Focus on Poetry: Faith Olajuyigbe

Faith Olajuyigbe

Faith Olajuyigbe is a Nigerian all-round creative, raised in London and now living in Birmingham. After studying English and Drama at the University, which is where she discovered her passion for photography and videography, she is now a self-published author and creative whose work spans across multiple connecting fields. Here she tells us about her experience as a writer, her growth strategy and personal life.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Truthfully writing as a career was never something I considered until I became older. My mindset was like: I never wanted to be a ‘writer’ because I’ve always felt like one. Writing was something I did naturally, even if it was only expressive.

I’d say I finally started to consider it as a career during my final years of University when I learned more about the industry.

When did you start writing?

My earliest memories of myself writing would be when I was about six/seven years old writing little stories. Up until today I still have a handwritten book of a story I wrote whilst I was in primary school. I did the illustrations myself and everything!

How do you handle writers' block?

I experience so many different forms of writer’s block, from laziness to procrastination, I’ve felt it! The way I handle it just determines the reasons for it.

For instance, if I don’t feel like writing, I’ll stop and focus on other creative tasks that I enjoy like editing or filming. If I have a deadline I need to meet and just can’t find the words, I’ll do some freewriting, put all my ideas down at once, and by force! Then when I go back to edit, I find I can start flowing again. I’ve written a more detailed post on my blog on the different things I do to overcome my writer’s block (here).

How often do you write?

I work in Marketing which means I write every day, Monday to Friday! When it comes to personal projects, I aim to write bi-weekly. With me just expressing my heart, I can be writing something every other day.

Why do you love writing?

It’s cathartic. I express myself with the greatest clarity and confidence when I am writing. I also really enjoy detailing the concepts or ideas I have through my writing. It lets my imagination wander freely.

What was it like to write Words of Faith?

Writing Words of Faith was like stepping into myself and exploring my heart. It felt freeing and I enjoyed every part of it. There was no pressure because I began writing without knowing a book was coming out of it. By the time I decided I want to release the book, I had already written over half of the poems.

What was your favourite part and least favourite part of your publishing journey?

Aside from the writing, my favourite part of publishing was seeing my vision come together. From the initial designs to when I received my first proof copy in the mail, it all felt so surreal.

My least favourite part was the whole process of formatting my manuscript. I made a few mistakes to start with but I got there in the end.

How do you handle literal criticism and poor reviews?

It depends on who it’s coming from and the purpose behind it. My goal is not to take criticism too personally but instead, use it as a tool to improve my writing. I’m learning every day so I do prefer when people I trust are straightforward and honest with me.

Are you considering having an audiobook?

Yes! This is something I’m working on and I want to make sure I get it just right. I’m thinking music and all sorts so yes, an audiobook is definitely in the works!

Where did the inspiration of the cover art come from?

I left most of it to the designer and the final cover grew on me. I guess I was inspired by nature when I conveyed my thoughts to them.

What’s your favourite poem in the Words of Faith?

I actually can’t choose just one because they all mean different, unique things to me. Top three for me would be Now is the Time, The Flame Within, and Unworthy, Yet Worth It. They’re personal yet universal and that was my goal with each of them.

What was your highlight of writing Words of Faith?

When I finished writing and read everything for the first time. I felt so accomplished and proud, I loved it!

What’s the key message in Words of Faith? (Kindly add a little more than the blurb)

In the book, I write about many different things – love, faith, purpose, pain, and so on. I believe what ties the poems together would be the fact that each one has an intention to provoke deep thought. I like to take my reader on a journey that stimulates the mind but also sows little seeds that make them think and rethink things.

I wanted to push growth and self-discovery, to allow readers to relate to the words and then take steps in their own lives.

Where can we get Words of Faith from?

It’s available on Amazon and ships worldwide! Click here to make a purchase

Are you working on anything new?

Not yet! I have goals to work on screenplays, radio plays, a novel, however, I believe it all happens at the right time. I value quality over quantity so, for now, I’m alright taking my time to produce new work. Enjoying what I’m writing at present.

Advice to a fresh writer looking to publish.

Write freely and consistently. Create realistic deadlines and stick to them. Don’t abandon your project. Have faith in the value of the work you are creating and never doubt or downplay how it can influence a reader. Lastly, enjoy the process!

Who’s your favourite author and why?

Shakespeare. I feel like his blend of drama and poetry is just my niche. I also admire how prolific he was. The mere fact that we’re still learning and enjoying his works today says something.

What’s your writing space like?

Very simple. The atmosphere of my writing space is most important to me and thankfully I have a very peaceful home. I usually just write on my living room sofa, a candle on, piano instrumental playing in the background. If I get random ideas late at night, I’ll be in bed writing from my phone.

What book are you currently reading?

Starting on 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho once again. It inspires me and leaves me with new thoughts each time.

Famous author, you’d wish to be your mentor

Arese Ugwu – I read about her story once in a magazine and was instantly inspired! Or someone like Patricia Bright because I feel like she’d give such a direct and straight forward approach to things which is exactly what I need.

When you’re not writing, you are?

Watching a film, going out to eat, editing or simply spending time with my people.

Have you ever performed at an open mic event? What was it like? And where was it?

Yes, I love open mic and poetry events! I’ve performed at a few in Birmingham and have some videos on my YouTube channel (Click here).

I have a background in drama, so I enjoy the stage! Of course, when it comes to sharing personal work in front of others, I get a bit nervous, but I do really enjoy performing.