- ‘If you want to be successful as a writer, pursue excellence’ – Eazy
- ‘Turn your God-given talents to money-spinners’ – Nura Ahmed
- ‘Write for God and humanity’ – Richard Ali | #WednesdayWritersWorld
- ‘Meeting Soyinka was a life-changing experience’ – Mujahyd Ameen Lilo | #WednesdayWritersWorld
- ‘To be successful, writers need to treat writing as a profession’ – Vincent de Paul
- Focus, consistency and mastery are ingredients of a successful writer – Aswagaawy
Multiple awards winning writer and lawyer, Taofeek Ayeyemi (Aswagaawy), tells us how he found peace in writing and how one can shoot to stars
I am Taofeek Ayeyemi fondly called Aswagaawy, a last born of twelve. If I’m not in the court arguing, in the firm drafting, in the bedchamber with my cats poeticizing or meditating as a Sufi, I’ll then be somewhere in the world talking.
Why do you write?
I write to communicate to the world. To express other than impress. I write for people to see things in my way. I write for some to see that they’re not alone. I write because I enjoy it, I feel it’s my calling. But above all, I write when the muse calls for it at a particular point in time.
What’s your writing genre?
I write essays, poems, and proudly, haiku – a form of poetry that’s more of a discipline.
What inspires your writing?
Life. Word. Society. Experience. Word. Feelings. Emotion. Occasion. & Word again.
Where and where have your works been published? And how many contests have you won lately?
My works have been published in a number of anthologies, journals and magazines both in prints and soft copies as well as online; some of which are PIN Quarterly Journal, Peregrine Reads, Pengician, The Quills (defunct WRICON Quarterly Journal), Tuck Magazine, Inspired Magazine, Authorpedia, Boys Are Not Stones, 100Bardsof2019, Cerebral Lemon, Omojuwa, Seashores, Akitsu Quarterly, The Mamba, Presence, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Stardust Haiku, Failed Haiku, Prune Juice Journal, Otata, Under The Basho among others.
Including the ones where I emerged the First Runner-up, I’ve won about 10 poetry contests and some of them are Winner, SRAF Poetry Contest, (2016); Winner Tajif Poetry Contest (2018), 4 times Winner, PIN Monthly Challenge; Winner, PoeticWednesday Anniversary Contest, 2018; First Runner-up, Okigbo Poetry Prize, 2016 and the most recent which is the Honourable Mention Award, 1st Morioka International Haiku Contest, 2019.
What inspired your first published work?
My debut collection “Oro n Bo: Dripping Words” was inspired by the zeal to correct the societal vices and misfit as well as encouraging unity among the various tribes of Nigeria.
Describe your writing style in one word?
What writing styles are easy for you to pull off?
I have experimented various styles of writing styles including free verse, metrical verse and those with technicalities such as haiku, and I’ve found them easily approached. I think I can experiment any style, it depends on which I intend to use in any event.
Aside from being a writer what other career would you settle for?
Public speaking, and my profession, Law.
Give us a little talk on being a writer-entrepreneur/reviewer/ writer or a blog/website you run.
Here, I’ll borrow the words of Rasak Malik Gbolahan in his presentation at Writers Connect titled “Writing, an Adventure that Requires Decision Making” where he asked:
“…friends, how do you feel if you don’t write? Do you feel happy? Do you feel sad? Don’t you think writing is worthless? Don’t you think it is crazy to write? Don’t you think you don’t need to write? Ask yourself some of these important questions before you call yourself a writer/poet. I have asked myself several times. I am aware of the fact that my life is incomplete without writing. What about your life?”
If you were to pick any writer from among your Facebook friends or writing groups whose works inspire you the most, who would it be?
I have a number of them. However, Adedayo Agarau tops the list.
What has been the best part of your writing journey?
The day I discover my writing style.
What do you think is the best way for writers of this time to make money?
Well, the writing world is crowdy. But then, like every other profession, you’ll always find your own way. You make money by entering and winning contests, freelance writing, when you publish your work with Journals that pay upon publication, publishing your book for sale among others. I’ve made money from these I mention. But I know it’s not limited to these.
In five years time, what do you think would become of Nigerian writers and the demand for their works?
I must say, Nigerian contemporary literary field has become very competitive; this is not to say writers are to be in competition with one another. What I mean is the growth is greater compared to the past. In five years, Nigerian writers will become valuable and more respected and our works will enjoy more demand to the level of international requests. In many international contests, Nigerians have found their space as well as Journals. In fact, a current issue of “Rattle,” dedicated to African writers, out of the eleven poets, more than half are Nigerians. Nigerian writers will be great.
If you were to be in a gathering where you are to address first-time writers/authors who want to profit from their writing, what would you say to them?
As always, I use to tell writers to identify their strength and wisely choose their genre or niche, this focus enhances perfection. And once this is identified, then “consistency is the key.” In the words of George Swede, he said “keep going until you find your voice and then let it take you where it will” – a profitable destination of course. But the time between finding your voice and making profit should be well maximized. Mastery should firstly be appreciated.
Thank you for Inspiring us today.