Writing Quote – Nothing that happens to a writer is ever wasted

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The writing journey is an interesting one. You will experience beautiful moments. You will also experience moments that you’ll want to forget in a hurry.

Sometimes being a writer makes you feel like you’re on cloud nine because you know with your pen, you can write anything that you want to. Other times, you question your talent because the words are not coming out as you want them to.

Then there are also every day life experiences that make you question whether it is worthwhile to be a writer. You feel like dumping the cause for something more lucrative.

There will also be moments when emotions hinder you from writing. The words are in your heart but you can’t just put them on paper.

Whatever the case, you must realise that everything you go through is important to your story and journey as a writer. Your experiences, both the good, the bad and the ugly, form the content that will shape your writing. They are the stories that will inspire your readers and keep you connected with them.

So don’t despise any experience. Nothing that happens to a writer is ever wasted.

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#WriterSpotlight- Ijeoma Osadebe left a bank job to pursue a career in writing.

 

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We think today’s writer is just phenomenal. Ijeoma is definitely someone who is doing it afraid. Her interview will leave you inspired.

Hello, please introduce yourself

My name is Ijeoma Osadebe. I am a writer, a blogger, an upcoming author and a storyteller. I don’t know if all these fall into the same category but I guess it’s the first introduction of myself.

Your twitter handle says ‘Creative Writer, Content writer, Brand Makeover Artist.’ What do these roles entail?’

I am a creative writer; I write fictional stories. That’s my first love. I am a content writer; I create content for websites, blogs, books and any other platform that requires content. I am a Brand Makeover Artist; I create SEO articles that could help struggling brands make an outstanding turnaround in sales.

What would you say is the biggest challenge facing the writing industry?

The fact that people think writing is just a hobby; something to be done as a past time. Writing is life. Without writing there will be no Google, so, you get the drift.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in JSS 3, I wrote my cousin a letter and when he read that letter, he told me I could be a good writer. I fantasized a lot, I guess that is why I love telling stories. I had to learn to put my fantasies on paper and that birthed the writer in me.

You have a blog where you document inspiration from life lessons; can you tell us what inspired you to start this blog?

Apart from writing, another thing I have a craving for is counseling. I love to listen to people and share my experiences with them. Nothing gives me much joy like hearing someone say, “Thank you for what you told me. I put it into practice and it worked for me”. Since I have always been the shy type in terms of speaking in public, I resorted to providing this counseling on my blog. So something happens, I witness or experience it and I pull a lesson out of it and share it on my blog.

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What lessons have you learnt from blogging?

Consistency pays. I have not been as consistent as I wished on that blog but the days I have been consistent enough, I have gotten some encouraging feedback. I think this applies to all areas of life too.

How rewarding has writing been for you?

I left a bank job to focus on writing. Initially, I did not fully grasp how I would go about it but over time, I have been able to learn my ropes and I am still wading through unknown waters in this writing business. One thing I know for sure is that my passion can pay my bills. Oh. I have a book that will be published in a few weeks. I know it will be a sellout.

What’s the worst thing anyone has said about your article?

I really cannot remember. I get a lot of positive feedback that they cover up any negative ones. The only one that comes to mind now is someone saying my story did not end the way he expected it to.

Has there been any time you wanted to quit writing?

Naaaaaah. Writing for me has always been a way for me to vent and rant so, I have never felt like quitting. I have always fallen back to writing.

What do you do in your leisure time?

I binge watch movies. I am a strong romantic so I love romantic movies. Hahaha. I also read anything readable though I am now getting intentional with reading things that will improve my skills.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Babe, please whatever you do, do not accept that bank job offer. There’s no better time to live that life you are anticipating than now. Be more daring. Stop being a recluse. You have a lot on the inside of you to show to the world. Most of all, stop being afraid. People will always criticize you, no matter how hard you try so, just do it and accept every feedback as good feedback. Don’t forget to travel out of this country as much as you can.

What would you say is your ultimate dream as a writer?

To have books  and social media forums to my name. I also want  to host rriters’ conferences.

Do you consider writing work or pleasure and why?

Work and pleasure. I had a ghostwriting job to deliver a full book in a space of two weeks. It was challenging and I had to stay up at nights to write but it was fun. I was learning a lot. Pleasure because I get an opportunity to rant and divert all my frustration to my keyboard, paper, and pen.

Any last words for other writers?

Writing pays. Look out for avenues to learn how to earn with writing, even if you have to pay for it. I know Sparkle Writers has such opportunities. Writers block is a farce. Don’t deceive yourself into believing that.

 

#ChroniclesOfAWriter – How I got my first job as a freelancer

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Hello! Welcome to another #ChroniclesOfAWriter post. I hope you’ve been able to gain practical tips from the posts in this series. I love to hear your feedback so let me know what challenges you have and I’ll see how I can help 🙂

Today’s post is based on two questions I get asked a lot – How do I get my first client and what do I charge? So I’m going to share how I got my first clients and my subsequent clients. You can apply the strategies I used to get your first client or get more clients if clients haven’t been coming your way.

My first job as a freelance writer was to write a series of articles for Butterscotch magazine. It was the first time I would be paid by a magazine to write articles. I wrote three articles and I was paid roughly N20, 000 for each article.

I didn’t go out to look for this opportunity. It came to me. I was serving at the time. Between managing content for the Oyo State NYSC editorial board and my church, I wasn’t really looking for an extra job but I needed money. That allawee we were receiving was barely enough.

Even though my hands were full, I still ensured that I sent in articles to Y! Africa from my weekly column. Any writer who wants to be successful needs to be visible. Remember my previous post about building your platform? Never take your platform for granted because it is more or less your CV and proof of your credibility and expertise as a writer.

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One day I got a call from my former editor and she wanted to know what I was doing at that moment. Once she made sure I hadn’t been off writing for a long period, she commissioned me to write three articles for Butterscotch magazine.

I was so excited, mainly because I was spreading my ‘wings’ and also because I was going to earn extra money! The articles were straightforward. They were the sort of things I wrote when I managed Y! Magazine. There was a little bit of research involved but it wasn’t too much work. I delivered, got my money and the articles were published.

Just as I was rejoicing over the surprise opportunity that came my way, another former editor called me. Again, she asked what I was doing and I told her “I just finished working on three commissioned articles for a magazine.” She said, “Fantastic! I was calling to find out if you are able to write articles that will involve some research in history.”

I couldn’t believe it. Even though the money was not as much as what I got paid for the previous job, I jumped at the opportunity. It was interesting working on those articles. I had to write about the history of the film industry in Nigeria and the foods and languages of the different tribes. It involved more work; there was a lot of material to get through but I delivered.

After that, the phone calls stopped. Tears. So for eight months I didn’t get commissioned to write any article. I didn’t even know how to go about looking for these opportunities. I think the reason was because, back then I didn’t realise this was going to be a full-time thing for me.

I started my personal blog in June 2014 and in August, after much prayer and seeking the face of God, I decided to start LRouge Media which is now ContentCraft. I started off with advertising my services on my blog and through word of mouth.

Thankfully, I had built up a nice portfolio of work and that really helped. I also looked for more guest writing opportunities and I included details of what I do in my profile/ bio. That’s another advantage of guest writing. It’s an avenue for you to advertise yourself.

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Back to my story, for over a month, I showed up at my friend’s studio which was my ‘office’ and I would work on building content for my church. One day someone who used to come to the studio frequently said to me, “Doyin, you are always sitting on this chair with your laptop. What are you always typing?”

Then I launched into a full blown advert of what I do. That’s how I got my first official client. The person told me he was designing a book for his pastor and he had been looking for someone to help him edit the book. 

Even though I got payed N5, 000 to do the edit, I was happy about this breakthrough. It was a nice feeling. Shortly after that, I got my second client, 1Plify. A friend of mine called after seeing a post on my blog to tell me about his startup and he needed someone who will manage the company blog and come up with content ideas to drive the brand forward.

I had so much fun developing content for the 1Plify Blog. I did it for about four months and in the midst of doing that, my credibility increased and I started to get more clients.

Next week, I will discuss how I charge my clients. It’s been a work in progress but I have been able to find what I am comfortable with.

On the 27th of August, I’ll be showing 10 writers practical ways to earn more money as a writer. I will also be sharing useful resources that will help them build their platform amongst other things. The training costs N20,000 and 4 spaces have been taken already. So register today by sending an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com.

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New Book Alert – Get a copy of Manuel Desola’s Detour to Glory

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Hey Sparkle Writers! We have another book for you to lay your hands on today. It’s called ‘Detour to Glory‘ and it was written by Desola Manuel.

Detour to Glory is about man’s journey to greatness. Sometimes this journey, road to glory as the author calls it, is not as smooth or direct as we would want it to be. There are unanticipated bends and turns that come up in various forms; delay, disappointments, heartbreaks and so on.

Despite all the detours of life, the author believes that the important thing is to arrive at your destination of glory and this will depend on how you handle your detour experience. Trials should in no way hinder or stop your greatness.

As you read Detour to Glory, you will discover the best way to respond when you experience detours and how to come out triumphantly through the biblical story of Joseph.

You can purchase a copy of Detour to Glory from the Iamdynamite Bookstore by calling this number – 08054444795 or sending an email to bookstore@iamdynamiteng.com.The book is also available on Okada Books

About the Author

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Manuel Desola is a writer, poet, and the winner of the first Lacasera Apple Story. He has great interest in life, relationship and personal growth. He finds fulfilment in expressing his mind and he shares inspirational insight on everyday life issues on his blog which is aimed at encouraging his readers to do more and achieve more. Desola holds a degree in Political Science. You can follow him on Twiter and Instagram  – @manueladesola and add him as a friend on Facebook – Adesola Ogunmuyiwa.

#WordOfTheDay – This word is often pronounced wrongly

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What is a writing blog without a #WordOfTheDay segment where you can improve your vocabulary? We hope every post in this segment has helped you to learn new words and improve the quality of your writing.

Today we are focusing on a word that is often pronounced or spelt wrongly.

It is Inculcate /ˈɪnkʌlkeɪt/ not Inconcate.

Inculcate means to implant by repeated statement or admonition; teach persistently and earnestly.

This word also means to fix something firmly in somebody’s mind through frequent or forceful repetition.

Here are some examples;

Valley High School tries to inculcate good manners in their students

When my daughter refused to eat I realized I had failed to inculcate good eating habits in her.

Next time you use this word, we know you’ll use it correctly.

Here’s your chance to master the art of screenwriting

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If you’ve always desired to have a career as a screenwriter in Nollywood and TV in Nigeria, then you don’t want to miss this opportunity.

The award winning screenwriter, Rita Onwurah is organizing a two-day workshop, Script It, for aspiring and existing screenwriters. During the workshop, you will learn the essentials of screenwriting from professional screenwriters. You will also learn how to pitch and sell your script.

Script it will take place from the 25th to the 26th August and the fee is N25, 000 which includes lunch and course materials. To register, send an email to hexagonnigeria@gmail.com.

#GrammarSeries – Who knew ‘the’ had two pronunciations?

 

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Hello Sparkle Writers. Welcome to another edition of the #GrammarSeries. If you have missed previous editions just go here to catch up on what you missed. We guarantee that you’d learn something new!

Today we are going to discuss the different ways you can pronounce the word ‘the’.

Did you know there are two ways to pronounce this word? Well, we are going to tell you all about this so keep reading.

‘The’ can be pronounced as ‘thee’ or ‘thuh’

When the word following starts with a consonant it is pronounced as ‘thuh’ but when the word following starts with a vowel it is pronounced as ‘thee’

For example

My bag is on ‘thuh’ table.

She will get to ‘thuh’ class in five minutes.

Seyi caught a fish from ‘thee’ ocean.

I took ‘thee’ apples on ‘thuh’ table.

However, there is an exception to this rule

If you want to indicate that something is important or show emphasis you can use ‘thee’, even when the word following it starts with a consonant.

For example

Prom is the social event of ‘thee’ year for high school students.

 When next you want to say the word ‘the’, remember the difference.

New book alert – Looking for myself and my phone charger

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Hey Sparkle Writers! We just love to showcase the works of awesome writers. Today, we have a new book to introduce to you. It’s an eBook called ‘Looking for myself and my phone charger‘ and it is a collection of poetry which is a journey in self-exploration.

Written by Ivie Eke, the eBook explores deep themes such as love, remorse, the breakdown of relationships, the impact of words, frustrations of the Nigerian citizen towards the nation and self-acceptance. It also takes a look at the material things people surround themselves with that add colour to their lives – shoes, books, makeup and technology.

There are 34 four poems in the collection and it is broken into four parts to make it easy for the reader to digest. You can purchase a copy of the eBook from Okada Books and do leave a review when you read it.

About the author

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Ivie Eke is a Nigerian who writes poetry, short stories and essays on her blog. She also writes articles for Genevieve Magazine, and SheLeadsAfrica. She has a day job as an NGO professional, and enjoys reading, spending time with friends and makeup-related activities.

 

 

3 reasons why a good title makes all the difference in the world

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It doesn’t matter how good or bad your actual article is, if it has a weak headline, it won’t be read. Your headline is the first thing that makes your reader decide whether to read your work or not.

If you spend all the time in the world writing a fantastic article and just throw in a drab headline you have killed our work.

Here are three reasons why a good title makes a whole lot of difference;

First impression really does matter.

Your title is one of the first ways your reader interacts with you or your work. Don’t let him down by throwing in a sloppy headline.

The quality of your headline goes a long way to determine whether or not your work will be read. Avoid writing too many words – the shorter the better.

Improve your Search engine optimization (SEO).

If you write for online platforms one thing you should take note of is your SEO. The kind of headlines you use can determine how search engines like Google will rate your content.

Use keywords that would help your content get more traction. If this is done well you can attract more traffic to your blog.

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Get loyal readers.

Who doesn’t want loyal readers? Everyone does. Once your readers have discovered that you have consistently written good content you will begin to get followership. If you continue this way your readers will grow steadily.

Bonus Tip: Ensure that your article delivers on whatever promise your title gives. Don’t promise to give five points and write down just four.

 

4 simple ways to create shareable content on your blog

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Hello Sparkle Writers. We hope by now you are comfortable with running your blog. We also hope that you have found the blogging experience interesting.

One thing that must be on your mind right now is how you can create engaging content that can be shared easily by your readers and followers.

Creating shareable content is not as difficult as you think. With the tips we will share today, we know you will be able to create content that your readers will love and share.

Here are 4 simple ways you can do it;

Be ahead of your competition

You weren’t expecting to see this as number one right? Creating sharable content requires a little bit of creativity. Do your research. Find out what your competitors are doing. Are there any gaps? What have they missed? What are their readers saying about their content? Use the answers you get to stay ahead of your competition and give what they are not offering

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Be incredibly good

If you want your post to be shared by many, make sure it is incredibly good! When you write good content, it will speak for itself. People will share it willingly and it will draw in much traffic with minimal effort on your part.

Wondering how you can write incredibly good posts? Be original. Be creative and as we said earlier, be a step ahead of your competition.

Tell a compelling story

We love stories. Stories appeal to the imagination and the connect your readers to you. When you tell a compelling story that people can relate with, you’ll discover that they will share your content willingly.

Learn and master the art of storytelling. It will do wonders for your site traffic.

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Be irresistible

If you want people to share your content, it must be irresistible. For it to be irresistible, your readers must derive some value from it. It must meet a need or solve a problem that you have.

To achieve this, you must be a good listener. What do your readers want? What are their concerns? What are their frustrations? As you listen, creatively think of ways to develop content that will be valuable to your readers.

Go ahead and start creating awesome content for your blog Sparkle Writers!