As part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are joined by Baz Bhasera (BB) a Pastor and leadership coach. Bazil is a passionate writer and teacher. He sits in the office of training coordinator for the Baptist Union of Zimbabwe where he focuses on education and leadership development.
(IMFP) Welcome Baz, and thank you for spending time with use at It’s My Footprint.
(BB) Thank you for having me, it’s my pleasure.
(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?
(BB) I am a Harare boy, born and bred. I come from a large family and have always been a keen participant of things like, debate, public speaking and toastmasters. I attended Churchill Boys High School and Harare Theological College. I became a leadership coach at a Christian camp almost 12 years ago, and felt the calling to go for full time pastoral ministry after some years. I now live in Kadoma with my two sons and pastor at a church there.
(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?
(BB) I am a lover of education, I believe that we always have room to develop ourselves further as individuals and must affect the same growth in others. I think everything else I do is an outward expression of that. Whether I’m teaching, writing or preaching. I am inspired by the bible mainly. It affects my worldview concerning all other matters of life. I’m also inspired by my own experiences, and the experiences of others who have done amazing things in the name of social concern.
(IMFP) Why do you write?
(BB) I write to affect other people with the love of Christ first of all. As I share my own experiences and inspiration, my prayer is that someone out there may relate and be set free.
Secondly I write to express myself. To share my unique view points and character with the world through writing is one of the ways I find to be most revealing of my inner thoughts. And I believe I have something to bring to the table that says “I was here” long after I’m gone.
(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?
(BB) I think the best thing about my style of writing is that it is like having a conversation with another person. I write as I would speak. Even though imaginative expression has its place in the written arts, debate and discussion pulls a train of much needed sober and direct communication. As a teacher, I find this style effective at attacking the core issues of life.
(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?
(BB) I embrace it. I would rather learn something from other people who may have a different viewpoint from mine, than assume that I know it all. As I always say to people “I am always aware of the possibility that I could be wrong about something”. So when I write, I don’t do it to merely show people what I know, but that through what I have shared people can see how much I don’t know as well. This will allow them a chance to educate me and that may come in the form of criticism.
(IMFP) Baz, you surely have developed in your writing. What are you busy with now in terms of writing?
(BB) I am currently working on a third manuscript. The book is called Divine Microscope. It is a surgical approach to Zimbabwean cultural norms and traditions juxtaposed with a Christian way of life. A lot of research but it is a work I feel is very much needed. It answers questions like “is there anything wrong with keeping our traditional way of life after we have embraced Christianity, if so at which points is there conflict?”
(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?
Secondly: The editing process is by far the most difficult. It’s easy to splash all your thoughts onto paper. But making them flow into a logical sequence that your readers can follow easily and understand is not as simple. Even before I take my book to the editor, the initial run through that I do myself can be very difficult, in fact at this point that the work of writing a book is most tedious and laborious.
(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?
(BB) I would have to say that I found self-publishing challenging but with an upside. The challenge is that I had to do every process myself and fund it using my own means. This is something that traditional publishing may take off the shoulders of writers. But I don’t regret all the knowledge I gained as I went along. I now know the whole process and have a unique chance to help others who are trying to ply the same route. It’s also good that as much as you have to finance yourself, you also get to control your income as you sell your books personally, as opposed to getting royalties from the publisher after their deductions.
(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
(BB) Don’t think about writing, start writing!
(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?
(BB) I would definitely say “Don’t procrastinate, and don’t rush through your work. Take time to produce the best work you can. It’s not over after you finish writing the book, that’s when all the work starts!”
(IMFP) Who is your favourite author and why?
(BB) John Eldredge.
I love how he writes in very simple language even though he deals with very complicated life issues. He gives a lot of himself in his work and I find that makes it easy for me to relate to him as a person before I start getting impressed by huge insights.
(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?
(BB) Not really. I’ve never done a proper book review. But I own a bookstore, and opened a Facebook page for it. As a marketing strategy, I would write short reviews of the books and post them, just to get some insight into what customers could find in the shop. These are mainly Christian books.
(IMFP) Which email lists are you subscribed to?
(IMFP) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?
(BB) I am on a WhatsApp group “Writers Clinic”. There are about 256 local authors on this platform. The workshops and discussions on this forum have been invaluable to my growth. I am also on the writers group on Facebook, apart from that I am not involved in any clubs.
(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?
(BB) Christian Inspirational books.
(IMFP) Let’s talk about Baz the man! Give us a bit of your social and family life.
(BB) I am 36 year old widower. I have two sons, Kristian and Kenton. I am a lover of music, apart from writing you will find me playing my guitar, writing music or listening to it. I lead worship at church and I play bagpipes as well. I love hanging out with friends and spending family time. I have a very strong passion for outdoors and camping and travel a lot.
(IMFP) Any final word for our followers?
(BB) We were all created for something that is much greater than self-preservation. Whatever gifts you have, identify them, develop them and unleash them upon the world with passion and conviction. Because the change the world is waiting for, may yet lie in your efforts. So join in the fight, speak your mind in the conversation, and make you splash on the portrait. Write your sentence in the story and leave your own page in the histories.
(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Baz. Good luck with your writing.
(BB) Thank you!
Baz Bhasera Links