Time Traveller’s Guide to Creative Writing

Originally posted on SpeakOut234 – http://www.speakout234.com

Written by: Seyi Soneye (Me)

(In retrospect, should’ve probably gone with a different title but it felt right at the time.)

The world is a really large place, and I’ve been to so many parts of it. I’ve come across all kinds of stuff; from amazing sights, architectural wonders, and colorful festivals, to seeing fellow human beings live in deplorable conditions and listening to downright depressing stories.

Have you seen the aurora borealis along the northern coast of Siberia? The bright dancing lights of pale green and pink; shades of red, yellow, green, blue and purple lighting up the skies in scattered clouds of light and streaks moving like the undulating hips of a dancer.

Have you been a part of the Holi festival, the festival of colours in India? Where water and colored dye are thrown in the air while people dance and drink ‘bhang’.

Have you watched a human being just like yourself, forced to endure painful torture in Libya? Starved, have sharp objects cut into their back, battered, and bruised just because they were seeking a better life.

Have you comforted a grieving mother in Dapchi, whose daughter left for school one morning and never came back? Dejected, weak from crying and fasting, waiting, and hoping that one day, young Leah would return home.

In all my travels, one thing is common — I have never been to any of these places, at least not physically. I don’t own a passport, neither have I seen the insides of an aircraft or a motor vehicle. But I own a phone, a television, newspapers, a laptop and I have internet connection. With these I travel every day.

At 7am, I am in the White House in Washington DC where President Trump has just made another ridiculous comment. Barely minutes after about 7:26am, I’m an aid worker in Syria, rescuing little children and tending to the wounds whose scars would forever remind them of these war driven times. Tonight, I return to Nigeria where I join young doctors to discuss career opportunities outside the country where we will be appreciated.

Most of the credit goes to journalism; a powerful tool that keeps us posted on the things that are happening around us and beyond. Journalism is essentially the art of communicating or conveying opinions, news, and stories through a variety of media such as television, magazines, newspapers, blogs, and web media. With it, borders are eliminated and distant lands are brought to the palm of your hands.

One of the elements that makes journalism thrive is creative writing. You see, with creative writing, a journalist or writer is able to perfectly paint a picture of what he or she is reporting. With it, a writer is able to tug at heart strings and convey the right emotions, in the process making a reader empathize with the content of a piece where necessary. When employing creative writing in journalism, a story comes to life.

There are many positive sides to it too. Like how when unbiased, it can work as an eye opener, creating awareness in the society. It presents facts for people to read and develop unbiased opinions. Another positive effect it has is that it can serve as an avenue to develop a range of skills such as communicating and reporting skills by creating job opportunities. When considering how important and essential the internet (read social media) has become in recent times, one doesn’t have to work with a news agency, television station or any media establishment to play the role of journalist. Social media accounts, blogs and forums provide a means for the average person to share opinions, report occurrences, critique the government and even push personal agendas.

Like everything with a positive side, there exists a negative equivalent. While hunting for clout or fame, some journalists resort to dishing out fake news or inaccurate fabricated information in a bid to generate a high number of views or traffic to their pages. Because of the large audience it is possible to reach with journalism, when combined with bias it can be used as a tool in creating opinions or even rallying radical minds. This is most prominent in politics where the media is used in pushing agendas or distributing enemy propaganda.

Deviating from journalism, let’s discuss creative writing a bit. I’m especially taken by how related it is to other creative arts. In music, the comma (,) can be likened to the pauses between tones. The semi colon (;), a combination of a full stop and a comma feels like suspense in your favorite drama; is this the end.? Is there a continuation.,? Like the masterful brush strokes of a skilled artist against a blank canvas, words when combined beautifully can be used in bringing the thoughts and emotions of a writer out of the mind into life.

When watching TV, or playing video games, or listening to music, you’re absorbing content. But with creative writing, you’re free to create. You can create a world, create whatever characters you desire; you can even make yourself a god who wields unimaginable power and punishes those that don’t worship you. Fictitious Hogwarts and Narnia are more popular than existing Lekki.

This beautiful skill should be taught to every child and incorporated into our educational systems. Creative writing is largely dependent on working ones imagination and with a mind that is capable of limitless imagination, the possibilities are endless. If implemented correctly, by the time children grow older, the positive effects of building their imagination would be seen in the way they go about doing things. Everyone should also engage in the activity of writing creatively from time to time. Rather than constantly consume content put out by others, play the role of creator once in a while; have your own opinions.

The fusion of creative writing and journalism can result in something beautiful. Combined with an unbiased perspective where only facts and honest opinions open to constructive criticism are shared, I’m confident the world would be a better place.


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