t realize it.
Over time, as the internet connected the world, I was able to follow many acclaimed writers, designers and artists’ journeys through their blogs and correspondence. I wanted to write words that struck chords in readers hearts, so I looked up authors that were currently where I wanted to be. I learned a lot by reading and browsing in cyber cafes before I got any personal devices. As I wrote for periodicals, served on editorial boards, entered and won contests, blogged on and off, I steadily grew with this passion. I have written two books (one print and one online), published a handful of authors through Studio 13:52; and there are WIPs and many more ideas in the warmer.
I started Studio 13:52 because I wanted to make a statement that quality can be done in resource-limited environment, and to help authors and creatives give quality output to their message. Project after project, I am convinced that if we can focus on doing our creative best, we will thrive.
I have also started projects that have failed (for many reasons), but I have not backed down. I have rushed some decisions and stalled at other crossroads but I am encouraged by the trail blazers who have experienced life in different places (good and bad) and pulled through, reinventing or realizing themselves in the process. I know that those who are able to continue moving forward are those who refuse to give up.
Over the last two years, I feel my creative life has slowed. I don’t want to say much about it now, because I’m still gleaning on my silent phase. But I know that I still need to learn a lot about writing, art, the business of creativity and how to live with creative passion as life happens.
The fruits of transformative creativity is bigger than any one of its creators, however, it draws deeply from the wells of the creator’s life.
My creative journey has been hard, fraught with struggles with resistance, fear and self-doubt. The indiscipline of passion has also made it a long arduous road. However, I am glad because I am still here – renewing my learning and doing creed, and reopening the windows to the vistas afroeseen. With a prayer, deep love for the creative life, a functuional tribe and God’s big backing, I will step on water again and feel my heart beat again.
Sometimes, the hard thing is not finding new ideas, but to fall out of love with the old idea.
Growing up, I had a lot of ideas. As I grew older, I could not get one pinned down. At some point, I was beginning to think I had ADD. I am not getting much done as I would love to due to lack of focus. And as an unknown source says, “if you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”
I realize that I have been beating the air in many ways, trying to learn all I can, and building my portfolio to include all possible creative interests. I have been listening to tons of podcasts, reading many blog articles, books on many subjects that interest me and I have come up with one problem – I am overwhelmed.
My voracious and absentminded consumption has shifted my attention away from focusing on creating. I need to slow down. I need to focus on one single thing and build it for a long time. I need to collaborate with people and allow their expertise to fuel my life as we create together. From here on now, I am quitting the non-specific learning race. I am focusing on being one thing.
While I have learned to visit creative spaces like the library and museums more consistently to interact with inspiration from my world, I am learning to stay indoor intentionally and create!
This is time to focus.
The Next steps
The eatyourdonut blog will be put on hiatus for a while – until it is time for the next Donut-related project which will likely be an expanded edition of Donut. Meanwhile, a follow-up Initiative launches soon and I’m so excited about it!
My life is becoming simpler – and you can be sure that when I am not studying, working or spending time with family or friends, or collaborating with people to create wonderful things, I will be here, blogging about life, purpose and creaivity.
Creativity to me is a tool for transformation, which works its way into the human soul, shapes perspectives and influences action in a way no other medium can.
I am a Missionary Creative. I love to write. I love to create beautiful things and help others do the same. I love to creative transformative work which will help others learn about and live a fulfilling and purposeful Life. To Connect. Learn. Grow. Shine.
My hiatus is ending and I am nudging on, to the next big thing.
So watch out!
P.S. Follow HeirWalk on instagram @heirwalk