BY BETT KINYATTI
I’ve been really struggling to write here.
It isn’t a situation of a creative slump more than it is just plain old slack. I also got a new writing gig that’s taking the best of me. One has only a limited number of tight sentences in any one day, the main platter. I used to bring this main platter to Craft It and give to the others the crumbs that were falling off the table.
But there’s been a hostile takeover. The tables have been turned. What’s worse, there don’t seem to be any crumbs that are even falling off the table for Craft It. So it gets nothing. (Well, except some monster Muna drew on the living room wall with a permanent red marker pen. She called him a monster, I thought he looked like a man nursing a nasty tooth ache.
I wasn’t peeved that she’d drawn on the wall – that’s parenting 101, little else is more important than her exploration and growth. She can draw on walls, sip surgical spirit. There’s a button from my laptop that has been missing for weeks, I’m certain it’s in the pit of her belly.
Anyway, what had me scoff in delight is that she’d drawn a decipherable figure that had eyes and a mouth and a head. With some twisted proportion, granted, but worthy of an applause. I named the bastard Paul. Now I’m writing silly snippets on my Instastories about the adventures of Paul. OK, OK, I’ve only written two now but hey, it’s worth the mention. I think it’s going to be silly and fun. I like silly and fun.)
Like I said, I’m struggling creatively with writing here.
Back when I was getting into writing professionally in 2013, I didn’t have anyone I was writing for so I’d do a free writing exercise every day. A free writing exercise was a loose 1,000 words daily about frivolous emotions.
If I mine through them, I may find a few diamonds in the rough. Most of it though, was to write so I could get comfortable with putting my thoughts into words, and my words onto the page. I didn’t see its greater purpose back then – because it was time in the trenches – but it helped me build my creative muscle and writing discipline.
Our Craft It community here is an intimate community. (Polite word for ‘small’.) I like you guys. I really do. Writing here feels like we’re sitting across from each other on a table, chatting over sundowners. You’re a good bunch of people. Civil, chill. You’re also shy – you’d guys would rather email or WhatsApp me in private than leave a public comment. I like that you’re also more forgiving of my shortcomings, especially with my inconsistency.
Not that I take you for granted – far from it – I appreciate that you set up camp here for a few minutes to read what’s gone up. No matter how far apart they are.
I’m lowering my writing standards here. No, I’m not even lowering them. I’m throwing them all out the window – I won’t have any standards at all. My new standard is No standard.
I’m doing this because I need to get out of this creative rut I’ve found myself in.
I’ll do the 1,000 words and post them here as the story to go for the day. I may delete them later, or I may not – it all depends on how the week unfurls. And how I wake up feeling. Nowadays I’m all about feelings.
First up, an email from a reader. Her name is Nyambura:
How are you doing now? I read your Life lately article and it broke my heart. I sent you virtual hugs.
I’m terribly sorry about your ordeal, God’s comfort to you.
I don’t know how appropriate this is right now, I needed some guidance on a new domain I’m trying to register.
I’ve realised I’m struggling with what to call it, but I know I don’t want to call it nyambura.co.ke.
How did you come up with your blog name? What would you advice me to consider?
Also, how does your blog bring in cash?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Right off the bat, thank you sparing us the agony and not opening your email with ‘I trust this finds you well’. Or, ‘I hope this finds you well’. Or anything that desires to ‘find me well’.
Those plus other 2019 buzzwords have me want to put a sling around my neck. Others are words like ‘intentional’ and ‘deliberate’, ‘vulnerable’. “I’m being intentional about putting myself out there.” “I’m deliberate with not putting up a glossy curated life on my Instagram timeline, I don’t want to appear perfect yet the truth is, I fear being vulnerable.”
And ‘space’. Does anyone else want to gag when they hear it? “I want to make my space more beautiful.” “I want a space where folk with mental health issues can express themselves in a healthy way, where they won’t feel judged.” “I’m in this space where I’m doubting my adequacy as a mother.”
If you’re reading this and you’re wont to buzzwords, for the love everything fresh and personable, please don’t include them in an email to me. Hit me with a “Yo, Bett” and we’ll be pals forever. Emails should be fun to read.
So, uhm, the Daily Nation Life & Style blog, the one I write personal finance with on Mondays, have these subheadings in their stories that peeve the hell out of me. I will use there here, today. Right now. Hahha.
I’m doing great, Nyambura. I really am. Your hugs have warmed me up the more.
I went through the stages of grief in about a month flat. Until my period returned and my uterine system rebooted to default. Telling myself this as often as I could helped me wrap things up unusually quick. I told myself: there’s absolutely nothing you did, or could have done, to change how it turned out. Absolutely nothing.
It had nothing to do with you. You’re only a body that hosted the egg.
I look at Muna and her flat chubby feet and in retrospect, she came at the perfect time. In His time. She wasn’t planned for or waited for, neither were our lives planned around having her by such and such a time, she came when she came and it couldn’t have been a more perfect time.
So when the little brats eventually come – the twin boys I’d joked to God about – they’ll come at the perfect time. In His time.
Can I hear an amen?
I have two sisters-in-law – both of them crazy girls, both of them extroverts, both of them with very large, very heavy clay pot of words that never seem to run out. I didn’t know how anyone could speak for three hours straight without tiring, until I began to hang with them.
It’s like… a human wonder.
One of them, the one with the big hair, gave me the name for this brand. Craft It.
I only told her what the brand would be about and what I intended to write, then she came up with a name.
I took it and ran with it as soon as she’d spoken it. My suggestions for a name were horrible, to say the least. Horrible. You should know the list of names I crossed out, what I had wanted to name Muna before I settled on Muna. It was the same cycle with naming Craft It.
Look though, naming a domain isn’t like naming a baby, Nyambura – at some point in the future, when you’re fed up with the name you kicked off with, you can ditch it and take up a new one.
It’s what rebranding is about.
I don’t make money from this blog, Nyambura. I’ve never made a single shilling from the blog or any of my creative platforms.
That was the plan when I rebranded to Craft It, though. To write here for money – I wanted to approach brands to partner with and have me push their products and services on my platforms. Basically become an influencer. Or a brand ambassador. I prefer the term brand ambassador, though.
When I say ‘brand ambassador’, I readily think of Jason Statham pushing Audi in ‘The Transporter’.
‘Influencer’ makes me think of red lipstick and a local brand for bad wigs.
Anyway, my day job is as a writer and a columnist.
I write every day for money. That’s what puts these chinos on my ass.
Something awful happens when you begin to write for money. You lose the beauty of the art. Your creative license is compromised. The freedom to roam the wild country and stumble upon a bounty you didn’t even know you were searching for.
Somewhere along the way I realized I just want my own space to express myself and create for the sake of creating. In the words of Wanuri Kahiu – I want to to create fun, fierce and frivolous art for no reason but for the sake of it. (Goodness, did I just say space? SMH)
But you know what, Nyambura, it would be nice to pocket some dough from my words here. I put in some good effort to piece together the stories. Especially the interviews and photos.
Arggh… I really don’t know what I’m saying. I don’t know where I stand with this.
But anyway, I make money off the blog but not on the blog. Know what I mean?
I strongly believe I’m hacking being a columnist because of putting the work in my early years into the blog.
It’s five minutes to six. The sun is taxing on its runway, building up pressure to dip into the horizon.
Let me head back to the digs. Muna may have replicated the Sistine Chapel while I was away.