The 2021 Afrobloggers Winter ABC (African Blogging Challenge) #WINTERABC2021 is here again. Organized by Afrobloggers, an African-based creative hub for different content creators uniting Africans here and beyond, Afrobloggers, it’s an exciting period for bloggers to engage in something like this. A learning point for many as well as a great way to make all those incredible networks in this field.
I first engaged with this last year, same period and boy was it insane. Last year’s challenge, so us working out different topics each day and I must admit that I was shook at how I was able to come up with content every day. My imagination was challenged then stretched.
This year, they have decided to make it simple by giving us four topics, one each week, Monday to Friday of June except on weekends for resting and networking. What one posts must align with their site’s theme.
I am thus looking forward to walking through it with you. Your likes, follow, and engaging conversations will be most welcome. Let’s get into it.
2021, looked at it it as the rebirth from all the mayhem of 2020. In Uganda, most parts ushered it in with a heavy downpour just at the stroke of midnight and we signified it as a start of a new beginning. Here on my site, I’ll start with a story on how I began my writing jouney…to the blogging bit.
Because I usually come across a number of things, especially those that affect our daily social, emotional life, I usually get an opinion which I prefer to share in written form. That is how I usually can best express myself for I am a shy guy when it comes to facing crowds. I know many people who can dispute that though. And also some people think I know everything about life. Literally. I don’t blame them though but I don’t. Just like they don’t.
Writing is one of those hobbies that have stuck with me for a long time & I started doing so in the early 2000’s with what was meant to be a song. However, a friend of mine read it & thought it was a great poem & thus decided to send it to a girl in the next class. The canes we were served thereafter were much more than the quails God gave the Israelites in the desert. From there, not much took place till 2005 when I joined secondary school.
I started with writing songs which I later cut short, edited & turned into poems & mini stories because I personally thought they sounded so bad, boring & annoying (the songs).
Around that period, I was a committed literature student so it just fueled my passion. My mastery of the English language in my class then, turned me into a favorite of sorts among both fellow students & teachers (Not to forget the crush I had on my literature/English student teacher in Senior 2. She was a young intern but the cute bird was transferred before we could even make a serious move). Yeah, I wished that much.
Writing got so good I even started writing for other students love letters to take to their darlings (Yup. You, the alumni of mine reading this, never know one of the best lines your love might have sent you was written by me & you were there instead praising them). Even all my ex’s did literature so this means reading & writing was a must-to-have character for me to start considering you dating goals.
I started putting my works on Facebook. Trying to open up to the world but one day as I was chilling on my business, I got an emissary from a part of my family with a complaint that I was putting erotic content on line and it may kill my image. Out of anger for these people’s lack of respect for my art and stepping over that part of my boundary, I shifted my craft to another platform and that was how I joined the amazing WordPress.
I like listening to music (occasionally), watching movies & documentaries & will usually pull out something to write down what has tickled my mind. It could be a line in a song, movie or a piece of literature. I then need good music & or a good photo (Especially about landscape, the sea, stars. Abstract paintings. Pictures of people who aren’t really aware of the camera’s presence.) These help to bring out the deep emotions in me that put the right words in my mind to describe how I feel & thus end up writing something good. (The three emotions being; extreme anger, fear & happiness.)
Because I am a person who can best express through writing, I draw my inspiration from many fields of life making me more of a versatile creative writer who isn’t bound to one topic as I have proven ability to write about love, education, events, intimacy, motivation & inspiration & much more in a rather laid back style. A light, none assertive style yet powerful enough to leave an impression on a reader’s mind.
I strive to mostly write about subjects that happen in our daily lives. Issues that affect how we live & perceive things. Stories of my personal experiences. Stories people tell me of their lives. Deep stuff. I turn them into my narrative. Third persona usually. Morgan Freeman style & then use them to preach to others that are facing similar situations. In an inspirational or correctional point of view. You can check me out here https://randomthoughtsofshadray.wordpress.com & https://medium.com/@kinenemarvin (for the erotic minds)
I hope to one day write for a magazine, website or newspaper & also through my works, become a great speaker & an inspiration to other writers, lovers, readers, the tired & nearly giving ups, the heart broken & myself.
Thank you. Especially if you can help me realize that dream.
So, here’s the thing. You can’t be living the lit life on social media. Attending the craziest events & hanging out at the poshest joints & you expect people to think you’re broke? Why should they? It’s visually obvious you’re sending out the message that you made it in life. I mean, you’re attending events that many out there are wishing to attend but can’t afford to. What else do you want people to perceive of that?
With this illustrated lifestyle, everything about you is expected to be fast lane, boss. Rick Ross. Including accommodation. With the life you’re flaunting out there, we then expect that you probably crash at some posh villa with inbuilt facilities, Wi-Fi, poolside, inside bar or something. I mean, if you can afford to hang out lavishly then you can definitely afford to live in a well suited house. Mansion.
Where I am driving my point to is about a Ugandan social media frenzy about this lady who was put in a daily paper by her landlord for failure to pay rent amounting to about four million Uganda shillings. I posted something about it & someone asked me whether I knew her for me to judge & I actually don’t. It is too bad the landlord went as hard as putting her up in the papers. Insane it is but crazier are the guys who wanted to organize a car wash to help raise her rent. Seriously! These are the things that are moving us now? And then we blame the government for spending money on things like the three wheeled motorcycles? LOL. But why? Those things are a joke.
I would say, people have failed to grasp the basic knowledge of spending money/ resources & by our utter ignorance we’re seemingly ready to support it. By organizing a car wash fundraiser for an apparent slay queen who failed to raise rent but can afford expensive weaves & outings.
For starters, people should learn to live within their means. If you have a job that pays you a basic 500k for example then why stay in a house that charges about 400k? How are you going to survive on the remaining 100k for a full month unless if you get free lunch & supper at your work place & it pays your power, water bills plus facilitating your transportation? Is that why some girls open brackets to survive? How are you going to save for future projects if your dream is to get wealthy legally & morally off your sweat & yet it’s some of these virtues that you’re clearly not in line with? If you’re one whose source of income is not big enough to support your lifestyle, I’d suggest you get a basic house in a basic area, keep friends that you’re able to run to in case life is not smiling your way. People you can confide in when you’re troubled & they can offer you help. Usually the people in your phone-book/ social circle are an indication of who you’re as a person. If you don’t have people who can bail you out when life is throwing Muhammad Ali punches at you then you may definitely be in need of a new set of friends.
Sometimes we do the mistake of feeding our wants & not our needs. Of following a lot of that which glitters thinking it’s all gold. Of trying so much to keep appearances instead of focusing on personal development & inner peace. Of thinking with our eyes & not the brain. Shallow. Someone told me not to judge but naturally, humans will judge first on how you appear or what image you decide to show.
Part of my anger comes from an interaction I had with someone of quite a similar type. She’s this girl who is always uploading twerking videos in groupie moments at posh joints. Her belly out, skirt short, beer glass in one hand, voice high, crop top & ass to the camera or dubbing her girls. She in boxed me one time after I don’t know how many years and without even settling into knowing how our lives have been since we last met in 2014 which should be common courtesy, she was asking me for money for some campus issue. This is someone I think finished campus about 3 years ago & when I told her I couldn’t help her, the conversation proceeded not any further. A few days later, she was at the morally controversial Nyege Nyege Festival. I was vexed. Even if your argument may be that she might have saved for the festival, wouldn’t it seem more logical if she instead used that money to cater for her education needs than a senseless festival? Like as if it’s the festival that’s going to get her a job (unless of course if she sleeps with the right people there.)
Everyday we’re learning & getting better. Today we’re also teaching & below I am going to briefly share a few tips on how to publicize your content & site.
1. Create your own identity if possible & preferably. An identity that’s in line with your subject matter. An identity people will know you for. It can be sports, business, life stories, erotica or like some of us, anything that comes by but under this one, you’d have to be unique about it so that people can pick you out if anyone comes looking for something that others know it’s you who knows better about it.
2. Use the right tags & categories on your posts for search engine optimizations.
3. Use good imagery on your posts. One that can relate to the content. Some people (like me) are sometimes attracted by images on posts. Some people (like me) are inspired to create some pieces just by looking at some imagery.
4. Follow the right sites on social media esp. Twitter. There’s a lot of supportive sites that can help you push your work through re tweets, mentions & writers lifts.
5. Be active on other people’s works. There they’ll appreciate your support & reciprocate. It’s great if you find those in line with your subject matter too. The number of ideas you’ll share is immeasurable. Like you coming here yet we’ve never met anywhere before.
Just as well, endeavor to like & reply to people’s comments on your posts. Even if one just said, “wow, great post.” Make sure you come back & like it & also add a “Thanks for reading.” on it. They’ll feel appreciated of their effort & time they spent on your blog. Why then wouldn’t they come back?
6. If there are writers’ challenges & you have content that can participate, take part. It’ll help you find a community to belong. Participating in Afrobloggers June challenge helped me a lot in discovering a lot of people & most of my followers have come because of it. Now where I am with the Ug Blogging Challenge & I am having a blast. They also help fuel your creativity.
7. Be consistent so that your work is out there. Imagine visiting to a blog that was last active 4 months back. Would you waste your time following it? I created a routine that I must have an article running every Saturday at between 9:00 P.M – 10:00P.M because I know that’s when most of ‘my readers’ are active.
8. Another important thing is to love what you’re doing. Unless you love it, you’ll constantly be frustrated, you’ll lose the creative powers & you’ll fall.
9. Create a beautiful, easy to navigate site that will attract people to hit the follow button and keep coming back for more.
Gaining followers takes time but they do come if you follow the right SOPs. 😉
I am not a usual fun of marketing. I’ve always avoided any opportunity that presented itself under marketing but life as you know it can be full of surprises, here I am stuck with Ug Bloggers making me market something about me. Let’s see how it goes. And actually this is a project I wanted to hold this year…and then someone ate a bat.
RANDOM THOUGHST OF SHADRAYpresents…
SHADRAY’S CREATIVE WRITING CLASS
THE GENESIS “Embracing The Art”
Random Thoughts of Shadray is the social correction & critique blog of Kinene ‘Shadray’ Marvin covering a range of different topics creatively crafted to deliver messages on mainly; relationships, motivation, inspiration & life adaptation skills.
Shadray’s Creative Writing Class is going to be a free attendance writers conference (though open donations will be accepted) for people that are trying to discover their writing skills.
Briefly, it is intended to make manifest the writing spirit of beginners so that they can be able to produce that which is in their mind through realizing & embracing some of the key factors that make one a writer especially points like;
What motivates/ inspires one to write? (motivation)
Why does one want to write & what kind of writer does one want to be? (identity)
How does one want to be understood/ message delivery? (style)
Much as I have self-taught myself on this journey from reading about other writers’ works and personal experiences, there are a few creative writers’ events that I have attended & got enlightened from, like;
The Uganda International Writers Conference, 4th Edition/ Creative Writers Master Class organized by the British Council East Africa Arts & The African Writers Trust 2019.
The Global Stance Workshops 2019 organized by Skillz East Africa.
The Creative Hustle Activity in partnership with the Uganda Press Photo Award organized by the British Council East Africa Arts, 2019.
Was among the invited guests attending the African writers’ reception for the famed Nigerian American writer, Okey Ndibe organized by the US Embassy Public Affairs Office & African Writers Trust.
With a Target attendance ranging from writers, media personalities, students, scholars & other writing enthusiasts, feel free to respond to the call when the lockdown is done & come take part in;
Learning about creative writing (from Shadray & select partners)
Motivation & inspirational talks relating to writing from select speakers (media personnel, students, sponsors)