When you read Ivana Akotowaa Ofori’s Blog you would never guess that she is only 18. Her writing prompts you to practise a rewarding kind of freedom that can hold you captive on her blog for hours. A beautiful confinement of frank and brutally honest published posts that seem determined to encourage its followers, to introspect and loudly break free against any unfair restrictions that seek to imprison their true thoughts, questions and self-expression. AfroBloggers spoke to the Ghanaian Writer to find out more about the distinctive opinions that have inspired many to also contribute a brave and passionate voice to the blogging space.

Do you set any blog goals? What are they?

I don’t set a lot of clearly defined blog goals. I write freely and don’t really have that much of a schedule. I suppose the only clear goal I have is, in terms of statistics, to always do better with my blog views than I performed the previous year.

How do you find or source new content for your blog?

This isn’t hard for me, since my mind is quite hyperactive and I chronicle the thought processes of my mind a lot. I think of myself as a collector of stories, from the people around me and even those of my own life. As for the poetry I write, that probably comes more naturally to me than anything else – because cryptic words express cryptic thoughts, and it’s magical to contain so many emotions in so few words/lines.

What is your least favourite blog post? Name yours and specify why?

My least favourite blog post right now is probably Dark Heart & Mind #3. The whole Dark Heart & Mind series was written when I was not in the most favourable frame of mind and environment. But often, for me, it’s not enough to leave my rants unread in my notebook. I publish them even if nobody but myself will benefit from having written them. I dislike that post because it reminds me of the pain and hatred I felt. I might delete it (and the rest of that series) from my blog eventually. They’ve served their cathartic purpose.

Would you say you are passionate about inspiring your audience?

In a very specific way about very specific things. Mainly ‘lexivism’ – the word I created to mean activism/advocacy for pursuing word-related activities and ambitions. I love encouraging people to write, to pursue their literary ambitions, improve their poetry, performance et cetera. But aside from specific instances, I don’t aim deliberately to be ‘inspirational’; I aim to be so much of myself that I give other people permission to do the same unconsciously. In my opinion, authenticity itself is inspirational.

Would you say you contribute a unique voice?

Yes…

To this day, I don’t think I follow anyone who writes quite like I do. I am an interesting combination of tortured-artist, cryptic-poet, angry-ranter, and hyper-emotional being. It always fascinates me when I observe my blogging trends from the outside.

What are you willing to do to make your blog successful?

Honestly, To Write Well! That is my only strategy. I don’t publicize in a pushy way. I don’t tag people in my posts (unless they specifically asked to be tagged) when I share/publish. I don’t drop my links in people’s inboxes, IMs or DMs. I rely on the hope that if what I’ve written is good, and it’s accessible on my profiles, it will receive its due attention. I don’t think it does as yet, but the loyalty of the readers I do have is extremely gratifying. I suppose because I am so frank with my thoughts, which are sometimes very mean and sarcastic, I’d probably stand a chance of incriminating myself than pleasing an audience.

Can you tell us a bit about your ideal reader?

My ideal reader is someone who would read what I’ve written and either say, “I’ve been thinking just that!” or “I never thought of that this way!” I enjoy readers who relate, or who have emotional or intellectual responses. And the type of readers who would share the link with someone who wouldn’t usually read me, naturally, because they believe it’s worth sharing.

What are the implications of being as honest as you are about yourself on your blog?

The internet is a free place. Anyone from anywhere could find my blog and read what I’ve written. I don’t usually realize how much I have revealed about myself until a reader shows me. But, as surprising as these incidents might be, I don’t think they’re necessarily bad. There’s the risk of being type casted – with people wrongfully thinking that if I reacted a certain way to something, I will react the same way to something else. For the most part, I think the implications of my self-honesty are good; because I feel like a lot of people aren’t as honest about themselves and that maybe by creating the kind of content that I do, it will encourage others to do the same.

Please download the Akotowaa’s published novella here.

Feature Written By: Sinawo Bukani

She is a Digital Marketing Recruit at Umuzi Photo Club. She recently resigned from her corporate job as an Asset Management Associate to invest in her SuperPowers in Literary Journalism, Lifestyle Blogging and Content Marketing.

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Ghanaian Naana Joa Braso has been writing for 8 years now, mostly poems and short stories inspired by Greek mythology and fan fiction. She is a strong believer that people only follow your blog when they relate and believe in what you write about. Other than wanting to be remembered as a blogger that actually got to make money from her passion; she’d also really love to be known as someone who helped promote African brands taking them to their greatest marketing potential.

Who are your biggest influencers?

Well, many people have influenced my work over the years. It has been a fulfilling journey that’s led me to meeting people who’ve impacted my writing in different ways.

I started out as a poet who shared her work only on Facebook until I met Raj Suraj, who introduced me to the People of Equal Thoughts and Spirits (P.O.E.T.S.). Raj who is a mastermind at both poetry and spoken word assisted me in writing some beautiful work.

For a couple of months now, Nayirrah Waheed is having a great influence on my work. At first, poetry seemed like an art that should have lots of depths. But after reading Nayirrah’s book ‘SALT,’ I realised that poetry is about staying true to who you are with each stroke of the pen.

But my biggest influence has been my former position as a Secretary for a shipping company, where I had to write lots of formal letters. I have also worked with a couple of NGOs where I assisted by writing winning sponsorship letters. With these kind of responsibilities, you have no other choice than to learn how to write well.

As a blogger, I believe I’ve been my own greatest influence. I’ve discovered things for myself through research; trial and error.

What surprising lessons about blogging have you learned along the way?

Other than the fact that people are secretly watching what you do, I will say the surprising lessons would be the following;

  • Be it a professional or personal blog, a blog shows the world what you are made up of. You can somehow tell who someone is just by analysing what they write about or what interests them.
  • A blog adds to your credibility. How consistent you are with blogging can also show your level of commitment.
  • Staying true to yourself and your purpose can go a long way to gaining the audience you desire.

What’s next for your blog?

I’ve been managing three blogs now, coming up with content and promoting it.

With regards to my business and lifestyle blog www.njbraso.blogspot.com where I promote brands, events, people and start-up companies; offer career and blogging tips; I am looking at getting a domain since this is now my actual job. I also started a shop on the blog to sell traditional items from all over the world. This way, I will not only promote brands, I will also assist in selling their products as well as mine.

The next thing for my travel blog www.wanderlustfulsights.wordpress.com is my trip to Togo. I recently resigned from my position as a secretary so I have more time on my hand to indulge in my passion. It has always been a dream to volunteer with an NGO outside my country and so for the next month, I’ll be volunteering with an NGO in Togo while touring the country. This way, I get to share my travel experience while fulfilling my dream.

My personal blog www.njbraso.wordpress.com is where I share poetry, my thoughts on issues and personal experiences. This blog has been ignored for a while but all that is about to change with my Ice Queen Chronicles project.

Walk us through the step by step process it’s taken you to get here?

  • Discovered my passion.
  • Decided to share it.
  • Interacted with those with similar interests.
  • Wrote meaningful and relatable articles.
  • Shared my work with people I met.
  • Participated in competitions.
  • Stayed true to myself and purpose always.
  • Allowed myself to grow.
  • Opened myself up to change.

What has been the biggest challenge of having your own blog?

Consistency. I tend to get so drowned in so many projects all at the same time that I can sometimes neglect my blogs to chase after something else. So this way, if my current project has nothing to do with my blog, I kind of forget to update my blog. So now I have set up reminders and dates for each blog so I can keep up with them.

Feature Written By: Sinawo Bukani

She is a Digital Marketing Recruit at Umuzi Photo Club. She recently resigned from her corporate job as an Asset Management Associate to invest in her SuperPowers in Literary Journalism, Lifestyle Blogging and Content Marketing.