Hello, African freelancers, here is the first interview session we will be having on our website, and we are speaking with Ebukun Gbemisola Ogunyemi popularly known as Ibukunwrites, on writing and freelancing.
Here is our interview with her. Enjoy this insightful interview!
1. Can you introduce yourself to us?
I am Ebukun Gbemisola Ogunyemi conveniently known as Ibukunwrites (smiles). I’m a Christian, a Writer; I do Screen, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Content etc. I’m also an avid Reader, Freelancer, Blogger, Reviewer. . . I comment on social issues at times. . . I’m an ardent lover of Music, African Literature, Art, Film, Media and Documentary and I love food if that counts . . . and I’m very much passionate about women and children related issues! Basically, I’m writing and speaking in all its forms.
2. How long have you been writing?
Breaking it down, I’d say, I’ve been writing ‘unprofessionally’ since I was in primary school; from those little plays to short stories, poems, articles, interviews to undergraduate days till now but if I’m gonna say professionally and officially, I’d say going to three years now! Thinking about it now, that’s a long time altogether (smiles).
3. How long have you been freelancing?
Well I’ve been freelancing for quite a while because in between my unprofessional days, I did quite a number but if I’m to really count from where it does matter, I’d say a year and a half now and in between that time, I’ve had to walk away from some while I continued with others.
4. In the course of your freelancing, what are some of the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
I faced quite a lot. Number one is, embracing all opportunities which led to my not being able to say ‘No’ and it affected the confidence I had in myself as a writer and also, my time management too. I remember a vivid example was when someone contacted me saying my writing was well appreciated and they’d love if I come on board and be a part of that beautiful outfit. I was more than excited ’cause for me every little opportunity I get is big and that opportunity was a huge one to help nurture my brand and give exposure and of course, there was no pay attached which didn’t bother me ‘because my writing journey has been quite a lonely and self-supportive one so all I wanted to do was do my best, maximize the opportunities and care less if I was paid or not. I wanted a platform that believed in me just as much as I believed in myself so getting all of those opportunities was all I had been waiting for. So we got on to it, I had to submit two articles about a particular topic that wasn’t really my thing. It’s not my writing voice. It didn’t give my inspiration nor excitement still I did my best and submitted but I never got a feedback since then. I felt bad like I had disappointed the person you know, he/she probably saw something and that thing was nowhere to be found in what I had submitted and maybe I wasn’t as good as they say you know. . . So I had to teach myself not to sideline my writing voice. Everybody has one and when you discover it, it’s profitable to also know that it isn’t just for decor. And then I realized that anything I had to do more digging than self-contribution is a No for me! I mean if I write an article and 85% is renovated online material and 15% from me or probably don’t even understand what I was writing that it felt like rewriting paragraph one for two, then it’s time to drop that thing and pick something else ‘cos that’s not stepping out of your comfort zone, that’s killing my inspiration.
And then I realized that anything I had to do more digging than self-contribution is a No for me! I mean if I write an article and 85% is renovated online material and 15% from me or probably don’t even understand what I was writing that it felt like rewriting paragraph one for two, then it’s time to drop that thing and pick something else ‘cos that’s not stepping out of your comfort zone, that’s killing my inspiration.
I let myself realize that stepping out of your comfort zone is not going into music when you know you don’t have a good voice, it is trying to sing a different note when all you wanna do is sing soprano! Still the same voice. . . So, getting out of comfort zone means you’re still in the same zone just leaving your most comfortable, that’s all but some people walk out of their zone and that leads to questions of identity like I did in that situation. And then the second one is I had to teach myself to know when to walk away from some opportunities. Some platforms wanna give you traffic and limit your creativity. I had to teach myself to pick my standard/creative over a million of traffic. Sometimes people say ‘it’s my job, there’s nothing I can do about it!’. . . well, personally, I don’t wanna spend my time pulling gossips about people/changing my narratives when all I want to do is give out contents that help, develop and nurture. . . so I had to learn to say No, it’s okay! I’ll take my chances and keep on trying till I find the one.
5. What are your favourite tools for working?
A writing pad, my laptop and my phone and sometimes, music and that’s because it aids focus when I’m writing at times and sometimes it distracts and over time, I’ve discovered that for me, some writing topics are music friendly while some are not. So when I’m writing and I’m conscious of the lyrics I sing out, then it’s time to cut it off.
6. Tell us about your book “Creeping voices”
My book “Creeping Voices” will always be a part of my writing journey that’s gonna serve as a reminder of how it all started. It’s a compilation of poems I wrote at a very defining time in my life. I was having all these emotions inside of me that wanted out so bad then I went through an experience that made me realise I need to find happiness even if it has to be a short time. So I started documenting my feelings each day on a hospital bed and by the time I had left, I had over 76 emotions in poems to deal with and it was a true reflection of how I felt inside when it comes to the memories affected. So I didn’t want to keep to myself, so I decided to make it into an eBook and even though I published it online, I gave it a ridiculous price tag because I was trying so hard to protect my feelings. I didn’t want assumptions or untrue meanings round them. So last year, I found the strength to be okay in that aspect so I did a giveaway of the book to celebrate a very good friend and sister and I realised that when you begin to address your issues and open yourself to healing, changes start to reflect in those areas and it was evident in my writings too. So it went from me releasing my pent up emotions to journeying the path I’ve been called to walk as I opened myself to healing every day which I didn’t see at the beginning but as time went by. Basically, Creeping Voices is a boom where I let people into my pent up emotions and struggles on friendship, love, pain, heartbreak, loss and betrayal.
7. How do you motivate yourself to write?
I think it’s one thing to have inspiration and it’s another thing to be motivated to write (which is putting those inspirations into words) and how I do that is by being intentional about it. Often times I have to make myself abandon every other thing, probably sleep late or wake up in the middle of the night to write except for days when those words are quite short, I write them in my phone because I get inspiration sometimes from even the tiniest of things and at times I build on that idea at the minute of posting especially when it comes to the notes that follow my poems/write ups on Instagram. . .I could be sitting, doing nothing or probably meditating and it just comes like that and I let it flow, no preconceived thought or draftings. That’s why I tend to call myself an impulsive writer at times.
8. What advice would you give to a budding freelancer or a writer?
My advice to every budding and growing freelancer/writer is to be development-conscious and not so money driven because at the very beginning of freelancing and maybe for quite a while, you might have to do a lot of freebies than you get paid. Don’t be upset about it! See it like you’re an intern. . .it doesn’t mean you’re not good enough but you’re taking the opportunities to sharpen your skill, gain experience and build your profile! Sometimes you have to deprive yourself of some entitlements to add value to yourself! It’s not forever. Finally, don’t be so obsessed with getting your name out there that you jump on every platform. You don’t have to take everything!