I have been writing on this blog for almost two years (imagine that!) and I thought I would share some of the challenges which face daily as an independent Nigerian writer who is based in Nigeria.
I can say that I am a much more self-assured writer than I was a the beginning of this journey, but I still experience some challenges which are as follows:
1. Impostor Syndrome.
Now, this is a big one. It took me a long time after I started writing to actually call myself a writer. It felt fraudulent to refer to myself in that manner. This was because in my head, I felt that you had to have written several books and be very recognizable publicly before the title ‘writer’ could be attributed to you. So I would always tell people that I wrote on my blog, not that I was a writer.
Again, being a very sensitive person, I would feel myself shrink and be rendered speechless when anyone said, ‘Oh, ok, you’re just a blogger’. Now, I have absolutely nothing against bloggers-but I am a writer who writes on a blog. These kinds of statements were made either out of ignorance about what I actually did, or as a means to belittle my efforts.
So I spent a lot of time not believing I was a writer, but at some point last year, I took control of my own narrative. I am a writer, always have been and always will be.
2. Writers Block.
I define this as a situation where I have the best intentions to write but I see darkness instead of bright lights in front of me. I think, ‘Okay, Ivie, you are going to write today because it is Saturday’, and I would sit in front of my computer…and I have no words to type.
This used to bother me A LOT when I started this blog, because I wanted to be consistent and always have something interesting to say in my posts. Now I understand something-I can’t force myself to write. What I do try to do when inspiration doesn’t occur spontaneously is to map out a structure for what I want to write. If it is a story, for instance, I write what I think the story is about, how I want the story to end, and then I am able to work from there. It might turn out that I end up changing the initial idea, but at least I have something solid to work with.
3. Poor Internet Connectivity and 4. Power Cuts.
I might as well lump these two issues together as they are very Nigerian problems which I face daily as a writer. Constant electricity and steady internet connectivity, two very vital things which are important for being a writer in this present age are still viewed as luxuries here in Nigeria.
If inspiration strikes at night (as it often does)and I wake-up to darkness because there is a power cut, it means that I cannot write in my journal.
If I decide to write on my phone, iPad or Laptop, it means that I can write for as long as their power lasts.
If I then want to share something on social media or save a draft of a story on my blog, I have to cross my fingers and toes and hope that the gods who reign over my internet service provider would do the needful and allow the internet connectivity to be stable for a reasonable amount of time.
I have basically turned into a writing acrobat of sorts in the bid to juggle all of these issues. So far, I have been able to make this situation work for me.
5. Incomplete Ideas.
When I am inspired to write, I often face weird scenarios where I have an idea about how to end a story-but not how to start it. Or I would get an idea for a poem with rhyming lines, but end up getting stuck at the third line.
Before now, I would obsess over these, seeing them as writing failures. Now, three journals later, I just shrug. I just put down the ideas in any form that they come to me, and then from time to time, I go back to see what I can do with them. This is a more realistic approach for me, and I have been able to make writing gold out of what previously seemed like dust.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Please let me know in the comments if there are challenges you have faced as writers and how you overcame them.
Thanks for reading.
©Ivie M. Eke 2017.