You used to go to the gym. In fact, you loved it. You were doing more reps and adding more weights to the bar. Your physique was getting better, with bigger and curved biceps, broadened chest and strong calves. You were no longer the skinny guy at the office. The girls noticed the new development and you felt them ogling at you. You had never felt better in your life. You even became more confident. Then one day you failed to make it to the gym. You cannot remember what had happened. Maybe it was an urgent call from the village by your mother. The cow you bought her had sired twin calves and you needed to see them. Or your sister had been chased from her matrimonial home and you needed to sit in the council of elders meeting as the family representative. Maybe it was the rain. It rained heavily that evening and the Nairobi traffic jam was so packed that you didn’t make it the gym. Perhaps Carol from HR had been so impressed by your new physique that she gave the right signals and the gym had to wait. I can go on and on but you get it. That day you didn’t go to the gym for whatever reason was the first of many. It is months now, you always want to go back to the gym but something comes up. You make a plan but it does not become an action. Slowly by slowly, your gym attire gets covered beneath other laundry and the gym shoes are abandoned in a dark corner. Your shirts, those that were a little tight on the chest, become a little tight on the belly. That is what is almost happening to my writing until now.
I will start by making a confession. I have become a lousy writer. Just how it began, I cannot recall. Of course, there are a thousand and one excuses (Why do we insist on the one). One that has been very convincing is the good old man called, Writers’ block. Most writers except Bikozulu love this excuse. The socially alert and creative part of the brain is on holiday. Somewhere on the Caribbean Islands; lying shirtless in a hammock under the palms. It wears a straw hat and dark sunglasses. It holds a big glass of margarita and sips on it occasionally. In that state, it can still be creative but it is the environment around it that renders it dormant. This particular private beach is full of tipsy, tan-colored girls in one piece bikinis. That is too much lace, skin, and boob for that part of the brain to function. My brain could consider writing about the topless girls with funny accents at night but it chooses to go to the parties all night. We all know that party after party is not good for a creative brain.
Another reason is being single. This one is real. Singleness is the root cause of all evil – it allows me to use the devil’s word ‘if’. See how convincing it is. If only I had a partner, I would arrive home to a clean house, hot and healthy food followed by a shower and I would not have to clean up after myself. This means I would have a lot of time to think, write, edit and publish. Another one, if I had a partner, I would not have to travel to Juja every Friday to get laid. The thing with Juja is that you never know. You go there on a noble cause like to check out Post-graduate courses in JKUAT but you go back home baked, stoned, drunk and robbed. Juja is a sin city made of trap houses. It is also a proven biological fact that regular and good sex yields clarity of thought. As a single person, sex cannot be both regular and good.
The third reason for being a lousy writer must be increasing responsibilities. If you are between 23 and 30 years, you are in the final molting phase. You are evolving from a pupa into an adult. Molting is a painful process and it happens quickly when the conditions are right. The conditions in Kenya, particularly in Nairobi and other major cities are not right. We are growing in the fast lane which forces us to learn how to run before we can walk. To keep up in the fast lane at this age means adapting to speed, paying less regard to direction and sustainability. What do we do? We start dropping off extra weight in terms of hobbies, talents, and personal time just to keep up.
The fourth reason is the discovery of the TV Show ‘How I met your mother’. The sarcastic cast and storylines amuses me so much. I promise myself to watch a single 20-minute episode but who does that. The next button yells at me and well I keep up with Mosby and Barney. It is an addictive show, try it at your own risk.
But what really motivates a writer? Writing is more than talent. The talent lies in seeing a story in everything and playing it out in the mind but the real grit lies in putting that in words appealing enough for the audience. Reading is not passive and mostly engages the intellectual mind of the reader and that said, a writer must then be at his best. Growing a blog is a task, it doesn’t collect likes and gain traffic as quickly as other avenues like YouTube. It is a slow process.
This is my third year of writing for myself. I started at My Roots, a space I wrote about Where I come from, both literary and figuratively. I wrote for a year and lost the login details of that site. I started Ndeto Zetu a year ago, November 2018, and the journey has been amazing. I share stories here and tips of living a quality life. I write a lot about Start-up businesses because my youthful audience needs these nuggets of information to live purposefully. Time has come for us to take conversations outside the blog and only come back to share our stories here. So this year we will come to you, engage you and write about you. It will be amazing to meet you and create a community of change-makers. Our theme for 2020 will be Change making. Join the movement!