#ChroniclesOfAWriter – Trust Your Voice

Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

One of our trainees at The Sparkle Writer’s Hub just concluded her one month training program with us.

During my coaching session with her, she told me how she has already created a blog and she has written a story broken down into four series which she plans to put on the blog…eventually.

“Eventually?” I asked.

“Yes, eventually. I don’t think it is ready,” she replied.

I laughed and then I asked her a question, “Why don’t you think it’s ready?”

“I don’t know. It doesn’t just feel like something for a blog. There is a way stories on blogs are written, a special way.”

I had to laugh again at her response.

I knew what the problem was. She didn’t trust her voice.

She didn’t trust that her story was good enough to be published despite the fact that over the four weeks of her training with us, her writing had improved a great deal.

You may be the best writer the world has ever known. You may even be better than the great writers that we know today, but if you do not learn to trust your talent, then you may never reach the height of your greatness.

I like to compare the words you write to the way you speak. We all have the unique way we speak. That’s why even if the room is dark and someone familiar speaks, you will be able to say, “Ah, that is person so and so speaking.”

It’s the same thing with writing.

You have your unique way of writing. I have mine. Just as your voice is not superior to mine when you speak, the way you write is not superior to the way I write.

You have a unique writing voice that can bring you to greatness despite the fact that it does not look like the writing voice of the best writer that you know.

You simply need to be confident in your ability to write.

Trust your voice. No one will do that for you and be ready to learn.

I look back at some of the articles that I wrote four years ago and I cannot believe I wrote them. Why? It’s because I have grown. My writing had improved with time. My writing voice is more defined and pronounced. I have a better idea of why I am writing and who I am writing to.

I love Chimamanda. I adore Emily Bronte. I swoon whenever I read any of the classical authors.

But I am not them. I cannot write the way they do or they did. I can only write the way Adedoyin writes and that in itself is good enough for me.

Will you make mistakes in your journey as a writer? Of course you will. But you will learn from those mistakes and get better.

It all starts with you believing in yourself.

Trust your own voice and use it. It is a very powerful voice.

Advertisements

#WordOfTheDay – Ever heard of Quinquennium?

how-often-should-i-updatemy-blog

Hey Sparkle Writers. It’s Wednesday and it’s time for another #WordOfTheDay Series. Today’s word sounds so complicated but the meaning is more simple than you can imagine.

Do you want to guess what it means?

Quinquennium is pronounced /kwɪŋˈkwɛnɪəm/ and it means over a period of five years.

It’s that simple. We still don’t know why the word looks so complicated though.

Let’s look at this word in a few sentences;

 My uncle promotes his staff once in a  quinquennium

During the quinquennium from 1991-1995, infant mortality increased.

That’s all for today.

Make sure you use this word at the first opportunity  you get.

#GrammarSeries – This is why you should use ‘before’ instead of ‘prior to’

grammar

It’s Tuesday and time for another #GrammarSeries. We hope that previous series have taught you something new.

Today’s post is quite straightforward. We are telling you why you should use ‘before‘ instead of ‘prior to.’

Well, the answer is very simple.

Before is less clumsy, more acceptable and actually sounds better.

Prior‘ is an adjective that means ‘earlier’ or ‘previous.’ You wouldn’t say ‘earlier to’ or ‘previous to,’ so you shouldn’t use ‘prior to.’

Let’s see an example;

Prior to becoming an award wining writer, I worked as a hair stylist. 

Before becoming an award wining writer, I worked as a hair stylist. 

Don’t you agree with us that before sounds better?

We’re sure you do.

What every writer should do before the big break comes

 

Even though most of us write to live or we write because we love it, we will not deny the fact that we won’t mind making extra cash from our writing. Who wouldn’t love to make money from her passion?

However this doesn’t happen immediately. So what should a writer do before his big break?

We have practical tips that can help!

Find a side hustle

We don’t know how else to say this. Don’t sit in your house and wait for that international publication that will pay you in hard currency. Do something else that will pay your bills. Well, except you don’t need to eat, buy clothes and pay bills till the international publication finds you.

You don’t have to stop writing. Just find something else to do; you can get a 9-5 job like most people pending the time writing alone can pay your bills.

themodernasidehustle-1

Talk about your work

If you are just sitting pretty and waiting for your big break, you may wait for a long time. Talk about your work to the people you meet at events, your office, church. In fact, everywhere you go. You never know who needs your service. Some writers are chronic introverts. /the sight of too many people can be frightening, but if your career is going to improve you’ve got to put in some work. And talking is part of it. Whether or not you like it.

Keep writing

Don’t mistake waiting for your big break to mean you should stop writing. Your big break cannot come if you have stopped writing or how will you be discovered? If not with your work?

Whether it’s a full time job, or a personal business do not stop writing. Don’t lose the flow.

3 surefire ways of managing a blog and a full time job

blogging

It’s one thing to have a blog but it can become quite tough to manage a blog and a regular job at the same time. Having to go to work very early in the morning and coming back late is not so easy and the thought of writing anything fun, witty or inspirational can just wear you out completely.

Today, we will give you three surefire ways of making sure your blog does not suffer while you take care of your job too.

Plan your content ahead.

This is probably the easiest tip to give but the one that is often ignored.

It’s very difficult to come back home after a long day at work and start thinking of what to post on your blog. Isn’t it? This is why you must plan your content ahead of time. Have an idea of what you want your blog to look like for at least a month and jot them down.

This way, all you have to do is flesh out the ideas, instead of thinking of a story idea from scratch.

15048230_204978256618818_412414789965316096_n-1

Get guest writers.

This is a good way to make sure your blog doesn’t run out of content. Guest writers will not only take away the burden of creating content every time, they will also give fresh insight and a different angle to your blog niche by bringing their personality as well as their experiences into an article. Just ensure that you set the guidelines properly so as to ensure that the terms are clear on both sides.

Treat your blog like you treat your work.

It’s very easy to see posting content on your blog as negotiable especially if it’s not bringing you any source of income. At the slightest opportunity, you back out from posting for the day because you are tired, there’s no data or whatever excuse you can use.

What if you are paid N100, 000 for every post you publish?  Would you still think you are too tired?

We think it’s time you took that blog more seriously; don’t you think so too?

#WriterSpotlight – “Those short stories you tell yourself at night…write it.” Valerie Kerri

image

Hey Sparkle Writers! Its time for the famous #WriterSpotlight series. We are excited to feature Valerie Kerri, a published author who started writing as a personal self-therapy for loneliness.  There’s so much for you to learn and we can’t wait for you to read the interview. Enjoy!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a simple girl really. I was born in Nigeria and spent a lot of my early years in Lagos. My parents were diplomats, so I was lucky to travel around the world a lot as I grew up.  As I got older, I stopped travelling so much and settled in a university in Nigeria. After that I moved to the UK for another degree. I live in London now and have found my travelling bug again! I wrote the JJC handbook primarily for people who are considering choosing to work or study in the UK.

What led you to become a writer?

I started writing as a personal self-therapy for loneliness. I find it very relaxing to put my thoughts to paper as I have so many running around due to an overactive imagination! After a while, I got more comfortable to have other people read my words.

What are the things you love most about being a published writer?

Seeing other people read my book or getting feedback from someone who has read it and enjoyed it. It fills me with joy!

You recently released ‘The JJC Handbook’. Can you tell us what inspired you to write the book?

I wanted to speak to my younger self…the more withdrawn version of me that arrived at Heathrow terminal 5 in search of a different life. I wish I had known so many things back then, so my little book is for everyone else I could help.

book-cover-2

Since you released ‘The JJC Handbook’, there have been great reviews. What will you say is responsible for this success?

God! It could be nothing else…I wrote, I prayed, I published. God did the rest.

What challenges did you face when you were writing ‘The JJC Handbook’?

My biggest challenge was publishing! There is a great difficulty as an African writer to get published the traditional way where I live. Eventually, after a lot of rejection, I went the self-publishing route. This was the BEST decision I made in the whole process.

Many writers find the process of getting published daunting. Do you have any tips or advice to help such writers?

The easiest/ cheapest way is not always the best way.  Some online companies offer easy publishing and/or easy to register ISBN numbers; many of these come with strings that eat into your royalties and in the long run will cost you more. Do it right the first time. It’s worth it.

57

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

I think if you love doing something, the joy of just doing it would be reward enough. However, you can monetize your passion for writing; it is very possible and very lucrative.

Do you think you will ever retire from writing?

Well, it is way too early to tell. I currently have no plans to!

Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies?

I like travelling, reading and experiencing new things. I have recently found a love of hiking up mountain trails and extreme sports.

Any advice for upcoming writers and authors?

Write it… just write it. That novel you have in your head, which you don’t think anyone wants to read. Those short stories you tell yourself at night. The drama you are developing while you are at work. The lines of poetry you jot down before you sleep. In fact any ideas you have! Just write it down.  Get it out there. Don’t ask ‘Why?’ ask ‘Why not?!?’

#WordOfTheDay – Learn what incipient means

vintage-hand-new-words

Hello Sparkle Writers, still wondering why you should take our #WordOfTheDay series seriously? Well, we’ve got another reason for you. A very good one at that. Learning new words makes your communication more effective. If you don’t believe us try learning today’s word.

Now that we have established that, let’s go to today’s word- Incipient /ɪnˈsɪpɪənt/

Incipient is an adjective that means beginning to happen or develop.

For example;

I listened to their conversation and could feel incipient anger building up. 

You can also use it to refer to a person developing into a specified type or role.

For example;

Sola and Tola seemed more like friends than incipient lovers.

A few words that can be used in place of incipient include: dawning. developing, emerging and growing,

#ChroniclesOfAWriter – Should you wait for inspiration or not?

adedoyin-jaiyesimi-1

We put up the image below with the caption, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of is just show u and get to work” on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub Instagram page and the comments this post received were quite interesting.

writing quote

Some agreed with it 100%.

Others agreed partially, stating the point that they come up with their best work when they are inspired.

And there were those who were absolutely offended. How could we dare to make fun of those who wait for inspiration before they write or do anything else?

All the comments are valid from the different angles from which they were made.

It’s great to write when you are inspired. The words flow faster; they come out with a rich smoothness that you almost don’t want to stop writing. Usually, those words are a instant hit with the readers. It gets them yearning for more.

But what happens when inspiration doesn’t come?

And you are a freelance writer who makes money from writing?

Or you have a blog and your readers are eagerly waiting for your next blog post because the previous one was out of this world?

The pressure can be quite real.

The truth is writers who wait for inspiration every time will not go very far.

Yes I said it.

Inspiration is great. I love it when I’m walking on the road and this brilliant idea drops right from heaven and I turn it into words. I love it when I get inspired to write from a conversation with friends or just by observing the daily mundane activities of life.

The problem is inspiration does not come every time. It’s not reliable. It can be here today and gone tomorrow.

Dear writer, I hope you know that your success as a writer will not come to you by chance. A certain amount of deliberateness is involved. Waiting for inspiration to show up is definitely not a winning strategy.

I cannot count how many times I’ve had to create content without being inspired. Sometimes I get a phone call first thing in the morning, “Doyin, we need you to come up with content for our brochure asap” or “We need you to quickly write a blog post for us.” I can’t say no but inspiration has taken a sabbatical. What do I do? I ginger myself and write. No excuses. Sometimes inspiration will find me when I am writing; sometimes it doesn’t but I still deliver excellent work to my clients.

You must develop the ability to write whether inspiration shows up or not; not just write, but also write amazing stuff without inspiration.

It’s possible. It simply takes discipline; forcing yourself to write when you don’t feel like. Have a ‘store’ where you deposit ideas for those moments when you lack inspiration.

Write daily. Your brain will get used to writing without inspiration when you’ve formed a daily writing habit. Above all, consume words; read, research and read some more.

With or without inspiration, you can be an excellent writer.

About Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

Adedoyin is a Content and Social Media Strategist. She is the Founder of The Sparkle Writer’s Hub where she helps people to find expression through writing and monetize their writing gift. She is also the Lead Content Strategist at Content Craft, a content and social media consulting company that helps businesses to get returns on their social media investment through the use of creative content and social media strategy. Adedoyin’s work has been featured in Y! Magazine (now Y! Africa), Connect Nigeria, The W Community, 234 Finance, Pride Magazine Nigeria, amongst others.

 

Unveiling The Sparkle Writer’s Hub Christmas Campaign…and reasons why you should join in

The Sparkle Writer's Hub Christmas Campaign

Hey Sparkle Writers!

Christmas is around the corner. Are you excited? 

It’s been a long topsy-turvy year with many unexpected bumps and curves. No matter how the year has been for you, Christmas is always a season to rejoice. It’s the season of joy and laughter. Christmas means different things to different people and we want to celebrate that at The Sparkle Writer’s Hub. 

Yes, the campaign essentially is to celebrate the different reasons why we love Christmas from the 1st to the 24th of December.

To be a part of The Sparkle Writer’s Hub Christmas Campaign, send an entry between 300-400 words telling us what Christmas means to you. You know we’re writers, so let it be as creative as possible 🙂

All entries should be sent to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com along with two high resolution pictures of yourself and your bio by Wednesday 30th November. Entries will be featured on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub blog and our social media pages. 

So what are you waiting for? Write your entry and send it to us today. 

 

#GrammarSeries – If you say ‘on the light’, you’re wrong

social-media-tips-for-bloggers

Hello Sparkle Writers and how is your day going?

Today’s grammar post is quite straightforward as you can see from the title.

Have you ever heard anyone say ‘on the light?’ Or have you actually said that before? This is absolutely wrong. ‘On‘ is not a verb. It is a preposition.

Most times you make that mistake when you are speaking, not writing. But as writers our speech should as grammatically correct as our writing.

A preposition is a word that links a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to some other part of the sentence and a verb while a verb is a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence, and forms the main part of the predicate of a sentence.

So you can see there is a huge difference between a preposition and a verb.

In this context, you can only use ‘on’ with verbs like put and switch to make it a phrasal verb

So you should say:

Put on/ Switch on the light.’

Until next week remember to keep your grammar in check.