What Should I Write About?

EB WHITE QUOTE

This question never leaves me. Suspended in my subconscious, I answer it every moment, every day. The events of my life and yours, past, present, and a future I envision, are being stored somewhere in my brain cells. To write, I start with a title, which provides direction. Developing the story resembles opening a wardrobe and sifting through clothes, pulling one and then another from the rack, admiring, discarding, until you find the perfect outfit for the occasion. Most times, my wardrobe is full, so full that choice is the problem.

Another problem arises from the opinion of others. How many times have you asked someone, what do you think I should wear and they picked an outfit that was just so not you? Or asked the question that makes the people we love dance around the truth—how do I look?

But, input from external sources also comes without me soliciting for it.

“I definitely think you should write about it,” Toyin said quietly.

“Mmhmmm.”

“This is an issue that touches the heart of the nation. Can you just imagine . . .”

She was right. Newspapers and social media channels brimmed with the controversy over section 29 of the Nigerian Constitution and legitimising child marriage. I had skimmed a few articles but had neither researched the issue nor signed the child-not-bride petition. Like her, I was upset, unlike her, I had not yet reached boiling point. A couple more friends called and I felt the steam from their whistling kettles, so I caved in. Between midnight and 2 a.m., I wrote an opinion piece centred on an imaginary conversation with my daughter in 2025. It had many holes that I could not fill.

That Friday, I stumbled on an elegant piece written by a lawyer. Wading through the tide of emotion, he separated fact from fiction and proposed platforms to channel the wave of mass hysteria. Hearsay and conspiracy theories belong in fiction novels, and so, I was relieved that Sunday was still faraway. I would have sent my article to the recycle bin, but for a few sentences I felt I could use in a future post. I have not let people convince me to use my “voice” to “talk” for them since then. Although I read political articles, I rarely write about politics because I don’t have the resources to carry out investigative journalism that would result in balanced pieces.

When a man is in doubt about this or that in his writing, it will often guide him if he asks himself how it will tell a hundred years hence.                              – Samuel Butler –

My blog gives me freedom to wear anything I like from my wardrobe. Four criteria guide my choice, inform, entertain, inspire, and provoke thought. Oh, and try to keep it short!

Someone accused me of misleading readers since the tag line of my blog, because life happens to all of us and sometimes we get a second chance, isn’t reflected in the posts I publish. Perhaps he is right, and only I see the redemptive theme woven in my stories or maybe, you see what you want to see depending on the strength of your lenses.

So, what should I write about? Anything that catches my fancy, which I think will add value to you. Including this piece, which on the surface isn’t about redemption, but if you reflect on it, a large chunk focuses on wrestling my voice from peer pressure and speaking a language I understand. Second chances? Maybe, maybe not.

Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. The chasm is never completely bridged. We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than appears on the paper.  – Isaac Bashevis Singer –

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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75 thoughts on “What Should I Write About?

  1. Gbam. Your blog gives you freedom to wear anything you like from your wardrobe. I believe our memories also gives us similar freedom to capture and express different moments in several way.. There is always something worth writing that we can write about.

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    1. Memories spice up our wardrobe. I sense confidence in your words, “There is always something worth writing that we can write about.” Sometimes we have to dig deep and work on our presentation, but it’s true. What do like writing about the most?

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  2. “My blog gives me freedom to wear anything I like from my wardrobe. Four criteria guide my choice, inform, entertain, inspire, and provoke thought. Oh, and try to keep it short!”

    I find your blog to meet all your criteria and it is an inspiration to me. I like how it looks as well. Nice job!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. My blogging is fine my closet is full
          I have to choose as a general rule
          The right word for each new occasion
          A travel blog for vacation
          A review here and there
          An opinion piece now and then
          And sometimes a poem for my friends.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. The cornerstone to this post was that fantastic quotation by Samuel Butler, your words explained and helped to get me thinking, Timi. I feel you do ‘add value’ to us, your readers, along with being ‘true’ to yourself. This is how it goes, I am never going to pinpoint my own blog, making a ‘fence’ around it, to block off subjects. I started in fun, then realized my byline still sticks to how I write: “Relationships reveal our hearts.” Hopefully, you feel you are sticking to your own values and also, open-minded to allow growth and change over time…. That is all for my lecture today, smiles!

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    1. Robin, what a wise choice not to limit yourself, but to continue in fun and see where it leads with your byline, “Relationships reveal our hearts,” at the back of your mind. I love your byline btw, and have found it to be true in my life.

      I love, love your lecture! When I reread some of my earlier posts and think about where I was at that point in my journey, and then reread some of my current posts, I marvel at how far along I have come, how I have grown and changed over time . . . Now, I just need to be more open-minded 😉 Thanks for shaking things up in my world. I am glad that I add value to you 🙂

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  4. I’m sure you embed a side remark though, that may nearly verge on political in an innocuous blog topic.

    I don’t have blog posts that are overtly political. However lots of other people would disagree: just for me to write about Chinese-Canadian art some people would tear into me and say: “It’s just Canadian art. What’s so different about it?”

    I wrote a piece that wasn’t particularily fiery….how choosing a cycling lifestyle by a woman really is an act of feminism.. I got all sorts of wierdos who clearly didn’t like the feminist tag line at all…I could tell by the type of drivel diarrehea in their blogs.

    The act of writing in an expository style and thinking independently is personal political..if one’s objective is to inform, that already can become political when shoring up some personal experience as evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean, I love, love, love, your comment, which I consider political! 😉 It has got me laughing out loud 😀

      “I’m sure you embed a side remark though, that may nearly verge on political in an innocuous blog topic.”

      “The act of writing in an expository style and thinking independently is personal political.”

      Where do I start? 🙂

      In one sense, to write is to persuade, and I have a strong voice (I try to remember to be responsible with it 😉 ). Because people see through different lenses, they process our writing differently and can leave with conclusions that make us scratch our heads. It is a dangerous thing to pour your heart on paper, you can be misunderstood not to talk of misquoted. But we do it anyway, in hopes that perhaps we can make others see even if not agree with our viewpoint. The examples you gave sort of confirms this . . .

      If we go by this definition from the dictionary, “The activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power:” then I rarely write about politics. But if we believe Aristotle, that, man is by nature a political animal, then are we politicking when we write? Jean, you leave me thinking, thinking, thinking, which is a good thing!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well said, Timi. I, btw, love your tag line. I always think of writing as a chance to live life twice, even thrice sometimes- there is the living and the telling and sometimes in that we get to transform it and retell it as something totally different from what it was to begin with. I love that you see this site as your space to shape as you wish and as you feel compelled to offer.

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    1. “I always think of writing as a chance to live life twice, even thrice sometimes- ” Love this, and I couldn’t have said it better! I abandoned writing and she gave me a second chance when I rediscovered her.

      I like what you say on your blog, “my own journey to cultivate a deeper, more authentic relationship with my body, free from conventional constraints and expectations.” It is you alright!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Darn Graduate School. I was going to respond to this on Sunday but had my face buried in books

    I personally don’t read blogs; I read people’s lives. Authenticity is like meat or ponmo; whether tender or tough, your readers’ taste buds are satiated nonetheless. lol

    I got tired of writing a long time ago. I used to wax poetic, fill my dad with pride that his daughter was following his steps. But lo, the world of academics has worn me out. I now find little joys in simplicity and kindness. Nothing makes me happier than the usage of everyday words…words that eliminate the difference between a rickshaw driver and a poet.

    I love reading the comments here, lol 😀

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    1. Not to sound narcissistic or anything, I interpret your long-awaited comment to mean you find authenticity here 😀 Oh, and I love reading the comments here as well!

      “Nothing makes me happier than the usage of everyday words…words that eliminate the difference between a rickshaw driver and a poet.”

      If we use too much ‘grammar’ we lose the essence of communication. Albert Einstein said, ”
      If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” That’s something for us to chew.

      So, you stopped blogging/writing?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think I could ever stop writing, haha. But being faithful to what I write about is something else. I’m always pulled in different directions, always feeling as though I could do something where I can get away with creativity WITH no structure (say film a video of myself eating and call it a day).

        Not sure if that made sense. Lol

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  7. Great post Timi. This is your blog and you’ve got to be you. I love the last part of the quote by Isaac Bashevis Singer, “we have much more to say than appears on the paper.” Oftentimes it is so difficult to make that choice, like as in which clothes to choose from the wardrobe. There could be a number of different items that you like and would like to use at that specific moment, but you must make a choice as to which one. Hence, “you have much more to say than appears on paper.”
    🙂

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    1. Hi Staci, choices, choices, choices 🙂
      Bunmi shared your sentiment when he mentioned in a comment below that for him, being flooded with many options was a challenge. But, you find a way to narrow your choices in the poems you share. I guess, better too much than too little huh? Thanks, I will be me!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ….whatever pops into my mind, Timi even if it isn’t much and the only time I’m inspired to write is when I’m on a bus (moving vehicles do that to me).
    I love your blog and have often wondered about your tagline. But still I manage to find a link and some redemption. Otherwise I just enjoy a good read.

    Your last post was really thought provoking. A week after and I’m still not sure what to say (and I have made 4 attempts).
    At this stage, whatever you write would still resonate with someone out there. I know it does with me.

    As for the wardrobe analogy, what can I say? I’ve never been one for pop culture, worse still politics. I still have nothing to say concerning them….not even our girls who have still not been found. Good to know there are kindred spirits out there.

    Blessings,
    Uju

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    1. Hi Uju, I think Samuel sums it well, ” . . . silence can be . . . a time to separate substance from senselessness . . . ” I also feel that there are many fine opinion pieces out there, and we may not have anything new or fresh to add. Writing about trending events means that one must be very current, I’m not 😦 Meanwhile, you’re a brave one to write whatever pops in your mind. I wouldn’t dare.

      @my tagline, I guess it creates certain expectations and some posts make you wonder. When I get it right, there is a twist 😉

      I’m glad you found Interpreting Silence, Mine and Maybe Yours, thought provoking. Lol, you don’t have to say anything. Let’s just do life better. Thanks for flying with me! 🙂

      Like

  9. Scandal and click bait! Naked pictures of famous people. Or is it pictures of famous people naked?

    It doesn’t matter! As long as lots of people click.

    That seems to be the philosphy of most websites these days.

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  10. Loved the wardrobe analogy. I feel the same way. In the end, you have to learn to wear what you find comfortable, and according to your taste, and not what is supposedly in fashion. I suppose as writers, we all aspire to achieve that. I know I do. I usually don’t succumb to peer pressure, but if you want to get published in a particular site then you have to write according to their terms- It’s like being a bird that is allowed to roam freely, but only within its caged walls. Maybe it’s all a balancing act.

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    1. Hi Nida, I’m glad the wardrobe analogy resonated. 🙂

      Indeed, we may have to alter our ‘voice’ to write on platforms that may afford greater visibility. As long as we don’t sell our souls? I tend to be idealistic (the idealism of youth?), I should be more pragmatic. Like you said, It is a balancing act- never say never, right?

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  11. I always find your blogs interesting and thoughtful, Timi. They make me think. I too avoid most political subjects even though I could write about them. I spent most of my life involved in politics, not as a politician but as a community advocate on environmental and public health issues. When I started my blog, however, I decided to write about things I find amusing, mainly wandering the world. I confess to rarely asking whether a blog I write adds value. Hopefully it encourages people to get out and try new experiences. Or maybe it just amuses. I am happy with either. One thing, I never am at a loss for what to write about. 🙂 I am always several months behind on my material. BTW, as long as you are willing to write, I am willing to read what you have to say. Curt

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    1. Thank you Curt. I feel a sense of responsibility towards my readers, which I think is good, as it makes me work harder. I feel as though even if the post doesn’t resonate, the reader should be treated to fine language. But then, I’m a “serious” young “old” lady! 🙂

      “I decided to write about things I find amusing, mainly wandering the world.” Reading about your wanderings is fun, and it has broadened my horizons. I’d never heard of Burning Man!

      “I never am at a loss for what to write about.” Now, that’s where I always want to be. If you ever decide to write about politics, I’ll read.

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    1. Hi Tomi, thank you, you are too kind! 😀 I enjoy reading your poems.

      ” I think for most people, it is not necessarily what they write about but how they go about writing it. I think.” I tend to agree. I mean, taking it further, I haven’t written anything original, I’ve just written it my own way. Saw this quote yesterday:

      Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about. – W. H. Auden –

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      1. Love that Auden quote you shared:

        Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about. – W. H. Auden

        For what it’s worth, your posts always sound “authentic.” I don’t hear any parroting of others when you speak.

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  12. Well, my problem isn’t what to write about. The real issue for me is getting down to write because too much stuff continually competes for the attention of my pen. Unfortunately, my enduring desire to pen only perfect pieces exacerbates this problem. To crown it all, my blog is somewhat a niche blog and so the encouragement to write about anything, even if from a unique perspective, isn’t always there. But then, thank God for Facebook and other platforms.

    I remember the #ChildNotBride brouhaha. I remember listening to the articulate defence of Ahmed Yerima on television. I visited the constitution. Then I wondered how many people had a robust understanding of the matter.

    Every other voice riding high on decibels shouldn’t mean that silence is not an acceptable option. After all, sages can go quiet for long periods before letting out their illuminating words of wisdom. After all silence can be something even greater: a time to separate substance from senselessness; an opportunity to sieve truth from the myriad of opinions boiling in the public beaker.

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    1. Distraction sabotages good intentions! Guarding my focus is a full time job.
      That crippling perfectionism, I know. At some point we just have to add the last full stop and hit publish. WordPress is full of all kinds of niche blogs. Have you considered getting together with birds of the same feather maybe?

      “After all silence can be something even greater: a time to separate substance from senselessness; an opportunity to sieve truth from the myriad of opinions boiling in the public beaker.” Love this! Sometimes we are too quick to add our 2 cents. The #ChildNotBride brouhaha, shows the power of media in shaping public opinion. The pen is mighty, we should wield it wisely . . .

      Thanks Samuel.

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    1. True, perception can be subjective. We read using various filters, each perception is valid. I’m learning to ‘accept’ every feedback on my writing- sometimes nothing resonates with the reader; the post has no place in his reality . . .

      @brevity, ha ha! I don’t know if you’re mocking me o! But this piece is under 600 words, I tried na?

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    1. Love, love this comment! Can I borrow it? 🙂

      Lauryn Hill titled her album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I could change my tag line to, The Re-education of Timi. Each story helps me understand better, the meaning of redemption. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Kim!

      “Write for yourself . . . ” A writer was asked who she writes for. Her reply, “People like me.” Her answer resonated with me. Perhaps because my time is so precious, I expect that my readers’ time is as well. I want their 3 – 5 minutes on my blog to be time well spent.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Overwhelmed with mix-and-match choices that don’t quite ‘gel’ into one…. that is so often my problem.

    I second Little Miss Menopause – your writing on this blog positively oozes with themes of redemption and second chances. As for lenses, maybe that guy hasn’t put his specs on!

    — Do you have the “should’ve gone to SpecSavers” adverts? 🙂

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    1. Hi Rebecca, writing a niche blog about cycling, should narrow your choices some, right? I know about mix-and-max choices too, in my case it’s copy-paste-and-cut pieces! 🙂 Still you manage to keep us informed and entertained.

      @redemption & second chances, thank you! I’m feeling the love and validation.

      Gosh, SpecSavers! Here’s one that’s got me in stitches . . .

      Liked by 2 people

      1. What should I write about? Having a topic would definitely help me, if only I writing process went like that.

        The Samuel Butler quote is definitely something I’d ‘take away’ from this post.

        We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than appears on the paper. – Isaac Bashevis Singer – The writer certainly does

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        1. What should you write about? What’s your writing process like?
          I guess a title keeps me painting within the lines 🙂 What about you?

          Isaac Bashevis Singer’s quote resonates with me. There are layers of meaning bound in the scant words I share. Now and then, my face lights up, when someone makes a comment that alludes to what is not really there . . .

          Tony, I’m glad that you found something to ‘take away’ from this post. It makes writing it worthwhile. Thanks.

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  14. I wrestle with this question, sometimes to the point of almost crippling my writing. I had no answer on Friday, and a week-long power outage provided the perfect excuse to miss a blog date.

    No one asks me to write their thoughts yet, so that is something I don’t have to think about yet. For a long time, I allowed myself the freedom of writing anything as a way of building my voice and skill, but the better I get, the harder it is to write about ‘anything’.

    What should I write about? My stories, and those that I think would be worth your time and attention in this noise making world.

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    1. ” . . . the better I get, the harder it is to write about ‘anything’.” Interesting, I would have thought that, in a sense, the better one gets, the easier it is to write about anything. Why? Because you can take the mundane and give it a lively twist 😉
      Seriously, I think I sort of understand where you’re coming from- you’re taking your writing more seriously.

      I like your answer, it focuses on what you think is valuable to your readers. The ‘struggle’ shows we care. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. A backlog of unfinished pieces taught me how tough making a choice amidst a variety of alternatives can be. “I thought a paucity of (writing) ideas was the worst challenge until I was flooded with options,” I wrote as a learnt lesson.

    It’s okay to take a foray into varied themes, but a shallow or poorly-researched piece isn’t advisable any day, fanciful and trending as the subject might be.

    And right, the concluding quote nailed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, stupefied like a child in a huge candy shop 🙂 I’m constantly asking myself, what will add value? And it can be difficult to answer as what’s valuable varies from person to person. Often, I use myself as a yardstick.

      That’s the thing isn’t it? Rushing to reel off a piece just because it’s trending, like all those newspapers that are ‘honourable’ enough to retract their articles. Too much and you lose credibility.

      Ah, that quote . . . thanks Bunmi!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I smiled when I saw the title of this piece. Tuesday is on the way and I’m still asking what I want to write about. I know the inspiration will come pretty soon, maybe from church service or Facebook or my meditation or a friend… But I know I’m going to write, cos my pen is my voice…
    Thanks Timi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All who write on a regular basis ask this question sooner or later. I like your quiet confidence: “I know the inspiration will come pretty soon . . .” That’s the zone I want to be in 🙂

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  17. Well said! And I for one, am so glad that I (also) don’t have to “wear” the designer styles that everyone else thinks are so fashionable. Neither of us write about politics and I’m so grateful for that choice. As for misleading your readers? Oh, it’s definitely in the strength of your reader’s lenses! You exude redemption. But what would I know about misleading? I call myself “Little Miss Menopause” and then avoid the subject like the plague!
    Loved this one, Timi!

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    1. Lol, I would write political articles if I were paid to do so.

      I guess titles create certain expectations. What? You mean you don’t write about menopause on a regular basis? I am ‘flabberwhelmed’ and ‘overgasted’! I am arresting you and remanding you in my Redemption Chamber until you mend your ways 😀

      @exuding redemption, God knows I’ve been given many chances to get it right . . . Thanks!

      Like

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