I am a writer.
Am I? I mean, I think I am-I am taking this class to get better. You can’t get better at something you don’t already do, right? Ok, this is not a good start to an introductory essay, but understandably, I am nervous. I’ve never had to take stock of myself as a writer, I’ve always thought I lacked...technique- that thing that makes people like Buchi Emechata churn out great stories. I just write where my heart leads me.
I started writing when I was eight. My earliest memory of writing a story was one about four teenage friends: one Igbo boy, two Hausa siblings: a boy and a girl and one Yoruba girl who got lost fetching firewood in a huge forest and had to make a living by themselves. They intermarried and the Hausa girl found a Hausa Prince who was also missing...it was a wreck, but I loved it!
When I was younger, I used to get terrible headaches whenever a story came to me. I would be unable to concentrate for days until my dad got me a sheaf of computer sheets to write with-bar that, I would convert one of my schoolbooks. Those were the days when there were no deadlines, no exams or assessments to worry about...writing was a passion and a past time and I could take all the time I wanted with it.
As I grew and got into secondary school, my writing grew and changed with me. I no longer subscribed to the fantastical writing of my primary school days. Some things did not change, though-I still loathed the ending of any story (so I wrote sequels) and I never, ever killed a major character-not even in the sequels. I still haven’t till date.
University presented bigger challenges: more realistic, workable stories but little time to finish them with the vigorous schedule of medical school. It was here that I began to consider writing as a career choice, sort of like a safety net if the whole laboratory scientist thing didn’t pan out. I also realised that I can never give it up. Yes, I don’t get idea headaches anymore and my characters don’t have perfect lives, but I love writing. I love books. I love literature.
If love, passion and willingness to learn and improve don’t make me a writer, I don’t know what does.
I AM a writer.