DREAMING IT BETTER
BY SIMON KAHOKO MUREU
I dreamed of becoming of a writer but being lowly educated I had to work very hard.
Today I am a career writer with International credit. The myth that writing is only for the highly educated people like professor and college graduates have been dispelled.
I started writing more than Ten years ago. During my earlier days I wrote what I called………………… bedroom writing. I wrote book manuscripts and put them under my bed.
One day I took courage and mailed my book manuscripts to a publisher. After some time I received the manuscript back. It was an open rejection with the editor’s comment: “your contribution is poorly l done, bad use of English language and its grammar.” A short which later, I informed my cousin about my book manuscripts. “ With your standard seven education,” he laughed at me “ you can never become a writer.” Discouraged I threw my book manuscript into the fire.
I stopped writing for number of years. When I started writing again, I wrote short stories, which were also rejected by editors who said: “ your English grammar is poor.”
I followed my dream. I began to contribute letters to the editor’s pages in many Newspapers and magazines.
It was interesting to see my many letters published. This encouraged me very much and within two years, I managed to build a name in this angle.
My English grammar improved. I had started reading widely. I found the best way to write is to read good literature.
I started writing short stories again. Results…………………. rejection and rejection. This time I refused to give in to frustration, no matter how much this rejection hurt my soul.
One day I mailed my story to “BEYOND” a Christian publication in kenya. Its editor. Diane Omondi, rejected it and asked me to “ polish and fashion your story.” I sent them another story that sailed through. But my article was not published because the “BEYOND” was soon banned because of its stand against some political issues in Kenya.
At the end of 1989, I heard about a writer’s workshop sponsored by STEP Magazine at Daystar University Nairobi. I signed up.
I feared I would meet people who had a great know- how in writing. I found I knew more than many of them through long term time writing struggle.
We met once a month and were encouraged to write very much. The editors would reject our “ products” often but after nine months. My first article was published followed by another with a certificate of merit, good writing. I learned doesn’t depend on hard-work education you have. It relies on hard-work and the humility to take suggestions.
During this time, I sat down and prayed to God to guide me about what I should write. I came up with a clear vision on what to write and where to send my articles. My mission fell on Christian communications.
In 1994 I heard about a writer’ workshop which was being sponsored by cook communications ministries international of America and hosted by Today in Africa / Kesho publications in Kijabe– Kenya.
I attended the Seminar, which brought together many up-coming writers in Kenya. The trainers kept me up beat and I worked on six good Articles. By then, I had many stories been published.
During the seminar I came across “INTERLIT” Cook ministries Journal in publishing worldwide, which became my teacher – mentor.
After the seminar I wrote to the publication editor, Ronda Oosterhoff, who signed me to contribute a story this was published in “INTERLIT” a year later, I became overjoyed to be read Internationally and was inspired highly
In early 1995 my published work were evaluated at Daystar University college and was offered a chance to study for a diploma in communication arts. I couldn’t get funding I turned down the offer.
In the end of the same year, I enrolled for a correspondence course with International correspondence schools – I.C.S and earned a Diploma in journalism. I still desired to learn more.
In 1996, ‘‘ cook communications’’ sponsored me to train in writing through distance learning program. CCMI’S trainer Sussans M. Miller had me specialize in:
- Article writing
- Book writing.
- Writing for children.
By the time I completed this highly designed course, our country’s economy experienced a downturn. Editors would not touch any stories done by freelancers. Many writers gave –up writing in frustration. I refused to go under. “It’s God who called me in writing ministries’’, I reasoned, ‘‘ not the editors’’.
From my experience writing is a struggle. I have shed tears and thrown pens and papers out of my sight only to come back to the table. Writing is a craft and to develop it one must establish relationship with published writers editors and mentors.
I have met many editors who wished not have anything to do with me while some would publish my work and thought it better not to pay anything I always remember an editor in the secular media who asked me to give ‘‘kitu kidogo’’ a bride to have my piece published.
‘‘ Just forgot my article’’, I told him and walked out of his clean office. Both Christian and secular, media in Kenya is marred to corruption. I remember one day when I was still “budding” I met with an editor at Daystar University and after informing him about my desire to writing, he told me “man ! you will never make it” one month later by first article was published and in the month that followed discouraging editor published my second article Women writers can tell stories. All the budding writers I met in 1990’s have disappeared from the writing scene.
Today “I am the voice of one calling in the desert ‘make straight the way for the lord!’” John 1: 23, Isaiah 40:3. To evangelize through writing is full of frustration and I refuse to go under. My spirit is still high always ready to fight on.
I have come across some very good editors both here in Kenya and overseas ‘‘I say thank you…….. you have groomed a servant for the lord !’’.
I have shed tears on my path, but the specific order from my Master and Lord stands. ‘‘ Go to all people everywhere and make them my disciples, baptize in the name of Father the son and the Holy Spirit’’
Here I cannot find a way out! No loophole, For many years I have used my talent in the guideness of the Holy Spirit to bring honour and glory to God.
Personally writing has helped me to rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I have learnt to grow deeper in the world of God and the importance of prayer.
In July 2004, Stanley C. Baldwin, Director of International Christian writers……. ICW recognized my published work in the U.S.A and invited me to join the forum.
But my greatest reward comes when I see my work published. I know it touches a broken soul, helps to tear the chains of oppression, inform the slum people who doesn’t own a radio or T.V even a Director seated in an oval office can learn something out of my published work.
I am a co-worker in oneness and fellowship with Christian communicators who are determined to work hard for the lord in fighting the power of darkness and ushering his children into the Kingdom using the magic of pen and paper.
I know I produce good articles to many publications worldwide as one of the most published freelance writer in Kenya. I wonder if I the world is ready to help the up-coming writers develop their talents and gifts with am aim of impacting the useful skills into their mind for the betterment in Lord’s services?
This is the greatest privilege for me. I dreamed of becoming a writer. God has made my dream come true.
I am a self-trained writer with articles published in Kenya, South Africa, and in United States …… U.S.A.
I am a member of International Christian writers (ICW) and association of Christian writers in Africa – ACWA.
I am the year 2015 winner of national novel writing month –an American and INTERNATIONAL Novel- Nanowrimo contest