- ‘I write to vent my anger’ – Zarah bint Jibrin | #WednesdayWritersWorld
- ‘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
- ‘If I don’t write, I run mad’ – Femi Morgan | #WednesdayWritersWorld
- “Don’t write with the intention of making money” – Zahraddeen I. Kallah
- ‘First time writers should be ready to be cheated’ – Umar Abdul
Top social media influencer, Fatima Sambo (aka Zarah bint Jibrin), says writing is a medium she uses to positively change her environment, saying “I write to vent, to praise, to reminisce…’
Thank you for having me. My name is Fatimah Sambo, nee Jibrin, 44-year-old wife and mother.
Where and when did you cut your writing teeth?
I don’t know if I should say school or Facebook. I went back to school after my kids had grown up considerably, to the point where I could conveniently juggle school and the home front without hired helps, nannies, so to speak. I enrolled into the part-time programme at the University of Abuja and I was offered English and Literary Studies. That wasn’t what I applied for though.
So I could say I cut my writing teeth during my Creative Writing course. Such that when asked to submit project topics, mine was a collection of short stories I called ‘On This Side of Life’
Why do you write?
Well, primarily because I live. You know, we were taught that writers do not live in a vacuum, and maybe, apart from science fiction, whatever it is a person writes about, is gotten from the environment. So personally, I write because I find it as an outlet for me, you know, to vent, to praise, to reminisce and stuffs like that.
What is your best writing genre?
Prose. I like talking. I admire poets though. Love reading poems, this I can understand. I do admire how they string words and play with them. Fascinating!
What is stopping you from publishing your first work?
Hmmm. My first work would be my school project. To be honest, at the time I did that, I didn’t consider myself a writer. I still don’t, not in the way that I think a writer is, I’m just a dabbler. But I feel proud being called one, it makes my head swell.
What is stopping you from pursuing writing professionally?
I have been asked this several times. Most times I laugh and let it pass. I am this kind of person that does not like pressure at all. I am ashamed to admit that the moment something becomes serious, I lose interest, like a child. I tell people that I have a very short attention span and they laugh. But it’s true.
Now I know it’s the fear of putting something out there and people attempting to read it and thinking it’s a load of craps.
Is there any of your kin who has taken your writing DNA?
I have a daughter that writes. She does prose too she says, but I haven’t seen that. But poetry, I am amazed at her skills. The first time she showed me a few to critique, I had to ask if she really did write them.
In the next ten years, what do you think will become of writers and writing in our climes?
10 years is not a very long time, not in reading and writing terms. I don’t see much changing.
How can reading culture be encouraged in our clime?
I think we have to go back to the homes and take away some of these technologies that have taken over our lives, you know, at least let’s regulate them.
When we were growing up, I think it was boredom that made us read you know. There wasn’t much to watch on TV, there was only one TV in most homes and so when we didn’t have programmes that interested us showing, we read.
These days, in one house you have two, three televisions or more, such that every kid watches what they like when they like. And that’s even for those too young to go on social media…
Who are your role models?
Ah. Role models. Let’s just say I have admiration for a lot of people.
I love the song by Whitney Houston, ‘The Greatest Love’. You know, where she said ‘I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows, if I fail, if I succeed….’
I’m kinda like that. I admire others, but I am me. I want to be me, even if different, let it just be me.
Among contemporaries, which writer influences you most?
I wouldn’t say I have been influenced exactly by contemporaries, as I do not have anything out there to compare…
What is your fondest memory as a writer?
It was when I typed and submitted my project to my supervisor. The first time I visited her with my proposal, she wasn’t thrilled. She said I was the first to come with such a proposal in the history of the department. I was shocked.
“But how can you teach creative writing as a course and not have students submitting projects on it?” I asked.
She said, well, she wasn’t aware of any such projects and she would have to speak with the Head of Department about it. It took time before she did that and my mates had gone really far with theirs. At a point I considered doing what everyone was doing, get a book and review. Time was going, not that I was in any hurry, but I didn’t want to come off as taking my work lackadaisically.
I submitted quite a number of stories and withdrew. Until my supervisor called me late one night all excited and said the HOD was happy I was bringing something different to the table and I had permission to carry on.
That was such a relief. I knew then, that I was on the right course.
What is the hardest challenge you have ever faced as a writer?
Separating me from writing! A while back I started to write, but I got scared at a point that people may read it and think it’s autobiographical. Even as I know that what I put down was fiction, in my head sometimes I feel like I have lived through it, you know, or know someone that’s lived it, and so it feels like betraying trusts and confidences.
If you were to address first time writers who want to master the art of writing, what will be your advice?
Just write. Put pen to paper, put all your thoughts down, doesn’t matter if they make sense or not, just put them down. You’d sift through them later.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you for having me.