#WritingQuote – “I write because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention.” George Orwell

“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.” George Orwell

Most times, writers are too concerned about their books becoming bestsellers and winning awards that they lose focus of the main thing – the reason why the book is being written. 

This is not to say that you shouldn’t aspire to be a bestseller or win awards for your writing. What we are saying is that money and awards are not and should not be your primary reason for writing a book. Your reason for writing a book has to be stronger and more powerful than awards or money. 

Are you writing to make people laugh? Are you writing to speak on a subject that the society has ignored? Or maybe you are using your life as a basis to encourage somebody who is about to give up. Do you want your book to discuss and pose solutions to some of the nation’s biggest problems? Whatever it is, you’ve got to find it. 

Once you are able to identify your ‘why’ and you do all you can to achieve that, the awards and the money will follow. 

Most successful people don’t just strive to be successful or rich. Their primary goal is to make impact and on the journey of making impact, fame and money find them. 

 

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#WordOfTheDay – This is what plangent means

 

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Hey Sparkle Writers. Welcome to another Word Of The Day segment, aka another opportunity to learn a new word.

Today’s word is Plangent and although it sounds pretty strange because we also haven’t heard it before, it means having a loud reverberating sound or having an expressive and especially plaintive quality.

Did You Know?

Plangent adds power to our poetry and prose: the pounding of waves, the beat of wings, the tolling of a bell, the throbbing of the human heart, a lover’s knocking at the door—all have been described as plangent. 

For example 

The campers were awoken by the plangent howl of a coyote off in the distance.

We hope you use this word soon!

#PickOfTheWeek – Love from different perspectives

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Hey Sparkle Writers, we are so glad to feature another set of amazing pieces on today’s PickOfTheWeek segment. 

As usual we select articles from four writers on instagram and we talk about what makes them special. Ready for today’s feature? 

farmto table (1) This piece is by our own Dunsin Sanya and she’s serving the truth hot! Too many writers dream of becoming published, dream of writing for international platforms but never do the work. 

farmto table We’ve not featured Jamila before but we love how she described what lovers feel anytime they see someone they love. Do you feel this way too? 

 

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Rock Calvary reiterated this by telling us how terrible life without love can be, Full of choas because many of our actions right now are done out of love, love for family, love for our work, our passion and many others. 

farmto table (3) The love of a mother. So strong, so powerful and so sacrificial. Thank you so much Ufoma for this beautiful piece. 

 

 

#GrammarSeries – Three things you should stop doing when you write

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Nobody is perfect and when it comes to grammar, many of us make a few costly mistakes.

Here are three things you may be doing wrong. 

Excessively using fancy words

Fancy words are fun. We agree and they have a way of making us feel smart but that’s not a good enough reason to bombard your article with heavy words. Your writing will be clearer and more powerful if you use them sparingly. After all, you can.

Excessive Punctuation

Sure: sometimes a colon, semicolon, or other fancy punctuation—dashes, for example—can help you get a point across; it’s elegant and convincing.

But often, shorter sentences are better. If your writing feels weighed down by long sentences crammed with lots of punctuation, try taking out some of the extras in favour of sentences that are short and sweet.

Too many negatives

If you’re finding lots of instances of “shouldn’t,” “can’t,” “don’t,” and other variations of “not” in your writing, try to diversify by picking a verb that doesn’t require the word “not.”

 

4 reasons why no one is paying you to write

Disclaimer –  This post is NOT for everyone. Some people have chosen to write for passion and are not interested in financial rewards and that’s okay. But if you are one of those people who want to make your writing a career, this is for you. 

Although writing may not look like the most financially profitable careers, a good number of writers have found their sweet spot and are able to monetize their skill. These writers have given their sweat, blood and money to get to this point. 

You may already be asking ‘sweat and blood’, is it that deep? Yes it is, because with writing and every other thing you want to make money from, you’ve got to be intentional. Don’t expect someone to come and say, “Hey there. I heard from someone that you were thinking of writing something and I’d love to pay you to see where that could lead to someday.”

That would be nice but it really wouldn’t happen. 

If you think you’ve tried everything and you’re not getting money, we’d tell you four reasons you probably have not heard before or ignored which may explain why you are not being paid to write. 

You haven’t become an authority in the field. 

Yes, you need to become an authority is certain fields of writing. It’s ok to be a Jack of all Trades but it is much better (and profitable) to be a Master of Some.

Which areas of writing interest you?

Which can you master and become an expert in?

Then can you begin to share content around those areas so people begin to see you as an authority in that field?

If someone Googles ‘Top editors in Lagos’ for example and you are a good Editor in Lagos, your goal is to ensure that your name appears on that list.

Also, when people ask for good content writers from people in your network, they should be able to remember you without having to think too much. That is what Brand Gurus call top of mind awareness! 

You’re wallowing in negative thoughts 

All these your;

‘I am not good enough’

‘This writer is better than me’ and 

‘I can’t’ thoughts would do you NO good. These statements kill your dream, weaken your spirit and if you are not careful, they will affect your entire morale. How will you write well when you are not feeling good about yourself? 

When you are beginning to think you are not good enough, counter that thought by speaking confidently and positively;

‘I am good enough’

‘I improve my writing skills daily’ 

‘I can and I will.’ 

Now go ahead and make things happen

You’re stuck with old knowledge

Any writer who wants to make money from writing and has refused to upgrade his skills and knowledge has not started.  Writing is an ever involving industry and only those who are able to keep up with trends and new developments can remain relevant to clients. For example, if your client wants you to update their blog with content and you don’t know how to edit pictures with basic editing tools, your post obviously will not reach its maximum potential because the picture was not properly edited. 

You have to write often; stay abreast of what’s happening in the writing world and understand multimedia and social media. Today’s writer must be tech savvy 

You’re thinking like a writer and not a business person

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If you want to make money from writing, you have to think of your writing as a business not just a hobby . Generally speaking, most creative people like to create. Period.

Writers like to write, painters like to paint, and musicians want to play. However, until we attach a value – specifically, a Dollar (better than a Naira) value to our expertise – we will continue to be starving artists.

We are not saying you should go about demanding payment from everyone including Instagram for writing captions; all we are saying is that if you’ve chosen to make writing a business, some things have to be put into perspective. 

There are five things to consider when assessing value:

  • The services you are going to offer
  • To whom you will offer your services
  • Your experience
  • The value of your time
  • The value you provide to your customers.

 

Ultimately, the answers to these questions will become the foundation of your business plan, which is your roadmap to becoming a well-paid writer.

 

The top four questions on blogging and their answers!

Whether you are a new or experienced blogger, you would agree with us that there is always something new to learn about blogging. Today, we’ve collated some burning questions you might need answers to.

What are the benefits of or best reasons for blogging?

A: Too many to fully name, but just to get you started, you’ll:

  • Be able to express yourself, and share what you know and think with the world.
  • Interact with smart and interesting people around the world.
  • Learn a tremendous amount about yourself.
  • Learn a lot about anything you’re interested in.
  • Perhaps make a career out of it.

How do I get my first readers?

You’ve written a few posts but no one even knows you exist. You’ll need to connect with others, somehow, to share your posts with them. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, along with email, and commenting on other blogs (but not spamming them with lots of links to your posts) are great ways to connect with others and share the best of what you have on your blog. As you connect with more people, they’ll naturally start checking out your blog.

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How do I get more readers or subscribers?

OK, you have a few readers, but you want more. Hundreds upon hundreds, thousands and thousands! Well, take it easy. Blogs don’t just explode overnight.

The best answer is just to provide useful and/or really interesting content on a regular basis — daily, weekly, or somewhere in between. As you continue to provide amazing content, your readers will share what you have, and others will start to find you. It’s slow growth, but better than spamming people.

What’s the most important blogging question I’m not asking?

You should be asking, “How can I most help my reader?” Bloggers get caught up in technical things, like blog platforms and widgets and themes and plugins…or in numbers, like visitors and page views and subscribers and comments and ad revenues but this is the wrong mindset.

Focus instead on how you can help people. Make your reader the center of your blog, and find ways to help your reader succeed (at whatever you’re teaching). The rest — stats and money and all that — will come later.

 

These questions have been curated from WriteToDone 

#WriterSpotlight – “When I write, I literally feel I’m in my zone; in my space and I can be me.” Yetunde Oladapo-Sadiq

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From discovering her love for writing at a very young age, Yetunde Oladapo-Sadiq has moved on to use her gift to share a divine message with the world as she constantly encourages God’s children to become who God has called them to be. We love her openness and her commitment to her God-given purpose. You will definitely enjoy our interview with her.

Hello, kindly introduce yourself.

My name is Yetunde Oladapo-Sadiq. I am a wife to a wonderful husband and mother to three amazing children. I am a writer. My writings are usually based on my Christian faith where I explain everyday issues using simple and clear language that can be easily understood. I write to teach, inspire and empower my readers to live their best lives. I am very passionate about this. I love to help people wherever and however I can. This is one of the things I do with my writing. It is one of the reasons I wrote my book, “Let your light so shine: Discover the power of shining your light brightly.”

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and a Masters in International Law and Diplomacy both from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. I am an avid reader and a creative. I love writing, dancing and watching football.

When and why did you start writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. As a little girl, I used to write stories, poems, letters, dialogues, scripts, articles and so on. After school, I was usually dropped off at my parents’ offices to go back home with them in the evening. So, I was surrounded by a lot of activities and of course writing. There was business writing on one hand (my dad) and on the other hand, medical and administrative writing (my mum). I remember going through proposals in my dad’s office and thought of writing mine. I was about 7/8 years old. My mock proposal was to supply stationery to an office in Surulere. I titled it ‘Yety & Co’ and the other one, ‘Yety & Daughters’ (It was always ‘Sons’. I guess I was trying to change the narrative). My dad’s friend was in the office on that day. I showed my dad and he showed his friend. They were very impressed and praised me. They loved what I wrote so much that my dad’s friend started calling me ‘Yety n Co’ till he passed a couple of years ago.

I just kept writing. I remember in secondary school (Queen’s College Yaba), our English teacher asked us to write an introductory paragraph on ‘Superstition’ and instead of defining what it was, I decided to write a conversation between an elderly woman and a girl with the former warning the girl against crossing her legs as she sat on the floor because it was bad luck. Our teacher went round the class checking. She came to my paragraph and read it. She looked up at me and announced that I had the best opening paragraph. She said she was quite surprised. I was quite the chatterbox back in the day. 

I love writing. Some people write to ‘escape’ from their reality. Not me, I love my life and it is often a source of inspiration for my writing. I ‘think’ in writing. Writing comes naturally to me. Over the years, from people’s feedback I discovered that my writing lifted, encouraged and motivated people to live their best. I love helping people and my writing is a platform for me to do this. Writing is what I do. It is who I am. It is definitely a huge part of my life.

 

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You are a wife, a mother and a writer. How have you been able to juggle it all?

My mantra by God’s Grace is – God. Family. Work. I discovered it when I was reading about Mary Kay Ash, America’s renowned female entrepreneur and founder of Mary Kay products. She was reputed to have lived by this order and was still able to run a successful business that is still a multi-billion dollar industry today. I found it very interesting and decided to adopt it. Don’t get me wrong, it can be tough juggling everything but since I placed my priorities in that order, it’s been much easier juggling these roles.

After God, my family comes next before my writing. If there’s a tupsy-turvy, I quickly ‘reset’ to that order. Also, I get my family involved in my writing. I tell my husband about my writing plans and he gives me the necessary support. I also involve my kids. I tell them what I want to write about and explain to them. They are very helpful. They often ask me what chapter I’m on with my books or the progress I have made. They give their input too sometimes. I have learnt that it is easier to juggle these important roles when I let my family on to what I’m doing. When I need to write or meet a deadline, I let them know its importance and that they’ll have to cooperate with me to get the work done. With this, they understand and give me the much needed support. I don’t work my family around my writing; I work my writing around my family. I am self-employed but I also have an effective and good domestic staff support system, which have helped me tremendously. It’s not always easy but with God’s Grace, my priorities set, determination and by focusing on the goal for every aspect of my life, it’s been working well and everyone is happy.

What challenges have you faced so far?

The major challenge I faced which I have overcome (to a large extent) by God’s Grace is being focused on this path of writing. I love writing but I also love other things such as business, self-development, charity, style and so on. I was into quite a number of things but after years of “running” from writing, I finally accepted it as my calling.

Recently, I had an interesting conversation with God and He told me that He knew that I loved all those things. He said He knows that my background exposed me to a plethora of knowledge but He didn’t CALL me to any of those things. He CALLED  me to teach God’s Word through writing. He went on to ask me if I were called by my LG Chairman, State Governor or The President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria at the same time, who would I go to. The President. Exactly. There is a Higher Calling! That jolted me and made me refocus my attention to my writing.

How has writing been for you so far?

Prior to being a full-time writer (if there is such a thing), I worked in corporate Nigeria for 12 years. I resigned in December 2016 and started those other things I mentioned earlier but towards the end of 2017, writing pressed heavily on my mind. The more I focused on it, the more I drifted from those other ‘projects’ to the point I am now. Writing for me so far has been very interesting. So far, I have written my first book. The response to my writing has been more emphatic than to anything I had done previously. It’s what I love to do. It’s not always easy but because I am passionate about helping people and my writing helps me to do this. It makes it fulfilling.

What do you love most about being a writer?

What I love most about being a writer is the freedom it gives me to express myself. When I write, I literally feel I’m in my zone; in my space and I can be me. I love that writing lets me be myself. It’s a wonderful feeling to do what you love to do.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get my inspiration from life. I am extremely observant about what goes on around me and I am also very moved by it too. So, when I see or ‘feel’ something, the Holy Spirit begins to talk to me about it or what it symbolises and immediately, I want to write about it. I want to share it with others. That’s when you’ll see me reach for my phone’s notepad or my ‘countless’ notebooks and pens to quickly write them down so they won’t ‘fly’. My inspiration is definitely life guided by the Holy Spirit.

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You recently published your book, “Let Your Light So Shine.’ What propelled you to write the book?

I wrote “Let your light so shine: Discover the power of shining your light brightly” at a time in my life when I grew more conscious of being a light for my generation. It was also borne out of observing that many of us Christians are conforming to the systems of the world instead of being transformed daily by the renewing of our minds by God’s Word. Man’s approval of us has become more important than God’s. Instead of the world being like us, we were becoming like the world. I wrote it as an awakening or reawakening for us to be true to who God made us to be i.e. The Light of the World with the power to transform and influence those around us. It is a call to us Christians to be (more) intentional about shining our light in a dark world and unearthing the power that lies within us.

Why did you decide to publish only the e-version of your book?

I decided to do this so people could read it anywhere on their electronic devices. I wanted them to always have access to it anytime particularly when they needed insight, encouragement and lifting as they walked daily with God. I wanted it to be something they could just pull out of their back pockets or handbags and read on the go. A sort of spirituality meets convenience.

What influence do you believe the book will have on people?

The influence I believe my book will have on people is courage. The boldness to be who God has made them to be i.e. the light of the world. I believe it will also make them get a fresh perspective on what this entails and see it as a divine responsibility. My book also discussed using our talents and gifts as ‘lampstands’ to elevate our light and shine brightly before men as we ought to. Most of all, I believe my book will cause people to transform and influence the lives around them positively. 

What advice would you give an upcoming writer?

Stay focused on your writing. Write every time irrespective of the length. I discovered that the more you write, the better you get at it. Develop your craft as much as possible. Learning never ends. You’ll also learn to connect better with your readers. Appreciate your readership. Don’t forget to show gratitude to those that have been supporting your writing since you started. Let your writing be clear  and simple so you can communicate your message effectively.

Where can readers get a copy of your book?

My book is available on Kindle Amazon for $2.99 as an eBook. It’s also available as a PDF downloadable format. This package also includes the Cover Design and ‘About the Author’. To purchase a copy, an email should be sent with the subject ‘My Copy’ to letyourlightsoshinebook@yahoo.com or oladaposadiqyetunde@gmail.com. It’s N1,500

 If you could spend time with three writers, who would you pick and why?

Ha! My three writers would be:

Wole Soyinka – I mean, ‘The Trials of Bro Jero’ satirical comedy at its best!

Francine Rivers – I mean, how dare she take me back to Ancient Rome to meet Hadassah in the ‘Mark of the Lion Trilogy?’ How dare she write ‘’Redeeming Love’ and keep Angel’s real name till the end? She is an exceptionally gifted writer.

Writers – I am an avid reader. I read a lot! From articles to Googling information about people, television shows of the past, to business models, online courses, how-to’s, history, sports news…Name it, I’ll read it as long as I find it godly, informative, interesting and captivating. So, any writer who writes any of these, I’d like to spend time with them for their wealth of knowledge.

 

 

#WritingQuote – “Your attitude is everything. Believe in yourself and trust your material.” Bud Gardner

“Your attitude is everything. Believe in yourself and trust your material. To be a successful writer, write every single day whether you feel like it or not. Never, never give up, and the world will reward you beyond your wildest dreams.” Bud Garnder

Can we just say that we absolutely love this quote by Bud Gardner. It mirrors one of the key messages we share at The Sparkle Writers Hub. 

You need to believe in yourself and your material. You might have the greatest writing talent but if you lack confidence and faith in yourself, we’re sorry to tell you that you won’t go very far. Someone with less writing talent but more faith and confidence will definitely achieve much more. 

To a very large extent, writing is personal. So it truly does hurt when people poke holes at your work and criticize you. We understand but that’s not a reason for you to fold up and give up. You must gather the courage to keep going even when you are heavily criticized. 

Write every day. There are no shortcuts to success in this game. Keep improving yourself. Read books. Put your work out there and most importantly, trust your material. 

 

WordOfTheDay – Learn what highbinder means

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There are some words you hear and you wonder who thought of them. Today’s word is one of those. Our word for today is “highbinder.

The word is pronounced (HY-byn-duhr).

It is a noun used to mean a swindler, gangster, or a corrupt politician. It’s that simple. 

Examples:

Nigerians politicians have often been described by the media as highbinders.

She cried when she realized that she had just had an encounter with an highbinder.

Highbinders are prominent personalities on the streets of computer village, Ikeja.

 

 

#PickOfTheWeek – Not seeking validation

 

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Hey Sparkle Writers, welcome to another #PickOfTheWeek segment.  Writers are truly amazing people and the level of wisdom potryed in the posts are encouraging. Today we have four amazing writers. 

Let us know what post you loved most. 

farmto table How many of us agree that no matter how negative the comments we recive are, we should not at any time let them get to us. This may be hard but if we can make up our mind that no amtter the negativity we’d continue we will realize that they will in the end celebrate us.  farmto table (1) Do you know why we love this post? Because we know for a fact that it is true. Many of us sometimes get confused on what is and is not good for us and the truth is that sometimes the person you want does not deserve you.  Thank you Elo Osiki for the reminder. 

 

farmto table (3) How easy is it to point accusing fingers at others when we are also doing the same thing or maybe even worse. Thank you Kolade Afolabi for the reminder. 

farmto table (4).png Henrietta is a new writer on our   PickOfTheWeek segment and this post is everything! We cannot give what we don’t have .  Before you can become the one to someone else you must the the one to yourself. You must see yourself as important and valuable