#WritingQuote – Figure out what you have to say. That’s what you have to offer.

 

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.Barbara Kingsolver

Do you constantly feel the need to conform to people’s opinion of what you should write? Do you feel intimidated when someone says, “That character is too controversial” or “This chapter should be more dramatic.” If you do then this is for you.

Say for example, you love to write poetry but you are thinking of switching to prose or drama because you think it’s more popular. This move may seem logical but could be very detrimental. Strength lies in differences, not similarities and success stems from your passion and patience to see your dreams through.  

Everyone has a story, a source of inspiration, a writing style. So, never feel the need to conform or be like someone else because you are unique. You are different.

Trusting your individual uniqueness challenges you to lay yourself open and write as your heart truly speaks. Many of the accomplished and widely celebrated writers in the world are known for their distinct writing styles.

Taking correction is a very healthy thing to do. But you must ensure you do not water down the value of your essence as a writer. You do not need to be like anyone else.

Stay true to yourself. Only then can you be peculiar. Only then can you be YOU!

 

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#WritingQuote – If you write a hundred stories, you have the odds in your favour

 

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favour. Edgar Rice Burroughs

 

We have seen writers who will write a few stories and then stop because no one is reading, or no one is commenting. Why do we do that sometimes though?

Look at it from this angle, you are travelling to America from Nigeria and on your way to the airport you stop moving because there’s a little traffic and you are angry you’ve still not gotten there. Will stopping aid your journey to America? Of course not. All you have succeeded in doing is aborting the trip. The same applies to writing. It is good to have expectations; you want to build a community, you want to publish bestsellers etc but you must remember that all these will not happen at once. If you don’t  keep writing consistently, you may never get those results. 

Many of the ‘accomplished’ writers have been around for almost 10 years, you just didn’t know about them. There’s no overnight success in this industry only those who pay their dues will be duly rewarded.

If you write one story, it may be bad but when you write a hundred, chances are that there’d be at least one which would be usable.

How many of us have written up to a hundred blog posts? Have you written up to a hundred stories? So why do you want to give up? Even if you have written up to a hundred, stopping now would rubbish all the hard work you have done since you started so keep going.

You will succeed.

#WritingQuote – Get it down, it’s the only way you can do anything really good

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“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”  William Faulkner

Too many writers have missed out on writing great stories because their ‘perfectionist’ mentality got the best of them. 

Have you ever read that ‘good writing is great editing?’ It’s the truth.

Most of the bestsellers we read today may have looked uninviting when the authors started writing the first draft but they decided to finish the story first.

Dear writers, you must learn that you have to get that idea written down first. Don’t be too quick to shove it away as not good enough. Get it down! 

Taking chances is also another thing every writer must learn to do. 

Don’t be too quick to hide in your shell or too lazy to step out of your comfort zone.

Good writing is sometimes an adventure and you can’t lead your readers where you have not been.

#WritingQuote – ‘Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.’

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“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Sylvia Path 

Two words stand out for us in this quote, guts and imagination. Every writer who has guts and is willing to explore the imaginary would do great in this industry because one of the biggest problems plaguing writers is fear. It is so bad that we had to give a whole page of advice on why writers need to write what they think. 

Many critically acclaimed books and stories have questionable themes or discuss topics others would rather shy away from but if  the writers didn’t take that step someone else would have written about them. 

A writer has to have guts. There are times you may need to damn the consequences and write what your heart tells you, write what you can’t stop thinking about and be unapologetic about it.

Imagination is another thing no writer can do without.

Don’t be too tired to dream and when something is becoming usual, switch things up. Heck, that’s why you are a writer. You have the ability to switch things up. Use it. 

Lastly, never, ever doubt your ability to create something phenomenal. 

#WritingQuote – There is no rule on how to write

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There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges. Ernest Hemingway

This is sooo true! New writers often want to know what the rules of writing are; the do’s and don’ts and as much as we’d like to reel out a ‘writing constitution’ full of the ways and manners you should write, there really isn’t any. 

There are times you’d pick up your pen or open a Microsoft document and the words would come out effortlessly! If only those days could be a bit more frequent. Other times you could stare at your computer for hours and nothing comes; it is part of the process. It doesn’t make you less of a writer and doesn’t mean you don’t have a message. 

Every writer must know this and be ready to go all the way when these dry periods come. Instead of folding your hands at this period, write – write about the fact that you have nothing to write.

Just make sure you write because that’s what writers do! 

#WritingQuote – “When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone.” Stephen King

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“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
—Stephen King. 

What makes a story or an article so powerful? The fact that it resonates with readers.

The next question would then be how can my story resonate with my readers.

The answer is by writing your truth. 

Once you’ve written down your truth consider that your first draft and this is by no means a way of saying your story is ready for publishing. All you’ve done is the ground work.

The next task is editing that work to make sure it hits the right notes and strikes the right chord. 

Stephen King advises that you cut it to the bone. Why? It is because you don’t want to put words. phrases, punctuation marks that would distract your reader from the essence of the work. 

Editing your work may not be easy because it could feel like you’re hurting your child, something you created, but you have to remember that it is  necessary and must be done. 

#WritingQuote – I think one of the keys to better writing is releasing all of your ideas and to not be afraid.

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“I think one of the keys to better writing is releasing all of your ideas and to not be afraid. Dream big. This could be the greatest novel in the world you know.” Adora Svitak

If only we could take Adora’s advice hook, line and sinker, some of us would unlock the biggest stories the world has ever seen. But fear would not let some of us be great! 

Do you know that the average human has between 50,000-70,000 thoughts in a day but we usually take note of just a few of these thoughts. As a writer, do you know how many ideas you may have shut down because it is not good enough, not flowery enough or too vulnerable to be told to the world? It is time to stop it and that’s why we keep saying writers should have a journal because it helps you keep track of those ideas. 

When next an idea comes to your head either for a story, poem or book, don’t shut it down. Write it, give it flesh and life, and let it breath. Chimamanda could have laughed off the story idea for Americannah but she didn’t. Rowling could have laughed off the Harry Potter idea but she wrote it down. 

Don’t laugh off that bestseller because you are afraid to just try and put those words down. 

#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. 

 

#WritingQuote – “To create a market for your writing, you have to be consistent, professional, a continuing writer.”

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“To create a market for your writing, you have to be consistent, professional, a continuing writer, not just one-article or a one-story or a one-book man. ” – Langston Hughes, author of Simple Takes A Wife

This is to all those writers who want to create a market for their writing. There is a need for consistency in your writing.

Being a consistent writer gives you some sort of leverage over the other writer who does one article, maybe per month or one story in two months. It is simply logical that you will improve your writing skills by writing every time.

The quote above says you have to be a continuing writer. Writing has to be a continuous act for you to create a market for your writing. There are certain writers who have carved a particular niche for themselves because they have written several novels, books or articles that have pegged them as either fiction writers or no-fiction writers or sci-fiction writers and so on.

Therefore, dear writer, write all the time. Continue writing and never stop writing.

#WritingQuote – If you want to write you won’t find the time, you will make the time

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“Finish the damn book. You don’t know what you have until you’ve finished it. You don’t know how to fix it until it’s all down on the page. There is no magical motivation fairy. Success is 10% talent, 10% luck, and 80% blood, sweat, tears and determination.  If you want to write you won’t find the time, you will make the time.”                        Lauren Beukes,  Author of Broken Monster.

Lauren gives it to you straight from the heart and we absolutely love that about her!

First, if you do not actually write and finish your book, all you have is NOTHING. It is when you sit down to write that you have SOMETHING that you can fix and tweak. You can’t edit what is not written down already.

Secondly, there is no such thing as a magical motivation fairy. You have got to learn how to speak to yourself and encourage yourself really. You know we say this, ALL THE TIME.

Thirdly, talent is just a small part of the jigsaw puzzle when it comes to writing. The bulk of the puzzle is “blood, sweat and determination.” The process is not going to be all rosy.

Finally, there is never going to be enough time. All we have is twenty four hours. We know you wish we had thirty six hours in a day, don’t we all do? Sadly, that is never going to happen. Just like Lauren says, if you really want to write, you will not “find the time.” You would have to “make the time.”

PS: Lauren wrote her novel at night when she had a three-month old daughter and a full time job. You absolutely have no excuse!