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Nurse She Wrote

by JD Kizza 

Don’t Quit on Your Dreams

This was not like the movies — I wouldn’t go from Unpublished Manuscript to International Bestseller in the space of 2 hours.

Reading culture in South Africa wasn’t that great, even then, and who would invest in an unknown, female, black, Ugandan author, no matter how good her story was?

NURSE, SHE WROTE.

Don’t Quit on Your Dreams

I have been writing creatively since I was in primary school.

First, it was to progress my English grade, and then I took a liking to it — but not before my grade school teachers realized that I was actually good at it.

I struggled at first with the basics of writing in English — I used to draw my letters, embellishing them with doodles or making certain letters bigger or wider than they were meant to be. I was almost always daydreaming about nothing, bringing all of that onto the pages of my notebooks.

I had a lot of nonsensical things in my mind that I couldn’t articulate, and I lacked the social skills to make friends with whom I could share these thoughts with.

My notebooks were always very untidy for all the erasing I had to do in order to correct my mess.

I eventually got it right, which is awesome, and when I moved on to the next grade, they added creative writing to the English syllabus.

It was standard practice for us to write about our school holidays at the start of every term. My parents were — and still are — in health sciences, and so they were almost always working during the school year. We’d only take our vacations over the Christmas break, if not at all.

I remember telling my teachers that I had nothing to write about.

They wanted us to talk about all the fun things we did over the term holidays, and I had nothing to talk about, because all I did was play with my sister and the neighbourhood kids.

We were all the same, ‌the sons and daughters of doctors and nurses, so we didn’t observe such things as holidays. It was just one really long weekend for us.

Where everyone else would talk about how they went to their grandparents’ house, we couldn’t, because our own grandparents lived in places where we needed tickets and planes and passports and time.

We would start our days with household chores, and then congregate in one of the yards and build our worlds, where we would play all day, leaving time to return to our homes for lunch and eventually dinner.

I didn’t know how to decorate this fact very well, and I told my teachers that the only thing I did over the break was play.

I suppose they realized that I couldn’t dress this story up beyond that, so they told me to write about what I wished I could do over the break.

AND I WENT TO TOWN WITH IT!

Now, I have no memory of these stories. All I know is what I was told — that I was good at writing stories.

I was eventually introduced to poetry, the longest of which was eight lines, and I excelled at it. I would score very well in creative writing, which would boost my overall mark at the end of each year.

When I reached the end of my primary school years, we were talking about what career paths we hoped to follow. I wanted to be a singer, believing that I had the voice of an angel (I really don’t!) but my English teacher at the time disputed that idea. He told me, and the rest of the class, that he was sure that I would become an excellent writer.

I think the rest of the class agreed with his sentiments.

By then, my dad had introduced me to reading for leisure.

It brought me joy, disappearing into worlds that were different from my very boring life.

So I was excited when novels were brought into the classroom.

I enjoyed my English classes so much because I got to indulge in my joy for reading, and I got to experience different creative writing styles.

And above all else, I got to daydream, shamelessly!

I was inspired by what I was reading, and from that inspiration came the desire to write.

My poems grew in length and meaning, moving beyond the classroom to my own personal expression of what I was feeling in my everyday life.

My dad would give me the diaries that he didn’t use, along with the freebie pens that he’d get from the pharmaceutical reps that would visit his surgery.

I would burn through so many of these diaries that my parents realized that I actually had a passion for the written word.

I am sure that by the time grade ten came around, my parents already had the speech prepared, warning me against pursuing a career in the arts, specifically in writing.

They urged me to pick up subjects that would grant me access to university, and a sensible job.

This was not like the movies — I wouldn’t go from Unpublished Manuscript to International Bestseller in the space of 2 hours.

Reading culture in South Africa wasn’t that great, even then, and who would invest in an unknown, female, black, Ugandan author, no matter how good her story was?

Nobody!

I understood their reasoning then.

They wanted me to have a stable, paying job that would allow me to both look after myself and pursue my love for writing.

The only way that I could do that, was to enter a career that would always be there, no matter what was happening in the world.

Medicine.

No matter what the circumstances of the world, someone, somewhere, is walking into a healthcare facility, needing some form of medical treatment.

If it’s over the weekend and the clinics are closed, they’re walking into the emergency department of a major hospital. If the nearest health care facility is too far, they’re turning to the village physician.

Sickness never sleeps.

And so the health care system never stops operating, even in the absence of resources.

It made sense to go into nursing.

It changed my life in challenging ways, but it did exactly what my parents said that it would.

It got me a job right after graduation — I got my appointment letter a day after I graduated in December 2011— and within weeks; I was reporting for duty.

I won’t lie — adjusting to adulthood was jarring, and my writing took a distant backseat. For years, I was too tired even to read.

The thing about this profession is; you don’t have the luxury of letting go of yourself. Your clients come to you at their most vulnerable, and they expect you to be strong for them.

I wasn’t always afforded the avenues I needed to express myself and what I was feeling in the face of all the things I was exposed to on the job.

And I was reminded of a time when I did have that freedom and space to breathe and feel exactly what I was feeling without having to filter it.

I was reminded of the ways I used to cope with life’s issues, in a safe environment, under my terms.

Writing. I always found my release in writing.

And so I found that joy again, when I decided to actively make time for writing and reading.

I found my centre again, and from it came JaneAuthor.

This gave me the confidence to finally put my spine into creating the world that is The Journals Of He.

It may have taken me over a decade to find my voice as a writer, but I did.

 And the moral of the story is this — DON’T QUIT YOUR DAYDREAMS!  

J.D. Kizza is a practicing nurse, and the author of The Journals Of He, which is her first novel.
She began the trilogy during her years of study at The University of The Witwatersrand, drawing inspiration from her experiences there.

She loves reading and writing, and enjoys poetry, as well as romantic and crime fiction. She lives with her family in Johannesburg.

Click here to order her book on Amazon

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Discover the key strategies and insider tips to transform your writing dreams into reality. This comprehensive guide provides aspiring authors with valuable insights and proven techniques to navigate the path to becoming a published author successfully.

Discover the key strategies and insider tips to transform your writing dreams into reality. This comprehensive guide provides aspiring authors with valuable insights and proven techniques to navigate the path to becoming a published author successfully.

Discover the key strategies and insider tips to transform your writing dreams into reality. This comprehensive guide provides aspiring authors with valuable insights and proven techniques to navigate the path to becoming a published author successfully.

Discover the key strategies and insider tips to transform your writing dreams into reality. This comprehensive guide provides aspiring authors with valuable insights and proven techniques to navigate the path to becoming a published author successfully.

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