When my friend Tish Farrell nominated me for the #mywritingprocess Blog Hop,I was amazed. What? Me? Then panic set in. What exactly have I written that merits writing about? Why would readers be interested in a virtually nonexistent writing process when all they read from me is half-baked haiku ( I know you guys are not gonna agree with me here). Let’s face it, well-meaning friends from the blogosphere have at one time or the other encouraged me to hurry up and publish a novel, to be specific a romance novel. But like I said on Tish’s blog, my major fears are not knowing who would want to read/publish the work once it is done, and a deep sense of not matching up to other writers out there. Until I started blogging two years ago, I hadn’t the faintest clue as to how many writers were out there on Amazon and elsewhere with so many great books. Intimidating indeed! But write I must, or my story dies and there’ would be none to tell it. Thank you so much Tish! 🙂
Truth be told, I’ve been writing all my life (cliché?) Well, so be it then. From scribbling poems to writing romance reads in exercises books for my friends in secondary school. 🙂 In those days who cared about nudging me on except my friends who had no idea just like me of how to get my works published. And the steamy scenes would not wash with my strict mother (A pure Presbyterian to the bone). The writing and publishing industry then was devoted to text books we used in schools and even renowned writers like Ama Ata Aidoo and Ayi Kwei Armah were published by Heinemann, outside Ghana. Fast track a few years ahead and my writing was given a notch of a glitter when I worked for a Newspaper and part of my job description was to serialise any story in the pages as a way to boost sales. I took the nation by storm with the serialisation of romance; Dangerous Desire, The Stud, The Dark Side of Love, and Woes of a Barren Woman. I made money for the Paper and made a name for myself. Do I have the scripts? People and Places (P & P) claimed the rights to my stories and I didn’t know a thing about copyright to fight. Not to bore you with my naiveté and ignorance then, I went on to write over the years, for USAID/John Hopkins/Center for Sustainable Development/Ghana Health Service; this time radio serial drama dealing with child health, female sexual reproductive health and HIV/AIDS among others. The script written in English was translated into five local languages here and aired on major radio stations all over the country. The first contract was in 1994, then later renewed in 2001, 2003 and 2006, and 2011.
2012 saw me blogging and that was when my eyes opened. Oh yes! To haiku, flash fiction and the sumptuous wonders of the blogosphere. By His grace, my works have been included in two recent anthologies; Western Haiku: A Collection, and Ballads, both produced by Dagda Publishing UK. My flash fiction has also appeared in 1 x 50 x 100, edited by Madison Woods. And now;
What Am I Working On Right Now?
Quite a lot! I’m working on about three stories now. I say a lot because I need to focus on one and have it completed before I touch the others. But like the confused person that I am I’m tackling all at the same time and going nowhere with them. I’ve completed the first draft of the one closest to my heart though. And I’m working on edits and corrections based on suggestions by a dear writer friend of mine, Nana. I keep on giving excuses upon excuses! Simply I’m lazy writer and work better under pressure!
How Does my Work Differ From Others Of Its Genre?
I believe the topic I’m writing on has been exhausted elsewhere. But in my country incest is a taboo subject, though there has been much education and sensitization over the years. In 1997 my research topic for my Masters thesis was Child Sexual Abuse under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child; A Case Study of Ghana. I had a tough time gathering data because it was virtually non-existent. The reportage and sensitization of sexual abuse was very low as to be insignificant. However, Ghana has come a long way since then; though I don’t have the stats to support my claim. The subject like I said is taboo, despite our gains. I believe my story, as I’m telling it would make us sit up. Romance, yes but with a dark twist mixed with politics and intrigue for good measure!
Why Do I Write What I Do?
I believe I’m real passionate about the subject of sexual abuse. And no, I’m not a victim. There’s something that tugs at my heart, about a helpless little girl or boy being subjected to the depravities of some male/female. I’ve always stood up for the down trodden and marginalized. We have to wake up to those things that go on in the bedrooms of children and adults who are victims and perpetrators of abuse.
Then again, since I’m working on more than one story, I ‘m doing what I like doing best, writing romance with lots and lots of breathtaking suspense!
How Does My Writing Process Work?
I really don’t have any laid down process. I write when I feel like it but more serious with it when I’m under pressure to meet a deadline. With the radio serial drama, I had to work with the technical information I was given to incorporate my story line and develop the plot. Once I have the plot and the deadline, the words flow. What I do is that I create characters that I can identify with and then, well, the rest is determined by the characters, where they want to go, what they want to do and see and how they want their story to end. 🙂
With my poems, I honestly don’t know where the words come from. I may struggle sometimes if the prompt is difficult or a bit foreign but once I start, there’s no stopping me. But I will pause for now and introduce you to Kimberly Floria of http://silentlyheardonce.wordpress.com. Kimberley is a dear friend and an amazing talented poet whose honesty and raw passion in her work are so endearing. She will continue with the #writingprocess tour on 2nd June. Kimberley is a grandmother of three and she says that is the best job there, without a doubt! 🙂 Now, please read on:
In 2008 I was forced to retire due to my fight with lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that attacks a person’s health cells. My lupus has given me a lung/heart disease called Pulmonary Hypertension, which means the blood doesn’t flow freely from my lungs to my heart. I try not to let lupus rule my life, but there are days that just getting out of bed is over whelming. I usually end up pushing myself until I have to take several days off laying in bed eating junk food because I’m too tired to cook. This frustrates me and sometimes pushes me into depression. A lot of my earlier poems on my blog are a reflection of that depression, Ouch A Jar Full of Tears and I wrote one that I try to rationalize my reasons for having developed lupus, I Flirted with Lucifer. Beware the language isn’t very sweet, not for the prudish. Doctors don’t know what causes lupus, they don’t know if it’s environmental, genetic, hormonal or from your life style. My mother had lupus, I developed lupus after a hysterectomy and I had a party girl life style. So who knows.
Honestly I have limited formal writing education. I’ve taken some free and paid classes over the years. I’ve done poetry reading and attended writing seminars. I also taught myself the craft with my ongoing subscription to Writers Digest. WD is a magazine that helps writers with tips on writing, finding agent and publishers. I learn a lot from this magazine. I’ve also read many books devoted to style, genres, plot building and character developing. I enjoy reading books on grammar and perfecting my sentence structure. I’ve had a poem published in a magazine many years ago and most recently a short story was published in an on-line magazine “You: Unlimited The Life Changing Magazine”
So here is a woman who has had and is having a wonderful time with what she loves doing best, despite the fight with lupus. Watch out for her writing life and more next week. 🙂