How DammyPep Makes Money Writing Relatable Love Stories
In this week’s Creator stories, we have a conversation with Abisola Damilola, popularly known as dammypep online. Damilola is a digital creator and writer, well known for her captivating love stories online.
Let’s get to know her, shall we?
Kindly introduce yourself
My name is Abisola Damilola. I am a storyteller, creative writer, and pharmacist.
Tell us about your journey to storytelling and writing in general
I’ve been writing for a long time. But the first time I wrote was when I was made the Drama Coordinator of the National Fellowship of Christian Pharmacy Students (NFCPS). I was in my third year and I had to write a script for a drama. I was also the Drama Coordinator of the Redeemed Christian Fellowship (RCF) and we used to have yearly concerts and I had to write scripts for the drama. I wrote my first script and it was rejected by the executives because it didn’t match the theme of the event. It was a relationship event.
What did you do when it was rejected?
(Lol). I was angry. But I had to write another one because it was my job. I wrote it for about 12 hours. I started writing it by 6 p.m. and finished by 5.30 a.m.
(Laughs). The second one I wrote was about love and everyone loved it. It made me more popular on campus and everyone knew Dammy as a writer.
How did it feel to have your name out there?
I was happy because I didn’t believe I could pull it off. I read what I wrote and I didn’t believe I could write something like that.
What happened next?
My classmates recommended me for a job. I was not expecting it, and I just started writing. I wrote mainly for people in fellowships on campus. I was paid 3k at the time and was also getting about 10k from home. I was happy I was making little money to support myself in school. But it wasn’t until I left school that I started making real money from writing.
Okay. Tell us about how you started making real money
In 2021, I was doing my National Youth Service program (NYSC) and I was also working a pharmacy job different from the one I was posted to. But it didn’t feel like I was doing so much with my life. I wasn’t comfortable with the 33k Allowance or the 56k I got from my other pharmacy job and was looking for something else to do.
Then one day, someone shared a link to a Udemy course in my Community Development Service (CDS) group. It was a course on storytelling, and I took it. From there, I took other courses on storytelling, copywriting, and content writing. I was investing in myself and buying books and courses to get better at writing. I even read Salem King’s book.
What happened after you were done?
I just started posting on social media. I wanted to be seen, and be out there. So I started writing online. I started with Instagram first because it was easier. I was scared of Twitter.
Lol. We all are
(laughs). Yes o. I didn’t want to be dragged or anything. Also because I was just writing again, I didn’t want anybody to come and say what I wrote was bad or anything.
So how did you get over it?
You know with the way Instagram is, you can’t write on it. You either have to share images of your write-ups or use carousels. I wasn’t going to do that. So I started writing on Twitter so I could take screenshots and post them on Instagram. One day, I posted a particular story about a married couple and it blew up! It got 300 likes. I told my friends and we were all happy. I started posting frequently but had to reduce when I started getting writing jobs.
What was the first writing job you got?
It was a scriptwriting job that paid ₦120,000. I can’t remember the title but I think it was supposed to be a short film.
How much do you now make from writing
For the short stories I post, I charge about ₦30,000 for that. If I’m writing a book, I charge ₦50,000 for 5000 words. Because when I’m writing a book, I won’t take up any other project at the time and it can take up to two months.
So if you’re paying me ₦400k, it’s like you are paying me ₦200k per month because it’s just the book I’ll be focused on. I don’t like taking too many writing jobs so I don’t get tired.
For scripts, it takes me about a month, and I also know for that whole month, I’m not taking any other job.
What’s it like on average now?
What’s your favorite genre of stories?
Ahh. “God when” people. Why’s that?
Because it’s relatable. Everybody likes love. I used to write tragic stories but I noticed that when I started writing romance, my community grew faster. Also, Nigerians like love stories. They just want to be able to say love is sweet and argue over it too. And I think that’s why I really like it. People love love.
Do you also write about your experiences with love?
Yes. About 90% of them are my stories. They are what people said to me or my guy said to me. I use words to make it sound extra and include more juice so we can all laugh about it on social media.
Interesting. Have you attempted writing any other genre?
Yes, I have. I tried writing erotic stories one time but I was terrible at it. It felt like I was forcing it and I can’t force it. So I rejected it.
Speaking about forcing it. Have you experienced writer’s block?
(laughs) Who hasn’t? When it happens, I leave social media and I don’t force it. I watch movies or call my girls to gist, rant for about three hours, pray, or sleep. I have dreamt of stories a couple of times. I may even read other people’s work, listen to music, or dance. I just take my mind off writing for the moment and focus on other things.
Do these things always work for you?
Yes, they do. I don’t force it. I embrace the break because the two of us (me and the writing) deserve the rest (laughs).
One time, it was going on for a week or more and I was worried I’d lose followers. At the time I had about 6k followers. After taking my rest, I picked up my phone, prayed, and started writing. That story had two parts and I pinned it on my Instagram page. Interestingly, that story blew up my page from 6k followers to like 11k followers within a week. That was the moment for me. I was like “Aha, this is good!”
Have you created any digital products from your knowledge of storytelling?
Yes, I have. It was other people’s products that helped me and it’s just right I create a product to help others who want to write stories. It’s an ebook titled “Tell Your Story.” It’s a beginner’s guide for anyone looking to write good stories and captivate their audience.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a writer?
Comparing my journey to someone else and struggling to find my voice. There was a time when I was comparing myself with someone. I just started writing on social media and this person had been writing for over five years.
It affected my writing process because I wanted to write the way they did or do things like them.
I just had to call myself to order. I had to remind myself to remain authentic and original to write better stories. And so far, I think I’ve nailed it.
Yes, you have! What are now your top tips for writing good stories?
- Use a character that looks like you. It becomes very easy to write the story because you have lived that life or someone you know is living that life.
- Make your characters relatable, memorable, and with flaws. Let people know their strengths and weaknesses. It helps to draw attention to your stories.
What’s your advice to people who want to start storytelling?
Firstly, be open to reading other people’s content and stories. Follow people who you like their writing style and try to learn it. From there you’ll find your voice.
Secondly, join a writing group and leverage communities. Being in a writing group helped me write better.
Thirdly, be ready to learn. As a storyteller, be open to taking more courses to learn about storytelling and how to write better.
Lastly, be highly creative and don’t compare your writing style to others. I made that mistake. Start with characters like you and write with simple words.