Maryam Maina speaks to Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim on her literary journey. She is the overall winner of the poetry prize senior category of Halimafactor community initiative during 6th annual Gombe Day of literature and creativity 2019 and also the overall winner of poetry slam competition of poetry day with Sabiqa Bello in commemoration of the World Poetry Day 2020.
Auwal: Can we know you more?
Maryam: I am a young promising artist, a poet, short story writer, novelist, a spoken word artist and sometimes, an inspirational speaker. I am currently a 200 level student of English Education, Gombe state University. I love to write in order to give comfort, hope, inspiration, and sympathy to myself and the society.
Auwal: When did you start writing?
Maryam: I started writing prose in the midst of 2018 and poetry towards the end of 2018.
Auwal: Do you write to win prize?
Maryam: No I don’t write to win prize. I write to win the hearts of my readers. I speak to charm my audiences.
Auwal: What do you write for?
Maryam: Well, I can say, I write for everything and everyone. I write for myself, I write for humanity, I write for nature and every other single thing. As long as you feel the connection between my work and you, then I write for you. To me, writing is all about writing for yourself and for others, those who connect the situation with theirs. Those who feel some strange kind of cold in their soul as they read through my lines, as they listen to my words. They’re those that feel pleased, those that fall for my work, those that find comfort, happiness, support, motivation and sometimes muse and inspiration in my work. These are the people I write for.
Auwal: Does winning prize have an impact on your writing?
Maryam: It’s not just about winning the prize, It’s how people look at me with adoration and awe in their eyes. It’s the feeling of delight that envelopes me because of the smiles and cheers of those people who are also happy for me. It makes me to want to do better after winning a prize, because it makes me aware of my potentials, it makes me realize how better I can still be and how far I can still go. Winning a prize indeed has a great impact on my writing.
Auwal: What are your inspirations?
Maryam: My inspirations? Books! Yes, they are my inspirations.
Auwal: What are your challenges as a writer?
Maryam: Well I can say writing itself is a challenge, it’s not an easy thing. However, I find solace, I find peace of mind, and I drive pleasure in doing so. My biggest challenge in writing is degrading myself. There are many times when I write or think of some ideas; I disregarded them, because I think they’re not worth it. So I hardly share my works with others. Another challenge is enriching my works with literary devices. Procrastination and relunctancy is yet another challenge I face in writing. Due to school routines, home chores, I usually procrastinate or feel reluctant to write.
Auwal: How do you manage your time to study and write?
Maryam: Well, I must say it was hard at first. Balancing studies and writing wasn’t an easy task. My journey into writing has just begun when we started our classes after a long break due to ASUU strike. Because I wanted to do my best in both, prioritizing became a challenge; Nonetheless, I was still able to cope with both from the beginning. As weeks passed, school began, it became more hectic and I started drifting from writing in order to beat up with my studies. However, after some few encounter with learned people in the field, I did come to realize that things are about timing and planning. All I have to do is to plan for the right thing at the right time. So I use my leisure/free time to write and the rest for school and other things. And this is what keeps me going till the present time.
Auwal: Any advice for young writers?
Maryam: I will advise the aspiring writers out there not to ever disregard their passion due to one reason or another. They’ll never know how trilling writing is until they become one – a writer. Yes, writing is not easy? But first, what’s ever easy on this Earth? Stick to your passion, you can do it. Explore books and be lost in the world of writers, the world of writing.
Auwal: It is nice having you here.
Maryam: Thank you!!!