OpEd, Politics

When I started writing in the newspaper, my salary was “keep up”

It does not need one to first consult a magician for him to be a writer. Writing is magic-free. It does not need one to be a son/daughter of a writer for him/her to become a writer. Writing is non-genetical. It does not need one to change an environment for him to become a writer. Any environment is fit for writing.

It does not need one to be a Christian, Muslim or Pagan for him to become a writer. Writing is Religion-free. It does not need one to first have a fat bank account for him to become a writer. Both billionaires and penniless people can be writers. It does not need one to have a specific type of food for him to become a writer. Writing is diet-free.

It does not need one to hail from a rich family for him to become a writer. Both the poor and the rich can be writers. Anyone can write. Anyone can write on only one condition; if he/she has passion for writing. The most important thing, not only in writing alone, but also in other professions, is passion. This 7-lettered word sounds simple, but it can solve every profession’s problem.

When you have passion for something, it means you love that thing. Did I say “you like that thing”? I said “you love that thing”. When you love something, it means you are strongly bonded to it. It is passion that now drives you to look for all it takes to succeed in writing. Having developed an unconditional love for writing, I became adhered to the principle that “read, read, and read still, for you to become a good writer”.

After years of reading, I thought I should practice writing. Then I began it. It did not take me long to catch people’s eyes. What I made sure must be up-to-date was literature. When you know grammar, it makes writing easy, but writing becomes much easier when you are creative. Each day, I would write thrice. This was to nourish my passion for writing.

Critics popped up from hither and thither but they found me when I have already subscribed to “thick-skin principle”. What prolongs criticism is my profession because people who are not exposed think doctors are only confined to treating patients and that, they should not become writers. As tall as my passion for writing, I borrow a camel’s character of moving on majestically however much a dog barks at it.

One fine day, a media personnel suggested I should write in the newspaper. That was all. I heard him the same way I hear my parents. The following morning, I was already in the premises of Juba Monitor Newspaper. I submitted my opinion and the following morning, it got published.

Then I kept to submitting opinions daily. All I was told was “keep it up”. Readers began calling me on phone and sending me emails. Many appreciating, some advising and a few criticising me and, my passion did not betray me to give up. I perceived them as those pushing me up.

Time flew so fast; 6 months had already gone in the business. The administration of the newspaper was receiving calls of appreciation for the opinions I was writing. One time, the Managing Editor inquired whether or not I was being paid and I told him I’m not being paid. In fact, I did not expect any payment. I was even expecting myself to pay the paper. All I had in mind was to practice writing as I chase the dream of authorship.

That was all. A form was brought and I signed it. Then I began receiving the salary per opinions I wrote each month. I tell you, it boosted my writing career to the core, to the real core that I was feeling like I have already made it. The “keep up” was a good salary for me and when it became tangible, I felt so happy. I was the highly-paid opinion writer receiving two sets of salary each month; keep up and the salary itself. “Keep up” became my allowances. All I need to say is “passion first, money last”.

When you are paid for something that comes out of your mind, however small the money is, it gives you all the nutrients needed for a healthy life. When you are a writer, you are like a blacksmith. You just pick up a metal from rubbish, craft it and earn money on it. The smoke goes missing in other people’s houses and there is smoke in your house.

Morning and evening, food is put on your table. People go to the bush; you remain in town. They return from the bush; they find you blacksmithing words for a living. Clean money! 2,000 SSP feeds 10 people to satiety. Very clean money! How many times do I need to tell you this? There is food in writing.

Thanks for reading “Sowing The Seed Of Truth”.

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