My Writing Is A Drill, I Must Write Everyday | In Conversation With Jude Idada

In conversation, Literary Circle

My Stories carry truth

Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to another edition of the SyncityNGLLL show. This time on the SyncityNGLLL show is a distinguished guest, a man of many talents. To join our really astounding Literary Lords and Ladies, we fixed our spotlight on the multi award-winning writer, filmmaker and author of books, Jude Idada.
His bio is quite a lot and so, concisely, here’s his bio:
A winner of an AMAA best screenplay award, ANAA prize for Drama, a Goethe Institut Afrika Projekt finalist and a long-listed and short-listed nominee of the NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature for his plays Sankara and Oduduwa – King of the Edos, Jude has continually blazed a trail in the art scene. He was also a finalist in the New Directions Filmmakers of the future project by MNET in addition to being selected as one of the playwrights for the British Council’s Lagos Theatre Festival.
Amongst many, Jude Idada was also selected as one of the screenwriters for the Toronto International Film Festivals ADAPT THIS! and the Afrinolly/Ford Foundation Cinema4Change projects. Jude was also an inaugural participant in the Relativity Media/AFRIFF Filmmaking project.
As a filmmaker, he has written several screenplays for various production companies spread around the world. As the Artistic director of the Africa Theatre Ensemble in Toronto, Canada, Jude directed the stage plays “Flood,” “Brixton Stories,” “Lost” and “Coma”.
His new collection of short stories Only Crazies Are Born in April comes out in October by Bahati Books, his critically acclaimed stage play Sankara is published by Parresia Books under the Origami handprint.


SYNCITY NG: So glad to have you here, Jude. Let’s get started.

JUDE IDADA: Thank you so much for having me here. So very honoured.

SYNCITY NG: First question: Out of all the genres you are versed in, which would you say comes easiest to you and why?

JUDE IDADA: I will say drama, as dialogue is a literary tool that is both immediate and expository. Also because I tend to remember and analyse through what I hear more than what I see. Also the confining nature of drama as you have in plays pushes for innovation and brevity. This is challenging and I love challenges. Then of course theatre handily lends itself to the interactive exploration of thematic depth. I love that relationship that exists between performer, character and audience.

SYNCITY NG: Jude, you have had a well-decorated career. Is there something young writers should know before they kick off their careers?

JUDE IDADA: Thank you. I would say to all the young writers out there that to want to start a writing career, you first have to love writing for writing itself and not for fame or wealth, because those may never come. Second, you have to have something to say and the humility to learn how to say it from other experienced writers. You have to read and read and read to see other writing styles, etc. Then you have to be patient and long suffering because harvest time can be long in coming. You have to separate your writing from yourself, because negativity will come your way. That thick skin which comes will help you not give up when the going is rough and the feedback is not encouraging. You have to understand your own style and develop it.

SYNCITY NG: Take us through your writing rituals. We would love to know how you churn out such an impressive body of work on a consistent basis.

JUDE IDADA: This is the best time of the day you write best. You have to learn the rules and then you’re free to break them. Above all you need discipline. Look at writing as a job. Dedicate time to it. Send what you write to comrades and magazines. Welcome and use feedback. And remember that the best writer is one that is willing to rewrite and rewrite. It’s a lonely road the writer trudges, but his satisfaction is first personal than is collective. Write for yourself before all else, so if garlands don’t come, you’ll still smile.

SYNCITY NG: Jude is spitting serious fire tonight! I love this. How would you describe your writings, Jude? What’s that special sauce you spice your work with that draws people to it like a moth to a flame? I’m asking who your ‘baba’ is.

JUDE IDADA: Lol. The special sauce is simplicity and the ability to write like a filmmaker. To see clearly what you are saying in visuals and recount it in form of worded scenes that portray powerful imagery. I help the reader ‘see’ and ‘hear’. It is a transportation via words. My writing is a drill. It’s like a work out. Diligence. Discipline. I must write everyday. Even when ill. So I write first thing in the morning and at night. A page at least each day. I write multiple things at the same time. When one stallls, I jump to the other.

You have to separate your writing from yourself, because negativity will come your way.

UZOAMAKA JOE (@uzosecond): When will you take your stage play “threesome” to other parts of Nigeria besides Lagos?

JUDE IDADA: Thanks for this question. I am more than ready to do so. But the funds are scarce. Hopefully soon. If you do know an interested sponsor or investor, please let me know.

MYSTIQUESYN O. (@mystiquesynn): Questions for Jude. 1) Are you hopeful about this year’s NLNG prize after several close shaves? 2) How do you unwind? Creatives are known to get bored easily. 3) How do you protect your mental health? 4) Are you single (asking for a distant relative)?

JUDE IDADA: 1) I leave winning to the gods of Literature. I believe the best book should win. I am rooting for Anisa Daniel Oniko. She reminds me of my 12 year old self. You can imagine what winning would do to her and young ones like her. It will truly be simply amazing. 2) I watch movies. Series. Read. Hang with friends. Get my freak on. The blood needs to flow. 3) I do not take anything too serious. I separate myself from my work. I flee from negative energy. I always think love and do love. I dwell in the place of empathy. I forgive. I forget. I let life unfurl as it chooses to. 4) Lol. I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.

OGBENI TEMI TOPE (@topgel_adelak): You are an established writer, a genius at what you do. I’d like to know how you remember your daily interactions with people and share them without mincing words on social media?

JUDE IDADA: Thank you so much. I believe I respect people’s privacy by always keeping them anonymous. That gives me the freedom to say it as it is. I always ensure I keep it on message because if you learn a lesson, you are willing to sheath your sword. I remember events. Because I stay in the moment. I practise mindfulness. I truly listen. I use emotional markers. So when I recount, all I do is remember how I felt at that moment and then the words I heard come back and the event thereof.

CHINYERE OHUONU (@harchychy): Jude, many thanks for coming on the show and sharing your journey with us. My question: yes, writing can oftentimes come with no reward (sigh) but we feel it’s been so rewarding for you. What would you attribute that to apart from experience and all. Connections maybe?

JUDE IDADA: Thank you, Chinny. I think it rewards me because I give and give without expectation of rewards. I believe that if you live in the truth of your purpose, the universe will take care of you. I ensure it is never about me for I am but a vessel surrendered to be used.
As per connections, definitely. But remember people are more willing to introduce you to gate keepers if they see your light and the universe brings these people because it sees you have done same to others. Connect and you will also be connected.

CHINYERE OHUONU (@harchychy): If you weren’t a writer/filmnaker, what would you rather be?

JUDE IDADA: A clinical psychologist or a spiritual counselor. I am drawn naturally to things of the mind and of the spirit. It is there I find true peace and a sense of purpose. To heal and give succour to the broken and damaged.

UZOAMAKA JOE (@uzosecond): The stories you share daily on Facebook, what percentage of them are real life experiences?

JUDE IDADA: Lol. My stories carry truth. I paraphrase while dramatically recounting, so that the reader gets the lesson embedded in the story. I am blessed to be able to remember and tell paranormally. I’ve developed my powers of observation to see and hear what others won’t. Then with emotional markers and mindfulness I can transport across time and carry my reader with me. There are no percentages of truth or mistruth, there is just the experience to share, the lesson to teach and the soul willing to learn.

UZOAMAKA JOE (@uzosecond): Thanks for sharing this gift so freely with us.

We who write and we who read are a privileged few, for our mind knows no boundaries and our words have power.

Our light illuminates the world.

SYNCITY NG: Quick one, Jude. I noticed you use more of ‘local’ publishing houses to push your art. What are your thoughts on publishing in the West and dropping your work in the hands of an agent while you rest?

JUDE IDADA: You’re right to an extent. I’ve used a self publishing house in Canada and then in the United States. I have used two local publishing houses. And my new book comes from a traditional publisher in the UK. I’m working on getting an agent though. The load is heavy.

SYNCITY NG: Such an enlightening and rich experience with Jude! At this point, we would like Jude to give his parting words to our writing community.

JUDE IDADA: Thank you all for sharing your time with me. I am honoured. We who write and we who read are a privileged few, for our mind knows no boundaries and our words have power. Let us approach it with the sacred devotion of a vocation and not just a hobby or an escape. We are creators and on our shoulders rest the responsibility of shaping society and moulding the future. Let us be courageous and truthful, honest and daring, empathetic and exacting. Our light illuminates the world. That is why we have been so gifted with this sacred talent. We are torchbearers. Light houses leading souls to the shore of knowledge. Let us write as though our words will save lives.
Let us write because we know that is never about us, but message that has chosen us as the vessel for its birth into the world. We are a priesthood. Not for money or fame, but for enlightenment. Keep writing. The world needs you. Thank you. Blessings. One. Always.

SYNCITY NG: Special thanks to our guest Jude Idada for joining us despite his busy schedule. We appreciate you.
Did you miss our conversations with literary agents? Read here.

Leave a Reply