We absolutely love Ibukun Tunbi’s interview on today’s edition of #WriterSpotlight. She is such an amazing writer and her answers are so real. We love how, after struggling so much with her passion, she is finally doing what she loves which is writing. Be inspired by our interview with Ibukun.
Hello Ibukun. Can you please describe yourself in a few words?
Assertive, strong willed, playful, bold, down to earth and spiritual.
When did you discover you had a passion for writing and why did you follow this passion?
At the back of my mind, I always knew I would write, I just never imagined it would become a passion. Growing up, I had this feeling that I would be successful at it and that made me very fearful of trying. Eventually, I found myself caught between this paralyzing fear and thoughts dying to be expressed. One had to give way for the other. On this particular day, I made a decision to get validation from someone that could be gracefully objective. I wrote a story and sent it to my sister anticipating her response. She was so excited and told me to continue with the story. Her feedback made me think, ‘Umm…maybe this could work’ but still I didn’t immediately jump into writing,
I started a blog last year and was still oblivious to the fact that I had a passion for writing. I knew I liked story telling but it seemed too big to touch so I didn’t really embrace the idea.
Eventually, after a few years of trying my hands at this and that, I accepted writing to be my passion. The year after, I was reminded of a scene from the movie Sister Act (II). It was something Whoopi said to Lauren Hill that caused my awakening. She said to her, ‘If you wake up everyday and all you think about is singing that means you are a singer.’ Applying this to myself, I decided it was time to stop being chased by my passion and chase my passion instead, I was a writer.
Can you tell us what you love most about writing?
What I love most about writing, specifically storytelling, is the power inherent in creativity. Once one word is written the next obediently follows. The words always find an avenue to come alive and find their place in your story. Characters, scenes, dialogue…all of it, fascinates me as they mix together to create a beautiful piece. Most times, I wonder if I am the one writing or if the story is really telling itself through me. The feeling I get in the mixing and matching process is amazing. What is even more fulfilling is the joy that comes from beholding a finished work. I usually feel I earned myself a reason to sleep afterwards.
What is the most important thing writing has taught you?
Writing has taught me that you get better with use. In whatever field you are in, I believe this rule applies. Experience really cannot be bought; knowledge can but experience cannot. The more you make use of something the better you are at manoeuvring it.
At what point did you decide to start your blog and how has the experience been?
My blog was my training ground. It started at a time when I was trying to discover myself. The words in my head kept bouncing around until one day God told me, “Start a blog.” It was very direct. I started to give my excuses, which He sorted out. All that was left was the courage to start and that came along too. I did it afraid. I still do.
It’s been a roller coaster. In the beginning, I got so much support, then it reduced. At a point, I felt drained. I had to stop but a friend encouraged me to continue. Sometimes, I ask myself ‘why am I doing this?’ But somehow, I get encouraged again. I can tell you, as of a few days ago, I was thinking of shutting down the blog, but this has encouraged me to continue.
Which author (dead or alive) would you love to spend a day with if given a chance?
Hands down, C. S. Lewis. I would love to peek into his mind to see how it worked.
Have you ever reached a point where you wanted to give up on writing?
Not really but I found myself extremely discouraged recently. I submitted a script to this production house but they got back to me saying they couldn’t produce my story. It was my first bold step in putting my work publicly and I was terribly crushed. I felt very powerless to keep trying. It’s a terrible thing to feel like a dream died. So anyway, one of my Spurlies (friends) called me and suggested we attend this program. I was still in a haze so I told her to register on my behalf. Eventually I made it to the event, half interested. When I got in, I met this lady speaking. She mentioned that every year for the past ten years, she has considered giving up but somehow, she has kept going. I was really shocked, especially because the lady is quite successful in her field. This theme was re-occurrent throughout the program. A few other successful speakers mentioned how they kept going despite the temptation to give up. It then dawned on me that everyone was bound to go through this stage of despair and I was in good company. Thus, my resolve to keep moving.
When you are struggling to find inspiration, can you share some of the things you do to find that inspiration to write?
Sometimes, I just write anything that comes to my head and try to force the words out. However, in situations like that, I feel like my work doesn’t make a lot of sense. Other times, I change my environment, and I get inspired. This trick doesn’t work too often though. The one that works mostly is spending time with God. After I do, I feel a flow and writing becomes effortless.
I have learnt that my writing flows from some place and so I respect that. Therefore, if there’s still no flow after I have done all that I know to do, I wait until I am stirred, and I always am, then I write.
Where would you like writing to take you to in the future?
As much as I would like to win Oscars and Nobel Laureates, I especially would love my writing to win a space for me in people’s hearts. The ultimate for me is when my words become a voice. A voice that influences how society is shaped; a voice that creates a worldwide platform where the very hearts of people are touched.
What advice do you have for people who know that they have a message to share but fear keeps holding them back?
You can only run so far. It’s time to stop and embrace your message, your fulfilment is hidden in your fear.
If you know any writer who you feel should be featured on our #WriterSpotlight segment or you are that writer, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.