Interview : Elvine Ouma, Freelance Content Writer
Elvine Ouma is a trained gender journalist and creative writer who is passionate about telling stories that impact the society. She also loves reading African fiction, listening to music and indulging in good food. Elvine also loves telling stories about women’s rights and is a powerful advocate for sexual and reproductive health rights.
When did you discover you were passionate about writing?
When I was 9 years old, I wrote an embarrassing story with a girl named Leah and brought it home for my dad to read. He was so proud and always made a point to read and applaud my compositions. On Sundays, I would sit with him reading Generation Next by the Standard and Nation’s children’s section. That was the time I discovered my passion for writing.
What Inspired you to join Africa Gigsters?
The fact that it is a platform focused on empowering African creatives. Most freelance platforms are not created with an African creative in mind hence why Africa Gigsters is appealing to me.
What are the top three skills required to succeed in your profession?
Research skills, to become an impactful writer, you need to be able to sharpen your research skills. This will enable you to provide the audience with facts and it makes your story or article more believable.
The second skill is creativity. Sometimes we often think that being creative is purely based on talent, but it can also be nurtured. As a writer, you can be inspired by books, real-life experiences or other people’s life stories. How you use these is what determines your level of creativity.
Lastly, being time conscious. It is easy as a writer, especially a freelancer, to procrastinate. It is often brought about by self-doubt and sometimes waiting for inspiration. However, there are different ways for you to beat procrastination. You can schedule your tasks so that you do each one at a time.
What motivates you to keep writing?
My father. He was an avid reader and a fan of my work. Even though he passed away, it is one of the ways I get to busk in the joy we shared for reading. Every time I write, it feels like the sunny Sunday mornings during my childhood when my father helped me write better stories. Now, it feels like I am putting together a collection of stories of the world after his demise. This way he can see the world through my eyes, a whole new world.
What do you love most about being a freelancer?
Flexibility- I determine my work hours as well as where and how I choose to work. I am my boss.
How would you define success?
My definition of success is evolving as I continue to learn every day. Right now, success for me is a great mental state, contentment and being happy with and for myself.
What advice would you give someone who is starting in your line of work?
As a freelancer, procrastination is probably the only thing standing between you and your success. Find ways to beat procrastination and everything will be so much easier.