Hello, please introduce yourself
Hello. My name is Berry Dakara and I am a Lifestyle Blogger at BerryDakara.com
What do you do?
I have a full-time job as a Data Analyst, and on the side I run my blog, as well as managing some social media accounts for Cake Factory and Africa Naturalistas.
Why did you choose to write or what led you to writing?
As far as I remember, I enjoyed writing as a child. I remember keeping journals and insisting on hand-written letters and notes to my friends. Blogging came to me 4 years ago, shortly after I moved back to Nigeria from the US. I wanted to have a space online to share my NYSC year with my loved ones and also give guidance to foreign grads who wanted to come back to Nigeria. After my year was up, I realized that I really enjoyed blogging and sharing about my life and experiences. I started a lifestyle blog, and I think that it ushered a new and thoroughly enjoyable chapter in my life.
What is your most challenging moment as a writer?
Quick background: Occasionally, I write pieces for one or two platforms. They are usually from the heart or light and easy fare. Sometime last year (2015), I sent in an article to a website and they edited a sentence without my knowledge. I got a lot of backlash from the readers, and I asked the website editor to undo their edit – there was a little back and forth, they refused to revert to my original sentence, and I ultimately decided I would never again write for another platform [I eventually did]. It was challenging because I had to realize that sometimes my writing can miss the mark, and receive more criticism than positive feedback. Additionally, if it’s not published on your own platform, you may be censored or edited without your consent.
Can you share any lesson you have learnt from writing?
Personally, my preference is to write from the heart. The articles I’ve written that seemingly had the most impact where the ones with personal stories and experiences. When you share about a struggle you’re having, it brings to light how many others are going through the same struggle or have overcome it. When you share a celebratory post, there are people cheering you on and thanking God on your behalf. The lesson I get from this is to be authentic, vulnerable and real.
Can you tell us your most rewarding moment as a writer?
I have many rewarding moments, but they are all summed up in getting positive feedback from my readers. Whenever I get a comment or email or even offline message about how a particular blog post touched or inspired them, it makes me feel very good.
If you didn’t become a writer what else would you have done?
Technically, I don’t really consider myself to be a writer. But if I didn’t write, I would probably be acting.
Have you ever been rejected as a writer and how did you handle it?
I was not exactly rejected. I sent in an article to a website, based on my history of posting with them. This particular piece though was slightly out of character (or perhaps a different side of me), and they expressed concern about it. After a few days, I gave up on pushing it. However a few months later, I sent it to a different website and they scheduled it before I could even blink.
Will you ever retire from writing?
I don’t think so. I may not write for money but I enjoy writing. If I write just to leave a journal or memoir for my future children, that would be enough for me.
What do you do in your leisure time?
Watch too much TV.
What would you pick
- Continental Food or African Delicacy? – Continental. Unless it’s ripe plantain or Native soup.
- R&B or Hip/hop? – Hip-Hop
- Fiction or poetry? – Fiction
- Fashion or music? – BOTH!
Do you have a writing mentor? If yes why?
Unfortunately not. I have never thought about it.
Your best article or story so far?
I have no idea.
Last words for upcoming writers?
I’ve read that the best approach to writing is to set aside time for writing every single day. I don’t follow that practice but I guess it’s a good habit to imbibe as a serious writer. Otherwise, I would say to have a handy notebook (or phone; or tab) to jot down notes whenever you have a spark of creativity. If you don’t, you just might forget some of your amazing ideas.