By: Adedimeji Quayyim Abdul-Hafeez
I know that you want to keep your sanity, to thrive in this madhouse we call a country. I understand that you are desirous of change, and you want to contribute your quota to sensitization and enlightenment, albeit in your own little way. You do want to channel your intelligence and cognitive creativity to drive insightful discussions, convey unspoken emotions and contribute to issues around you. You want to shine into limelight, and you want to do so using your skill and craft.
I am just kidding. If you want to be Nigerian creative, all these jabu no concern you.
In your journey towards being a creative, and a Nigerian one at that, there are some rules you must follow, some paths you must tour. As usual, as the messenger of bliss that I am, I would convey these paths to you in bits, for your consumption and application. This is all in a bid to upskill your creative hustle and ensure you blow in the creative business.
- Know the right platforms to start
As a creative, it is important to know the right platforms to market your creative hustle. First, the branding starts from you. Get yourself a pseudonym. Something like Pen Lord, Ijoba Creative, Einstein Junior, Bolaji Writes, ©pen queen, Horpheyemhi, Soyinka-in-Chief, Young Achebe, Shakespeare Words or any other name that comes off the top of your head would do. Get your friends to call your new divinely inspired name. You can get it customized on your shirts and books to make it stick faster.
Now, it is time to shift your gospel to the social media. Flood everywhere. Post all your works, even if unsolicited, to WhatsApp groups and DMs. Flood your status updates with picture prompts and the works you have done. Join all those WhatsApp groups where you meet people of your shared interests – creatives in the hustle. Post your works on your Facebook feeds and groups. Let them know a rising star has emerged. Write about how you walked to make people like Shakespeare fly. Show them all!
- Invest in radical appearances
As an upcoming creative, your appearance matters. You do not want people to assume you have not reached the peak in the intellectual ladder when, indeed, you have. Spot an afro, dreadlocks, dyed hair or to be more authentic, Dada. Get sewn Ankara tops with black trousers to match. Get a disjointed Palm footwear or a tattered shoe. You must show them the intellectual prowess you possess weighs you down and that all the problems in this world lie on your head and shoulders.
- Showcase yourself
It is time to put your personality on the map. It is time to let them know you are the ultimate solution to Nigeria’s problem. Attend events and lobby to be introduced with your pseudonym. Lobby to present your works publicly in weddings, birthdays, burials, literary events or even in official meetings. Buy books you know you are not going to read (they have to know your library is packed, yunno). Show them that you convey bliss and that you have published works (which are on WhatsApp and Facebook, don’t they know?) This would go a long way in spreading your popularity and to gain the respect you truly deserve.
Don’t thank me yet. The lamba still full for ground
- Develop a thick skin
As a creative, all those people that are not up to your pedestal would antagonize you and try to rubbish your efforts. You must ensure their efforts amount to nothing. Tell them that you are not the nuisance they think you are. You would get depressed and suffer illnesses too, but you have to man up for the public. Haters gonna hate, because they do not like the face of success. You have to tell them you are the intellectual savior they have been waiting for and that they need to come to the light.
- Complain about how bad the system is
As a creative, you have to remember you are Nigerian first. Complain about the inadequacies in the society and tell the public the lack of respect for creatives and intellectuals is making Nigeria get worse. Complain about how platforms reject the works you submit because you are from a different tribe or country, and not because you are not good enough. Complain about how the platforms you submit to (which must be paying platforms, of course), do not pay enough for your work or are systematically racist. You are the advocate of the masses and it is your life-long duty to project the voices in your head (that you think represent the plight of the the masses). You would savor the fame and money would trickle to your pockets from those who want to silence your divine voice.
Fela no do pass all these too.
- Get into controversies
To boost your image, you have to get into controversies with your fellow creatives. Complain to all on how a particular creative doesn’t get his dictions right or how Achebe is greater than Soyinka. Diss fellow creatives with counter opinions and works. Write about opinions that are far off the edge to gain traffic and attention to your work. This drives attention to who you are and the brand of intellectualism you stand for. You must be radical, yunno.
- Improve your vocabulary
You have got them your worth, dear creative, and the way you speak must reflect that. You have to get Patrick Obahiagbon’s dictionary and learn the big great words. You have to write all your works in rhymes, so that people would like it. You have to memorize all the classical quotes you can lay your hands on, so that people would be forced to clap whenever you are speaking. You have to show that wisdom is brewed in your thoughts and you have to deliver it all to impress the market.
- Plagiarise, but on a low key
You suppose know say no be everything you go sabi, because you no bi God. But you cannot show this infallibility to the public. A creative that knows his onions does not admit to faults and weaknesses. You have to read the great works and plagiarize them. Nobody go know say na Tolstoy and Senghor get am. You have to do this with sense and on a low key because if you are caught and ridiculed, I would deny you, completely. You have to get sense in this endeavor you want to dabble in.
These commandments would guard and guide you in your creative hustle, and would attract fame and funds to your creative hustle if applied dutifully. I have fulfilled my part by conveying these to you, go forth and live the life as a successful Nigerian creative. Go forth and thrive!
Adedimeji Quayyim Abdul-Hafeez is a mad creative on the loose, interested in laws, media and communications, journalism and anything that knowledge could be found in. He views the world as a conglomerate of crumbling realities and is enamored in how satires embody the hope of our collective humanity. He receives mails on firstname.lastname@example.org and directs the Ministry of Flex, Vibes and Creativity on Twitter @quayyimbakr
Feature Image by Amnesty International.