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In conversation

How the LOML Saved Me Through Dark Phases | In Conversation with Victor Daniel

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Hello Synners!

You know what time it is! It’s the #SyncityNGLLL show that promotes creatives off and on the African continent.

This June, we began a storytelling series. We have had guests like @eketiette @ItsUncleStephen and today, our guest is Victor Daniel, @good_pikinnn.

His nonfiction “God’s Mailbox Is A Traffic Jam” has been published in the print version of Selves: An Afro Anthology of Creative Nonfiction.

Welcome. Glad to have you here.

Victor

Good to be here tonight. Good evening to you, and everyone else.

Syncity NG 

Let’s begin.

Out of all the things you could do, why did you decide to be a storyteller?

Victor

Don’t think I “decided.” Guess I found myself in circumstances where I had to write. It wasn’t a choice I had the luxury of making. It was just the only survival strategy because frankly at that point there wasn’t anything else I could do with my life.

Syncity NG

And how has the survival strategy been working out so far?

Victor

Well, Alhamdullilah. It’s what’s gotten me this far. I kind of rode on it to get through a lot of phases in my life. I’m grateful to the art.

Syncity NG

This your “Alhamdudillah” sounds like something an Alhaji says after securing a government contract.

Is writing “doing well”?

Victor

Hahaha. Wellll, I’m not in a very good place now, mentally. And that has taken a toll on my mental energy and general willingness to write. These days I read more than I write. Hopefully I will drag myself out of this state and get back to the LOML— writing.

Syncity NG 

Okay. We’ll take your word for it.

Since you brought it up, let’s talk about mental health in creatives.

Does a storyteller/writer have to be melancholic before they create good piece of art?

Victor

Not necessarily, although I do believe that melancholy helps with introspection, and some of the deepest stories come from introspection. Sadness is alluring to people who crave literary depth. Occupational hazard I think.

Syncity NG

I agree with your last point.

Tell us how it has been. This storytelling business…how did it start and where are you now?

Victor

Well, it’s been fair to me. I’ve been growing. I feel myself growing through every story I write. I used to want to have a typical writing career: get published, win prizes. But now I don’t care about that anymore I just write whatever I want, for myself.

Syncity NG 

Share with us some of the writing rejections you have had and how that made you feel especially when fans are in your comment section calling you the next Wole Soyinka.

Victor

It was crushing, because I was on a streak. I was feeling invincible o then I got that mail and I could almost taste the sour feeling of inadequacy on my tongue. Anyway sha, I chest am move on. Everyone gets a rejection right? That’s what we’re told. We moved ni.

I have received two rejections so far, and both times they hurt. But it’s part of the job anyway. They say we’ll eventually get used to it. I will too.

Syncity NG

For those who plan to start telling stories on social at some point(but aren’t fine boys), what would you advice?

How should they improve their craft and grow their audience?

Victor

Lmaooooo!

Use Facebook, that’s the platform that encourages writing the most. People read there. Be consistent, even through humble beginnings and 4 likes. Stalk writers, they’re your colleagues. Build your social media page with people interested in what you do.

You need an audience right? So make sure you build an audience of readers. If people on your social media page don’t read your shit, you need a new audience.

Lastly, stay consistent. That’s what’s more important. You will only improve through consistency.

Syncity NG 

Tell us about some of your publishing experiences.

Did your readers buy your book(or places you contributed to) when it was out or did they travel to Lokoja to ask for recharge card?

Victor

They’ve been mad supportive o. When I released my collection of short stories (digitally published) I sold about 300 copies, which was a big deal then because I was self-promoting. That was 4 years ago. My following has doubled since then so the future is bright.

CRAFTEROFPUN

Do you plan on trying your hands at film script writing, biography and other forms of writing someday or you’re married to short stories and full length novels?

Victor

Believe me, screenwriting is my first love. I have dreams of writing script for movies and probably directing my own movies in future. Biography, probably. Full length novel? I don’t know. But screenwriting is what I really want to do.

HASIATHASY

I am yet to understand how you write stories that are extremely funny. How do you do that?

Victor

I’m funny. I can write. I understand the use of flexible language to paint hilarious pictures. I think it’s a combination of these factors. Sometimes I throw away grammar rules to make certain sentences appear funnier. You gotta learn how to do that too.

HASIATHASY

Do you think you can ever digress into a different genre of writing…I mean, poetry?

Victor

I’m an awful poet. But sometimes I try to make my prose sound like poetry. Don’t think I’ll ever write poetry full-scale. But I do want to start writing more essays and memoirs though.

Syncity NG

Self publishing or traditional?

And why?

Victor

Self-publishing because creative freedom. You can write whatever the fck you want however you want it. I’ll make enough money to self publish if I ever decide to publish a book. Creative freedom is the greatest gift a writer can have. If it backfires, I’ll chest it.

Syncity NG

We want to thank @good_pikinnn for such an educative session!

Last words, Victor, before we call it a night?

Victor

Read more, go out more, talk more, travel if you can, and keep writing until it makes sense. Always put your work out there even if it seems no one is reading. That’s all I gotta say. It’s good having y’all around. Finally, your mental health is important. Take care of yourself.

Syncity NG

And with that, we have come to the end of the show!

Thanks for joining us!

I remain your host, @mystiquesynn

Did you miss the show with Eketi Ette and Stephen Eke? Read here and here.

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