The #HustleTales of Nyana Kakoma, Founder of Sooo Many Stories

sooo-many-storiesBrief Bio:

Writer, editor, publisher. Wife, and recently, mother.

Current Location:

Ntinda, Kampala, Uganda.

Current gig(s):  

Publishing Director, Sooo Many Stories.

Current computer(s)? Why this one?

A big black Dell called Tanya. No special reason.

Current mobile device(s)? Why this one?

Samsung Tab S. Got it for no special reason but it’s turned out to be a great one for me who reads on the go.

One word that best describes how you work:

Slowly at first (I am not a morning person), and with more gusto as the day progresses.

How did you end up at your current gig?

I created it. After realising that there was more we could do for the book industry in Uganda, I decided to do something about it.

…Are there any career decisions/life choices/failures that were fundamental in making you the person you are now, doing what you are doing now?

All the work I have done since my s6 vacation has been in line with writing, in one way or another. Even with the jobs I thought I had wasted time at, they have enriched my life in one way or another. For example, I did a gig in PR  (out of curiosity) in my last year on campus and for a bit after I graduated. I did not enjoy the experience at all and for a while, I regretted wasting my time there. I convinced myself that I would never do that kind of work ever again and yet now, I find myself drawing lessons from that time. It also taught me so much about myself in terms of what I should or shouldn’t do when it comes to choosing work.

Is your start-up (or whatever applies here) able to fully support you or do you have side gigs to sustain you as it grows? Any stories of some of the struggles/sacrifices you’ve had to make to see this dream come to life?

Not yet but it should in a couple of months.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Evernote. For reminders, to-do lists and things I should read later. She Reads Truth for my Bible study.

What’s your workspace like?

Right now a bit chaotic but that is not usually the case.

How big is the team of people you work with and what’s your formula for managing them?

We have a marketing person and the person in charge of our internet solutions. I meet with the marketing person every morning to pray and plan our day. The Internet solutions person is on speed dial and I see him daily because he happens to be my husband. That means we talk about work quite a bit. The rest of the people such as editors illustrators, designers are all outsourced.

What’s your best time-saving trick/life hack?

Making lists.leanin

What’s your favourite to-do list manager?

Evernote.

What everyday thing are you better at than most?

Making tea.

How do you recharge?

Watching a movie and hanging out with my family.

What do you listen to while you work?

Nothing these days because I get easily distracted sometimes.

For someone that is easily distracted, any tricks on maintaining the focus?

I try to identify the things that distract me and work away from them; so less or no music, a couple of hours away from the baby and other home-related issues. Also giving myself deadlines helps a lot.

What are you currently reading?What usually leads you to buy a book? Books you’ve read recently that have impacted on you deeply? What kind of impact did they have?

Manuscripts and short-stories that have been sent to be featured on the blog.

The last book I read was Lean In by the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg. I never read those kinds of books but I read it a time when I am figuring our raising a family and running a business and betting on myself. It made so much sense. For example one of the things she talks about is involving your partner in raising a child. It has become so normal for men not to be involved in raising children. Right from the delivery room where you are surrounded by a fortress of women that won’t even let a man carry a baby to only giving the baby to the father when he/she is fed and clean and quiet. It is why fathers say they are babysitting and a mother would never say such a thing. You are supposed to parent, babysitting is for people that did not make the baby.

That was such an eye-opener for me. It has meant that I can leave my daughter in her father’s hands confident that he knows what he is doing. It places less stress on me and they get to spend time together.

Any mentors/role models that you are working with/have inspired you and what lessons have you managed to learn from them?

Goretti Kyomuhendo to start small, work hard and ask for help. Ellah Allfrey and Vimbai Shire to be, as an editor, the writer’s best reader. Peter Kakoma, to dream big and not to do things half-heartedly.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Introvert.

What’s your sleep routine like?

“What sleep?”, asked a new mum. Ha ha ha. At night I basically follow my daughter’s sleep routine. When she sleeps and I have no pending work to do I sleep as well.

How do you strike a balance between work, family, friends and other social obligations?

I don’t think I have found the balance yet. I find that most times I am one-track minded. When I am going through a certain phase in my life, I will concentrate on that and almost forget everything else. Sometimes I am my kid’s best person, sometimes I am my husband’s best friend, some days I am my best friend’s bosom buddy and some days I am a writer’s dream. But I am never all those things on the same day and I have come to learn that that is ok.  I am trying to be more deliberate about staying in touch, reaching out to people and being off the phone when I am with people.

Who would you love to see answer these same questions?

The Enviri za Nacho ladies.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Go to University, do a course that will not take so much of your time but will allow you to have enough time to spare and write. Timothy Kalyegira told me that at a time I was devastated that I had not gotten the course I wanted to do at University. I took the advice and by the second semester of my first year, I was writing for The New Vision.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

So my publishing house somanystories.ug has a new book out. It’s by one of Uganda’s dopest poets, Peter Kagayi. The book, The Headline That Morning and other Poems is a good book in terms of content and look. It also comes with a CD with 15 poems.

Where can you get this book you ask?

On our website somanystories.ug, The National Theatre, The Uganda Museum, Aristoc Booklex, Uganda Bookshop, Bookpoint Village Mall, Femrite offices on Kira Road and Turn The Page http://books.alextwino.com/

Buy it because it is a good book and because Kagayi and I need to feed our families.

the-headline-that-morning_full-image

If you have any additional questions for Nyana, feel free to drop them in the comment section below. She will try and answer those she can. Click here to read other Hustle Tales


The Hustle Tales (adapted from LifeHackers, How I Work series) asks people that are doing epic things how they go through their daily routines to make sure whatever is needed to get the job accomplished is done. If you are interested in doing one these interviews or know someone you think should do one, inbox uswith the details and we’ll see if we can make it happen.

Written by Hustle Tales

The Hustle Tales (adapted from LifeHackers, How I Work series) asks people that are doing epic things how they go through their daily routines to make sure whatever is needed to get the job accomplished is done.

If you are interested in doing one these interviews or know someone you think should do one, inbox us with their details and we'll see if we can make it happen.

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