Nigeria, back in 1977 held what was undoubtedly one of the most lavish events on the African continent. It was the second festival of [Black] Arts and culture hosted in Lagos during the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo. Why am I interested in this piece of history? Well sometimes the writer’s craft requires him or her to conduct this kind of research in order to tell stories that are both entertaining and accurate therefore informative. This is part of the creative process!
The writer has one of the most imaginative minds. Like any creative- inventors, fashion designers, musicians- s/he tasks the mind to create an imaginary reality and be able to translate said reality in a way that it becomes perceivable by others. This can often be a fun process. But the truth is that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Agreed, writing comes easily to the born-writer. But just the same way a singer like Asa may sometimes have sour throat, so also does a writer experience certain impediments that make storytelling a rather tedious process. That said, the writer’s creative process is like any other process; it has it’s ups and downs. And yet it is especially fun.
The writer’s creative process could be informed by sheer talent or academic training as the case may be. In my case, it’s all about the talent. Storytelling has always been a part of me. Right early on in life I read a lot of those interesting kiddies books and teenage literature such as R.S Stine’s Goosebumps series as well as African contents by such authours as Cyprian Ekwensi and Chinua Achebe (i.e. Tale by Moonlight, Eze Goes to School). As I voraciously read these books and more, I began to develop my ability to imagine [creatively] and tell stories. And by the time I was in junior secondary school, I was so eager to get my stories read so much so I was writing and circulating copies of my work to colleagues. They read and gave feedback. And while some liked it, others thought it was trash. I kept writing and nurturing the process nonetheless.
Today, it is quite an interesting thing for me to be able to craft stories up in my head and then tell it and be able to entertain and educate people. But like I said, this process has more to it than merely being interesting. It is quite the process; requiring lots of work and dedication. One would have to research a lot for the topic one is writing about. And while the research has to reflect on the story, the writer also needs to make it blend with the story such that it doesn’t merely become another academic work.
But beyond the research, another important aspect of the creative process of a writer is getting equipped for the job. Now I mentioned earlier that some writers are trained to do so by going to school and studying literary processes. But not every writer does. Yet that doesn’t mean that the writer with talent doesn’t have to know the exact same technical aspects of storytelling as the skilled writer. I myself had to learn a lot back in secondary school all thanks to my literature/English language teachers. And till today, I continue to learn everyday. There are simply so much to learn before one can become equipped enough to make a fine writer…
There is a lot to talk about the writer’s creative process. And I must confess I never really gave the topic much thought until earlier this month when a particular reader of this blog challenged me to talk about my creative process. So here…I hope I’ve tried. Thanks a lot for your email Nmecha…