(This letter was written on 4th July, 2018 to all members of Writers Guild Kenya in a bid to encourage them to have a bigger picture for Writing)
WRITING AS A TOOL OF CHANGE
Receive my greetings from The Writers Centre, Nairobi.
It is my belief that you have been well, and that you find joy serving God and Humanity through Writing and Reading. The reflections we had on 15th and 16th June, 2018 as we celebrated our 4th Anniversary inspired the writing of this Hope Letter.
It was such an emotional time; bringing together those with whom we started this journey. Just 4 years down the line, there was so much to share, and fond memories to remember. Allow me to share with you the story of Maxwell Mmera for instance. Max(as we call him), was at the very first meeting we had on 16th June, 2014 and he bought the idea of serving others selflessly. He was then given a chance to serve as a Public Relations and Communication Officer at Writers Guild Kenya. He created the Facebook page we have currently and did campaigns to get us the first 1000 likes. He served in this capacity until December, 2016. One day, he contacted me, and requested for a recommendation letter. He later reached out to me and informed me that as a result of the role he had played at Writers Guild Kenya, and the selfless service he had offered, GSK had offered him a job in the same Capacity (Public Relations and Communications Officer). Max, almost broke down as he was sharing this story and encouraging others to do their work well.
Well, the story of Max can be misleading in encouraging us that we can only do our work well expecting immediate and human rewards. But this is not the point I would wish to share with you today. Today, I would wish to share with you what I am slowly learning through this journey of Hope.
I have been imagining what would have become of people like Max, if we didn’t gather the courage to have our first Writers meeting 4 years ago and started this journey. The people who have realized themselves from Writers Guild Kenya are not few. And this brings me to the first point that I am learning; that God counts on our courage; our initiative to come through for others.
I would wish to ask you today, to stop looking at your writing as a leisure tool but as an instrument through which you can realize yourself and serve God fully in this life. Look at your writing as a key, which you could use to unlock that which you haven’t accomplished. Look at your writing as something which if you were in the position of Moses, and God asked you; What do you have in your hands? You would quickly reply, Writing skills.
For you to be confident enough to refer to your writing as something that you have in your hands, there are some prerequisites which you can’t bypass. First, you have to be confident with what you have. Feel free to introduce yourself confidently as a writer and be ready to defend your position should someone ask you something on the same. My name is June Amani, I am an environmental Writer who hopes to call humanity to order as of regards to pollution and environmental degradation. This could be your line. Talking with such authority in an area you are writing on requires you to be less on talking and abundant in action. Confidence and respect are closely related. Naturally, people are inclined to respect those who are courageous. This is not automatic, however. Respect is never asked for, it is earned. Earning of respect is only a product of authority. In the 21st Century, it is so easy to be an authority. Because information is available in every corner we turn to. Let us use the example we gave earlier on June Amani, the environment writer. How can she create authority in her area of environmental writing? I suggest the following ways (from which you too can borrow):
(i) Extensive Research – June could easily create authority in the area by doing extensive research in the area of environment. She could download Apps dealing with the Environment in her phone, and get constant updates on the same. She could browse the internet on the said topic and ensure that she is always up to date as of regards to environmental issues.
(ii) Visibility – June should be visible, and rightly so, in her area of interest. If someone checks her profile on Facebook, it should not take them long to notice that June is interested in Environmental issues. In her profile, she posts, shares and writes all that is related to environment. She could create a blog on the same and post frequently (even once a week).
(iii) Immediate Environment – I am learning that there is no better avenue to market and share what you believe in that those you meet on daily basis. Let those you meet know you for the right reasons. If you are in school for instance, and you notice that someone is throwing litter on the veranda, it doesn’t help to go and write about it. It only helps to call this person to order (politely and respectfully) and explain to them why they are better off throwing the litter in the bin. You can only explain this if you have researched and you are hands on in the area. Such a lesson will stick with the person and unconsciously, the person will (in most cases), have great respect for you and the environment. They could even check you up on what else you do as of regards to this. Respect notwithstanding, you shall have achieved the goal to influence just one person in regards to what you do.
(iv) Expand your wings – Upon researching and gathering information on the area, what stops you from bringing two or three friends of yours and explaining to them concepts related to the same. I mean, you have at least two best friends; why not bring them on a weekly or monthly basis to just take them through what you are upto? This is how revolutions start. I mean, take an example of Jesus, he just started from two fishermen and then to the whole world. Don’t despise the power of just one more person.
(v) Be on the Lookout – At this point, I encourage you to look around and fish out all other platforms which do the same thing(s) as you. Ask to be added to WhatsApp Groups, or to be put through to people who are engaged in platforms which do what you do. Be on the lookout for events, trainings, activities and workshops. Through these, you will be introduced to your next opportunity and to the next platform and the next person you need to meet.
When you do all these, will you not be veering off from your writing? Not, really. Writing is a human art, which does not exist in isolation. We sometimes complain that we lack content to write because we treat writing as something which is independent of our lives. If we treat our writing in a manner that we are able to link it up with our day-to-day activities, we shall realize that we have so much content and every new day we get something which relates to our daily life to write on. This nature of focus on what we do will result to more fulfilment and realization of more meaning in what we do.
Hold writing tight in your hands a tool through which you could achieve what you want, and not just an instrument of pleasure. Handle your writing only as so.
In conclusion, I beseech you not to forget about a number of avenues which we have tried to create to help you with your writing.
Do not be the silent one in your Growth Camp.
Do not be the one who wants to be alone hence leaving the Growth Camp. When an herd of sheep are grazing in the field, there is always the temptation to be aloof (because of the thought that it will get more grass), but the moment they isolate themselves from the rest, they become more susceptible to attack by the hyena.
Do not be the one who only wants to receive from others. There is nothing wrong with always receiving opportunities and favors from your friends, but it makes you less of a human to never think that your friends would also wish to receive from you. Be of generous heart, share what you have generously; be it a book, a link to a nice story, an opportunity of a workshop or any other thing that comes your way. Struggle to always think of giving more.
Remember also to keep joining others physically for the Writers Ekklesia. It is meant to create a platform to just check on your friends and ask them how far they are with their writing. While it is good to chat with someone online, nothing brings people closer than physical meetings. Tukutane Ekklesia.
Lastly, I remind you to consider Writers Guild Kenya a home for you. Try, to also make it a home for others, even if you do that by just reaching out to someone by call, to just check on them, or making a sacrifice to purchase the book by one of us, or just volunteering to serve at one’s Booklaunch or doing any other thing to make Writers Guild Kenya the home where we all want to be.
We have a chance to be part of history; part of something which is greater than the sum of all of us. Something we call the home of Writers, where all our activities are geared towards serving God and serving Humanity through writing and reading. And that something is The Writers Centre(Headquarters of Writers Guild Kenya).
Let’s Keep trying, until we get there.
Yours in Service,
Founder of Writers Guild Kenya.