As a young writer, I participated in a lot of essay competitions. I’ve always craved for opportunities to share my art with the world while going head to head with the best of the best out there. However, I didn’t have all the tools required to make my writing seamless. I had to improvise.

One of the 3 National competitions I won has a very interesting story behind it. I got to know about it on the deadline day. Hurriedly, I picked up my small Nokia phone and typed using the small keypads. It wasn’t a funny experience given the fact that if I need the letter ‘C’ , I would have to tap the ‘1’ button three times to get it. Here’s what my phone looked like back in the day

Long before we had the luxury of touch-screen smartphones

Furthermore, there was a limit to the amount of words I could type per box, so I would have to save what I had done in my E-mail draft via the popular Opera Mini web app, and continue my essay in a new dialogue box. I had to type over 500 words this way. When I was done with that, I visited the Cyber Café with 100 Naira which could give me only 30mins of internet browsing time, with this in mind; I tried as much as I could to utilize the short time I had before the computer automatically shuts down. In 30mins, I re-arranged the previously saved draft on MS Word, checked for grammatical errors and submitted to the essay organizers online on the deadline day.

Fortunately, my entry was deemed to be among the best nationwide and I was called up 3 months later for my award presentation, radio appearance, photo shoot amongst others. As a matter of fact, I’m still enjoying the ripple effects of that national exposure till this day.

Young and Cerebral Essay Contest (2013) - University of Lagos.
Young and Cerebral Essay Contest (2013) – University of Lagos.

Moral of the story?

I may not have had a laptop, good internet connection and other writing tools required to make my essay entry top-notch but I improvised with the little I had in order to achieve the success I craved for.

More often than not, we tend to let opportunities pass us by because we feel we don’t have all the tools required to get the job done. Learn how to improvise! If you wait for all things to be equal before you get started on that project, things may never end up being equal.

As at the time of writing this post, I’m still improvising. I do voiceovers among a host of other things and you may be surprised to know that I do not have a standard recording equipment or personal studio yet. This does not stop me from getting my voiceover gigs done. My clients end up being satisfied with my service meanwhile I had to improvise with my smartphone while working towards getting a standard recording setup.

That you may not have all the tools or equipment required to start that dream business or project should not end up being an excuse for you.

Take that step! Improvise!

The stress will be worth it at the end.

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