Tuesday, July 31, 2007

One Month, and a Celebration

It's the end of July! Wow time really does fly. I can't believe it's been a month since I left my job. It's a good feeling though. It seems like a noose around my neck has been loosened. I feel I have made the third best decision in my life. The first one was giving my life to Christ. I have been complete since I made that decision. The second one was getting married to my husband. That I haven't regretted.

My work is going a bit slower than I expected though. Sometimes everything flows, I'm excited and I can't wait to get all my thoughts down on paper. Sometimes I have stuff in my head but I can't work up the enthusiasm to write anything. And sometimes I get on my computer and start stressing instead of doing useful work. Still I'm learning a lot as I research and write a little every day. I've resumed my passion for reading as well. In the last week I have bought four books that I want to read. That should get more ideas going.

If you follow my other blog, you might have guessed I had a special date this month. Yes it was our second wedding anniversary! Traditionally that's the cotton or china anniversary right? Hubby and I went out to celebrate and we had a great time. I still can't believe it's been two years already. Time really does fly. I remember talking to a couple recently. They had been married for 46 years. I was like wow! That's a long time to be with somebody. Sometimes I still find it scary to imagine being with the same person for that long, but that's the essence of making a lifetime committment. I pray that hubby and I will go on to celebrate 46 happy years together - and more!

I took up jogging recently. I finally stopped giving myself excuses not to improve my fitness level. I've only been doing it for two weeks and it's only early in the mornings for now. But I hope to continue with it and get better and fitter as time goes on. Maybe one day I'll be able to join blogville's long-distance runners: Londonbuki, Vickii and Calabargal at the London marathon. Ok maybe that's going too far....

Monday, July 16, 2007


I log into MSN Messenger this morning. A friend is online and he says hello. The conversation goes:

Friend: hello
Me: hi
Friend: I heard Shola is going to Naij for a year
Me: yes she's going for NYSC
Friend: are you not going?
Me: no, it's not on the books right now
Friend: when are you getting pregnant?
Me: WHAT?!

Friday, July 13, 2007

First Steps

It's been a week already! Wow, this week really flew by. I guess that had to do with the changes and adjustments I am making in my life and my career. Right now I still feel a huge sense of relief. I know it won't always be rosy and there will be challenging times along the way. But everything feels right somehow and I know I've made the right decision. At least I've decided to give it a go. And I'm determined to see my work through. And my dreams becoming a reality!

My first week as a "writer" has been good, I can't complain. (I'm wondering if I should start calling myself a writer already, since I haven't actually published anything yet. That can be rectified right?). Anyway, I haven't had to commute or follow a rigid working pattern this week so that's good. I've had to set myself some targets though, so that I can measure my progress everyday and every week. I think I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn. But hey, every accomplished writer, poet or novelist had to start from somewhere, and I'm starting at the beginning. I've enrolled for a writing course which starts in September. I'm hoping to have written enough stuff by then, so that I can get some feedback from the course tutor.

Now even though I'm just starting out, I can already see God's grace and favour at work. I mentioned in my last post that I met two girls at the London Literature festival last week. What I didn't know was that one of them was Funmi Odulate! She is a leading fashion expert and journalist, author of a vintage fashion book (see here) and she is currently working on her second book. I hadn't known who she was, I had simply introduced myself to them because they happened to sit beside me during the programme. Since the festival, we have kept in touch and exchanged several emails. She is very nice and down-to-earth and I've now appointed her as my unofficial mentor......

The Caine Prize winner was announced on Monday. The shortlist was as follows:
Uwem Akpan (Nigeria) for "My Parents Bedroom", Monica Arac de Nyeko (Uganda) for "Jambula Tree", E. C. Osondu (Nigeria) for "Jimmy Carter's Eyes", Henrietta Rose-Innes (South Africa) for "Bad Places" and Ada Udechukwu (Nigeria) for "Night Bus". The prize was won by Monica. I guess her novel stood out because it touched on a taboo subject in many parts of Africa : lesbianism. I'm looking forward to reading some of the works because they sounded so interesting at the readings and the interviews were good.

Hubby bought me a new laptop yay! It's actually a very late birthday present, but he said he gave it to me now, to mark the start of my writing career. Apparently I had to prove that I was serious about it. The only rule he gave me was that it should be for strictly business use, so I'm not to download messenger and fun things onto it! OK o. Meanwhile I've started working on my first novel. I have a vague outline and I've started working on developing my characters so that's interesting. I'm discovering there's a wealth of resources available to amateur writers on the web. I just have to sift through the fluff to get the useful stuff. Special thanks to Abidemi Sanusi for her website http://www.christianwriter.co.uk/ which has been a great resource. Her blog is here and I've just ordered her book, Kemi's Journal. It arrived today and hopefully I'll start reading it next week once I'm through with the one I'm currently reading. (Thanks for your comment, I'll keep it in mind!)

I'm looking forward to a nice, chilled out weekend. A friend is organising a birthday party for her baby's first birthday so I'll be attending that. I can't believe that baby is one already, when was he born? Apart from that, I'll be spending quality time with hubby *wink*. Hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Complete New Beginning

I'm sitting in front of my computer this morning, thinking I should probably get some work done. Except, I'm not in the office. I'm at home in my living room. Yes I finally did it. I left my job and career in accounting to become a writer. I had handed in my notice a few weeks ago, but the enormity of what I was getting myself into didn't sink in at the time. Now I have been without the secure structure of a 9 - 5 job for a week, and it's finally beginning to sink in! It's exciting but very scary. I realise that success in my career depends completely on me now, so I had better deliver. It's scary also because the security of the monthly paycheck is gone. I'm so blessed to have hubby and my family there to support me while I find my feet. Otherwise it would have been a much bigger risk to take.
I was going to put up this post last weekend, but I came down with a flu. Perfect timing, I didn't have to go to the office anymore so I could stay at home for five days fighting the flu virus - a parting present from the City of London. I had made plans to launch into my new career with so much vigour, instead I was coughing and sneezing and feeling sorry for myself. So last week didn't exactly go as planned. On Thursday, I started feeling much better so I finally ventured out of my house. And I realised that I was now free. Free from the straight-jacket of the corporate world. Free from working myself hard to meet another person's targets. Free from the monotony of the j-o-b. Free from office politics and power struggles. I came up with a list of things I won't miss about my former career path, and some thing I would miss.

What I now miss:
1) The regular paycheck, knowing I would get paid as long as I was in the office that month
2) The funny banter of my colleagues, their jokes and grumbling.
3) My former boss, she's a really lovely person, so warm and kind.
4) Meeting up with my friend in St Pauls for lunch. On nice days we used to go to the cathedral gardens and sit on the benches gisting our lunch hour away.
5) Exchanging emails with my friend, planning our weekends and meetings after work
6) My morning newspaper - free Metro!
7) My evening newspapers - free London Lite and thelondonpaper
8) The Krispy Kreme shop just outside the station where I used to work
9) The whole London vibe, you just feel like you are in touch with what's happening

What I most def don't miss:
1) Waking up in the morning to the annoying ringing alarm at 6.00am
2) Running to the train station in uncomfortable "office" shoes
3) Getting the train and having to stand all the way into Central London - just awful
4) Sharing a carriage with people coughing sneezing and spreading their germs
5) Getting to work already tired before the day has even begun
6) Having a limited lunch time break
7) Getting back home in the evening absolutely tired
8) Paying one-third of my salary to the railway company for the dodgy service
9) Tied down to spending that rigid block of my time in the office
10) Spending most of my Saturday cleaning and cooking because I haven't had time during the week.
(There's more but I'll leave it as that for now)

In the light of this new path I'm now on, I've been looking for networking opportunities and events. Yesterday afternoon, I attended the London Literature Festival at the South Bank Centre. It's a series of literary events spread out over two weeks but yesterday's event was dedicated to African writers. The first part was specifically about three Nigerian writers: Biyi Bandele, Helen Oyeyemi and Helon Habila. All three of them read from their books and discussed their work. They were interviewed and we were able to ask questions and stuff like that. It was cool. The second event was the Caine Prize 2007 Readings, where the African writers shortlisted for the Caine Prize came up to read their works and were interviewed by Zena Saro-Wiwa. Some of the works read were so inspiring and intriguing. I have three books on my mind that I'm definitely going to buy. The Caine Prize winner will be announced later today.
I met two Nigerian girls there and after the first session, we talked and went off to have a chat over drinks. One of them is a fashion journalist, and they are both writers so it was good talking to them. We had fun talking about works we had read, analysing different styles of writing, Nollywood movies and so on. After the events, we swapped details and I intend to keep in touch with them. I told them I was a blogger and gave them my other blog address so they might read this (hi girls!) In the meantime, it felt so good to be among like-minded people. That just inspired me. I've got ideas for my book now so I feel more confident about becoming a writer.
I still have one or two things to work out though. The options and opportunities are so vast, it is a bit overwhelming. I'm thinking I might take up some freelance work because I want to build up a portfolio of written published work. I want to look into writing articles for magazines and stuff like that. I could do also some short stories before attempting a full-length novel, and I might look into writing for children. In any case, there are so many opportunities, and at the moment I'm taking one step at a time and seeing where each step will take me to in future.

For now I'm off to start my day. I'm going to register for a creative writing course to help me brush up my skills and develop my ideas further. And then I'm meeting up with my friend that I haven't seen in the flesh since 1998 or is it 1997. Thank God for hi5 and Facebook that helped us to keep in touch again.

I'll be back...
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