Internet: Writers’ new window of expression

By Tendai Manzvanzvike
“I WILL not leave until tomorrow what I can do today.”

This is one of the hundreds of quotable quotes from 37-year-old Zimbabwean former school teacher and entrepreneur, Rabi-son Shumba who was recently awarded a certificate of achievement in the “100 Articles in 100 Days Marathon Challenge (#HAHD)”.

The marathon ran from May 1 to August 8 and was organised by an Internet-based site E-zine @rticles.
In his congratulatory statement, E-zine Articles publisher Chris Knight (USA) told Shumba that his 200+ plus articles would continue to earn the benefits of “waves of increased free website traffic; excellent branding and market positioning; improved qualified lead generation; enhanced market credibility and improved media exposure.”

He was also invited to participate in the 5th “100 Articles in 100 Days Marathon Challenge” which began on September 23.
Interesting times indeed with the Internet offering vast opportunities not only for self-expression, but also for doing business in a globally wired world and for influencing perspectives, opinions and viewpoints.
Visibility in cyberspace is not only a now issue, but it is the future. However just like the “normal” world we know it comes with packages of advantages and pitfalls. It is how you understand what the medium is meant to achieve that matters in the end.

Recently, Shumba (RS) had a one-on-one with The Arena (H) where he explained what this ICT-related venture means to him and Zimbabwe. This week we publish the first part of the interview.
H: Congratulations for winning this rare award that shows that Internet culture is taking root in Zimbabwe. I could easily describe you as a pacesetter. But maybe the first thing is when did you start writing and in what language and on which subject?

RS: Thank you. I started in 2008 when I had my first attempt at documenting my thoughts. It was a small booklet in English. It was a result of having been invited by Gateway School to present a speech to commercial students. A hurriedly prepared PowerPoint presentation of 15 slides on the theme of “Discovering and pursuing purpose” evolved into a 65-page booklet, which I still have to this day.
H: Turning to the Internet-based award, how did you come to know about E-zine and how long have you been participating in their competitions?

RS: One day while surfing on the Internet, I came across what I viewed as a balanced and intriguing article by Ozias Mucheriwa. To me the surname appeared Zimbabwean. I intentionally commented on the article. Ozias then e-mailed and posted comments on my blogsite too.

That marked the start of our relationship. Ozias told me of some of the ways in which I could increase my influence on the global platform and one such website he highly recommended was www.ezinearticles.com. I posted my first article on March 22, 2010. My first article writing marathon was in May 2010 which makes it 5 months.

H: There are so many websites offering various services. Why E-zine?

RS: I was excited about the way they help you to improve your writing skills. They pay particular attention to detail, originality and quality. If you ever plagiarise, you are suspended immediately. They mark the work and in 24 hours your work goes live and millions of readers get access to your thoughts.

H: And E-zine’s advantages? Are there monetary rewards or you are do it for posterity?

RS: When you participate in E-zine competitions and when you post articles outside of the marathons, you get so much help to boost your confidence as an author. You get the prestigious Expert Author acknowledgement as your article volume increases.

You become a voice of reason, an authority worth paying attention to. You get a platform to contribute to the ever-growing body of knowledge. Most importantly, if you want people to access your website or blog, you can increase the visitors by mentioning the sites on each article.

You also get to connect with like-minded individuals, have opportunities to reach every part of the world. E-zine competitions have gifts to motivate participants, but there are no monetary rewards promised.

What I believe is that when you shy away from sowing seed, you should also shy away when harvest time comes. You cannot expect to become a voice of influence when you are not willing to sacrifice your intellect and make it available to those interested.

H: Can all and sundry take part?

RS: Anyone who has something original to say can participate. Incredible!

H: What are some of your writing achievements to date?

RS: I have managed to write four books in six months this year alone. Furthermore, a 5th book is going to be written in collaboration with 100 other authors from other nations. I am the only African author to co-author “101 Great Ways to Enhance Your Career”. My articles are appearing on hundreds of sites all over the world including leadership websites, the Washington Post online newspaper, The Gambian’s Today online newspaper to name a few. I am receiving numerous invitations every week to write articles for different journals and websites.

I am once again running the E-zine marathon, which is in its 14th day as we speak. I have already done 35 articles out of the expected 100.

H: How do you think other Zimbabweans or Africans can benefit from E-zine @rticles?

RS: Benefits to Zimbabweans and Africa at large accrue from the fact that there is a body of knowledge that they can access to get information on virtually any subject. In terms of research material, this is an important option. Those who participate as authors have a chance to put Africa and Zimbabwe on the map.

Zimbabwe is undoubtedly one of the nations with the highest literacy level in Africa. It is time such investment made into our lives by parents, Government and NGOs begins to bear fruit that reforms education.

E-zine is a perfect platform to make your thoughts vulnerable to scrutiny by people you may never meet in life. E-zine will drive traffic to your online endeavours increasing your credibility and authenticity as an authority in your chosen area of expertise be it medicine, agriculture, business and so on.

Zimbabweans have the best story to tell in the whole world. From the nation that is last on the alphabet, the nation that has seen it all. We have been the centre of focus for many years in terms of the economy. Now it is our turn to tell of the lessons we learnt from the challenges. There is a ready audience out there if we can only step out of our new comfort zones to herald how God has worked with and in us. You never know who will be touched by your story out there.

H: Apart from the 100 articles, how many other articles have you written?

RS: When I entered this challenge, I managed to generate about 201 articles. Altogether I have over 500 unique articles. A majority of my articles have been refined and distilled into exciting books.

H: Have they been published?

RS: Some of my articles are published on the Internet but will be in book form in early November 2010.

H: What motivates you?

RS: I have made an observation that many people die full of potential. Generations are robbed of inventions, wisdom and counsel for lack of documentation. I purposed to speak beyond the grave and the only way to achieve that is through putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard. I am motivated by an unending deep-seated passion to see humanity live fulfilled and purposeful lives. I always find opportunity to inspire, educate, motivate and edify those I interface with.

Daily processes, life situations, work and social encounters are all a source of material worth commenting and writing about. I write on anything that builds the present and future generations to position them for greatness.

H: Do you see yourself stopping one day despite the advances in technology?

RS: When you have found your purpose, you have no license to operate outside it. It becomes the fuel for your survival. The living dead are the ones without a reason for breathing.

I have found my place and I can do this without making an effort anymore. It is now a habit. So to answer you, it will be compulsory for me to stop when dust goes back to dust. Otherwise inspiration is my life.

H: Of all the articles and/or books, which are your best?

RS: I like the following articles: 10 Attributes and attitudes every professional needs; 10 Effective ways to manage time; 10 Office etiquette tips; 10 Lessons that challenges taught me; 10 Excuses potential entrepreneurs make and lastly 10 Building blocks for strong companies in challenging times.

H: What’s with the number 10?

RS: I just fell in love with the number 10 this year 2010. It is a very significant number depicting the perfection of divine order. Classic reference to the Biblical Noah is the 10th generation from Adam; Abraham was the 10th generation from Shem; 10 commandments; 10 Clauses in the Lord’s prayer; 10 Plagues of Egypt; 10 Virgins in Jesus’ parable, etc. I can go on and on about this wonderful number. So, I have created close to 80 articles with 10 tips, pointers and lessons. Now I am creating 10 quotes a day everyday.

H: What should be the guiding principles for would-be writers?

RS: Carry a passion to communicate your thoughts and feelings. Passion is what drives you to do things even if you will not get a pay cheque for them. You need the discipline to write and keep writing. If you do something for 21 consecutive days it becomes a habit. My principle is to remain as original as possible, focused on what I want to communicate and do so as simply as possible. There is no reason to complicate knowledge as that perpetuates levels of ignorance.

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