Day 2: The Author #28DayChallenge

Welcome to Day 2. In case you’re just joining me or have randomly stumbled upon this blog post, this is the second of what I intend to be twenty-eight consecutive posts on my blog, one for every passing day. I started yesterday with some reflections on my journey into writing and blogging. I want to extend those thoughts by reflecting on how I moved from blogger and writer to published author in 2021.

My author’s story is inevitably intertwined with the coronavirus pandemic. COVID transformed the way we work and provided a flexibility that we all plan never to let go of. Working from home meant I saved a couple of hours from driving through traffic, and I could now spend that time with family or on hobbies. Writing automatically got some more allocation. Before March 2020, my last two blog posts had been in Feb 2017 and Sep 2018. Then I posted twice in late March 2020, and have posted every month since then.

Writing regularly meant getting more ideas about other things to write. And then I started setting harder targets for myself on how often to write. Then one day in February 2021, about a year into COVID, the idea struck me like lightning. I had been praying with a few friends for an hour every Sunday evening for about five months. On one of those Sundays, after the prayer, the thought to write a book was strongly impressed on my mind. The outline was clear, and I knew what the title would be.

That same evening, I picked up the phone and called my friend and brother, Olawale Perfect. He runs a media outfit (wigradio.com) and had published a number of his own books. He even started writing the first book while we were undergraduate students at the University of Lagos. I wanted to get help from a hands-on person, who knew exactly what to do from first word to first print, and who could give me a timeline and modest budget for whatever quality I wanted. Perfect was my man for the moment.

After that call, I drafted the outline and started writing the day after. My focus was to complete the first draft in the shortest time possible; edits could follow afterwards. There is never a perfect time for any important task, and getting started is key to getting going. I found from experience that things become easier to achieve once you get started – the goal comes closer to sight with every step. And so it was, less than five months after the idea first came into my mind, that I was having a virtual launch of my first book.

Now that you are a Christian was first published in July 2021, with one-thousand copies initially printed and distributed freely within a few months. Another thousand copies were printed in February 2022, and are still in distribution (free of charge as well). From COVID-enabled writing to friendship-enabled publishing, the unrelated events that made a conviction come to life in such a short time can only be traced to a combination of God’s wisdom and man’s diligence in pursuit of purpose. See you tomorrow!

Day 1: The Writer #28DayChallenge

I have decided to start a challenge to post on my blog for twenty-eight days continuously, starting today. This challenge should take me to the end of April 2022 and will stretch me beyond my longest blogging streak, which I think is four or five days. My goal is to improve my writing and increase my fluidity in expressing my thoughts. There will be no particular topic or theme for this series. I am open to ideas or suggestions from my readers on what to write about and will write on them if I have sufficient knowledge or experience to string a few thoughts together.

I want to start today by reflecting on how I got into writing and blogging. I studied engineering for my undergraduate program, but have always had a flair for some other form of expression outside the sciences. However, aside from writing an article or two for my campus Christian fellowship magazine and writing a few devotionals for the daily devotional we used to publish (Truth for Times), I did not do much else to hone my writing skills, neither did I really take writing as a serious endeavor. It was always a tool to achieve other things I considered more important.

I began to give writing and publishing my thoughts more attention after completing my undergraduate program. During my NYSC program in Ebonyi State, Nigeria, I was selected to serve as Editor for NCCF Ebonyi and then successfully ran for election as NYSC Ebonyi Corps Editor. I oversaw the publication of two magazines for NYSC (Ebokopa) and NCCF (Flint Magazine) respectively. Those experiences emboldened me to pay more attention to a new skill I was unsheathing, one which is turning out to be critical in fulfilling my life’s purpose. I eventually started my WordPress blog in 2012 after completing my NYSC program.

Having a friend like Gbenga Awomodu (a very fine writer and editor) also influenced my decision to start a blog. Gbenga had run a blog on WordPress for the longest time. He even had his own domain name long before I paid attention to what those were. Because he’s been a close friend and brother through the years, I can’t even tell how much of what I am doing today was learned from him. I just know he’s been the greatest influence in my journey of learning to share my thoughts with others via writing.

Writing for me has encompassed a lot of study and practice. Although I have mostly written non-fiction, I have also tried my hands on fiction and spent lots of time writing poetry. I can confidently say that writing for me has been a journey of discovery and influence, one of learning from others and sharing with others. I want to keep it that way for a long time to come. I’ll pause here today and pick up my thoughts tomorrow…Cheers!

NYSC – National Youth Service Corps – a mandatory one year program to be completed after undergraduate studies in Nigeria. It is a requirement for employment in most organizations

NCCF – Nigerian Christian Corpers’ Fellowship – the association of Christians currently serving in NYSC