I was eight when I made the decision to write. I read a lot, and I still do. Before I was eight, I was reading everything from biographies to fictions and poetry. I read both Nigerian and foreign literature. I read books like Koku Baboni, Sugar Girl, Oliver Twist, The Drummer Boy, Othello, Jane Erye, The Lion and The Jewel and A Midsummer Night's Dream. My dad also had a few boxes in our storage filled with his books, books he had read while in the army and in college. After I grew dissatisfied with my assigned school readings and my age appropriate books, I would sneak into the storage to choose from my dad's stash. He is an extensive reader, and he had a lot of books in his collection, some were not appropriate for me. However, I was just a young girl in love with words. Books about the Berlin wall, the Pearl Harbor attack and also Thrillers filled with sex and violent scenes filled my childhood.
I remember exactly where I was sitting when I made the decision to write; I was sitting on our housemaid's bed. Her room was one of my reading hideouts. My hideouts were the places I hid while my sister helped my mom and the maid in the kitchen. My other hideout was behind the biggest couch in the living room. I spent hours behind our stripped mud colored couch straining my eyes in the dark against words in a book, but I had been discovered and reprimanded too many times to want to go back there. Hence, the maid's room. I cannot recall the book I was reading, but the author was female and Nigerian. Her biography on the back cover stated that she either started writing or published the particular book I was reading at 16. Right after I read that, I told myself "I can do this too." I immediately grabbed a pen and a new notebook to pen my first story. It took a few months to complete. It was about a girl who lost her mother and was sent by her father to London after high school to live with his sister and to go to college. She got involved in the wrong crowd and ended up getting pregnant. The last time I read that story, I laughed out loud at my bad writing. :) Even though I wrote like a two year old and the end results of my writings were
bad terrible, I longed to produced sentences strung into one another. My desire was, and still is, to tell a story.
When I went to high school, I excelled in Literature. I was a star literature student. I was a good student, but literature was my thing. In high school, I also met a friend and alongside her, my love for writing grew permanent roots downward and I flourished. I met Ogecha Diane Haruna. She is a triple treat. She could write, she was a powerful singer/songwriter and she drew captivating images. She did it all effortlessly, and every time I read her stories, I told myself I could do even better. I realized she was good, not only, because she had a talent,but she wrote a lot. While we were in class, she wrote. In between classes, she wrote. During recess, she was writing, drawing or singing. From her, I learned I needed to keep doing it and doing it and doing it to get better. We wrote
some one or two songs together. Ogecha is currently a gospel artist. Geez, I was not surprised when I came across her on Reverbnation, she is made for great things. Support her!
Today, I still love to write. I love to create stories and move a creative scene from my head to paper. Sometimes, I start writing not knowing where I am headed, but I always choose a road and it led somewhere in most cases. In college, I got busy with school , but I wrote in my journal. I sent in an article to my undergraduate newspaper; it was accepted and published. I did my internship and was recognized as a writer so I wrote press releases and also wrote for their magazine, newsletter and marketing materials.I also started an anonymous blog in 2006. In June 2011, when my work contract was nearing its end, and I had no other job offer, I decided it was time to put the thought that had been swimming in my head for a few months into action.Three months earlier, I had communicated with Ogecha on Facebook, and she encouraged me to go for it. Then, I got two random calls a couple of days before I officially launched my first public blog as JostWrite. One was from my sister and another from a dear friend, and they both said "Ola, why are you not writing? You should be doing this professionally." I had not told anyone what I was thinking, but I was praying. Oh geez, I was praying. :)
I gave birth to JostWrite in June without a concrete plan. JostWrite is my growing baby. It is my baby and whatever I dream for it, choose for it and think towards it is what I get. I have subscribed to the 10,000 hours of work. Hard work. Networking. Sharing. Opening up and professionalism. I was excited when I signed my first client right after I started talking about JostWrite, but that gig lasted two weeks. When It was done, it took another four months between my sister's wedding, a move from DC to Minnesota and leaving town to visit DC for a month, to sign my next client and a few days after that to sign the next. I am thankful to be able to live at home for free. :)
This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, building and growing a business. I just want a 9-5 job sometimes, but with each person I write for and each organization that commends my job well done...I realize this is what I want to do.
I have decided to share my journey with you. My journey will include questions like whether getting a part -time job to fund myself is the way to go or should I get a full time job and have JostWrite be a midnight hustle. I would be sharing my failures, my fears, my mistakes, my successes and my joys. I would be sharing the steps towards creating a logo, a website, a brand, mission statement and vision.I will try to be as open as much as is possible, but you will be getting glimpses into some aspect and a full glance into others.
I ask that you join me on this scary, but worth my while journey.
Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!