Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
September 3rd! Finally the day had arrived when I would find out whether I was chosen as a mentee (or alternate mentee) for the Pitch Wars challenge. It was 6:00 a.m. and as I prepared for the day, I grabbed my hubby’s phone. I pulled up the link and anxiously scanned down the list of names. Would this be the day? Would this be the day when I would find myself leaps and bounds closer to my dream? The farther down the list I read, the more dread I felt. To my disappointment I was not chosen.
Yes, disappointment is the stock-in-trade of a writer. I have never heard of or met a writer who hasn’t faced some sort of setback during their journey. None of us come out of the womb with the knowledge it takes to become a true writer. It is something that is taught, learned and practiced. But it is also something that you feel. A lot goes into the process and many of us gain and lose parts of ourselves in equal portions.
I really wanted to believe that I was finally there; that my work was ready for the next level. To my surprise the mentors that I chose reached out to me and explained in different ways why I was not chosen by them. (some gentler than others LOL). Though I received some positive critiques, what stood out to me most were words like ‘focus’ and ‘organization’. This of course was a hard pill to swallow. I decided to reach out to a mentor who I knew would be fair but straight-forward.
With everything that she shared with me, one thing really stood out. She referred to a published writer who said in so many words, that one should write, finish and put aside their first manuscript. Start on your next story but use all the things available to you such as critiquing groups, professional editors, social media etc. Do things write, LOL I mean right the second time and work on getting that book published. Once you’ve done that, go back to your first book. You will have a different outlook on publishing. You may in fact be more skilled. You’ll be able to look at your old work with a more objective eye. You’ll be able to see the glaringly obvious mistakes; all the things that you could not or would not see before. Then perhaps you’ll be able to get that piece of work published.
When I read over her response to my correspondence again, I knew that she was right. I was forced to re-evaluate my position. ‘Amachi’s Hope’ is a great accomplishment for me. But I believe it is time for me to give more attention to my second story ‘The Grand Design’. The characters there also have something to say. Perhaps this book will also help in the diversity struggle. It is hard to walk away from Amachi but she will always be there. Her voice will not be forgotten and the light at the end of her tunnel will stay bright. Her ancestors will also have their say one day.
I want to thank everyone who has supported me and ‘Amachi’s Hope’. And though this will be my final blog post for Amachi Is Hope, I hope that you will continue to read what I have written in the past. I hope that the messages, fun and bits of knowledge I have shared will continue to be useful to you.
In regards to the Orunsaga, who knows perhaps it will become my third book! J This is not the end but a new beginning so I won’t say Od’abo, Good Bye! But I will say Pade orire, Good luck!