Check out this brief conversation we had with Robtel Pailey, journalist, scholar, and author of One Moore Book’s Gbagba, a book exploring corruption.
OMB: When did you realize that you wanted to write for a living?
Robtel: I’ve always been fascinated by the power and beauty of words. I used to devour books as a child and write in my journal regularly as a young adult, but I didn’t realize I wanted to write for a living until I started sending dispatches to family and friends about my travels abroad in college. People would send me e-mails imploring me to publish them for a wider audience, so I did.
OMB: If you weren’t a writer, what other career would you pursue?
Robtel: I would probably be a lawyer. They often get a bad rap as unscrupulous and greedy, but some of them are actually honorable in serving the public and protecting underdogs. They too must use words to appeal to something deep within the human psyche.
OMB: Who inspires you the most? Why?
Robtel: My mom inspires me. She’s the most selfless, hardworking person I know. Through sheer grit and tenacity, she worked two jobs for as long as I can remember in order to give me and my younger sister all the opportunities she didn’t have growing up. She taught me that perfection, though unattainable, is certainly worth striving for. She also taught me that personal success means nothing if you don’t transform the lives of others.
OMB: Describe your creative process.
Robtel: An idea may come to me either through a conversation with someone or when I’m sitting quietly with my own thoughts. I usually carry the idea around for weeks before I start writing. I initially start through a stream of consciousness process, writing anything that may come to mind about the idea, and then, depending on my deadline, I take considerable time revising, rewording, checking references. I edit for days and months after that first draft, and sometimes even after the piece has been published.
OMB: Thank you Robtel!