Thursday, November 19, 2009

Writing? What was I thinking?!

Hi. I'm Ufuoma Daniella Ojo. As of the day of writing this post I live in a small town just outside London's North West called Bushey Heath.

My parents are Nigerian, although they're both also British citizens. My dad has eight children - some born in London and others in Nigeria. So we were exposed to both the British and Nigerian cultures. When I was six years old my parents relocated to Nigeria where story telling is such a big part of the custom and lifestyle. Story tellers are typically elderly people, sometimes sitting in the shade of a tree with full branches with little children seated around them in a circle, and often included a call-respond sing-along that involved the story teller and the listeners. Some of these stories were especially scary because one could never tell if they were true or not. The fact that the faces of the children sitting around the elderly story teller showed rapt attention seemed like a powerful drug to me, and I think that's where my desire to tell stories originated.

I started writing my first novel five years ago. It took me all of two years to write seven pages! Yes, two years. I had all the excuses in the world. At the time I was working in New York and hadn't quite caught the hang of using a laptop (hated the feel of the keys), plus I was planning on moving back home to London so I was very involved in the relocation process. So like any organized woman I told myself that I would write when I bought a PC and then I bought a PC, but of course I couldn't very well set it up because I was relocating! I had the PC shipped to my mum's address in London, and when I finally got to London I had to wait until I got my own place to unpack and setup the PC. It really wasn't my fault ;-)

Alas, you guessed it! When I moved into my own place I realized that I didn't have the right kind of outlet for my PC, so it took some more time to get that sorted. And on and on. What finally made the difference for me was the first sermon I heard in 2008. The preacher talked about taking an audit of one's life. So many us have plans, expectations and dreams that we hope to achieve at some point during the year, but the sad truth is that not many of us actually get there. It got me thinking about this so called passion of mine. I didn't want another year to go by with no words to show for it so I made a decision to write every day. And thank God for grace, because I typed my last word on Christmas eve last year. Of course, this was before learning about the editing wringer that is publishing. I learnt about the value and discipline of diligence and I pray that I continue to grow, even through (or especially through) rejections. I lost my Technical Writing job four months ago, but I believe that I'm where I'm supposed to be and living proof that God does open His hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

I'm looking forward to what God will do next.


  1. All of us are pretty good at procrastinating, I think. Until we confirm the nudge in our own spirit. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You paint a fascinating picture of the Nigerian story teller. As a South African, I can see the old person under that huge tree, surrounded by grubby children enthralled in the story. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. As an habitual procrastinator, I love to hear from fellow travellers. Glad you finally got the PC set up and words on the page. Good luck with your job search.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you find the perfect job soon.

  5. Ufuoma, we all come up with great excuses to justify our procrastination! Thanks for sharing your story with us :-)

  6. I did enjoy reading your post and unfortunately do understand that procrastination stuff. Was lovely being able to give you a hug at the ACFW conference in Denver!