I started out really excited about this year but when it came down to the nitty-gritty of actually living this year, liver fail me.
Everything just seems so extra difficult and uncertain. I am still excited about this year but with a huge dose of reality thrown in. This comic strip from Obaranda explains exactly how I feel. (I’m the dog.)
There is one thing I want to achieve this year. If I do nothing else but that, I’ll be satisfied. I cannot share the exact details because it scares the crap out of me, so I cannot say it out loud just yet. It is the biggest dream I have ever had. And I have no intention of messing it up.
Now for everything else:
Last year, I started a journey down a path I see myself walking for the rest of my life. It has always been my dream to own a publishing house and I got a job at a leading publishing house. Publishing in Nigeria is a massive challenge. It is not a business for the fainthearted. Seeing how I thrive on challenges, this year I want to see how I can bring some practical solutions to the industry. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I am doing a lot of research and talking to people and testing some things out and the responses so far tell me I have my work cut out for me.
I sort of forgot I was a fiction writer for a long time. Most of my writing in 2016 was commissioned work (non-fiction) and it is understandable because no one pays you to write fiction. Not good money anyway and payment is always a factor for me. But then, I find more and more stories just waiting at the tip of my fingers and I am ready to tackle fiction. Because there are some residencies and programs I want to apply for, the target is to write 25,000 words before July. I would like to break that down to 500 words a day or something but it hasn’t worked for two years. I am however setting up a support system that I will be accountable to and will make sure I meet that target even if I have to bleed the stories into my computer.
Making a reading plan is almost moot for me because it’s my job plus I love reading but I want to read more writers from other African countries. There was a tweet that annoyed me last year about how African writers were stuck in the past and writing to a formula. I wanted to engage but I realised even though I knew there were African writers doing all different genres and diverse work, I didn’t know many outside Nigeria. That needs to change. Already started with Zimbabwe, so yay.
It has never been as important as now to have a stream of income that is independent of my active involvement. I am surrounded by so many entrepreneurial minds and this year I hope to take advantage of this. I hope to invest money, time and ideas in some of the people I believe in the most. It might not be a lot but na from somewhere person dey start.
I already started a daily journal, more like free writing than a well thought out thing but it is going well so far. Not putting pressure on myself to structure what I write is really helping.
Exercise and healthy eating is something I’ll continue my on/off affair with. I wish I could be strict with myself for periods longer than 3 months at a time, I do.
One of the things I took from last year was, ‘everybody go dey alright last last’. No be say e get wetin person sabi or e get wetin person dey do, all na based on belief. And na only God hand person dey. Na to continue to dey follow God.