An Anatomy of a Farewell

 

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

There was no perfect time to begin Livelytwist. Four years ago, I did not have all the answers I needed to start a weekly blog. Chief among them being whether I could sustain the tempo—whether I could produce writing that would entertain, inform, inspire, or provoke thought, week after week. In Six Degrees of Separation and Other Stories, I bare my soul.

I started this blog with grit, a little knowledge, some research, plenty goodwill, confidence, trepidation, and a two-month content calendar.

The question that I am frequently asked after I introduce myself as a blogger, after, what do you blog about, is: do you monetize your blog? The question is not always direct. Sometimes, it is cloaked as queries about ad revenue or sponsored content.

In his book Outliers, The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell says that hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Monetizing Livelytwist was never my primary focus. I just did what I love with dedication and excellence, which are hallmarks of everything I set to do.

The result is a resume I can present anywhere.

  • Produced over 200 articles with quality content.
  • Displayed my range with a rich landscape of varied writing: creative non-fiction, short fiction, op-eds, reportage, memoirs, and personal essays.
  • Highlighted my range by tackling topics from the mundane and comical to the serious, made relevant because of the underlying message(s).
  • Synthesized and delivered local content to international audiences. 
  • Facilitated and sustained online engagement with heterogeneous crowds via the comment section.
  • Identified, managed, and promoted (new) writing talent.
  • Discovered and negotiated new business through engagement on other platforms.
  • Harnessed marketing opportunities by collaborating with others and leveraging their social networks to reach new audiences.
  • Developed and managed diverse teams by initiating several writing collaborations.
  • Received 100,000* blog hits on livelytwist.com through organic growth. 

However, the emails and conversations that attest to the fact that I lit other candles remain my greatest treasures. All because I dared to ignore the butterflies in my stomach and move in the direction that my heart was tugging me to go.

. . . this gift that chose me, feels like a solemn trust, like a platform to do my life’s work. When you read something and say it inspires you to do life better, I let my tears fall where they will. –Timi Yeseibo

Someone said that it is not that life is too short but that we take too long to begin. I concur. People now ask me, “So you’re gonna stop blogging, what next?”

Four years ago, I could at least define what I was beginning, a blog. Now, it isn’t easy to articulate my next steps. This is what I know for sure. Whatever follows will involve me writing in some form. I now know that when you identify your gift, develop it, and use it to serve others, you will inspire others to do the same.

I once read that sometimes when it seems as though things are falling apart, they are actually coming together. In hindsight, it was true four years ago when my life took a difficult turn. I believe it to be true now.

©Timi Yeseibo 2017

P.s. April marked four years of blogging at Livelytwist, a success story that has you, dear reader, by my side. It is now time for new adventures and to stop blogging. I first wrote about it here. I’ll write some more in the coming weeks and then I’ll stop.

  1. Gladwell, Malcom, Outliers, The Story of Success, (London: Penguin Books, 2009), 175
  2. Not quite 100,000 hits . . . yet.

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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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WordPress 104… In Search of Content

in search of content

When I wake up, I do not panic. I turn around and enjoy the darkness. I capture my enjoyment of it—the silence, my breathing, and tracing the bizarre shapes floating on the ceiling—in long lazy stretches. But too quickly, it slips through my fingers like water in cupped hands.

Pop! And my brain takes over. It is 1 a.m. on Friday and I don’t have a post for Sunday, which is when I update my blog.

My idea book is filled with words, phrases, whole paragraphs even, written when inspiration caught me mid-cooking, mid-vacuuming, mid-driving, mid-praying, and mid-listening-to-the-C.E.O.-at-the-company-meeting. Each spree ends with the acronym T.B.D.L. (to be developed later). Words that I imagined would bring me fame, have lain there, on hiatus, waiting to be developed later.

This small exercise book is a contradiction of who I am, for I am as organised as the T that begins my name. However, here, my words begin inside the margin and jump the lines, leaping over the light blue boundaries that would suffocate my creativity. I recognise the frenzy of inspiration and the rush of words tumbling from my mind, in my illegible handwriting.

As I scan through, in the glow of my bedside lamp, nothing I read seizes my attention. I cannot strike the balance between what I want to write and what I think my readers want to read, so I power my laptop. If I read other blogs, perhaps I will find it.

Browsing is an apt term for what I do. Channel surfing paints a truer picture. I join the millions who roam the internet foraging for content. Too much choice is a bad thing. It can leave you undernourished instead of well-fed. Skimming headlines, clicking links, scanning blocks of text, skimming headlines again, I am a victim of “content anorexia”. I eat, but I do not digest, never able to hold anything down.

After a while, I see the word diaspora. It is spelt with a capital D in the middle of a sentence, a straight line and a curve that scream my name. Something doesn’t feel right. The pieces come together. Aha, I have spelt diaspora with a small d on my blog.

My weakness shows when my strength is magnified. It is painful to watch. Perfectionism drives me to find the post on my blog. Perfectionism drives me to start a Google search. Too much choice is a bad thing. I cannot cover the 3,647,400 results, which Google search engines deliver in 0.29 seconds, but I can try.

Diaspora from the Greek, meaning scattering, dispersion…. Diaspora, often initial capital letter….  Spell check the word diaspora on our website…. the body of Jews living in countries outside Israel…. African diaspora… the slave trade and its effects…. Diaspora cultures … the dispersion of communities throughout the world. The diaspora of English into several mutually incomprehensible languages…. The Polish diaspora amounts to 40 million… How to say diaspora in Swahili…

When my alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m., I think about three things:

 

One, that this is the alarm before the real alarm. It is the alarm that I “snooze” while I attempt a half-sleep, punctuated by thoughts of the real alarm.

Two, that I was right. I had spelt diaspora correctly with a small d, which was suitable for my context. This small victory does not bring elation.

Three, that I do not yet have a blog post for Sunday.

 

My eyelids now feel as though cement bags were dropped on them. And adrenaline departs from me in waves, rousing pain in my limbs. I know much more about diaspora than I ever intended to know. In secondary school, a teacher once said that no knowledge is ever wasted. What will I do with all this information I gathered about diaspora, information that is already fading away, slipping as I am, under my sheets?

The real alarm buzzes at 6:15 a.m., and I “dismiss” it without thinking, for nature exacts her pound of flesh.

When I wake up again, I panic. Light streams through the blinds and I know I need a miracle. 7:05 a.m., in the shower. 7:13 a.m., dressed. I have never put on make-up in the train, but there is always a first time. My black bag is big enough to hold my life, so I toss the things I need and the things I think I will need inside, and because I cannot remember if I brushed my teeth, I fling in my toothbrush and toothpaste for good measure.

7:19 a.m., I begin the sprint. I see a man walking his dog, shoulders hunched up, chin half-buried inside his coat, in contrast, my coat is open, its tails flapping in the wind. And for once the cold is my friend.

7:23 a.m., I stumble into the bus. So, what if people are staring at me? When I flop into my seat, I drink in gulps of air and think, Usain Bolt ain’t got nothing on me; no, nothing, except age! Up diaspora!

 

wordpress 104 in search of content

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

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image designs: © Timi Yeseibo 2013

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.