By Omar Muaz
The Mark Zukerberg’s blue-painted house, Facebook, had contributed immensely towards the success of so many writers, poets, activists et cetera. There were many people who started writing on this cyberspace and today, there are numerous books in libraries authored by them. Halt, I always say this whenever I write about success; I am no one but an infant, when it comes to writing. Drearily, Facebook today has more wowers, likers and carers than criticizers, mentors and counsellors.
Praise do more harm to budding writers than a pandemic. I know, I may sound weird and perhaps stupid by uttering such a rum statement, but that’s the fact. I am not a psychologist, but I know how praise drastically kills one’s intensity to learn new things or encounter challenges.
I have been asking myself whether I, as a budding writer, have encouraging audience or not. While answering this question, I always find myself in a state of discombobulation. Until two days ago when a friend of mine, Safwan Suhaib Ibrahim, wrote a poem to his beloved, Simbiat Adegbite Aliyu, I have been in confusion. The first two lines of the poem read: “Halt, O dear Sultanet! Tell that withy wind to hark.” Of course, whether you are a poet or not, the meaning of the lines is clear. Sultanet, in that poem, is a messenger sent to “withy wind.” And withy wind refers to Safwan’s beloved—Simbiat.
Well, fortunate enough, I happened to be the first to comment on that post. I wrote, “Boss! Hope Simbiat Adegbite Aliyu is blocked before you posted this.” The actual intent behind my comment was that, Safwan didn’t indicate in his glossary that the poem was directly written to Simbiat, so I called his attention. After some few minutes, people started to mention Simbiat as if Safwan was cheating on her that he wrote a poem to Sultanet, the messenger as signaled the second line. There, I discovered that people (some) comment without even reading a post. Had it been otherwise, they wouldn’t be drawing Simbiat’s attention by mentioning her name.
It can be seen that Facebook has turned out to be a wowing street. It has happened not for once where someone would post about death or sad stories and hundreds of WOWs and love reactions could be spotted. That’s a clear indication that most of Facebook users, if not all, are becoming lazier than they were before. The truth is that, Facebook wower isn’t an encouraging audience to a budding writer. Then, tell me, how can you have lazy audience and still grow, not specifically talking about literature but courses of humanity in general. Let’s not persist to put ourselves into this scale of deception that we are good simply because we record hundreds of reactions, comments and shares on Facebook. For such pseudo-praises halt us to attain our dream of becoming good writers.
Indisputably, it is high time we got ourselves out of this cage of pompousness and faced the reality that we need mentors and encouraging audience. The brouhaha of who to mentor us is coming to an end. For we have serious students who are willing to give all they have to mould us. For Facebook wowers, as said my Queen, are disastrous, they could even ruin one’s plight of becoming a poet with bad mouthing. Now, in the comment box, one may question me of how and where can he or she get a mentor and the encouraging audience I have been talking about. This, I will discuss it in the following four paragraphs.
The guidelines of getting a mentor and encouraging audience, acording to me, are easier than eating banana as some people used to say. In the first place, analyze your friends’ submissions critically to know who are better than you per se, and start following their submissions to learn how they construct sentences and generally, their styles of writing. Technically, a mentor isn’t just a person who directly teaches you something but a wise and trusted counselor whom you indirectly learn from.
After the critical analysis of the methodologies they adopt in writing, then you officially propose to them to be your guider. Although, they’ve been guiding you indirectly, you still need them to always review your work. At this juncture, there is one thing I will like to clarify. As a student, you must in most cases, if not in all, be humble in order to sip from the ocean of knowledge you’ve been crawling to towards.
To shorten the piece, this will be the last guideline I will give, although there are many guidelines beside the ones given in this article. There are a lot of mentorship websites or projects which help assiduously in mentoring students online and offline. Unfortunately, I know few of such sites and projects. For now, keep the discussed guidelines and follow Education Achievers Project [EAP], for they’ll come with a lot of mentorship programs.
Facebook wowers, on the other hand, encourage writers and poets to write more. So, I am not putting all of them into a Jeopardy of condemnation but rather trying to mitigate the praises. Your mentors, grammar-conscious, critics and your friends in that field are the encouraging audience you should have, not only on this blue cyberspace, Facebook, but everywhere around the world.
To conclude, I will like to remind you once again that too much of praises do more harm to a budding writer or a poet than a pandemic. And, to grow in writing, on this platform as a budding writer, one needs to shun wowers. To clear myself, I am not saying they are completely discouraging, but it’s good to keep it on top of your mind that they don’t determine your goodness in writing. Having mentors and critics as your audience will surely help you to become a great writer.
Omar Muaz is a Public Affairs Analyst.