#WriterSpotlight – “I am a silent type, I talk, but not serious talk. My writing speaks for me.” Bankole Wright

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Welcome to another #WriterSpotlight on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub. Bankole Wright is a writer and editor and we are glad to feature him today. We hope you learn a thing or two from his interview. 

Hello Bankole. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hello. Ok I am Bankole Wright, a graduate of Lagos State University where I studied English, majored in Literature. I am a writer, a book editor and a growing academic. I have a deep passion for teaching and writing. I love talking literature and creative writing, I love the fact that I create stories, both those that exist and those that don’t.

How did your journey as a writer begin?

Writing started at age 14, then I used to write juvenile love poems which usually ended in dustbins. I wrote songs as well. I just wrote because that was where I found fulfillment and joy. Growing up, I became conscious of my ability to create stories, and the fulfillment I derived from writing. Then I took writing more seriously, I began to write poems for several poetry sites such as Poetrysoup. I also wrote stories and articles at naija stories. I wrote at Pulse Ng where I was a blogger, then I started writing for OYA magazine till now.

What do you love most about writing?

Writing makes me feel like a god, genius and immortal. I am a silent type, I talk oh, but not serious talk, so my writing speaks for me.

In what ways has your writing grown since you stated writing?

For me, my writing  has really improved as a result of the frequent writing engagements I have had over time. They have pushed me to study deeply and I practice all I read to the letter.

Where do you get inspiration from when you want to write a story?

I derive inspiration from everything around me, both tangible and intangible. I observe tinniest details.

There are people who believe that writing can never be financially rewarding. What are your thoughts about this?

(Smiles), concerning finance, writing rewards. You need to create a niche for yourself to the point that you alone will be preferred and patronized. As a writer, if you work hard, you will be richly rewarded.

What lessons have you learnt since you started managing Oya magazine?

Hard Work, oh I have really learnt hard work. Also I learnt commitment and dedication, loyalty and consistency. OYA magazine has really built me and is still building me.

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What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

My ultimate dream as a writer is to be an influential one whose works are reputable and internationally acknowledged.

Do you think you will ever retire from writing?

(laughs). Writing is my life, retiring is like dying.

It’s one thing to write and another to help others edit books, how did you upgrade your skill?

I simply schooled myself in it. I got books on editing, I studied and I practiced and then I started helping friends for free, with time I was getting paid.              

Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies?

Aside writing, I read. I love reading a lot, like a real lot. I read anything and everything. I actually have a boring life to some people, but believe me, this is the life I choose.

Any advice for other writers out there?

Writing isserious business and it is a venture of the intelligent and disciplined. Also, don’t get caught up in trying to impress, just love what you do and do it with excellence.

 

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Chronicles of a Writer – How I got rejected and published my first story

by Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

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Someone called me an ‘amateur writer’. Another said my writing needed more polishing. I felt hurt. What did they mean by that?

Hello dear writer. I welcome you to this special column on The Sparkle Writers Hub. I’ll be sharing with you real life stories of my writing journey. It has not been a smooth journey. I’ve made sacrifices, worked hard and even faced rejection, but my passion was what made everything worthwhile. So if you haven’t yet hit your big break as a writer, hang on. It really does get better with time.

Today I’ll take you back to 2012. This was when I was inspired to wipe the dust off my writing talent and actually do something with it. A colleague of mine, Faramade Atilade, had noticed how I used to visit YNaija, Bella Naija and the other popular blogs during my free time. I especially loved the ’30 Days 30 Voices Series’ on YNaija. I loved the way all the different writers who were featured put together their words. It was sweet. Effortless. I wanted to write like that. In fact, I nursed a secret desire to be featured on the series but I felt inadequate.

After a not-so-brief discussion with Faramade, I decided to write. I hadn’t written anything serious in years. I was excited. It took a while but I wrote a story about my first crush (I later posted it on my blog last year). I remember going to the office the Monday after feeling on top of the world. I shared the story with some of my colleagues. “You write well”, “Wow, this is funny”, “You should publish this.” Those were the comments I received. The last comment however stayed with me. Publish it? How? Where?

My mind went to Bella Naija first so I searched for information on how to submit stories to them. At the time they used to feature short prose, I think they still do. Anyway I sent the email with great hope that my story will actually be published. Days passed…nothing. Weeks passed…nothing still. I felt discouraged. Then I remembered I had also stumbled on another great blog during my online adventure – Myne Whitman’s blog. I got her contact details and sent her an email. She replied the next day.

Although Myne couldn’t feature my story on her blog, she asked me to sign up with Naija Stories and publish my story there. After going through the website, I signed up because I liked the idea of being part of a writing community. There was a process to getting published on Naija Stories. It wasn’t automatic but I got published nonetheless. Oh the joy I felt to see the words “Written by Doyin Jaiyesimi”. I couldn’t stop gushing.

Then the comments came. Someone called me an ‘amateur writer’. Another said my writing needed more polishing. I felt hurt. What did they mean by that? I knew I could write so how dare the person call me an amateur writer? I took the comments in my stride and thanked the people who had positive comments. I decided to improve my skill and I put up another post on the platform. It was a poem actually – my first poem. Guess what? It was a hit. It was even chosen as Editor’s Pick for that week. And the comments were positive.

I rode on that goodwill and wrote yet another story then another poem. Both were selected as Editor’s Pick as well. I was on a roll. Writers on the platform loved my work. And I was getting better at writing. The truth is I was an amateur writer when I wrote that first story. I understood why I got my first rejection. The fact that you love writing does not automatically mean that the first article you write will be hot cake. You need to work on your talent. You need to polish it. There is an art to writing and connecting with your readers. I learnt that when I got my internship with YNaija.

Next week, I will share with you how I got that internship and how for the first two/three weeks, none of the articles I wrote was published on the site. You don’t want to miss that story 🙂