I’m a Cameroonian-born author, copywriter and editor, so you could say writing has always been at the forefront of my pursuits, whether academically or on a more leisurely basis.
At school I wanted to be a pop star, but my dad told me that was fiercely competitive so I thought “Well, maybe I can turn my favourite subject into my dream then...” So I did my BA in Literature and French, and then went and got my Master’s in Creative Writing, specialising in fiction and poetry.
I believe having a support system during the creative process is vital. Even if you consider yourself wholly independent as a writer, there are responsibilities we all have, just on a human level, that we need to take care of. So if the people in your life allow you that liberty, that space to simply go away and create, I think that in itself is a form of support. For others support is something that is much more pastoral, where they need a bit more guidance, be it emotionally, in the form of accountability, whatever the case may be. And that’s also OK. There’s really no right or wrong way to be, because writing processes are like fingerprints.
Creating a safe space during the process is something that needs to begin with honesty. Like any process where you’re seeking growth or change or self betterment, you need to be honest with yourself about where you’re beginning, where you see yourself ending up, and the small, attainable steps you’re going to take in order to get there.
The interesting thing about writing is how reflective the process can be. Even if you’re a fictionist, if you aren’t clear or honest about the kind of writer you are, no matter the level, that will translate. As readers we can always tell when it feels like the author is trying to do something that perhaps feels unnatural to them and their style and their story, so you’ve got to be willing to open yourself up to the process so that you can actually see what needs to be done, and how best to discover your own unique voice.