#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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3 Ways to overcome writing challenges

Being a writer is a wonderful experience, but there are some challenges which I face on a daily basis. Here are three writing challenges which I often experience, and how I overcome them:

CHALLENGE 1: Poor internet connectivity.

SOLUTION: Schedule/plan posts in advance.

Being a writer in Nigeria who uses social media to share my work means that I am always at the mercy of the internet service providers that I use, whose quality of services are at best, average. If you want to make me happy, just whisper the words ‘free Wi-Fi’ to me! I suspect that my wedding vows would include ‘for better, for worse, for free Wi-Fi connectivity…’

I deal with this issue by planning my posts at least a few weeks in advance, and I have learned that for a lot of providers, the internet quality is better in the early hours of the morning. So please, don’t judge me too harshly if there are bags under my eyes; blame the internet quality by my service providers.

Dealing with this issue gives me more time to focus on writing, and reduces the time I spend frowning at my phone when the internet service is too slow for my liking.

 

CHALLENGE 2: Writer’s block.

SOLUTION: Don’t stop writing.

I know what you’re thinking: you’re complaining that you have writer’s block, and I’m saying that the solution to this problem is to keep writing? Please don’t close this page out of annoyance; just keep reading to get my point.

If there is something which I have learned from writing for almost two and a half years, it is that no piece of writing is useless. I have turned half-written stories into poems, and I have turned a poem into one of the first essays which I wrote for another website.

If you’re stuck in one part of a story that you are writing, move on to another part of the story. What happens after that scene? Describe what the main character had for breakfast. What subjects did the character write in his or her WAEC exams? Eventually, the story will get unstuck and you can get on with writing your prize-winning novel, or at least a story that gets a lot of likes on your blog.

 

CHALLENGE 3: Negative feedback.

SOLUTION: Analyse the feedback, and remember the purpose for your writing.

On my blog, someone once commented that the way I wrote a poem was not how a poem should be written. The poem however got a lot of likes, which meant that for me, the poem had resonated with people, so it had achieved its intended purpose.

Corrections about grammatical errors aren’t bad; however, rude comments which personally attack you and your writing are the worst.

So what can you do about this?

First of all, if people are giving you feedback, it means that they are reading your work, which is awesome! Next, if you are getting constructive criticism about your writing (for instance, being told to use more paragraphs so that your work is easier to read), you can take it on board since it helps your work to be easier to read and therefore attract more readers.

When submitting a story for a contest, for publication on a platform with a wide audience or before publishing a book, I always get one or two people to read my work first so I can get feedback which I can choose to accept or dismiss, depending on if I believe such feedback improves my work.

I have grown as a writer since I first started this journey, so I know that as I navigate through the above challenges, my writing will keep improving and more people will enjoy reading my work.

I hope this has been helpful to writers out there!

About the writer:

Ivie Eke is a writer who daydreams about constant electricity in Nigeria and mangoes. She writes poetry, stories and essays on her blog, http://www.classicallyivy.com and is the author of two books, ‘Looking for myself and my phone charger’ and ‘Walking On Eggshells’, both available on Okada Books and Amazon.

 

 

 

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?

 

#WriterSpotlight – “I could be a better writer than R.R. Martin but we’d never know if I never write.” Lord Josh

Josh Olanrewaju

Joshua Olanrewaju, also known as Lord Josh, is our Writer Spotlight on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub today. One thing we can tell you is that he has a lot of wisdom to dish out, especially on how he has intentionally grown his writing career. Enough talk, let’s get to the interview. 

Hello Joshua, kindly introduce yourself.

Hi, I am LordJosh. I write at www.lordjoshwrites.com. I enjoy writing fiction but I also do a lot of non-fiction writing. I am also a filmmaker.

When and why did you start writing?

It’s difficult to put a date to when I started writing. I’ll just say sometime in secondary school. I didn’t get serious with it though until 2013I was watching a TV show called Scandal at the time and I was loving the work the writers were doing. It was the moment I realized the effect a writer has on their audience. It inspired me to write fiction stories that will hold people spellbound and hooked.

I wrote the first story “Nicholas” and I loved it so much. I wrote the second and then the third and so on.

What do you love about writing?

I love how I can be in my room writing a story and I can influence what happens in the world – the world I create. I love that I can imagine characters and situations and have people care about, love or even hate these fictitious characters and situations.

Stories are a great escape for readers but they are much more so for the writer. I love that.

Josh hello goodbye

You’ve authored books that are available for free download. Why did you make this decision?

I have four eBooks out and three of them are free. They are free because it is more important to me at this point that people read what I write than to make money from them.

Since you started your writing journey what efforts have you made to grow intentionally?

I read a lot about writing. I never presume to know everything. The internet is full of information on writing. Sometimes all you need to make your writing better is to learn something as simple as ‘story structure’.

I have been fortunate to attend physical classes where I have been taught writing too.

Most importantly, I have been writing a lot.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, you released ‘Valentine Letters we never sent’. What inspired you to compile these letters and which is your favourite?

Well, first of all, I had some of those letters. They weren’t valentine letters but they were letters I wrote but didn’t send. If I was never going to send the letters, why not publish them?

Eventually, I wrote some letters which were fictional (some were even from a girl’s perspective). I also got some awesome guys to send in their letters.

I can’t pick a favourite. The letters all had their own message. You can download it here.

Do you plan to make money from your skill and how?

I already make money from my skill. I sold one of my eBooks “Double Negative” last year. It is still available for sale on Okadabooks. I also do freelance SEO writing. It’s not as fun as fiction writing but it pays more right now.

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What is the most important lesson writing has taught you?

Nothing happens until you take a step. I could be a better writer than R.R. Martin but we’d never know if I never write.

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

J.K. Rowling. Ted Dekker. Tomi Adesina (because she’s bae).

What advice do you have for people who know that they have a message but fear is holding them back?

This might be cliché but it’s true; do it afraid. Fear will not go away so you might as well just do it.

 

#GrammarSeries – Grammar myths you need to get rid of

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Hey Sparkle Writers! We know that as a writer you would have read and heard so many ‘grammar rules’ – the ones that are true and those that are untrue. 

Today we want to debunk a few of those myths. Whose ready to unlearn and relearn?

Here we go!

Myth 1

You shouldn’t start a sentence with the word “however.” 

Wrong! It’s fine to start a sentence with “however” so long as you use a comma after it when it means “nevertheless.” 

The comma is important because however is a conjunctive adverb that can be used in two different ways: it can join main clauses and it can modify a clause.

If you use however at the beginning of a sentence and don’t insert a comma, it would mean “in whatever manner,” “to whatever extent,” or “no matter how.”

Myth 2 

“Irregardless” is not a word. 

Wrong! “Irregardless” is a bad word and a word you shouldn’t use it, but it is a word. You shouldn’t use it if you want to be taken seriously, but it has gained wide enough use to qualify as a word. 

Myth 3

Passive voice is always wrong. 

Wrong! In passive voice, the subject of the sentence isn’t the person or the thing taking the action. In fact, in a passive voice sentence, the actor is often completely left out of the sentence. An example is “Mistakes were made,” because it doesn’t say who made the mistakes. Your writing is often stronger if you make your passive sentences active, but if you don’t know who is responsible for an action, passive voice can be the best choice.