It’s been a minute. Scratch that! It’s been SEVERAL minutes since I last wrote a blog post. I am working on changing this because I really do love to write often and share a thought or two. What is the reason for this prolonged bowl of silence on these streets? Well, there are many reasons but I have learnt not to give excuses for the things I desire to do.
While I have a to-do list that stretches from Uganda to New York, I am pausing to catch a breath and share a few lessons I am learning in this season of my life.
Use To-Do Lists Always
1 – BE PRESENT
While you are running around trying to accomplish so much, don’t forget to be present in all the little pockets of life that you have. The matter of the fact is that by being present in one place, you forfeit presence in another place. Therefore, you might as well be present mentally wherever your body is present physically. It doesn’t help if you are at a wedding as a guest but you are thinking about the work you left undone. Be fully mentally present at the wedding. Then leave later and be fully mentally present while completing that work.
I am not discounting the possibility of doing more than one thing at a time in one place. This is a matter of flexibility, and necessity sometimes. I can write a blog post and listen to a podcast on a totally different topic, like I am doing at this very moment. That said, employ wisdom to know when this absolutely won’t work. For example, it would be really offensive if I did this while talking to my husband. It would do me well to stop what I am doing and fully pay attention to the conversation we are having in that moment.
So, considering that I took this moment to literally catch a breath from my long list of things to do, let’s agree that we will be back in the next post for the next catch-my-breath moment. This literally became a series just now. I will talk about pausing often in the next post.
Only a few people that know me know that I “don’t” eat omelettes, boiled eggs, rolexes or any form of egg where I can still see or taste the egg. It’s a shock for most when I tell them this so you are in good company. I usually get bulging-eye-looks filled with disbelief and suspicion. The expressions and exclamations get even worse when I say that I don’t like the taste of eggs. If the conversation goes on long enough and the other party is still listening, I also let them know about the feeling of nausea that would follow every time I tasted eggs. That, only a few times, would get me some sympathy.
However, something happened on 9th June, Uganda’s Heroes’ Day that may have permanently changed this story: I visited Mr. Julius Kabugo’s Msingi Poultry Farm.
Founded in December, 2018, they have a mission to have 15,500 farms under their umbrella, produce 933,000 trays a day, employ at least 70,000 people and manage 35 million layers. Talk about audacious and vivacious goals!
You may want to know why I was at the farm considering what I told you earlier. Well, I had the privilege and honour of being in the same assessment group as Mr. Kabugo in my School of Leadership (SoL) year in 2020. We were both students of the SoL Harvest Institute class that year in Dr. Daniel Ruhweza’s assessment group—The Extra Mile. It is this group that organized a trip to the farm to learn from Mr. Kabugo’s business journey and sit a while together in fellowship. He graciously hosted us.
I learnt that Msingi focuses on great quality poultry, value addition and partnership with other farms and stakeholders. They have intense systems that allow them to produce efficiently, daily. They also focus on the health of the birds instead of the feed because that automatically leads to great eggs. Msingi does not use any antibiotics on the birds and so theirs are eggs you can trust.
Mr. Kabugo told many business stories. He spoke about focusing on relationships before money. I saw that for any challenge, there is an opportunity to exploit. He said that it’s not the type of business you do that keeps you in business. According to him, you can make it in business if you focus on vision, people and resources. I learnt that once you start business, you should focus on going forward and not looking back.
Mr Kabugo spoke passionately about the importance of eggs in nutrition and how they are especially vital for babies, toddlers and pregnant mothers. He also shared how eggs, compared to meat products, are more affordable and suitable for every member of the family. It was the passion with which he spoke about the nutritional benefits of eggs that convicted me to give eggs, specifically Msingi yellow yolk eggs, a chance. I couldn’t let my husband— who has devoured the Msingi eggs with such joy—be the only beneficiary.🙂
I am happy to share that I ate an Msingi Yellow Yolk Antibiotic-free omelette and enjoyed it. I even made a mini rolex or a flatex because the crunch of my chapati refused to make the “roll” in rolex. Both the omelette and rolex were tasty. I might decide to try a chips-mayayi (chips-eggs) combo next, seeing as I never ate any of that street food delicacy for the 7+ years that I lived in Dar es Salaam. 🤣
I’m rooting for Msingi! Mega Standard Supermarket in Uganda is currently the biggest retail stockist of these eggs but you can also contact the farm directly for bulk orders.
I look forward to your vision being accomplished Mr. Kabugo. Thank you for warmly inviting us and making time to teach us great lessons. Thank you too for that delicious after-farm meal and the gift of your nutritious yellow-yolk eggs. My husband and I have enjoyed them.
I trust that you are well and this post will be helpful to you. It is a great year to start your blogging journey and I would like to share with you five tips on blogging. This was inspired by a few Harvest Institute School of Leadership students who asked for blogging tips.
Before the tips, let me share a bit of my journey. I first opened a blog in 2008 on Blogspot titled Cinnamon Sweetness 🙂 . Why I called it that is a long story for another day. I put up very few posts. My very first post ever was a poem titled SIMPLE. Along the way, WordPress was the new cool kid on the block and all the cool kids were signing up. I didn’t want to be left behind so I shifted to WordPress and closed the first blog. I used to write anything that came to mind. This new blog was CinnamonKEA. It was almost like an online journal that helped me process my thoughts. I really didn’t share it with many people but only a few friends. At the time, I didn’t know my exact audience or if I wanted the blog to have a greater reach.
In 2016 however, I got a burning desire to use my blog for more than emotion-led online journaling. I wanted to use it to motivate and encourage others. So, I closed my second blog and started another one on WordPress titled The Precious Series (TPS) to document precious thoughts and stories of encouragement for precious people (I consider all people precious). That content, I have kept to this day, even on my current blog which was an upgrade from TPS. Yes, I made another change in 2020! I decided it was time to pay for a domain, and I opened up my blog content-wise to reflect more of the things I am interested in beyond motivation. This came from a deeper sense of self-awareness and a desire to remove the limits. I now blog here on www.keziahelaineayikoru.com.
I have shared my journey to show you that your first blog doesn’t have to be perfect. With every start is the opportunity to grow. The most important thing is that you get started!
Without further ado, here are the tips:
1. CHOOSE A NAME
You might want to choose a name based on the topic or theme for your blog. That is a valid option and you can go for it. For example: ugandanfood.wordpress.com (does not exist). Such a title helps people know exactly what your blog is about.
However, considering that this is your first blog, you may not want to be boxed in by a specific theme; you may not even know yet, exactly what theme you will end up with. Or perhaps, like me, you are sure that you want to blog about a number of things because you have varied interests. In this case, you can choose to name the blog after yourself.
2. OPEN A FREE SITE
Since it is your first blog, you should probably open up a free blog as you get more confident with your content, especially if the blog is not for commercial or work purposes.
The site www.wordpress.com is your best bet. Well, I am biased towards it. I do know of other simpler platforms like www.blogger.com which is truly the easiest to create a blog on, however, WordPress is great for the following reasons:
It is fairly easy to use.
It has a user-friendly mobile app that you can use on the go.
In addition, there a many theme templates to choose from.
Even though you are getting a free site, there are many professional-looking templates.
When you want to upgrade to a paid site, they have four payment plans with a wide range of plugins and tools to help you have a first-class site.
You can purchase domains right there.
They are the cool kids on the block.
WordPress didn’t pay me so I have to stop with the reasons here 🙂 .
The main point here is to choose a site and open up a blog site of your own with your unique name. The home page of WordPress looks like what you see below and all you need to do is click Start your website and follow the steps.
(Note: For a free blog, you should not enter your credit or debit card details anywhere, lest you end up being charged. A free blog on WordPress should have .wordpress.com attached to the name.)
Choose a theme, activate it and then click on new post to get started on your first post. I know it takes some time to get used to the site but you will become a pro at this!
3. WRITE YOUR FIRST POST
This may seem daunting but it really isn’t. In all your not-few years of life, you surely have something you want to say. Here are a few ideas for your first blog post:
Introduce yourself. Tell us about what you love, who you are and why you are on this new blogging journey. Let us get to meet you and get excited about your journey too. Make it fun with some images.
Your favourite verses. You can share these and expound them. Tell us why you like them and perhaps share some stories connected to these.
Book review. Review a book you just read or write a review of your favourite book ever. Please note: summaries are boring and redundant. Tell us why YOU love the book and what you want us to take home. Make it interesting. No one wants to read your academic synopsis online (yes, I saw your thoughts).
These ideas are simply a drop in the ocean. You can actually google ‘blog ideas’. There are a variety of those online.
4. PROOFREAD THE BLOG, PUBLISH & SHARE
In the name of Grammar and for the sake of your readers’ eyes and minds, please proofread your content to check if there are mistakes in your writing. Read out loud; it helps. I could hold a class about this but I won’t do that here . When you are sure you have read through thoroughly, it’s time to hit PUBLISH.
Thereafter, go to the post, copy the link in the URL bar (Google is a reliable friend – okay, most times) and then share it in different places. My assumption is that you are using a browser. Sharing is slightly different on the app: you must look for the Share button on the More dropdown menu under the post within the Posts page. I know, too much information at once. Worry not, take it one step at a time.
Let me talk about tags. Use tags to get a wider reach for your posts by choosing key theme words for your post. That way, even WordPress bloggers who don’t know your blog exists, can search for a topic, and if you tagged that topic, your blog will show up. Otherwise, you can manually share your posts within your networks.
5. COLLECT IDEAS, DETERMINE A RHYTHM AND BUILD A PLAN
This is the hardest part. What will you blog about next? When will you blog? How often will you blog? On which days do you release your blogs.
List down a number of ideas of blog posts. Like I shared before, there are many ideas online. You can also get ideas by reading other people’s blogs. Just don’t copy and paste into yours. That is plagiarism! Come up with at least thirty ideas of topics you can write about.
Plan to write at least once every other week.
6. BONUS HACK: KEEPING DRAFTS & SCHEDULING
Did you know that you can write a number of posts and schedule them for future posting? You can actually set them to post automatically if you are sure about them. You can also simply write them and leave them in the drafts for you to return to review and improve them. This is possible in WordPress.
Phew! Now, I need a cup of tea and a short break. There is so much more about blogging that I can’t write about in this one post. However, I hope this will help you get started. Let me know if this is helpful in the comments below. Do follow and subscribe to my blog too 🙂 .
It’s been a minute, or two, or three, but I am back. This post is inspired by a prayer meeting I had this morning with a group of writers I am working with this year. I realised that it would be nice to share the verses we prayed through to give other writers guidance on how to pray for their writing. May you be sparked off to pray through these verses and use them for the rest of your life as a writer. Writing is such a powerful tool for change.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New King James Version – NKJV)
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [a]instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
What stands out for me is the fact that Scripture was written by INSPIRATION of God. Sometimes we forget that the Bible was actually written by human beings like you and me. They were simply inspired by God and because of writing by inspiration, their words were profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction. Wow! What that tells me is that if I let my writing be inspired by God, He can do GREAT things THROUGH my writing. If I offer up my mind to be inspired by Him, He will use my words for His glory. As you pray through these verses, pray to write from a point of inspiration by God.
Psalm 45:1 (NKJV)
45 My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a [c]ready writer.
Can we just say how amazing it is that the words theme and composition appear in this verse? Those are principles we teach in writing classes. I would advise therefore that you pray to have the right theme and composition for your writing. You should also pray to have the tongue(language) of a ready writer. I also love how poetic this verse is! ‘My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.’ What a metaphor! A metaphor is one of the literary devices that you can use to enrich your writing.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn’t literally true, but helps explain an idea or make a comparison. … A metaphor states that one thing is another thing. It equates those two things not because they actually are the same, but for the sake of comparison or symbolism.
Jeremiah 30:2 (NKJV)
2 “Thus speaks the Lord God of Israel, saying: ‘Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you.
What words has God spoken to you? Obey and write them down. Pray to be inclined to obey and to actually follow through.
Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. …”
I love the mention of vision. What images do you see? What vision do you have for your piece of writing, whether it is a book or article? Write it down so that you can enable others ‘run’ with it. This makes me feel like some release and acceleration will happen as a result of your writing, no matter what you write about – as long as it is God-inspired. You could be writing about something as simple as cakes and that could help someone else start a cake business as he/she races towards financial freedom by income generation. So, whatever vision you have been given, esteem it highly and write it down!
I would like to end by sharing something powerful that Patricia Opio, a writer, shared in the prayer meeting. She said that just as the writers of the Bible were the writers of that generation, we are the writers of this generation. WE ARE THE WRITERS OF THIS GENERATION! That impacted me so much. May we be cognisant of this revelation! God is the one who will give our writing mileage into the next generation. However, you have to write first for Him to have something to give mileage to!
Of the verses shared, which is your favourite one? What other Bible verses for writers do you know?
Friends, I’ll share just one more teaser as I plan for upcoming exciting and beautiful content for you my creatives. Enjoy the read from my book THRIVING CREATIVES. This is an excerpt from the business chapter.
Most creatives tend to be creatives first, then business people second. There are, of course, some that are just as business-driven right from the start but the majority that I have encountered are more concerned with creativity initially and then learn business skills along the way. I am no exception despite having an early exposure to trade. While in the third year of my secondary school, I developed a real love for Microsoft Power Point. It was one of the first computer programs I learnt and through experimenting with the different templates, I found out that I could make gift cards and bookmarks. My mum, who is super awesome, bought a laminating machine for me to make bookmarks. She officially became the first investor I would ever have through that action. She encouraged me to sell the bookmarks in my boarding school and I sold each at 3,000 Ugandan shillings. The first school term I did this, I sold out! That was the real beginning of my journey of being turned into a business person and not only a creative. From that moment on, it’s like something within me had been ignited.
This thing called business enabled me to make my own money and it felt super empowering. Thereafter, I made sure that I often had something to sell. When I got to university in 2008, paper bead jewellery had become rather trendy. I remember going to one of the craft markets in Uganda and buying necklaces and bracelets in bulk. I’d then take them with me to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania where I was studying and finally sell them there for 3 to 5 times the price of purchase. I sold all my jewellery to my fellow university students. The interesting thing is despite the ridiculous profit margins, they were cheap for the Tanzanians because of the difference in the currencies and standards of living in both countries. I also sold new clothes that I’d bought from the wholesale imports shops downtown in Kampala during my university years. The first person who introduced me to these clothes was my sister-in-law – Happiness. She opened up yet another world for me. I became thoroughly intrigued by fashion.
My desire to do business was insatiable. This did not mean I was suddenly great at business. Later, I learned so much more when I opened my first ever formal business. It was after opening up the House of KEA that it dawned on me that business was not just buying and selling or making and selling, for that matter. It was a whole new world with different rules. I realised that selling within the confines of school with such a ready market of hundreds or thousands of students was different from selling in the real world with numerous tastes and preferences. I quickly realised I had to grow as a business person or I wouldn’t survive in the market. Since then, I have become a perpetual learner of business.
Since 2015 when I started the House of KEA, I have subscribed to business magazines and websites such as smallstarter.com. I have also gone for different growth programs such as The Creative Enterprise Program by British Council and Nesta, YALI’s Regional Leadership Program under the Business and Entrepreneurship class, one-on-one business coaching and any business seminar I came across and was available for. I am eager to learn and soak in all the knowledge I can get because I know now that as a creative that wants to make really good money from my creativity, I must learn to think and act like a successful business person. That’s the only thing that turns a creative hustle into a creative business.
The things I share in this chapter therefore are lessons I have learnt and experienced through different avenues. They have proven useful to me and I know they will be useful to you too.
That’s it for now folks, I hope you enjoyed the read. Again, the rest is in the book and it’s only 50,000 Ugandan shillings.
Yet another short teaser is here for you, from chapter 6 on the health of the creative.
With a big vision comes the desire and need to live a long and healthy life. I can’t talk about this with good authority because this has been one of my weakest areas. I’m certain you’ve had some sleepless nights, seated at a computer doing some posters or videos if you are a graphic designer. Perhaps you have spent sleepless nights editing those photos if you are a photographer. Or, as a fashion designer, you know what it means to sew from sunset to sunrise and all the way back to sunset. These creatives and many more know what it means to work tirelessly with little to no break as you do your best to beat those deadlines. For some reason, the time never seems to be enough though still, you never say no to work because you need the money or because you feel you’ll ‘find a way’. Yet, that way somehow almost always involves sacrificing your health in some way.
If this is you, stop! You need to realise that as you labour to do one more project for one reason or another, the price you are paying may not be worth it. I can’t count the number of times I have personally slaved to complete deadlines and felt like a zombie right after completing the deadlines.
In this post, I will share a short excerpt from another chapter in my book – chapter 4, on good connections. In this excerpt, you will learn a few networking tips. For the rest of the tips, you need to buy the book.
A networking opportunity could find you anywhere. Some good places to network are social gatherings, at business and innovation hubs, your church, conferences, parties, and just about anywhere else where there is social interaction, whether it is offline in conventional physical settings or online in chatrooms etcetera. You are essentially building rapport so that you have a door open to build trust in the long term. That’s how you should look at networking. Here are some practical tips for you:
Carefully study the people in the place you are going to and the place itself then prepare appropriately. What kind of people are you going to meet? What’s the purpose for the meeting? What’s the social expectation by those people, if you know of any? How do people behave when there?
Get over yourself. You might think that it’s pretty strange that I offer this as a tip. What do I mean by this? I suggest that you let go of any superiority or inferiority complex, and any other fears that may be going through your mind. All people are valuable and the purpose for networking is so that you can form valuable relationships that could potentially add value to your life and your business. At my suggestion that you get over yourself, you may feel offended. If you do, ask yourself why and deal with that reason. Recognise that good networking will enhance your life and business in a significant way.
Be physically presentable and show up on time. The first impression counts and before you open your mouth to speak, people will judge you based on your appearance. Looking good also helps you feel good and, when you feel good, you’ll be more confident in your speech.
I would like to share an excerpt from the third chapter of my new book THRIVING CREATIVES. If you haven’t yet got yourself a copy, please do by sending me a WhatsApp message or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.
How good is good enough and how can a creative get even better? Because creative work is initiated by talent, there is a tendency for some creatives to rely solely on the ability to create without focusing on perfecting their skills. In addition to that, I feel that sometimes there is a sense of attachment to a piece of creative work that blocks objectivity and positive criticism from the creative themselves and others. And yet, it is extremely important to keep growing and getting better at one’s craft instead of growing complacent; there is a need for continual and habitual improvement, especially technically.
It has been said that the only thing constant in the world is change. There are new trends, advancements and developments daily. Because of that, a creative entrepreneur shouldn’t sit back and assume that the way he or she did things when entering the market is the way to continue to carrying on business. In addition to general changes, new competition enters the market monthly, weekly and in some cases, daily. Somewhere within your context, someone is waking up to the realisation that they can be a great fashion designer/painter/blogger/videographer etcetera. Of these people, there is a portion of serious ones who are planning and creating strategies to break into the market in a stronger manner and, perhaps, with better resources than you. The only way to avoid being left behind by a mile while things are constantly changing is to make sure you, too, are constantly growing, intentionally.
Some of the avenues of technical growth are: formal and informal courses, books within different fields, events such as workshops, and apprenticeships with more established people in the required field.
Some creatives are fortunate enough to study formal courses pertaining to their craft and, in some cases, studying these courses is essential for you to actually enter the market credibly. However, learning and growth does not stop when one has entered the professional market. You must continue to grow and keep abreast with the changes. The need for intentional technical growth is intensified when one didn’t previously have any formal learning opportunities. It is also equally important when someone ventures into a territory different from what they studied. Many creatives actually get into the market based solely on their talent and passion. Whatever the case is and no matter how one got into the market, I believe that one has to continue to improve technically. A creative has to grab all growth opportunities available to them with both hands.
Some of these opportunities are free and if a person is interested in their technical growth, they will treasure these opportunities when they come around. Generally speaking, people don’t treasure free things as much as those they’ve paid for. However, if you cultivate a grateful heart and learn to appreciate the input others have in your life, you will be able to take the free opportunities with gratitude rather than entitlement.
Dear creative reading this, please don’t be the kind of person who disrespects free things simply because they are free. Usually, free opportunities have been paid for by someone else either through their time or money. Also, do not be the kind who always expects free things only. If someone has decided that their services or products will be paid for, do not try to lower their value by asking for pro bono or free services unless offered by the source themselves.
On that note, also seek out growth opportunities that add value to you for which a payment is required. In other words, invest financially in your growth. Treasure your mind and all the natural resources God has abundantly placed in you by investing in growing your skills in general. In ‘Secrets of a Millionaire Mind’, T. Harv Eker talks about having a growth account. The habit behind this is to set aside money in a particular account that you use for growth. Part of this can be invested in your technical growth in your field.
I got into the fashion industry because I had a passion for fashion and the desire to be engrossed in a field of even more creativity where the limits and boundaries were few. I had a slight advantage because I had studied design as an architect and could therefore think up concepts and ideas for clothes without much difficulty. I had been exposed to the principles of design such as balance and contrast, among others. In spite of this knowledge, the fashion industry was a whole new world. I had no room for complacency. Instead, I hungered and sought for knowledge diligently. I decided that I was going to grow. Therefore, I subjected myself to continuous growth by subscribing to certain fashion magazines like Business of Fashion. I started reading about fashion and fashion designers. I watched fashion TV stations such as Fashion TV and Spice TV. I attended fashion shows and made friends with fashion designers. I started learning the technical language of fashion designers to understand things such as seams, hems, darts, pleats, gathers as well as the names of the technical equipment I needed. I went the extra mile of actually buying the technical equipment or tools needed. I learnt how to sew and cut patterns. I bought fashion books and read them. This wasn’t the end of my learning. I also attended relevant events such as Swahili Fashion Week and Kampala Fashion Week. In 2017, I was selected for a fashion boot camp by Culture and Development East Africa which was a great experience that helped me grow even more, technically, because we were exposed to different skilled facilitators and given a practical project that crowned the boot camp. I continued to grow in my technical skills with intentionality.
Whatever creative venture you are in, make the time to grow your technical skills. The world is watching and, fortunately or not, it is also judging. Because of the few barriers to entry in the creative sector, you can be sure that there are a multitude of people you will be compared to. Because of that, you must grow. However, that does not mean you should be afraid of competition. Your focus should be on learning the required technical skills to help you exhibit the best version of your uniqueness. No matter how many creative ideas you have, you can’t execute them without any technical knowledge.
That’s it for this post, look out for the next one for the next installment of an excerpt. Also, get the book :-).
Just as promised, here is the second teaser of this epic booking coming out soon. You can email me to book a copy via email@example.com. If you didn’t read the previous teaser, you really should!
Enjoy this second teaser excerpt from Chapter 14 titled “Romantic Relationships – The Spice of the Matter?”
“You may be wondering if this is even necessary in a book about thriving creatives. Well, I asked a few creatives through a questionnaire if they felt that this was indeed important. They all said yes. A Kenyan artist and personal friend, Emmanuel Mawero, shared how his wife being supportive really makes a difference in his creative work because sometimes he has to work long hours. Another friend and creative storyteller, Patricia Apio, shared that she often felt that the people she dated who were not creatives did not quite understand her. Her opinion is that perhaps creatives dating creatives would create a better match. These two opinions showed me that relationships are indeed worth a mention.
I must say that I have seen creatives date creatives and only crash and burn. Just think of all the actors in Hollywood that date each other and break up shortly after. On the other hand, I have also seen creatives date creatives and thrive. I’ve seen a number of these ‘creative couples’ in my church: Worship Harvest. The couples in this category tend to support each other and feed off of each other’s creative energies. I have also seen situations where creatives date non-creatives and have flourishing relationships and marriages. It might be an ‘opposites attract’ situation. If all these varied examples exist, then perhaps it’s not a matter of whether or not to marry a creative but, rather, a matter of what principles are necessary for a relationship to thrive whether or not a creative marries a creative. Remember that a creative is one who dedicates a portion of, or their whole life, to the creative industries. Again, I do not discount that everyone has natural God-given creativity.”
Again, the book will be out in a week, pre-order by sending me that email. As a creative, I feel this is a book I need too. You won’t regret it. Until next time, keep living your best life.
I have a book coming out soon and I am besides myself with excitement. As the first in a series of teasers, I would like to share an excerpt from the preface of my book. Also, I worked with an extremely talented artist and company that brought my book cover dreams to life. A huge thank you to Moving Ads and Derrick ThaPriest. This cover has a special place in my heart.
Thank you for understanding my design brief and illustrating from scratch! This one, I believe, will go down in history. Without any further ado, here is the first teaser from THRIVING CREATIVES – A Creative Entrepreneur’s Guide:
” On a calm, drizzly afternoon, while writing the very first draft of this book, I decided to play a song I had just discovered by a Kenyan artist I’d never heard of named Mutoriah. The song – Tosheka – featured Bensoul, another Kenyan musician. Tosheka is a soulful love song that evokes nostalgia for a place you may or may not have been to in the physical realm. It is, however, a place you’ve certainly been to spiritually or emotionally at the very least. It’s a place of warmth, love and beauty, where everything in the world is great. The video was shot in a picturesque room and beautiful spaces always speak to my heart. It had a vintage look which I loved very much. However, more than all this, it was the smile on Mutoriah’s face that really gripped me. He looked happy and the joy could be seen in his eyes. It looked like he was living his best life – a purpose-filled life, and seemed to be drinking in the entire experience with child-like wonder. I was completely drawn in. That smile struck a chord in my heart because, for me, it represented a happy and fulfilled creative. It is for that smile that I am convinced God has called me to work with and facilitate the growth of creatives so that more of them can be happy and fulfilled in their work.”
You have to buy the book to read the rest but until the physical copies are released, watch out for the next teaser to give you the next juicy bit of suspense.
This blog is literally a whatsapp conversation I had with my writing accountability group. Earlier this year, a few ladies and I set out to challenge ourselves to write consistently. We faithfully did a 21-day challenge in which we wrote content for books and blogs. After the challenge, which was nothing like any of us had ever done, I guess we got a bit tired, or a busier or both. That said, we still write, just not as consistently and everyday like we did in those 21 days. Last week, one of our members shared her new blog and we talked a bit about it. I noticed that she was plagued by something that I too had been plagued by in the past – the perfection bug rooted in the fear of how the public would receive her writing. This, coupled with the desire to get us back into the writing groove, I felt led to share that we should all remember that along this journey, we may fail. Scratch that, we will. But, every time we seem to have failed, we are actually learning and growing more. In addition to that, your writing is relevant to the seasons you are in. Yes, there is timeless literature. However, we forget that those that write timeless literature have had looooooooooots of practice. If we look at their earlier writing, even though it may tell of great talent, it may still not be as refined as their more recent pieces of work. Practice definitely makes perfect and practice is the cure to our need for perfection which makes us stagnate in our goals. Here is the actual conversation:
[10:50, 06/10/2020] kezy elaine: This is a message for all of us.
Get over the fear of failure and the need for perfection.
The truth is that you probably will fail. Perhaps you’ll open your blog 3 years from now and cringe🤣.
I opened my first ever blog in 2008 but in 2016, I closed it for good. I had grown and I wanted a fresh start.
I also had my first business website with my first ever fashion mini collections. I kept it running from 2016 to 2020 and closed it this year. I sensed the shift and I was no longer proud of the website. I felt I needed to have better content and web design in this new season.
And by the way, it was a nice site. But it did not represent the business well anymore.
You are going to have some mediocre content days.
You may fail sometimes …
[10:54, 06/10/2020] kezy elaine: So, what are things within your control currently?
Read through your content before you post. Self-edit it before posting or find an editor to work with.
Don’t detest your content. If you do, who do you expect to treasure it😆(am I being too harsh?)? One of the things to prove you love your content is be the first one to read your own blog post. Yes! Breathe deeply and read.
Congratulate yourself for making the effort every time. Every new blog post is worth being celebrated.
Take your eyes off you and start thinking more about the people you intend to bless with your content.
Pray over your content.
Love on your blog by changing its look at least twice a year to give it a fresh feel and also get you re-energised.
Cut yourself lots of slack! By taking the step to write consistently, you are already better than most who never ever start.
And that’s it for today folks. I hope this encourages you to keep writing, keep blogging. keep learning and keep growing. I was reminded last weekend that every blog post matters. One of my goals is to write many books within my lifetime. To achieve that, I commit to writing often because every time I do, I get better!
Thank you for reading. Share some thoughts and comments. Share this with your friends too :-). You never know who needs it.
Have you ever waited for something for so long that you get tired of waiting? Then, somewhere along the way you remember that there is such a thing as different seasons and the “right” time for something to come to life? I wrote this poem from such a place and time in my life, a few years ago. It’s addressed to God. You are welcome to say it and address it to Him too.
Teach me to be in sync with your seasons.
That I may be, always submitted,
Obedient to your word.
Teach me of your glory in your grace;
Of the splendor of being committed,
Covered by your peace.
Teach me to say thank you for your “no”,
And to appreciate the value of your “wait”
So that I may treasure your “yes” even more.
Teach me of your seasons,
Open my eyes to see the reasons.
May I be content with your timing.
Be blessed friends. You are being refined in the wait.
To make a real difference in the market, whatever you send out has to matter to two parties: your business and your client. As a business, you espouse certain values based your unique value proposition to the market. If you’d like to know more about this, kindly refer to my previous post here.
Because examples really help to drive the point home, I’d like you to imagine you own a fashion business that sells beautiful wedding gowns. You’d need to define how you are better than the rest in the market in your exact field. Perhaps your collection has unique locally-made pieces and as a brand you aim to support local designers while catering to brides’ needs. Next, you’d need to establish what your clients’ real need is. Perhaps your client is mostly young middle-income women between 25 to 40 who want to look stylish at their wedding without breaking the bank. Their need therefore, is to look stylish at an affordable price. Let’s assume you’ve established that their definition of affordable and yours are the same and you can actually provide your stylish gowns at that price while making a great profit. That’s your point of intersection. Much as you also aim to support local designers, that may not be a direct point of concern for your clients and therefore it will act a bonus. Your main focus in your marketing efforts should therefore be to communicate clearly to your client that you are affordable and stylish. It does not mean that your other values and qualities as a business do not matter. In fact, they may even be very important to your target clients. In this particular example given, I’m simply making an assumption for the sake of illustration.
I hope the example has helped to drive the point home. Think very carefully about the intersection between your business values and your clients’ needs. It will make a real difference. See you next time. I’ll leave you with this video below. Enjoy.
(The feature image was taken at an EABC conference I attended in 2017.)