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Enterprise

How I turned writing into growing venture

Aswani Nabwende, books writer and online writing trainer.
Aswani Nabwende, books writer and online writing trainer. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Aswani Nabwende is steadily building a name in the writing world. Platforms such as blogs and websites have given her a golden opportunity not only to express her talent but also earn a living.

Her story is a testimony of the vast opportunities of these new platforms if one can rightly tap them.

To succeed in this field, she says, you first need talent and passion for writing. On top of that, she adds, patience, endurance and zeal are vital attributes.

She is involved in diverse genres of writing - from books, articles, speeches to script translations. She is now moving into conducting training for budding and enthusiastic writers.

Ms Nabwende says she first fell in love with writing while in secondary school where she could write and perform poetry up to the national stage.

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While her desire was rooted in writing and arts, her parents had other “lofty” dreams for her in medical profession.

"My parents wanted me to do clinical medicine or nursing," says Ms Nabwende, who went against her parents’ wishes to pursue a degree in broadcast journalism at the University of Nairobi. Writing, she says, is something she aspired to do right from an early age.

To hone her skills, she launched a personal blog in 2012, where she wrote a wide array of stories.

"After graduating in 2013, I did my internship after which I was employed," Ms Nabwende says.

She previously worked at Barclays Bank of Kenya (now Absa), Medlink Medical Centre, Global Health Concerns, Royal Media Group as well as Nation Media Group.

However in 2018, when she was out of work, she joined a writing site which greatly helped her to sharpen her skills. Through her work on the site, the world took notice of her writing prowess and she started getting enquiries about her services from foreign countries such as US and Canada.

“I built a client base in the USA and Canada on the site through small articles (one- or two- paged articles) I was writing on different issues that were happening here (in Kenya) especially business-related," she says.

In Kenya too, she has also built a client base for writing, editing and proofreading.

With her list of clients growing fast, Ms Nabwende converted her blog into a website to attract more clients.

"I had to also change the name of the website to make it more professional," she says.

It was at this point when she published her book Budding Tree which is on women infertility. Her writing prowess captured the imagination of many who wanted her to help them write their their stories as a ghost writer.

"I ended up in ghost writing when people wanted me to write stories as they did not have time to write them," she adds.

Ghost writing is where someone writes articles, speeches, books, blog posts, email newsletters and web copy for other people without being credited for the work.

She says the least amount that she charges is Sh1,000 per project, after which the figure rises depending on the amount of work being done.

"Every customer comes with different requirements and obviously there are some research that you need to do. This sometimes requires interviews, and that means an extra cost," she says.

She invested about Sh30,000 when she started the website which included photographs, videos and learning materials.

“Starting to write in itself was zero bob," she says, noting that all you need is your pen or laptop, your talent and you are good to go.

She has employed three people on temporary terms in marketing, writing and editing.

"Writing books and magazines I do it by myself unless I am overwhelmed," she adds.

She has an editor for her books.

When she began she had a monthly clientele base of three but now this has grown to 12.

"I do not take so many books. If you take so many of them at the same time you will not be able to give them enough attention which can result in shoddy work," she says.

Her advice to the youth is to think out of the box since there are many opportunities out there to apply their talents.

"Do not wait for employment opportunities as people will take advantage of you," she says.

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