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Growing up, Writing was my Sanctuary - Faniyi Oluwatomiwa Elijah

Growing up, Writing was my Sanctuary - Faniyi Oluwatomiwa Elijah, Winner New Man Gospel Writing Contest

Beyond winning the 2022 edition of the New Man Gospel Writing Contest 2022, Faniyi Oluwatomiwa shares his story as a professional writer and editor. In this exclusive article, he talks about Gospel writing, Literature and the future of the gospel.

Faniyi Oluwatomiwa Elijah, Winner New Man Gospel Writing Contest

NELOC News: Can we meet you?
Guest: First of all, I would like to thank you for the opportunity. I count it as a great privilege to be here. I am Faniyi Oluwatomiwa Elijah, popularly known as Tommy Brian. I'm a poet, freelance writer and Editor/proofreader based in Oyo State, Nigeria. 

NELOC News: You recently got an extra feather to your cap. How did you feel when you were announced as a category winner in The New Man Gospel Writing Contest, 2022?
Guest: I lost the hope of winning because I couldn't get enough vote during the voting process. Hitting 70 points on the judges scorecards was unbelievably awesome. It was a somewhat surrealistic moment, I was filled with happiness and excitement. 

NELOC News: What are your writing aspirations for the future?
Guest: My future goals as a writer is to inspire others to be the best they can be, by helping them unleash, maximize their potentials and to demonstrate how wonderful our world can be. I'm also on the track of building a profitable career in writing and I also want to birth books for my generation and generations to come. 

NELOC News: What other things do you do apart from writing.
Guest: I work as a project manager at ValueHub Consults and I'm also pursuing a career in Chemical Engineering.

NELOC News: As regards your dreams and aspirations, what is/are your greatest fear(s)?
Guest: My greatest fear is to look back and regret not having done something right, because I was afraid.

NELOC News: What and Who inspires your writing?
Guest: The Holy Spirit inspires me. I've also been inspired by great works of writers like Eno Sam, Dicta Ijeoma, Ogwiji Ehi and Adesina Ajala.  As a lover of art, nature and mystics, I find solace and inspiration from soliloquy, meditations and poetic conversation.

NELOC News: When did you start writing? Can you give us a background story?
Guest: I had always known from a very young age that I was a writer. Even though I didn't read many books apart from the assigned readings in school, I still had a knack for putting words together and letting them flow vivaciously across the page.

Writing was my sanctuary. It was the one arena in which I truly felt competent and capable in my pursuit of both excellence and success. To be honest, I didn't even write as much compared to the other wonder kids in my school, but when I wrote something, I always managed to capture people's attention. I always managed to move people. Many people may relate to this, to being the center of attention in their own esoteric arena. It is a gratifying experience, a scintillating stroke of excitement to the ego. The ability to articulate myself, and to do so with elegance, does give me a sort of leg-up in the world.

There are few things more vindicating than being able to say that I write for a living. The attention I receive from my gift, and the opportunities I am afforded, more than make up for the loneliness and isolation I experienced as a child, and as a result of simply being a creative person.

After deciding to become a writer, and following through to establish myself as a freelancer, I can honestly say I feel at home. Though I may have a long ways to go compared to the more established writers on the platform, I can genuinely say that I am right where I am supposed to be.

NELOC News: Moving on, as a writer, what are your major challenges? 

Guest: As a writer, I have challenges and one of them is handling multiple things at a time. I'm always busy with several projects at the same time, and then I get ideas for yet another book and I am forced to wonder whether I will ever finish a book. I'm dealing well with it, but I always have much at hand, at the same time.

NELOC News: How have you been able to over come these challenges? 

Guest: The answer is discipline. While it is great to start new projects, I don’t want to be the writer who never finishes a project. I organize my time so that I can continue to work on my main current project, but I can continue to make notes for my future projects. I'm also trying to put structures in place, to make getting things done easy.

NELOC News: What do you think is the future of Gospel Literature Writing in Nigeria?
Guest: Writers have shaped the world we see, for good and for evil. And the future will still be shaped by words. Men through burning pens have over the millennia branded ideologies, sympathies and relentless motivation on the hearts of impressionable people.

Kings and schools, queens and, more recently, technocrats have been shaped by the ones behind the scenes penning burning words that restructure minds and paradigms. I can't imagine how far the influence of writers go. The songs we sing and the movies we see; the courses we study and the ads we consume, all creations of writers. The games we play and the government styles we embrace; the metaphors we praise and the tech we celebrate, all of the same.

The One who rules in the affairs of men is about to write His counsels through human vessels by which a whole new world where righteousness dwells is unveiled in vivid detail. Gospel literature will continue till the end of days.

NELOC News: What ill do you find in Gospel writing today that you think should be corrected?
Guest: Unbalanced teachings and disunity

NELOC News: How can Gospel writers promote the gospel of Christ while refraining from doctrinal issues? Do you think it absolutely possible?

Guest: I believe it is possible. Just as it is commanded in Ephesians 4:3-12, Gospel writers should endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Gospel writing must be done for three main reasons  - perfecting of the saints, the work of the ministry and the edification of the body of Christ.

NELOC News: What would you love to say to encourage other writers?
Guest: People say, 'What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?' I say, they don't really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they're going to do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it." If they agree with me that they are cut out for it, then they should be intentional about it. My second advice for them is to live. It is vain to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live. I've seen many writers commit suicide in recent years, they refuse to live. My third advice is that they should embrace the discipline of a writer. Let me stop here.

NELOC News: What do you think about the New Man Gospel Writing Contest?
Guest: I got to know about the New Man Gospel Writing Contest through Glory Oyesiji. It's lovely to see us bring writing back to where it started. Most of our patriarchs of old are writers. The Bible was written as they were inspired by the Holy ghost. I would love to commend every organization and everyone who contributed in making it a reality.

NELOC News: What new things do you hope to see in subsequent editions?
Guest: I'll hope to see winners being rewarded heavily for a great piece.

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