This afternoon, I got a chance to have a brief but very insightful chat with Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva about writing. Beverley, if you do not know it al ready, is the brain (and beauty) behind Babishai Niwe Poetry Award.
So we were having a discussion about the muse and how to write better consistently. Many of us struggle with the muse, waiting for him/her to come to us to produce that brilliance that every writer dreams of.
Incidentally, it was reported this week that Shakespeare might have written his masterpieces while high on marijuana. For a moment I was validating my lack of masterpieces, because my muse came and left whenever she wanted, for Shakespeare, she probably wanted in on the heights. This story though is most likely untrue and brings me to what Bev shared.
Beverley’s thought is simple. Even though the muse can be elusive, the muse can be romanced, attracted. And you learn this when you understand the science of writing. It is vanity for a writer to wait around for a muse who will only come around when she feels like it.
Her experience is, you can create an atmosphere and mindset that is attractive for the muse. She noted that JK Rowling while a teacher, always took off three hours in the afternoon to simply write.
Personally Beverley last year set out to write ten thousand words a month which is an average of 1000 words a day, and she kept this habit going for four months till a novel she was working on was finished.
There is a science to writing, and writing intentionally, consistently is one of the keys to romancing the muse. Perhaps the phrase practise makes perfect refers to this when it comes to writers.
Popular writers like Stephen King, Dan Brown, Sidney Sheldon write as a vocation and clearly their muse is close but they have attracted her overtime from being consistent about writing.
The muse is not dependable, we must respect her but we must attract her. (Hopefully not through the end of a pipe as was suspected of Shakespeare.)
Talking about writing, this month will be witness to a new poetry anthology specifically about Kampala. “Boda Boda Anthem & Other Poems” will be launched during the Babishai Niwe Poetry Festival taking place from 26-28th August at the Uganda Museum. The launch event is at Goethe Zentrum/Alliance Française de Kampala ( Bukoto Street) on 27th August from 6pm. One of my poems (Buildings) was selected to appear in it!
The crowning event of the Babishai Poetry Festival will be the awarding of the 2015 BN Poetry Prize on 28th August. The long list of poems for the 2015 prize can be seen here. My favourite was “My Hair is Loud” by Lua Davis (Cameroon). Unfortunately it didn’t make the shortlist which has truly breakthrough poetry on the African continent.
Please make sure you check out the festival activities and buy the Kampala poetry Anthology : Boda Boda Anthem and Other Poems. It is currently on sale at the Uganda Museum at UGX 25,000/-.
Good luck with romancing the muse.