We have Damilola on today’s #WriterSpotlight. Her description of the difference between inspiration and motivation and the role discipline plays in the life of a writer is insightful and so is the rest of the interview.
Hello Damilola Can you please describe yourself in a few words?
Damilola is a determined lady trying to live out God’s calling on her life, who endeavours to utilise all opportunities she encounters.
When and how did you discover your love for writing?
I cannot accurately pinpoint where my love for writing grew from, but I can certainly say that it was born alongside my love for reading books and stories. Growing up my father and maternal grandfather always had a book in their hands. They are two of the most intelligent people I know, yet they still wanted to learn and explore more. In reading, I feed my desire to learn more about the enigma that is life, and in writing, I attempt to bring a voice to stories that would have been forgotten.
What is the most important lesson writing has taught you?
Writing has taught me the value of patience. It has shown me the importance of stepping out regardless of the amount of fear and hesitation one may have. The reason for this is that writing is an exercise in editing, but you cannot edit a piece of work if there is no first draft. You must have the boldness to write down the first few words of the first draft, and return to it and work on it until it resembles the finished product you have envisioned. It can be a gruelling process, but the catharsis it produces pays off in the end.
Which author (dead or alive) would love to spend a day with if given a chance?
I will choose a dead author in the person of Rainer Maria Rilke. I bought the book “Letters to a young poet” as a young teenager, and I find his instructions to Kappus the young poet still resonating with me till today; the letters were written in 1902, but the wisdom is still relevant today.
Have you ever reached a point where you wanted to give up on writing?
Give up on writing? No, it has become part and parcel of who I am, I even write letters to some of my friends, and I adore love letters. Writing is a way for me to reflect, learn and even pray to God. So, no I have not wanted to give up, but when a project is due, or I am near a deadline, and I don’t have the finished product I envisaged, such moments can be testing.
When you are struggling to find inspiration, can you share some of the things that you do to find that inspiration to write?
I will acknowledge that there is no real lack of inspiration for a writer as there is a lack of motivation. Life is inspiring; nature, sorrow, joy, pain; there is some inspiration all around us. However, I have found that motivation and discipline are the more significant factors when writing seems to have reached a point of no return.
Creative people are more often than not taken for granted because people do not understand the amount of time and effort they put in their work. What do you think can be done to change this?
I have encountered the sharp sting of having my work rejected, and I acknowledge that a lot of us do work that inadvertently becomes pro-bono. So to change the current narrative, we will need to alter the mindset of those who are in the driving seat. Consumers and publishers alike need to understand the struggle, and sometimes tears that it takes to produce quality content.
You manage a blog, in your own opinion what’s the most important skill a blogger needs to have?
I currently run damiloves, and when I started, it was about my journey, but now it is about the journey of women. I endeavour to encourage women by sharing stories, poems or my thoughts of social events; reaching where we are today has been a lesson in evolution. I will say a passion and a desire to excel will be the main driving force. Find your voice, be consistent and stay true to yourself; your niche may change but don’t attempt to run someone else’s race.
What will you say has been your biggest achievement as a writer so far?
I completed a short series last year on my blog “a collection of scars“. It was a collection of fictional monologues by fictional Nigerian women who were carrying some burden or another. I was enamoured by the feedback I received, so many people had such unexpected emotional responses to the stories, their feedback humbled me.
Where would you like writing to take you in the future?
I would like my writing to be part of the legacy I leave behind. I want my words to bring joy, comfort and healing even after I depart from this earth.
What advice do you have for people who know that they have a message to share, but fear keeps holding them back?
I would say to them just write, start with small steps and whatever you do just write. There is a talent in you that the world is waiting for; in following your dreams, you open the doors for someone else to walk towards the light of their destiny.
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.