I always waited for the right time to write especially after having my second child. My walls were often decorated with sticky notes to remember my to-do list and my year planner is rarely filled with anything despite its yearly replacement until I joined the Cmonionline writing contest.
Well, it wasn’t a sudden transformation. Thank goodness I loved to read so, I was reading more than I was writing on the platform. We had a writing retreat and I found myself writing more than I used to. Before then, my last poem was dated April 28, 2017. I thought I had permanent writer’s block. First, I blamed marriage, then childbearing, and then the life of a working, full-time mum but one piece of advice from the 2022 Cmoni Summer Writing Retreat kept ringing in my head — ‘You don’t have to write it all. You can start with a line per day. Just write frequently. Write something every day! ‘ But even that seemed too much of a task.
The pile of laundry glared at me from the corner in which I squeezed them. Unknown to me, my first son Jojo had smeared the freshly scrubbed tiles with palm oil and his faithful accomplice in rascality, and my second son Nif has started to distribute the stains evenly in the parlour. That was the exact time I started putting my pen to paper to scribble a new idea for writing my story. Oh my gosh! Will I ever get to write something a day?
Every day I get new ideas but because I don’t pen them down I tend to forget. So many possible write-ups became impossible. Many of my great articles were never born. Numerous mind-blowing poems became a mirage and I plunged into a state of melancholy reading so much from other people without having much to show myself.
Often, writers experience a block — a period when inspirations fail to become words but I discovered my challenge was never a block but procrastination. So I decided to always carry my diary in a tote bag. My tote contained all my essentials even when I found myself in unplanned places. After all desperate times, they say call for desperate measures. The reason for this is simple. Anytime a new idea pops in, I bring out my diary and pen it down.
Ideas, I have discovered, come from our daily routine; washing plates, cooking, in the marketplace, and even in the toilet. Funny, isn’t it? Today while the Reverend Father dictated his sermon, an idea popped in and this article was born. I wrote just a few lines, read from others later in the day and completed this beautiful piece at midnight. Of course, I had my earphones pouring music from my inspirational playlist into my subconscious mind. This works for me when I need to ease stress.
This reminds me of an article on the Medium app that opines that we often want a perfect essay that we overuse big words and expressions which makes our writing too stiff and boring. The writer prided himself on his ability to write 480 000 words a month without running out of ideas. You don’t have to make it complex. Keep it simple like Twitter tweets but engaging like its comments. Lol. My frequent reading from these pages paid off after all.
In one night, I have taken a giant step and I don’t plan to retrace my steps, instead, I’m leaping forward into writing one essay or a poem of about 500 words a day and if you are like my previous self, drop the excuses and join my train. You too can do it!
Becky Peleowo can be reached @Beccangels2000