3 questions to ask before reviving your blog

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If you follow our blogging series then you’d know how we advocate for writers to have their own blog. Blogging is fun and when done the right way, it can yield amazing results. However, if your blog has been dormant for a while there are a few questions you may need to ask yourself. 

Do I still enjoy blogging?

Why devote time and energy trying to revive a blog when you do not enjoy blogging? Maybe you did it because you liked what other bloggers were doing but you need to be honest with yourself. 

Patiently allow your true motives to arise. If you genuinely love blogging then you can consider reviving it. 

What commitment can you make?

Depending on your schedule, you have to ask yourself the kind of attention and energy you can devote to your blog.

Some bloggers run successful businesses currently and simply cannot take on new projects. Other bloggers work full time and cannot give the proper attention and energy to blogging in order to grow a thriving, full time venture.

Be honest. There’s no need resurrecting a blog you cannot commit to 100%.

Does the niche still exist?

Assess it, is your niche still relevant or do you need to evaluate things? 

Imagine trying to resurrect a blog focused on typewriting for businesses. There’s no way that blog can succeed Niches like personal development, writing, and travel pretty much work now, and forever, as long as human beings exist. People want help improving their lives by improving themselves.

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You have time to write and this is proof

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“Gosh! If only there were 26 hours in a day, I’d at least have time to write!”

If you have been saying this, it is safe to guess that you have not written anything substantial in a long while because you ‘don’t have time.‘ Our experience from coaching writers has proved to us countless times that everyone has time to write but not everyone makes it a priority.

If you were told that for every page you write in a day, you’d get $1000, we are sure many of us will come up with pages of work because we have moved writing to the priority list. We understand that the hustle and bustle of everyday life can get overwhelming but everyone who wants to go beyond writing occasionally must attach some level of importance to it.

You say you don’t have time. What time do you wake up everyday? What do you do when you wake up? Some of us wake up by 4 am and are already checking social media sites for what someone else has posted. Where is what you have posted? Before you know it, it is 7 am and all you want to do is rush out. How about utilizing that period when everyone is sleeping and your neighborhood is quiet to write? If you are a morning person, it is even better. Even if it’s just two pages you manage to write in one hour, it is okay because you have at least gotten something down. 

There is another group of writers who just need to give up something they do for writing. Like we said before, you have to know what’s important to you. If you love your TV and it’s your relaxation time, maybe instead of watching two hours, you just watch for one hour and then spend the other hour writing.

You don’t need to have a four-hour block of time in order to work on your book. If you have 15 minutes, or half an hour, get some words down.

It’s all about scheduling.

Wondering what scheduling has to do with it? You need to actively schedule the time to write.

We make time in our lives for what’s important to us.

The question is this, Is writing important enough for you to make time and plan it in advance?

 

Here’s why you should guest blog

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Last week, we mentioned that managing a blog can be difficult. We know someone is wondering why we are tying to add to your work load by asking you to guest blog. 

It’s because you need it for your personal and corporate brand (if you have one) to grow.

Guest blogging is simple (well depending on how you look at it). It entails writing for another blog in your niche area. 

Want to know why it is pretty important? Keep reading.

You would increase your visibility 

Getting noticed, especially for a new website, is very difficult. Becoming a contributor to popular and highly revered websites and blogs in your niche will give you the visibility that you crave and you will get the chance to introduce yourself to a wider audience. Isn’t that amazing? 

Traffic on your own blog will increase 

Aside from getting your website in front of an established audience and potentially sending you referral traffic, you get a link back which is gold and impacts your SEO positively. Please note that guest blogging on websites with low-quality could negatively impact your website instead of helping you grow and increase your organic traffic. So choose wisely. 

You can establish yourself as an authority 

Every writer or blogger who means business must strive to become an authority in his or her niche, consistently blogging on other sites apart from yours will help increase your authority brag rights, if there’s something like that but you get what we mean. 

While the concept of guest blogging is easy enough, it’s definitely going to take some manual work and time to find results. This means going to Google, searching for sites that allow guest blogging, building relationships with those sites, and then creating high-quality content for each of those sites. All the best!

Here are three reasons you should write what you think!

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At The Sparkle Writers Hub we have been coaching writers for a while and one of the most recurrent problems many writers face is the fear of writing what they truly feel, getting rejected because of what they wrote or being seen in a particular light.

So what do they do?

They hide, refuse to write again or clone another writer to be accepted. All of these are wrong. A writer should never hide his work and no matter how brutally honest you would be, somebody out there can handle it.

Here are a few more reasons why you should write what you think.

You’re not saying anything valuable when you pretend

Trying too hard to play safe only makes your work vague and void of depth. Say what you need to say, how you need to say it. Nobody is going to love that work if it isn’t valuable and soon, you’d fade out as a writer so it’s better you stop it now.

It’s boring

When you actually have a strong opinion about a particular subject and for some strange reason do all within your power to edit, cut and cut, you will most likely end up with something drab and uninteresting. Staying neutral to avoid offending anyone will result in words without substance.

It’s painfully obvious that you’re not being authentic

The more you try to cover up your lack of authenticity, the more obvious it becomes and most likely the more readers you will lose. People smell fake and restrictions from afar off and would leave. It’s best to avoid it. 

Your guide to finding clients that pay

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We know you are getting tired of writing for free. You keep hearing that there are people who are making money from their skill and you are wondering how and when it will be your turn to bill clients.

If most of the people who know you write do not see it as a serious profession or are not willing to pay for your services, today we are revealing our secrets and showing you where and how to find the clients that pay.

Thank us later!

Turn to your colleagues (including former colleagues) 

If our guess is right, you still have your day job, which is okay. Mention that you are writer to your colleagues so that they can inform you of any freelance opportunities. Talk to your previous colleagues. These people know you and trust you. Once there is an opportunity they will most likely remember you.

Connect with fellow freelancers

Don’t live in a world of your own and complain that writing doesn’t pay! It does. Talk to other writers. You never can tell, once they know you are available for work, they’d send you referrals from them.

Blog about your industry

Write useful articles you know your audience would love and submit to relevant websites. If you are targeting students look for where they visit often. 

Potential clients can see these articles and find a way to reach you. You never can tell.

Get referrals from existing clients

Email your existing clients to see if they can refer you to other businesses. If you have a great working relationship with them, they’ll be glad to send others your way.

Head to a co-working space

Co-working spaces give you tons of opportunities to meet other freelancers and business owners thankfully, there are a number of them around. Find them and use them. 

#WritingQuote – “Write everyday of your life.” Ray Bradbury

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“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.” Ray Bradbury

There are three major lessons from this quote and we’d take each lesson one after the other. After this, we hope you will have a kind of blue print for what success as a writer is. 

Write.

Every writer has to do ONE major thing to deserve that title, write. If you are wishing you could write, thinking about writing or wondering how to write, you are not a writer. It’s that simple. 

Read.

Writers are readers. If you don’t like reading we are sorry to say this but you may not do very well as a writer. Writers read to relax, read to learn, read to get inspired and so many other things. Wondering what can make you a better writer? Reading is one of those things. 

The third point may be the most important because that’s one thing most of us are having issues with. 

Do it everyday!

Before you complain that we are asking for too much, remember that this is for your own good. If you however insist that you can’t do these two things – reading and writing CONSISTENTLY, then maybe writing really isn’t for you. 

Thinking of co-authoring a book? Read this first

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Hello Sparkle Writers! Co-authoring is not something that is very common especially in this part of the world. Many writers are just getting to embrace this profession and we know that soon there will be more books written by co-authors. Writing is fun and can be much better with a partner. However, there are few things you must note. 

Communication is key

It’s important that you communicate with your writing partner.

Even if you have a lot in common, being able to speak honestly and clearly is important when you encounter bumps along the way. You can use a Google doc so that everything is automatically saved. This makes sharing easy and you and your writing partner can edit at the same time.

Your writing will also go more smoothly if you schedule weekly phone calls to go over important thoughts and concerns.

Share a similar vision

During the initial stage of planning, it’s important to clearly define your vision, to make sure both of you are on the same page. You and your partner are different writers and may have different goals for the book. Sort out these differences so you can move on to other things.  

Establish a timeline to complete the project

It’s a good idea to discuss timelines and how you plan to complete the project. This way everyone is on their toes and the book isn’t delayed.

Let go of control

Writing a book with someone means you are not as in control as you may want to be. You’ve got to learn how to let go of control and of course be open to criticism. Your writing partner has a lot to bring to the table just like you do. Make sure you don’t disregard his or her opinion. 

#GrammarSeries – You’ve made this mistake at least once

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When you talk about brands what do you refer to them as? Plural or Singular? 

Let’s make this easy. In grammar it is wrong to refer to a brand or an entity as ‘they’. A business is not plural. As a result you should refer to it as ‘it’ and not ‘they.’

Look at this;

To keep up with their diverse clients, Bird Air re-branded their airports in 2011

We hope you can see the issue? 

To keep up with its diverse clients, Bird Air re-branded its airports in 2011

The confusion is understandable. In English, we don’t identify a brand or an entity as “he” or “she” — so “they” seems to make more sense but it doesn’t.

It might seem a little strange at first, but once you start correctly referring to a brand or entity as “it,” the phrasing will sound much more natural than “they.”

#WriterSpotlight – “I am a silent type, I talk, but not serious talk. My writing speaks for me.” Bankole Wright

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Welcome to another #WriterSpotlight on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub. Bankole Wright is a writer and editor and we are glad to feature him today. We hope you learn a thing or two from his interview. 

Hello Bankole. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hello. Ok I am Bankole Wright, a graduate of Lagos State University where I studied English, majored in Literature. I am a writer, a book editor and a growing academic. I have a deep passion for teaching and writing. I love talking literature and creative writing, I love the fact that I create stories, both those that exist and those that don’t.

How did your journey as a writer begin?

Writing started at age 14, then I used to write juvenile love poems which usually ended in dustbins. I wrote songs as well. I just wrote because that was where I found fulfillment and joy. Growing up, I became conscious of my ability to create stories, and the fulfillment I derived from writing. Then I took writing more seriously, I began to write poems for several poetry sites such as Poetrysoup. I also wrote stories and articles at naija stories. I wrote at Pulse Ng where I was a blogger, then I started writing for OYA magazine till now.

What do you love most about writing?

Writing makes me feel like a god, genius and immortal. I am a silent type, I talk oh, but not serious talk, so my writing speaks for me.

In what ways has your writing grown since you stated writing?

For me, my writing  has really improved as a result of the frequent writing engagements I have had over time. They have pushed me to study deeply and I practice all I read to the letter.

Where do you get inspiration from when you want to write a story?

I derive inspiration from everything around me, both tangible and intangible. I observe tinniest details.

There are people who believe that writing can never be financially rewarding. What are your thoughts about this?

(Smiles), concerning finance, writing rewards. You need to create a niche for yourself to the point that you alone will be preferred and patronized. As a writer, if you work hard, you will be richly rewarded.

What lessons have you learnt since you started managing Oya magazine?

Hard Work, oh I have really learnt hard work. Also I learnt commitment and dedication, loyalty and consistency. OYA magazine has really built me and is still building me.

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What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

My ultimate dream as a writer is to be an influential one whose works are reputable and internationally acknowledged.

Do you think you will ever retire from writing?

(laughs). Writing is my life, retiring is like dying.

It’s one thing to write and another to help others edit books, how did you upgrade your skill?

I simply schooled myself in it. I got books on editing, I studied and I practiced and then I started helping friends for free, with time I was getting paid.              

Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies?

Aside writing, I read. I love reading a lot, like a real lot. I read anything and everything. I actually have a boring life to some people, but believe me, this is the life I choose.

Any advice for other writers out there?

Writing isserious business and it is a venture of the intelligent and disciplined. Also, don’t get caught up in trying to impress, just love what you do and do it with excellence.

 

Eight Blog Post Ideas That Will Make Your Blog Sparkle

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You would agree with us that it is not easy to come up with great content and ideas for your blog. Every blogger wants to write fresh and creative posts. Besides, no reader wants to read stale and uninteresting articles. Here are eight blog post ideas that will make your blog sparkle. 

Publish some little or unknown facts

The internet and different encyclopedias are full of facts, some of them really random. For example, “Did you know that the pink/red/white colour of flamingos comes from the food they eat?” You probably didn’t.

All of these facts can be gathered in your own post to generate buzz. Besides you’d be providing them with information they may need later. 

Write a post about things you regret doing or not doing

When you surf around Yahoo answers, you’ll find many very popular topics and posts about the things people regret doing and not doing. Try to write down your own list. Who knows, you might get comments from people who have a shared background experience with the things you have regretted not doing.

Publish a “What If” post

Use your imagination and write a post about what will happen if you going to move to another country or travel the world after winning a billion dollars. People love to dream and believe that these things will happen to them. 

Make a handwritten post and publish it by taking a photo

Hand-written texts look amazing and show your creativity as well as character. They help your audience see a different side of you; like your handwriting. Lol. 

Write a FAQs post

What questions do you get asked constantly, either about yourself or about others? Create a Frequently Asked Questions post answering all these questions.

Shoutout to your mentors and fans

Write a post naming specific people who have influenced your blogging journey. Be sure to let them know when the post is public to help drive their followers to your site. 

Showcase a reader

Do you have a strong relationship with some of your loyal readers? Ask one of them if you can interview him or her and post his or her responses on your blog. People love reading about themselves anyway. As long as the questions are interactive and the answers engaging you’d get readers.

Write an open letter

Do you have someone you have always wanted to say something to, whether it is a child or a celebrity or a robot? Say those things and post it on your blog for the world to see.  

Remember that except your blog is niche based, it’s a personal diary where you can publish whatever suits you. 

 

Culled from textbullet