Last week, Mr Cyril asked whether I was “OK.” Mr Cyril is my supervisor at the university where I currently teach A- level Chemistry. In Nigeria, when you’re asked the “OK” question, it takes on two meanings:
- You look ill.
- You’re acting crazy.
I was acting crazy.
I had a writing deadline to meet; an outline that had refused to take shape and for a brief moment, he had caught me talking to myself. I actually was structuring chapters in my head since the empty space on the word document was driving me nuts.
This is how an average day in my life goes down…I know you’re curious about the woman behind this blog so I decided to interview her for you. Fashion designers after all sew their own clothes so I guess I can write about me. So who am I?
I’m shy. Lol!
Who am I?
Until now, you knew me as BLACKSAFAYA.COM, thanks to the blog. My Facebook family call me The Oracle, WhatsApp family call me Pained to Paid Writer, Dara calls me Dudulewa (it’s the Yoruba word for Black Beauty and NO! You’re not allowed to call me that.), Sweetness Cakes has decided that on this side of eternity she prefers to call me Energy but my name is Ene Elizabeth Adeka.
E for Energy. Lol.
Whichever one you choose is fine as long as you are comfortable with it. Who do I call myself? You’ll be surprised. I call myself a woman helped of God…God is in the midst of me, so I cannot fail.
What Inspires Me?
Sometimes our lives are like my empty word document waiting to be filled up with the right amount of success, inspiration, achievements, people and love. But what happens when these things don’t come and you have a white canvas taunting you?
Do you feel like that is all you will ever be – a white paper with nothing written on it or a canvas waiting for just the right amount of inspiration and motivation to start something? If your answer is the former, you are wasting time.
One of the most common questions I get asked all the time is “What inspires you?” and honestly, I have no one size fits all answer. Everything inspires me.
You. Me. Trees. Birds. Bae. Friends. God. Love.
Everything inspires me.
If you wait to be inspired all the time by that one single thing you call “My Inspiration” before you act, you will never see anything to the finish. Look for inspiration in anything and everything around you. I have a confession though…there is a song or picture behind everything I write so you just may be right if you say I am inspired by songs or pictures. I have over 6000 pictures on my phone! It’s that serious.
Why Black Safaya, why not Yellow Safaya?
Because I’m black. Lol.
The name “Safaya” was coined from the English word for the precious stone “sapphire”. Before I started SAFAYA, I was at a point in life where I was confused about so many things. I had just rounded up my undergraduate studies in Chemistry with no strength left in me to continue anything meaningful. Prior to that, I had been writing on Facebook for about five years, then professionally in 2016 and so when my boss said it was time to start building my own platform, I honestly did not know what to do.
I didn’t want to start a blog just like any other person out there and so I began to pray (I believe in God unapologetically). At the end of my prayer, I saw a scripture in the book of Revelations that talked about “a great city coming out of heaven, arrayed like a bride adorned for her husband” – (Rev 21:2) and “the second foundation of the wall of that great city was (made of)sapphire” (Rev 21:19)
Verse 2 said, “The nations will walk by its light and the kings of the earth will bring their glory to it.” Verse 5 said: “Write, for these words are faithful and true (they are accurate, incorruptible, and trustworthy).”
It was supposed to be sappire.com but that domain name was taken already and so I changed it to SAFAYA because hey! I’m African. I found out that the easiest way to stay relevant is to partner with one who intends to outlive you…and scriptures say only the word of God will not pass away. It’s actually SAFAYA, so the blog is Black Safaya, the writing arm is Safaya Writers and the online store is Safaya Stores, all based on Revelations 21.
My blog touches contemporary issues; most of them issues people shy away from for diplomatic and other reasons. Fortunately, “I say it as it is.” So Black Safaya is not your Sunday School blog but best believes it loves God and recognizes marriage as a union between a man and woman – Eve and Steve please.
What Makes Me Happy?
Writing. People. Love. Music. Jesus.
I am happy when I help people and I am most happy when that help go a long way in aiding them to attain confidence and start the things they long to do but are afraid to begin. My entire writing is hinged on that one desire: JUST DO IT.
I strive to always be the wind in the sails of someone and the one cheerleader they need to take home the trophy. I want people to know that their dreams are valid but what they do after they wake up is more important. I love Jesus because I have discovered that in the end, He’s the one who truly matters and He loves helping people too.
What are the things I Write About?
I’d be lying if I told you I have only one area I write about. When I first began to write, I wrote almost everything. My first two years of writing, I wrote about 1000 articles. Without exaggeration, I have visited almost every major niche there is to be found in writing.
And I’ll tell you why.
God never gives a man one thing. He always gives a blessing that is pregnant with other blessings. My writing is a gift; I think of it as crude oil and so it has a lot of extra goodies in the package. Chief among them is the ability to replicate anything writing or take just an idea and build it up with words.
I write about a lot of things. The man who taught me how to write professionally did not allow me pick a niche in my first year of writing when he realized that I had that unique ability to replicate anything provided I had a reference. He watched me, gauged my strengths and areas of weakness and in the end we both discovered my areas of strength in writing. Should I tell you?
- Relationships and Lifestyle (Motivation or self-help as the niche is known)
- Stories (Where someone sees a sentence, I see a story.)
- Writing (the art)
- Copywriting (Website copies, product descriptions, etc.)
- Book outlines (I’m the queen of outlines)
- Special requests (speeches, ghost writing )
However if you put a gun to my head and ask me to walk away with three categories, I’ll pick the first three. If you further threaten me, I’ll still pick the first three. Love is powerful; whatever you add it to grows, multiplies and gives you hundred fold results. I currently teach writing for FREE on WhatsApp and you can click here to join.
For now, this is where I have planted my feet and I have decided to be faithful and committed to it. You’re not qualified to receive further instructions if you did not follow the last to the latter. I am an obedient child.
Double line spacing is better. It helps the reader scan through your writing easily. Two is also always better than one for there is a reward for their labour…if you know what I mean.
Major Influences in Writing?
This one may surprise you…
- Apostle Joshua Selman (I learnt how to write introductions listening to his sermons)
- My biological father (for all the times he never allowed me to play with the kids until I had learnt how to read) and my uncle (the founder of KARATU Library for all the yankee books I grew up receiving)
- Hillsong United (do we even deserve these guys? Listening to So Will I/ A 100 Billion X as I write this)
- My Pastors, David Adah Ichima (who told me many years ago that I’m worth more than my weight in Facebook Likes and Twitter retweets) and Amoz Obadiah (for the depth of his song writing skills)
- Pastor Ejimi Olufukeji (because he’s the patron saint of “receive digital sense”)
- Chimamanda Adichie (for Purple Hibiscus and The Thing Around Your Neck)
- My friend, Original Ife (because he’s one of the wisest young men I know)
- Chandler Bolt of Self-Publishing School, 6times Amazon bestselling author (grateful for the call last month) and Tom Corson Knowles of TCK Publishing.
- He who must not be named (because he turned my poetry to incantations).
- Malcom Gladwell (We don’t deserve Gladwell).
- And now, SAFAYA WRITERS –the best people on the planet are my neighbours on WhatsApp and together we are learning so we can earn.
It’s my first book… (closes face). Ok not first book like “first book I have ever written” because I have written more than a dozen books for authors scattered across different countries of the world. My first book project was for a Canadian author who had an acute case of writers block. That was in September, 2016. I bought my first laptop with the money I made from that project and never looked back.
My first official release however, will be “Marrying Johnson” and I’m excited about it because it is partly my story told through the life of Tola, a young Nigerian woman on a journey to find love and purpose. Like I said, I’m a sucker for love.
Advice For Someone with the Same Issues I Had?
- Go back to God.
- Identify a skill you’re good at and can thrive.
- Gauge your competence and confidence level in that skill, find a mentor and unashamedly submit to their hammer.
- Build a platform, community and profitable relationships around that skill and daily load them with benefits a.k.a value.
- Convert skill to sellable product.
The Most Important Things?
Faith, family, focus, food and many fastingsssss because too much of everything is bad. I fast even writing sometimes. Lol.
The future is aviation, the sky is my starting point. If you know, you know…lol!
Honestly? Love God, love people, and love what you do. That is a copy and paste version of ENI Public Relations Department’s motto. Call the enquiry line on 08147214444 to confirm. Lol!
Last Words for now?
Pursue Jesus and you’ll end up in purpose, you’ll only be of much value to others as you have been to yourself, acknowledge every good thing that is in you through Jesus Christ and finally, don’t admire my passion if you cannot practice my discipline.