Oyeyemi is a fearless writer who is not afraid of rejection. After a publishing house rejected his manuscript, Oyeyemi (for reasons known to him) says he looks forward to receiving many more rejection letters and a couple of acceptance letters.
Read more about Oyeyemi in today’s #WriterSpotlight feature. Enjoy.
Hello, please introduce yourself.
My name is Oyeyemi Christopher Bamidele, a Nigerian obviously, indigene of Osun State, and I have been living in Lagos for a good number of years.
What do you do?
I am a Communicator. That’s how I like to describe what I do because I talk to people through whichever medium I can exploit at any given time. I write, I talk, and I tweet.
Why did you choose to write or what led you to writing?
Though I studied Mass Communication, I majored in Radio and TV Broadcasting, and maybe that was why I didn’t see myself as a writer until about 5 years ago, and it is funny because I didn’t just wake up and decide to start writing. A girl I loved broke my heart and at the same the airline I was working with as a Control Room Operator folded up, both happened a month apart. So I was in a place where I didn’t have a job and I didn’t have a girl, I needed to talk to someone, somebody – anybody. But I didn’t have many friends; I still don’t, but blogging and twitter has changed that in the sense that some followers are closer than friends and have helped me in more than many ways than I can even start to mention. So, because of my predicament then, I created a blog and I started writing what was in my head, my scattered thoughts; and doing that helped me through the pain I was going through. But to my surprise, the response was massive, people kept asking me for more, and I decided to blog a fiction story. It was a long series which I blogged per episode every week, and then share on twitter mostly. The response was amazing, since then I haven’t stopped writing until recently when I have slowed down a bit.
Your twitter handle says you are a TV person, can you tell us what that entails?
Well, I work with a Television Station for now. I operate the teleprompter, coordinate production and also assist in directing for “OB” Outside Broadcast. I am also an independent producer by the side, creating concept and packaging it into a TV programme.
What is your most challenging moment as a writer?
I haven’t done a lot of commercial writing, so I mostly work at my own pace without any stress of meeting deadlines and all. But for a challenging moment, I will say when I was doing a particular fiction series on my blog, and I planned it to go all the way to 8 or 10 episodes and by the 2nd episode, a murder happened and majority of the readers could guess who the killer was and the motive. So I had to change it completely; I ended up writing another draft, but it didn’t take me long though.
Can you tell us your most rewarding moment as a writer?
I am not sure I have had my “most” rewarding moment yet. But there was a time I wrote some stuff for a state government. It was a jazz festival and I was contracted to write about the event and also do a daily recap at the end of the show. Not that much rewarding in terms of money, but I think it was a rewarding moment for me.
If you didn’t become a writer what else would you have done?
I believe I would have been a lawyer.
Have you ever been rejected as a writer and how did you handle it?
I am writing a book and I sent the synopsis and some chapters to some random publishers I found online. They weren’t calling for submissions or anything; I just got their e-mails and sent the manuscript to a couple of them. About 8 weeks after, I got a mail from them and it goes like “Dear Christopher, We read your manuscript with interest, but we regret, we will not be making an offer for publication…” and that was my first official rejection letter as a writer. I look forward to many more and then a couple of acceptance letters.
Will you ever retire from writing?
I don’t think I want to personally, as long as I can talk and I have things to say in my head, I will continue to communicate through writing and any other means I can.
What do you do in your leisure time?
I am on Twitter a lot, I have many friends, we just bant and make trouble. Then when I am free I play with my nephews and nieces. I love kids, I don’t have mine yet but I will.
What would you pick
Continental Food or African Delicacy? African delicacy always.
R&B or Hip/hop? R&B wins it
Fiction or poetry? Fiction of course
Football or music? This is hard, but I will go with football.
Do you have a writing mentor? If yes why?
I can’t say an emphatic “Yes” or a “No”. I just read anything I can find including signposts and graphics on people’s shirt. Though I have read a couple of writers and I try to gain a thing or two from them.
Your best article or story so far?
I can’t really say for articles. But for a story, you know how they say you are as good as your last work? I think my best story so far is the book I am currently writing, “Places In My Dreams”
Any last words for upcoming writers?
Just be yourself. Rules are good, but rules are meant to be broken. So be you, and do you.