Today’s #SyncityNGLLL guest is Stephen Eke.
@ItsUncleStephen is a humor, non-award winning writer. He believes laughter is the best medicine but still goes to the hospital when he’s ill. He can be found on twitter where he writes hilarious stories to the huge following he amassed telling tales of his ‘mis’ adventures with his friend named Progress. He organised the first ever #TwitterWritingContest to promote writing and literature on social media, with winning writers walking away with cash gifts and other incentives from cooperate sponsors.
Once, if ever, he becomes President, his first goal will be to arrest all who seek to pay writers with exposure.When he isn’t writing, he’s an engineer, working for an IOC, wearing a serious face, and ending his work emails with “Yours sincerely and Warm regards” even on cold days.
We are glad to have @ItsUncleStephen.
Thank you for having me.
First of all, I must ask what’s on the mind of everyone.
Who is the real Progress and where are you hiding her?
Wow Straight in for the kill I see. Lol.
Let’s just say the real Progress is alive, doing well and is somewhere in Abuja. That’s I’m willing to say
Okay guys, he said Progress is doing well. We can now relax.
Onto serious things, we would like to know how all this began for you.
I know you read engineering? that is paying you far more than telling humorous stories on Twitter.
How did this interest in storytelling begin?
Writing began out of boredom for me. I’d done other forms of art; act, stand up comedy(story for another day) but writing took off during nysc when I started my blog “homeofhumor” to tell stories in what I felt was more relatable and “gist like” form.
I’d write stories for days and amongst my friends there was never a dull moment and when NYSC boredom kicked in, a friend said why not open a blog and write exactly how you gist. And that’s how I got into writing.
@ItsUncleStephen the hustler!
Acting, stand up comedy, blogging, writing…only one person!😁
You seem to have an inclination for the arts even though you have a science background. Do you ever plan to pursue this(art) full-time?
Pursue the arts full time? I sincerely doubt it. It’s a passion and a hobby at this point in my life and if my plans work out for the foreseeable future.
Though I’ll never say never. Life happens and a full time art career won’t be a bad idea to be fair
Na wa o. This is a serious falling of hand. So you can’t pursue arts full-time? I am a little “upset” with this statement. 😩
What do you do when you aren’t telling stories? If storytelling is your side chick, we deserve to know the wife.
I refuse to comment on this analogy. Lool.
I like to say live an amphibious life. When I’m not on land, I’m at sea working as an engineer and gathering stories.
It’s funny because colleagues who’ve read my stories say to me to take up art full time.
Basically, “I belong to nobody and everybody”. 😏Juggling two careers at the same time.
How has the reception of your stories been especially on social media? Did you ever have any doubt that your stories would travel far?
I definitely did have doubt. Always felt like a fraud when I started out. But once I took the leap and saw the reception I kept at it. But most importantly for me, it’s been the fact that I’ve been able to encourage other writers tell their stories too. Bliss!
Have you ever been accused of “not belonging”? There are a lot of gatekeepers in the literary industry who look down on works that aren’t “literary fiction”.
Have your stories been seen as “unserious or not award-winning enough?”
Oh definitely. I’ve heard people say “he’s a writer? ”
My position has always been that there’s an audience for every kind of writing. The endgame is to tell a story, to pass a message. And over the years I’ve found an audience for what I write and I’m happy.
What would you say makes a good story?
How would you help a young writer understand the art of storytelling especially in thread form?
A good story for me is one where the reader feels involved and invested in. The way characters are created, the way events are painted with words and how dialogue makes you feel present in what is fiction.
If you story does this. It is a good story.
Writing stories in a thread is tricky. You must realise you’re jostling for the attention of your reader with a thousand other things on twitter. Your introduction MUST be catchy and you have maybe your first 5 tweets to reel them in. It takes alot of practice.
I got a question, sir. How did you make it through publishers, because I have been stuck even though I got two amazing literary frictions?
Honestly, I wish I could give a tip that automatically takes this hurdle away.
My one advice is to keep honing your art, keep improving and eventually that which you’re spending time chasing will rather come to you.
Thanks for your reply!
And also, is there any available means for a writer to get engaged in content creation where one could at least, earn sum little cash?
Please get our 35 Simple Ways to make money from writing ebook. It helps with how writers can make money. Reach us via email@example.com or DM any of our social media handles @syncityng.
Ah… we have a few DMs by those who wish to remain anonymous. Some of the questions may not be appropriate and our guest reserves the right to answer or not.
DM1 – Hi, Syncity, ask Stephen if he is single.
DM2 – Is he taking mentees at the moment?
DM3 – Good evening, Syncity, ask your guest if he has used his stories as a political tool/promote a politician.
Question 1, I’m not.
Question 2, I’ll actually love to do this but recently I’ve been so constrained for time. So sure, hit me up and maybe we can work something out.
Question 3, Used my stories as a political tool for a politician? I doubt I’ve.
Though I plan to use stories to raise political awareness on the need to demand for a change in our systems. I believe a working system will do more than a politician with the best intentions.
I think I would like to ask @ItsUncleStephen what sort of publishing he would use when he finally releases a book and why?
Please also tell us about your past and future projects. You have the floor.
I’ll self publish. Why? Diversity. I don’t like the idea that only books published through traditional publishers can do well and are worth their onions.
Past project I’m most proud of has to be @tw_writecontest. It was beautiful to see an idea blossom from a tweet to reality.
Future projects? A series #theoffshorediaries. It begins in a week. Basically I’ll be telling stories of life at sea with humor of course.
Final words for us before we call it a night?
Storytelling and writing is a talent but what distinguishes you from others is the amount of work you’re prepared to put in to better yourself.. You must never stop learning, and never stop putting yourself out there. It’s the only way to be better. Thank you. #SyncityNGLLL
We want to thank @ItsUncleStephen for joining us. Special thanks to all those who joined us by engaging with our guest, RTing and liking.
I remain your host @mystiquesynn.
Join us same time next week for another guest as we continue our mini-series on the art of storytelling. Did you miss Eketi’s interview on storytelling last week? Read her interview here.
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