Home Blog Peace Habila Wins N100k For The #ValentineContest 

Peace Habila Wins N100k For The #ValentineContest 


The brain is very good at finding reasons not to attempt. But if you don’t attempt you will neither fail nor succeed. Yet failure is an integral part of success. ~ Cmoni

The winner of our #ValentineContest emerged with 6 nominations but I would like you to read my commentary first.

Let me begin by saying that I’m enjoying our sessions more and I’m sure you may be wondering why this is so.

I will tell you.

Following Seth Godin has been transformative in many ways. I don’t miss his weekly Akimbo podcasts. Please follow this him and thank me later. Godin made me realise that plurality is a myth

You don’t need the numbers to be good at what you do.
All you need is the smallest viable audience and the determination to show up
consistently for them, and yourself too. Yes, when you teach, you learn.

This is why I enjoy a session with 2 attendees as much as I do with a dozen people. Of course, I know about the saying “the more the merrier” but sailors also say “the fewer on board the larger the loot”.

In any case, what I’m saying is that like fine wine, we are progressing fine!
I intend to hold at least 12 sessions/contests this year. But not without your support.
It can be 24, 36 or more but at the very minimum, we should have 12.

Ok, let’s dive in.
Do you know the origin of the word essay?
You can look up the etymology on Google.
Essay derives from the French word essai.
It means trial or attempt.

An essayist attempts. We try to convey our thoughts, ideas, and opinions as the case may be. Of course, not every story can be described as an essay but even your best fiction or poem reflects your thoughts..or at least some of it.

Now it’s sad to see that some works didn’t qualify for this contest because they didn’t fully comply with the instructions. Some didn’t meet the word count or deadline while others were either not published on a platform or included digital products from other sources. I encourage you to learn from this unsuccessful attempt. That is the essence of what we are doing. Learning from attempts, both the successful and unsuccessful ones, and building on the lessons learned.

However, it’s important to emphasize this;
Writers should be able to comprehend and follow instructions or at least seek clarification. 

One of my lecturers, Prof Igbigbi used to say that understanding or misunderstanding the question is part of the exam.
In the first case, you will pass if you know the answer.
If you don’t have the answer you can say what you understood by the question and earn some marks. (Medical students can relate)
But once you misunderstand the question, you have already started failing.
So always read, understand, and comply with the instructions.
Seek clarification when you think it’s ambiguous or confusing.

Furthermore, we need to allocate adequate time to tasks, or else we rush through and commit avoidable errors. For instance, I was planning a joint project with a friend. and we were to launch this 1st quarter of the year. Well, I did some reflection and realised I was moving too fast.
I work 30+hrs/week.
I am committed to work-related training until March 29th.
I’m also writing a book in a year.
I remotely run 2 businesses.
I have an ongoing building project.
I administer 3 platforms including this one.
If you add regular chores like school runs, walks, gym, etc..whew!
I considered all I had on my table and realised how tough it would be to add more. Thus, I suggested that we use the first quarter of 2024 to fully conceptualise the project, particularly the revenue profile, before launching.

So consider all your engagements and allow adequate time to achieve tasks. I wrote about this here. Don’t postpone until the last day because you will make mistakes.

I have also repeatedly advised writers to use editing apps like Grammarly to correct grammatical errors. At our level, it is disappointing to see works dotted with countless red marks. As an editor your first reaction is to trash such drafts and I do that all the time. I only edit drafts with few pardonable errors.

Again we also agreed to get our domains on platforms like Medium, LinkedIn, substack etc It is for our good. If you don’t get published elsewhere at least you can do that yourself.
And in doing this you will learn more about publishing online. You will learn to hyperlink texts, embed images and videos and other skills that enrich your work.
Now let me tell you this. I get a lot of joy from reading my old stories because they remind me of my progress as a writer.

Improve your social media presence. And by this, I don’t mean scrolling and chatting away your time. Be productive, engage and follow those who post about your interests. My stories titled Digital Holy Grail did justice to this point. Moreover, it is a great way to build your platform as a writer.

This counselling may sound elementary, but it’s worth repeating because we are never too big for small errors.

The craft can be simple but not necessarily easy and we know this because we chose it. As I said previously I’m committed to this journey and I urge everyone to put in the extra effort. It is simpler when we navigate together.

Recall that at the end of last year, we agreed to reward excellence. It is a step forward after a period of paying out tokens of encouragement to many. This is the right path for many reasons among which are these 3.

  1. We have passed the beginners stage. Yes, we are writing a book in a year and will also pass that stage soon enough. (More on this later)
  2. In addition to writing, we are learning other skills like publishing, editing, graphic design, video creation, research etc
  3. We are now combining these skills to create value-adding content in a multimedia world as we can see with recent works in our 21-day challenge.

So only ONE project will win this N100k, and that work must be the best of the pack.


Toxic Ghost by Peace Habila
Peace is a natural storyteller who writes with poise and brevity. The story has pace but the reader is never left behind. Her use of metaphors was so enthralling that another writer repeatedly commended her for this during the peer review. But the clincher for me is the seamless transition to the poem which — I believe by intent — related to the story. Yet there is room for improvement in editing and the digital product.
Congrats Peace, you have won N100k!

Husband Ghost by Daniel Ogba
Daniel is a natural creative writer. You are immediately struck by the title of this story and the feature image. Not Ghost Husband but Husband Ghost. And then the flipped dark shadowy image. Come on mehn!…that’s uncommon imagination. The reader will be wowed by the storyline and the sublime poetry all written in pristine grammar. I particularly like the setting of the digital product. It reminds me of the sonorous actors we see in the operas. The audio quality could be better but believe me when I say that on any other day, this project is a winner.
Thank you Daniel for a great job.

In Search Of My Better Half by Chukwuemeka Oluka
Chukwuemeka has already proved his mettle as a gifted writer in formal genres such as opinion pieces and research essays. We are now seeing his versatility in creative writing. Writers should know their audience and this punchy story highlights a common malaise in our society. The writing style packs humourous expressions in our local parlance making it even more relatable. It ends with a good poem and even though the audio quality can be improved it is evident we have a podcast in the making.
Well done Chukwuemeka.

I thank everyone for their support, especially those who participated in this contest. Congratulations to everybody. We are all winners!

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