Happy Independence Nigeria

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE NIGERIA!
Nigeria is 58!

Somehow, I am struggling to whip up the usual patriotic fervor to wish my beloved country a happy Independence Day celebration. In years past I was able to come up with something but this morning, all I feel is heaviness.
Heaviness at the number of basic things that are not working and the sense of hopelessness that envelops the land.

As a young child, Independence Day celebrations were a big deal. Food was exchanged between neighbours and friends; school children held parades, and old men drank in glee, when they remembered the nation was free.

But today I’m asking myself, ‘’what exactly is this freedom we speak of?’’

What is the real value of freedom when we lack the essentials of life?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating that we return to colonialism but how independent are we right now, fifty-eight years after independence?

Children are unable to afford books that cost less than a dollar at elementary school level. They struggle all through elementary school, sometimes studying in open air classrooms or under leaky roofs, sitting at broken down desks, taught by frustrated Teachers! A good number give up and drop out. An impressive number gets through and somehow make it to the end of secondary school. Then a bad dream becomes a nightmare. Gaining admission into the university is a struggle as difficult as David facing the lion and the bear, and very often this David does not make it out alive.

University life is fraught with the struggles of ancient books, broken down equipment and embittered lecturers. The list of woes is endless and becomes an undefeatable goliath when the child finally graduates and gets into the labour market!

There is a strong disconnect between the rulers and the ruled; government policies are beautiful on paper but have little relevance for the people. Democracy is nothing more than ‘’a shiny toy’’ that the people play with and whose value they have no understanding of.

In the past few weeks and months, I have had cause to travel extensively across Nigeria. Everywhere I have gone, the story is the same. The roads are terrible, the airports are shameful and infrastructure is in shambles. The usual ebullience associated with Nigerians is lacking and all I see is deep dissatisfaction with the status quo. Yet everyone seems helpless. I see the quiet desperation of people, struggling like they are in a pool of jelly, unable to get out though uncomfortable with where they find themselves.

So, again I ask, what is the value of this freedom we have?

Those who can send their kids abroad for better education. They go abroad for quality healthcare. We import food and drink, drugs and pharmaceuticals, etc. our best clothes are imported and our cars are imported. A foreign graduate is given consideration for jobs above his local colleague and yet we say we are free?

Happy Independence Nigeria, may your sun rise in the morning.

Nigeria

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Keeping the big picture in mind

I am currently doing a rewrite of one of my older books for children. I wrote this book several years ago but recently I needed to do a review and a rewrite.

This is part of the writing process I do not particularly enjoy. I like to write once and never go back to it again, ever! But it is something I must do. It is necessary, for now.

By the time I’m done, the book would be smaller, there would be fewer words, and I would have added a glossary, changed some pictures, and generally made enough changes to make it suitable for the readership I am targeting.

I know it would be exciting when I finally see the ” new old book” in the bookstores, I will be very happy to see the smile on a child’s face as they discover something new from this book I have written. 

But right now, I am not enjoying the process. I have sleepless nights and agonizing moments of wondering what to remove and what to keep as I hunch over my computer.

And as always, I am learning a lesson about real life.

Great outcomes are not always the result of enjoyable processes and procedures. No woman ever enjoys labour, or the whole process of being pregnant. The peasant farmer does not enjoy the grueling process of cutting and weeding and pruning. That something is not pleasant does not mean it is not good.

Buildings look ugly when under construction. When the process seems tiring and ugly think about the finish line and how the outcome would make you feel, change a life, alter a situation. Keeping the big picture in my mind makes it easier to go through the process.

What ugly or unpleasant process are you currently going through? 
Comment and let me know. May you find the strength to go through, and come out stronger and better!

Do Editors need editors?

One of the questions that was asked during the W2I conference was, as a writer/editor do you need to give your work to another writer to edit for you?

Interesting question. Interesting stuff happens at trade shows!

Let me tell a little story to answer that question.
As a child I loved writing essays, and letters too. I loved anything that would require me to write for a long time, loved filling page after page with my not-so-beautiful handwriting. If it was for a test or an exam, I would shoot up my hand after a few minutes and say, “paper”, to the often annoyance of people less inclined to write long epistles. I could write five or six pages while my classmates were struggling to fill two sheets. And I always got high marks; but I wasn’t always top of the class in English language or essay writing. I was very often top, but not always and certainly not often enough for my liking. And I knew why.

I was bedeviled by a reluctance to read my work over. I would write and submit without going through it again to see if I had made a mistake, misspelt a word, or left out a vital point. And I would lose marks because of that. I knew the reason I was losing marks but I continued with my self-sabotaging practice.

Unfortunately when something becomes a habit it is difficult to break and that childhood habit followed me into my writing many years later. I would cring after posting an article because it was only then I would see how many errors there were in it. Yet, I was editing for others and making sure they had error-free documents!

Some of my earlier books have avoidable errors because I was reluctant to give out my work for proper editing. But I have learnt, and I have grown.

No document leaves my hand now until I have checked and cross-checked it several times, and no book of mine gets published until it has been properly edited by someone else.

There are several reasons why an editor needs an editor and soon we will talk about them in my newsletter.

So to answer that question, yes, an editor does need an editor!

Writing To Inspire 2018

Trade shows and the writing trade
Sometime in 2017, I had the privilege of participating in a webinar for a group of business people. It was a diverse group and the organizers somehow found a way to give general, yet relevant advice to everyone.
I do not remember all I learnt that day, (by the way, it is futile to think we can recall all we learn from seminars and workshops. That is why you must always take notes, refer to them often and try to apply as much as you can).
One of the things that stayed with me from that webinar is the importance of trade shows no matter your trade. The speaker said to us that trade shows have a way of inspiring and motivating the “trader” and he advised that we put aside some money every year for trade shows.
Earlier this year, I attended a trade show for my network marketing business and I’m still reaping the benefits of that trip.
This past weekend was another trade show of sorts for me. It was the Writing To Inspire conference 2018. 
It was very impactful just being in a roomful of writers, readers, booksellers, poets, songwriters, graphic artistes and so many others that make the writing industry possible.
I believe I came away a better writer. I made new friends, expanded my network, and strengthened my resolve to keep working at my craft till I “become.”
What trade are you in? What trade show are you planning for?
Comment and let’s see if we can help make your dream come true.

The Fire Conferences

I met some really phenomenal ladies last week; women who are making tangible differences in various fields of endeavour but who are held down by age old beliefs and retrogrssesive cultural beliefs about the place of the female Homo sapiens.

What I find particularly heartbreaking though is the attitude of some of my sisters. We seem like the proverbial horse tied to the plastic chair. Some of the issues facing us are really daunting no doubt but some of them are more issues of the mind than anything else. We seem to have bought the lie that there really is a glass ceiling that we are not allowed to shatter. Maybe there is a glass ceiling but hello?

That is why it is made of glass. Break it and don’t apologize. So many others have done it before you. And many more will do it.
Which is why I run the FIRE conferences, to help you light a fire in your career, business, marriage and life. You are female but you can be intentionally relevant everywhere.

Get fired up. Book to attend a fire conference in your city.

Keep Moving, keep moving!

June is generally accepted as Fathers month and I remember my Dad. My Dad was the very quiet sort, and he was not a particularly eloquent sort. He had more sons than daughters and he was fiercely protective of his daughters.

We lived in a sort of Close, but the path by our compound also connected to a larger street and the traffic through our close was quite significant.

My Dad would place his rocking chair on the veranda with a book in his hands and read, sometimes for hours.

Whenever we were playing outside or going about our chores, he would look up from time to time with an indulgent half smile and continue without saying a word.

All too often, a guy would pass by and slow down to maybe take a look at Papa’s girls, or not, but whenever that happened, Papa would lower the book, and stand up and say in a growly voice

“Keep moving, keep moving!”

It always worked. They kept moving. My Dad’s premises was not where you stood to stare if you had no business there.

This week don’t stand and stare at stuff that don’t add value to your goals. Keep moving in the direction of your dreams. Set a goal for this last week of June. Write your action plans, work it, and whatever you do, Keep moving!

Shalom.

Sunday Book review: New Book Alert

After close to a year of back and forth, my new book is set to hit the virtual shelves in a matter of days.

The book, GOD IS NOT HERE is particularly special to me. It is a book set in the part of the world where I come from, the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

It tells the story of the futility of the fight for control of
resources in the Delta; a fight with no winners. A fight that leaves the people concluding that God Is Not Here.

God is not here has been receiving rave reviews and I look forward to releasing it to you my dear blog followers. It will be available on amazon.com, okadabooks.com, davinadiaries.com and on my website, http://www.elsiewrite.com

In the meantime, you can pre-order at http://www.elsiewrite.com.Or contact us here:

The pre-order price is NGN750. or $3.

The book is available from the 5th of February.

Save the date

God is not here<