Writing has not always been a strong suit of mine. Even in the present moment, I sometimes struggle to put up a coherent work with writing. It’s not an easy thing trying to fit in writing when our daily activities are taken up with other things but, if the urge is vast, it will find a path through whoever you are and whatever your situation. This was certainly my experience.
The meaning of writing to me is to put my ideas and thoughts into words in a logical pattern that will be easy to understand and comprehend. My experience of writing during my life is a bit extensive. But clearly, I can write about the knowledge I’m gaining at the university pertaining to my course of study. The experience I got from secondary school and the university, to be precise, the first year, gave me a good base to improving in the English language. The other part of my writing experience began during the declaration of strike by the Union governing the Federal universities in Nigeria.
I have tremendously improved as a writer during the period of the university strike here in Nigeria, courtesy of Cmonionline. This forum has taught me many lessons that will benefit me down the road. I have learned how to become a better writer and I have learned many different tips to make my work the best it can be all from this forum by reading the work of others published. During the month spent in this forum, I have written a couple of essays. I definitely struggled with some essays more than others but still brought out the best that I think is in me. (Some of the essays will be referenced at the end of this work.)
To start at the beginning, my biggest weakness as a writer is that I personally find it stressful to motivate myself to write. I never really enjoyed writing as all the writing I did back then were assigned. I do procrastinate until the last hour which most time leads to poorly written paper since I won’t get the time to put in my best coupled with the fact that English language has always not been my thing. English language was my worst subject then in secondary school. My poor taste in English language made it hard for me to articulate and put my ideas into writing.
The central part of having an education is learning how to read and write, and different ways you must read and write. I, unfortunately, have always struggled with the concept of writing ever since I could remember. However, this period of university halt has taught me that being different with my writing is a good thing. No matter how bad I thought I was, I can always continue to improve and get better at it.
This period has been a roller coaster of joy, from learning new tips on how to improve my writing to actually putting those techniques into action. I tend to put all of my ideas together into one, making it confusing for readers. In my past school essays, I’ve noticed a lot of run on sentences and other wrong grammar issues. In reference to my writing, I believe my only major issue is that I don’t get to read a lot of books, in my primary school days I read a lot of books especially novels and comics but all these reduced in my early secondary school days. I then stopped totally when I got into SS1. All those pages I’ve read over the past years drifted away like the stars do every sunrise. I now know that reading is the key to having a wonderful holiday.
As a learning writer, I would say that I’m a very personalized writer. I love put a lot of my experiences, emotions, ideas and opinions into what I write. I do my best to find something to appreciate in everything I read. When I started learning better, whenever I write, I plan what I’m going to write before jotting some important key points down. This method has proven to be very effective when writing essays.I try my best to get straight to the point trying to get my readers absorbed quickly into my ideas. I most times want my readers to be enthralled and spellbound under the charming creativity and imagination of my mind.
This few months have been a great learning experience for me. I get to give words to my thoughts and imagination. My creativity has been stimulated by writing; the more I write the more I learn. As a writer I am slowly learning to stick emotions and feelings together into sentences to stir the emotions of others. The lens of art is already giving me a new world view.
Learning to be an adequate writer has always been a journey for me. With constant practice I’ve become better and improved my writing style. However this ordeal was not an easy task. By having a strong diction, it would be a lot easier for me to relate my ideas and produce a strong writing, thus I allocated some time to read some write up on the Cmonionline platform.
Ever since knowing the Cmonionline platform my writing and thought process has improved drastically, I have learned or improved my critical thinking, writing, as well as reading skills. Also enhancing my cultural awareness by helping me dig deeper into verbalizing my thoughts. In the process I have faced many challenges and luckily with time and more reading I have nearly overcome them. When I began writing some essays here I felt I had a huge work load; it was hard—still is—to finish in time. The topics given required such critical thinking and cross analyzing that it made it challenging to complete the essays. However, other factors aside, critical thinking contributed to the problem as well. Despite that, I was always taught to complete what I’ve started, so I never gave up and did all the essay work even if it was late. Later on, I found doing them easier than before because of the constant practicing. Kudos to the platform.
My writing journey has been a solitary job, and most times I do doubt myself turning this solitude into isolation. Once I feel isolated, I begin to question my own abilities: is this paragraph captivating? Is this essay catching? Do I sound right? And all the other stuff just to produce a coherent piece of writing. In the middle of my writing, overwhelmed with incomplete thoughts and verbal dead-ends, I begin to wonder if I’m just a mimic hiding under the pretence of a writer, as graceful with words as a blacksmith smelting iron. I feel like there’s more work needed to be put into my essays for as long as eternity. I focus on one problem at a time , trying every single idea and thought that flashes through my mind. When I get stuck, I go for a walk or just pack up to watch any film or play games, I sometimes just go to sleep. Funnily enough, the answer usually comes to me once I’m away from my writing desk and (ironically) unable to write or jot anything down. Gradually, the essay drafts get better and better until I can not find any problems. All these are part of my real life experiences as a writer till now, but with time it can only get better.
I would like to point out what I consider to be flaws in my writing. I dislike sitting in a position for a long period of time just starring at my computer and waiting for ideas to come. I am someone that has a high metabolism, that likes to be on the move always. Another flaw in my writing is the inability to find focus. I often times wander off into nothing or think about something else that has absolutely nothing to do with my essay. Adding to the flaw list: I sometimes find it hard finding resources, and information to put into my work. Many a times I find the same information, either worded differently, or summarised.
I joined the Cmonionline platform sometimes last year(2021), I got to know about the essay contest but then I still had no taste for writing, so I wasn’t really interested in joining the competition because I lacked the self confidence after seeing the range in other writer’s works. I summoned the courage around early 2022 to get involved. It was a ‘now or never’ moment for me, so I enrolled on the platform and wrote my debut essay about Valentine’s Date. I wasn’t among the winners but I was given a consolation prize instead. That didn’t hinder me from moving forward and learning new techniques to help me. I enrolled again for the next competition around early March, we were to discuss about online dating issues in Nigeria, I put all of my newly earned skills and techniques into the work and hoped for a more positive result this time but I still had my doubts. I was gobsmacked when I was chosen among the winners, this was a hugely significant moment for me. The feedback from the assessors, Mr. Uchenna Nnoli and Mrs. Winnie Oyigah was very constructive and they said “in Stephen Ayilegbe we have an encourageable young man who has a good command of the English language. He is Keen to learn and improved on his last essay (debut essay). As this is a competition it is advised to back assertions with sources. It is hoped that he will also improve on this aspect. Congrats!” After that my confidence level increased, and I told myself I can always do better since the experienced judges see something in me. It was the first real validation that my dream of being a good writer might not be totally unrealistic after all.
I would like to share some tips and resources I learnt that have helped me along the way:
1. Think about your audience: It’s important to consider your audience when writing so that you can optimize your content to best serve the reader. Also, know who your audience is so as to know how you can be straightforward. After you’ve established who your audience is, you need to dive into what your audience is looking for, tailoring your writing to meet their needs.
2. Try to read everyday: Regular reading has exposed me to variety of ideas that have improved my writing. Regular reading made me familiar with different writing styles, it has expanded my vocabulary, and helped me in discovering innovative ways to use words. Reading other writers’ works, especially those in cmoni platform, is one way that have helped nurture my own writer brain.
3. Review grammar and spellings: Grammar and spelling form the foundation of good writing. It’s a very important tip I’ve learned and use as it ensures an error-free work, because sometimes one can be carried away in writing and could have made a grammatical error or a spelling error but doing a review after your work will check for those errors, giving you a near perfect work. I’ve learnt to try my best to eliminate extraneous words and to resist the temptation to wax lyrical and get straight to the point. Writing with proper grammar and spelling communicates my professionality and attention to detail. It also makes my writing easier to understand. Sometimes I choose to do the proofreading myself or give it to any of my friends available.
4. I also learnt the art of outlining my work before I begin to write. This is a good guide that has most time proven to help me do my essays without stress and overthinking. Before putting pen to proverbial paper, I sketch out an outline of what I plan to write. This has always been my battle plan, and it has helped me win the war of writing most times. Very few—and I do mean very few—writers sit down to write anything without a solid plan in mind. This tip has indeed helped me a great deal along the way. Having a good introduction and conclusion is not excluded also, as this will give the readers or audience a broad view of the subject matter.
5. Writing often: I’ve learnt to write regularly. Not everyday, but at regular intervals, I’m always trying to write something. Though it’s not always bulky, but at least it has helped me in some ways. Every craft takes practice to become truly proficient, and writing is no exception. The more I write the more I become better at it.
The major resource I’ve used, and still using, is a wordcounter site. Not only does it do the counting but also checks for grammar errors and spelling errors—it also has Thesaurus. It’s a multi-tasking website and it has proven useful for me. Another great resource I’ve been employing is the Website of Professor Paul Brians. This website contains common erros in the use of English ranging from A to Z.
About the Writer
Ayilegbe Stephen is a medical Student at Olabisi Onobanjo University. You can reach him on Twitter: AyilegbeS. Gmail is firstname.lastname@example.org