After my initial hesitation, (brought on by my morbid fear of Lagos traffic), I finally decided to be at the Connect Nigeria’s 1st Writer’s Conference which held on the 5th of April at the Protea Hotel, Ikoyi. It was the first of its kind and had “The Business of Writing” as its theme. I had been invited by my good friend, Ike Nnaebue, who was also billed to speak at the conference.
I got to the venue almost twenty minutes late and was quite impressed that the conference was well underway with the first speaker, Seun Salami already taking the participants through a session on the art of writing and being a writer. He gave extremely useful tips on developing a writer’s mindset and developing your writing craft. The session had a number of fun 60-second writing activity slots that taught a great deal on creativity and writing skill. The part that really hit home with me was when he talked about getting out of one’s comfort zone. He rounded off his session with some tips on how to overcome writer’s block.
Next up was Ike Nnaebue, one of the most talented scriptwriters and directors I’ve come across in the Nigerian movie industry. He took the participants through the business of scriptwriting. It was a total package: organizing your scripts, character creation and description, how to protect your ideas, how to monetize your art. He also shared some websites that were particularly useful for those who wanted to hone their skills in this aspect of writing. He got us all laughing real hard. His session sparked an animated discourse on copyright and idea theft issues. It was really informative.
The elegant Adaku Ufere gave a most amazing insight into the business of writing fashion and style. I will never look at fashion and style writing the same way ever again! The highlight of her session was her take on “habits of successful writers”. She talked passionately on how to embrace failure and learn from failure as a writer, using her personal experience as an example.
The next session was handled by Lekan Otufodunrin, whom Ike Nnaebue fondly referred to as “big brother”. That moniker was just perfect. His talk on the business of online editing was presented in a very “big brotherly” manner. As he spoke, I could just imagine myself as a little girl, sitting by the fire on a cool evening, listening to words of wisdom from a wise, old uncle. (Em, he’s not that old, o!) He is no doubt a seasoned and extremely professional journalist. What struck me most in his presentation was where he spoke about taking responsibility for your writing, in other words, being responsible for what you write. And the illustration for that slide, a dog taking “responsibility” by cleaning up its poop was just classic. I laughed. Hard. (Laughing is my hobby.)
The cherry on top of the cake was Okechukwu Ofili’s session. He was just there to drive us crazy. A good kind of crazy. I used to think writing and publishing a book was a big deal that involved loads of cash and time and…everything. But by the time he broke it down for us, I could have sworn I saw some people’s eyes pop out of their heads! He was also very helpful with websites that could guide anyone wishing to publish a book. He finished up by talking a bit on creativity, whilst sharing his personal experience. “Creativity is a push to be different”, he said. I will never forget that.
All the speakers at the conference kept repeating one thing: start a blog. For those of us who already had blogs but had been “lazy” with them, it was a good kick in the rear to wake up and get going.
The Connect Nigeria team is really outdid themselves on this one. The MD, Emeka Okafor has given these writers wings to fly by this conference (which was totally free of charge, by the way). Meeting him was a privilege and indeed an honor. He no doubt has fantastic ideas for the future of Nigerian writers.
I was spellbound. My mind and that of other participants I’m sure were racing with ideas as we left. It was so much fun: learning, networking and making new friends. I can’t wait for the next edition.
Em…I just thought id make you all green with envy at the latest additions to my library. Ha ha ha!
I’d love for you to follow these great people on Twitter:
Connect Nigeria – @ConnectNigeria
Seun Salami – @SeunWrites
Ike Nnaebue – @flosmith
Adaku Ufere – @loveTWP
Okechukwu Ofili – @ofilispeaks