Here is another exciting interview we are bringing to you. We had the privilege of speaking with Mimi Osakwe.
Mimi (Miriam) Osakwe is a Nigerian/British PR, Communications & Events Professional, Writer and Lifestyle Blogger. She is also a huge foodie, she loves travelling, She is an amateur photographer, an avid reader and a lover of the arts, arts of an African origin in particular.
- How long have you been writing?
I’ve actually been writing since I was about eight years old (so just over 20 years now). My love for writing really began when I started writing articles for a children’s news show on BBC called Newsround when I became one of their ‘Press Packers’ and would submit stories to them. I continued writing articles throughout secondary school, college and my undergrad for school newsletters, magazines and various websites. I was blessed enough to have the opportunity to intern for two top UK ethnic publications, The Voice newspaper and Pride magazine. I went on to do a Masters in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield and I’ve been writing ever since.
- How long have you been freelancing?
I just started freelance writing in January 2017 so it’s still something I’m getting used to.
- In the course of your freelancing, what are some of the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Writer’s block – one of my major issues. Sometimes I have the ideas in my head but don’t know how to articulate them in the way that would make sense to others. Still battling with this but I’ve now created a schedule of posts for when I get stuck on what to write which has been very helpful with my blog. I’m also looking at other mediums to use for when I can’t get the written words right e.g. producing video content.
- What are your favourite tools for working?
- Microsoft Word firstly for writing my pieces
- Social Media for promoting my work
- Pexels for great stock images to accompany my features when I can’t physically take a picture of the right image
- Tell us about your works.
In my short time of professional freelancing, I’ve been blessed to have my work featured in global websites such as The Huffington Post on two occasions, xoNecole.com and Bella Naija. I also maintain my lifestyle and culture blog ‘Ramblings of Ms Mimi’ I look forward to seeing more published features as a freelance writer.
- How do you motivate yourself to write?
I read. I read the news as I may easily find current topics I would like to discuss, get inspired by reading pieces on my favourite blogs. I also head to a few of my favourite websites such as Huffington Post, Essence.com, Bella Naija, Marie Claire and much more. I also get motivated by watching TEDX Talks which always inspires me to get creative with my work and writing.
- What is something you’ve learnt about freelancing that others can learn also from?
I’ve learnt that I’m just one of millions of people trying to get my feature published in that section of a magazine, website or newspaper, so my work needs to be unique and I need to show that I’ve done my research before I hit send on that pitch email. If you take a few minutes to study the publication, identify the section you think your intended feature would fit and tailor it to suit their audience, identify the best person to contact rather than address the pitch email with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’, you’re more likely to get a response. It definitely worked for me and blanket emails are now a thing of the past for me.
- Tell us about one of your works you consider as your favourite.
That would probably be my feature titled ‘Long Distance Relationships With A Goal’. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people it made an impact on, my blog audience grew hugely with this feature with people from around the world reading, commenting and sharing this piece. It was a story from personal experience so all of the tips shared in that post came from the heart and I was so happy that so many people could relate and found it helpful. You can have a read it of it on Huffington Post here
- What is your best writing tip?
Stay unique. Make sure your writing is true to you and not an imitation of something you’ve seen online. Keep your writing voice authentic
- What is your best freelancing tip?
Do not send out substandard work. Your work will always speak for you and if a client is more than satisfied with your work, you will most likely get a good referral and in turn get more freelancing opportunities
- What advice would you give to a budding freelancer or writer?
Social media can be one of your greatest tools for success so make the most of it. Use sites like Twitter and Instagram to promote your work, grow your personal brand and grow your audience. It’s a great and easy way to reach new clients too
Also, stay focused and don’t get defeated. There will be many times where that publication won’t respond to you, or you may not get as many likes or views on that blog post but don’t quit. Keep pushing, persistence always pays off.