4 Reasons Why I Stopped Writing

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why i stopped writing

Why I Stopped Writing

Sometime this year I started to struggle with writing. My articles were not written as frequently as before and even when I wrote them I barely promoted or shared them.

As a writer it’s hard to admit you have a writing problem … especially when people look up to you as a some sort of writing role model.

But I did … I had a problem.

I mean I had spent the last few years telling people how to write to overcome their writers block, but here I was with the same disease I seemingly had a cure for. Dying silently from the disease.

I would go to the mall or just be on the internet and people would ask me stuff like “I no longer get your newsletters” or “when is your next excuse book coming out.”

I would normally give a quick “very soon, its coming very soon” response and run away to hide.

But recently I started thinking about what happened, why did I stop writing? Why did I lose my hunger for writing. And what I discovered gave me reason to write this article. It was a tough article to write but I learned a lot in the process …. and I hope you learn as much as I did writing it. Here are the 4 reasons I stopped writing …

#1 The Nigeria Wahala

I moved back to Nigeria early last year and it has been great.

When I moved back, Oil prices had started to slip crash and the Naira was already being devalued by the CBN. But things were still relatively sane. Fast forward to today and Nigeria is in a full blown recession. With the recession, I have seen my salary cut, my stocks fall, price of basic commodities increase and generally things getting worse and more difficult.

The truth is that it’s difficult to write when you are worried about the Economy and the direction the country is going. And when you start to wonder whether moving back was a good or bad idea it inevitably affects your writing because your mind is in other place. And that’s what happened to me … instead of writing I was worrying and when I was not worried I was frustrated.

So I ended up taking out my frustration by ranting … not writing but ranting. Which brings me to the second reason why I stopped writing …

#2 The Radicalization Politicization Of My Words

I had always written about politics in Nigeria but this was the first time the political stupid decisions of the Nigerian Government directly impacted me.

Instinctively I started ranting on facebook about my reality and frustrations. And soon the ranting ended up in my writings and my newsletters, and soon I started receiving emails from people on my listserv saying they were unsubscribing because I had become political.

During this period, I got accused of being tribalistic, biased, stupid and all sorts of other accusations. I grossly underestimated the LOVE Nigerians had for their leaders whether the leaders were GOOD or BAD.

To avoid the mess that was evolving on my facebook page and blog, I decided to stop writing politically and write safe “motivational”articles. But the problem was that my style of writing has always been about my reality. The reality I was facing.

Telling me to write non-political motivational articles was like telling Tupac Shakur to stop rapping about police brutality and instead record a duet with N’SYNC … not happening!

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The result was that I wrote fake articles and if I wrote real political articles, I will subconsciously hide them away from people in fear of backlash. I stopped sending out newsletters completely, because I did not want it to soil my “motivational speaker” holy brand. And this affected my writing because I kept editing and editing even though I had told people to kill their editor!

I wrote, but I worried about how people will feel and soon I over-edited myself out of writing.

#3 The Multipotentialite* Curse

*A multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life. Multipotentialites have no “one true calling” the way specialists do.

I did not even know I had this disease until I watched this TEDx video by Emilie Wapnick and that’s when I realized I had it. Symptoms included jumping from one thing to the other, not being focused on one idea, ability to do many things quite well but not one thing very well. I was infected …

I was a full time design engineer, part time artist, part time author, part time tech entrepreneur, motivational speaker, landlord, stock market trader and member of the Justice League. I did a lot of things and as such I could write on a lot of things.

I could write Financial Articles, Political Articles, Funny Articles, Work Related Articles, Entrepreneurial Related Articles, Tech Articles and more. And so I did! But it was like my branding was all over the place, like I was juggling too many things and making a mess …

honey

It was like my work-related articles could not jive with my entrepreneurial articles. And my funny articles could not jive with my political articles. I once wrote an article on finance and one of the comments was like “finance is not motivational speaking, please leave that thing and do what you know.”

So I found myself again trying to control my writing to fit one thing, when I could in fact write on a lot of things … again my writing suffered.

#4 The OkadaBooks Success

When we started OkadaBooks in September of 2013, we were a small company with no office space and a few hundred users. When we received an email we would celebrate…literally.

Today, we still don’t have an office but we receive on average 50 emails in a day, our users base has grown exponentially to about a 100,000, and we have more people working for us than before. Thus the time required to manage okadabooks.com has inevitably grown.

This is a great thing, except that I am still stuck at a 9 to 5.

So the free time I would typically have used for writing has now shifted to managing okadabooks.com. As a company we are currently seeking investors and are optimistic that we would find something … that would greatly free up my time to write. But for now our success with okadabooks.com has ironically eliminated my writing time.

Conclusion

“Why I Stopped Writing” was a tough article to write for me because it exposed a part of me that I would normally not share with anyone. But it was therapeutic in many ways.

Through writing the article, I was able to come to terms with the things that have subconsciously slowed down my writing and learned a lot of things along the way.

But the main things I learned was to write not for the applause but because it’s the truth, to write regardless of what people think or feel and to write regardless … period.

Because as long as you are writing you have a chance to make sense of the madness but the moment you stop writing the madness consumes and paralyzes you. Keep writing!

Ofili

Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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47 comments on “4 Reasons Why I Stopped Writing

      • Awww men! That means a lot. Thank you!

        I’ve probably never told you, but your blog was/and is a huge inspiration as a blogger. And I am even more inspired by your community development initiatives (Rain boots project, class build, health donations, etc). You are a role model for the current and next generation of young adults in Nigeria. Keep up the good work.
        Monale latest post is What is a side hustle and should you start one?My Profile

  1. Deejaytunes on said:

    Nice to hear from you… As always… As someone who has always juggled many things, I feel your pain… But I’m curious. You say you will keep writing but you do not say how these impacting issues will be conquered? That would be a good article I think….

    • “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ― Mother Teresa

      Dealing with our government is tough, but we can do small small things to help change the community. That’s what I am doing with some of the quasi-community outreach projects.
      Okechukwu Ofili latest post is 4 Reasons Why I Stopped WritingMy Profile

  2. I have really missed reading your write-ups Ofili, i didn’t realise how much until I saw this current write-up in my inbox. I really appreciate your being honest about what’s happening in your life. What I enjoy most about your writing is how you mix the sad truths about your experiences and opinions about Nigerian politics with humor, although, the situation right now isn’t funny anymore. Just like you rightly said, writing about our truths and frustrations is therapeutic and helps make sense of the madness that’s killing our nation. I pray that God continues to give you the inspiration to keep making your voice heard. I’m hopeful that with our collective voices backed by action, the Nigeria of our dreams will eventually emerge. Welcome back!

    • Ofili

      Don’t call it a comeback
      I been here for years
      Rockin my peers and puttin suckas in fear
      Makin the tears rain down like a MON-soon
      – LL Cool J

  3. Written like a true multipotentialite! And thank you for giving voice to something we all suffer from but are not equipped to talk about, as you always do. I’d also like to point out that in a way, you never stopped writing you were simply getting ready to write this post :) congratulations on the success of okadabooks and all your charitable startups (re: your Instagram). I guess what this comment is trying to pass across is that you are our hero (re: Justice League) regardless of your writing hiatus and nothing will change that. What is that they say about energy again? it can only be transformed from one form to another. Jisie ike, I wish you more vroom vroom to your Okada!
    Jayjeystic latest post is How to become a Childhood FriendMy Profile

  4. Nick Barrera on said:

    Okechukwu,
    How are you my friend ? I am glad to hear from you again it’s been too long. Your Toastmasters skills were kicked into high gear on your Ted Talks presentation and you rocked. I’ll always remember your story about the speech contest you were in and was about to walk up and recieve the award and shocked when you did not win! I was afraid to admit it but I did the same thing about the same time give or take a year. If you have nothing to write about, think about the most embarrassing times in your life because they are the ones we learn from, can teach others from and to laugh at because it is all a part of us being human. Hope to see you if you ever come back to Houston.
    Nick

  5. Kingsley Mangai Mallan on said:

    “But the main things I learned was to write not for the applause but because it’s the truth, to write regardless of what people think or feel and to write regardless … period.

    Because as long as you are writing you have a chance to make sense of the madness but the moment you stop writing the madness consumes and paralyzes you. Keep writing!”…

    You personally “killed your Editor” and allowed the vicissitudes of Nigeria to dry up the fountain pen! You need to repent!
    Kill the 9-5. Write and allow hard work to save your life for once in your life!
    The investors will drive Okada and mod themselves over you!
    Can’t imagine going for months without your articles, merely because you allowed the comments and dog-christening leanings get to you! Don’t try it ohhh!

  6. I actually enjoy your facebook posts. It’s difficult to know how things are really in Naija from the outside. Asking people is usually a hit or miss depending on calling at the right time, if the person truly wants to talk etc. I’ve found unsolicited posts to be truly more indicative of the reality people are experiencing. That said, I can understand a whole lot of your frustrations. I made the temporary move back 2 years ago before things were this bad. but have since found my square root out. Back then it was still 160 to 1USD. As I write to you today, it is 410 to 1 USD. So when you talk about the frustrations of/in Nigeria, I can relate.

    • Ofili

      O boy I just tire. My Naira is no longer travelling to America o. Naira will stay in Naira. The rate is too crazy.

  7. Hi Ofili,
    I was so excited seeing your newsletter in my inbox, i didn’t realise you haven’t been writing in a while, maybe i thought you had removed my email from your mailing list😆. Good to have you back anyway. Don’t be too frustrated about the Economic situation in Nigeria, like we say here ‘E go better’. Jisike!

  8. Deborah on said:

    I have been waiting patiently for your great articles… Thanks for sharing this, I have learnt a lot.
    welcome back to writing

  9. “As long as you are writing you have a chance to make sense of the madness.

    The moment you stop writing the madness consumes and paralyzes you.

    Keep writing!” I’ll hold that.

  10. i have really missed you but like you rightly said, the Nigeria wahala did not allow some of us noticed. welcome back Ofili and what a brave thing sharing your feelings on THIS but keep writting, not for the applause but because it the right thing to do…. Cheers!

  11. nadlyn on said:

    Welcome back,i missed your articles but didn’t know you stopped writing.just thought somehow I wasn’t getting them again.
    Anyways this is the nigeria we live in now,so just keep on writing your truth.

  12. Tamera on said:

    Hello Ofili. Glad to have you back. U were really missed. Naija sha e go make person brain strong kakaraka like cement. bt all d same God dey and we are hopefully. in Lil Kim’s voice “no matter what people say” keep writing biko. i look forward to your next article…… articles…

  13. Finding purpose on said:

    Your honesty is very much appreciated. Thank you for this article. I was pleasantly surprised to find a newsletter from you after so long.
    Best regards.

  14. Hi Ofili,
    The good thing about this writeup is that it got you writing once more. Most times the best we can do is strive to overcome challenges and our fears. The first step is knowing and recognizing that we have such
    challenges and fears. Many of us live in denial…. And choose to please others.
    I enjoyed this piece and i must say, i’ve learnt from your experience.

  15. Thank you so much for this, I tell myself everyday to write what I feel, the backlash or applause would come anyways so I no longer care; this decision has given me so much freedom and peace. Bless you

  16. Thank you for this no holds barred piece and a very honest one at that. I have always considered writing therapeutic but the last few months has seen that notion contested. I have not been inspired to write in 6 months. Like you, I recently returned back home after a year long study abroad. The realities of today has made it such a hard thing to write. I hope the drought ends soon. E no easy at all.

  17. Tosin Adedipe on said:

    Whether or not we are comfortable with what you write, what matters is that you own it. We all have our biases and that’s okay. You have a way of painting different perspectives and we need that. Thanks for owning your writing. It’s one thing that keeps us coming back.

  18. Vivian Ihaza on said:

    Good to have you writing again Ofili.
    I can certainly feel you on the whole ‘Nigeria Wahala’ thing.
    When one has to resort to jungle strategies and tactics to survive, mental creativity is usually one of the early casualties of such a situation.

    Welcome back!

  19. Perpetual on said:

    This is an eye opener for me.My multipotentialities kept me stuck in one place for so long,most of my writings only made it to my notepad .Knowing you face similar challenges is a call to action,I’ve resolved to “write regardless” and share this time.Thank you .

  20. Hi Ofili, immediately I got this email from you, I didn’t relent. I quickly had to read. I find within this article something I am also struggling with. Sometime, I hardly remain focused for a long time before I try to scribble down stuff. My writing is being stifled by these same factors you mentioned.

    After I watched Emily Wapnick’s TEDx talk on Multipotentialite syndrome, I immediately saw me in the strings of her words. For years I had struggled with this, and at some point I stopped writing anything worth reading. Once I made an attempt to write something which to me is collection of scrambled words that forms a total mess I call ‘story’.

    ‘Why I stopped writing’ is Godsend. It has helped me realise that I can coordinate myself and still write something with clear focus and remain steady with one style in this present day of gloom in Nigeria.

    Thanks Ofili. I will share this in my writing groups.

  21. It’s nice to know that even you can admit it and it’s just not a few of us. Thank you for the write up,learnt from it. Going to dust my ‘pen’ and write regardless of the situation around me.

  22. Grace Efezokhae on said:

    “But the main things I learned was to write not for the applause but because it’s the truth, to write regardless of what people think or feel and to write regardless … period”.

    WORD

  23. Oriola Meb on said:

    Thanks to you for every time you have written. I believe writing strictly obeys the Newtons law of Inertia. It doesn’t start moving until you move it. And in this age of fast information and depressing news I surely don’t envy anyone who has to put on a creative cap on a frequent basis. Kudos to you. May your thoughts flow faster than the ink at the tip of your pen.

  24. Hi Ofili,
    I came across ur books in 2012 when on holiday in Lagos. I liked ur humour and style( even had a small crush briefly) *hides face and so I followed you on social media for a while after which my interest kinda dwindled as “life” progressed …… I still watched you on and off but with some skepticism because I felt (and still do) that people that don’t live here and don’t experience Naija and its hiccups on a daily , don’t quite get it or us( our struggles are just not wat statistics can quantify). any who what I am tryna say ultimately is that Naija can (if you let it) grind you and milk u of any kinda “gift” or “passion’ u supposedly have but I like to look at it like carbon…. you have coal and tar and all these other products and byproducts of carbon and they are good however the ultimate is diamonds and the process of making them is grueling and even after they are made the final processing (for sale) of diamonds is quite…..(I tink u get the point now) so I hope u keep writing and I cant wait to see what diamonds u produce. Godbless

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