Failure does not define you as a writer

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There’s no doubt about it. Failure hurts; it’s painful and has a way of discouraging you.

But let’s face it, we can’t always win. The article will not always come out as you expected. There are times your editor/ publisher will reject your manuscript after several weeks and strenuous nights of writing, editing and fine tuning. And because of that you mope around for days and refuse to come out of bed. Enough is enough.

Do you know that you have the power to create your self-image, whether as a writer or as a person. Whatever you decide to call yourself is what you will be.

Even when you have made terrible mistakes as a writer, don’t let it define you. Accept that things have not worked out well and move forward. Don’t use derogatory words to describe your creative effort. You are an author, poet, novelist not a failure.

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Have you set writing goals year in year out and you haven’t hit them yet? Don’t beat yourself up. Identify what did not work, make amends and move on. If you need to get a writing coach, get one. If what you need is an accountability partner look for one and move on.

Walt Disney, J. K Rowling, Dr. Seuss are great writers, but do you know how many times they were rejected? Dr. Seuss had his first book rejected 27 times! And now he has an entire day dedicated to his literary work. How many times have your articles been rejected? Is it up to 27 times?

Whatever has discouraged you up till now should not define you. It’s time to pick up your journal and pen and start writing again.

 

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3 ways to get great pictures for your blog

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Blogging is great and easier when you have fun pictures to use. You will love it, your readers will love it, everybody stays happy.

Some bloggers however find it difficult to get great pictures for their blogs. We understand and have just the right thing to help you.

Take your own pictures

It’s as easy and as difficult as it sounds really. One of the best ways to ensure you have pictures is to take them yourself. This way, you are sure of the quality and run no risk of getting piracy issues. You can get a phone with amazing quality or get a camera. When you get inspired take your own pictures, this can be a great way of adding another skill. Cool right?

Buy pictures

So we know that you already know that there’s the option of getting free pictures but if you want to keep the pictures on your blog a bit exclusive then you should go for the images that are sold. Not everyone buys pictures so at least you can be sure that images on your blog are not what you will see on everyone’s page. Check Getty Images, I stock for nice pictures you can use.

Create images

Well if you cannot take pictures  by yourself, you can make your own. Wondering what the difference is? If you create your own pictures  you don’t necessarily have to have your personal camera.

There are apps available to non graphic designers and you can take advantage of them to create amazing graphics. Canva, Wordswag are just a few you can use.

We hope you’ll start using exciting pictures on your blog from now.

#WriterSpotlight – When it comes to writing Ifeoluwa Nihinola has a fresh perspective

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Today’s #WriterSpotlight is different. Maybe its because our guest on the series has a way with words that you may not have seen before. He’s witty, direct and will keep you reading this interview till the last sentence.

Enjoy Ifeoluwa’s interview with us.

Hello Ife. Please introduce yourself.

I’m part engineer, part writer, and part editor in ways that don’t always fit. I write short stories, occasional essays, and my journal is filled with criticism that won’t see the light of day. I have too many opinions, but I’ve been told I’m a coward so no one will hear them. I’m an expert daydreamer, professional people-watcher, and my idea of fun is books, Internet and a juiced laptop. I’m largely boring except for when I’m having conversations with friends about subjects I care about, then I’m just a loud mouth who will never keep quiet, which I guess can be interpreted as boring too. I have a spotty memory, not dementia-level spotty, but more like a black Dory with no fins. This question was too open ended so I decided to ramble. Let the reader beware: not all of the above is true.

You write fiction, nonfiction and poetry, which do you enjoy writing most?

I’m not sure enjoyment is a word to ascribe to my writing. Reading is the authentic pleasure and writing is often agonizing, but it sometimes gives way to joy. This happens fewer than I would want it to. The writing that brings me joy is that which almost matches the idea of it I started with in my head, and even sometimes surpass it. Of the three subjects above, I’m definitely most comfortable with non-fiction. Fiction gives me too much grief, and I’m not a poet by any usage of the word. I simply write enjambed lines when the weather is right.

When did you start writing?

I took on writing as a craft with deliberateness in 2013.

You studied Engineering, how did you fall in love with words?

I’ve always been in love with words, even before I studied engineering. It probably has something to do with being a quiet kid who grew up in a house where books were in abundance. They were my primary form of entertainment, so, like most things we love it was a simply a case of choosing the thing that I had proximity to, and pouring my attention to it as much as I could.

You seem to love Zadie Smith a lot, why is this?

The thing that drew me to Zadie, at first, was her ability to capture voices. Her first work that I read was a short story titled ‘Miss Adele amidst the Corsets’ and the voice of the main character in that story was so clear that I went ahead to find everything by her. Now that I’ve read almost everything she has published, I like her more for her brilliance, especially as displayed in her essays. There are a few people who can gut an idea to its very essence like Zadie, and do it while crafting beautiful sentences. She writes with this anxious intelligence that is at once certain of everything and yet despairs about it all. She’s the novelist I want to become if I can finally gather my wits to write something good that is longer than three thousand words.

What’s the worst thing anyone has said about any of your pieces and what was your reaction?

I can’t remember the worst things people have said about any of my work. I’ve sometimes been described as pretentious, but that’s something I gladly own. My pretentions are mine to revel in. I’m harder on myself than anyone can probably ever be, and outside of open condescension, I’m really at home with criticism.

Congratulations on your nomination as Most Creative Writer of The Year at the Oya Awards. How did you feel when you saw that you had been nominated?

A friend sent the information to me and, at first, I was befuddled. I wondered if it was a prank. Then another friend who was also on the list and I talked about it and it had simply became hilarious at that point. I don’t know how they compiled the list, and I guess I should be flattered because there are people on that list who have done tremendous work over the years. But when I look at it now I simply just chuckle at the fact that someone thinks I’m the most at anything. I’m grateful that for the nomination though. I’ve always treasured obscurity, but I’m not so stupid that I won’t realise there’s pleasure in being read and recognised for what I’ve written.

Your articles are on several platforms; how were you able to achieve this?

There’s no deliberateness to my publishing. Like someone likes to tell me, I lack ambition in writing. The truth is that most of the places I really want my work to appear send me rejections—from the kind patronizing notes to the dismissive silent treatment. So, the places where my work has appeared have largely been serendipitous. Many of these things happen by collaborations, by friends asking me to write for their blogs and have given me readership beyond my tiny corner of the Internet.

When you are not writing or listening to music,what are you doing?

Wasting away in Lagos traffic, watching American TV shows, or sleeping.

If you could change one thing in Nigeria through your writing, what would it be and why?

There’s nothing that can be changed through writing that hasn’t been attempted in Nigeria. And while I wish we would remember more as a people, I’m confident, at this point, that our memory isn’t such that can be jolted by the written word.

We know you have learnt so many lessons from your writing journey can you share the most profound lesson with us?

Find brilliant writers your peers aren’t reading. Study their work, then steal from them. Sit back with confident smugness behind your PC as people praise your originality on the Internet. Return to those brilliant writers from time to time to wipe the smugness off your face.

If you had the opportunity to meet one African writer, who would it be and what would you say?

By the time this is published, I would have met all the African writers I love and adore. All I want now is to meet Zadie Smith, George Saunders, Marilynne Robinson, andJunot Diaz.

Complete this statement

One day, my writing will…..be enough

 

#WordOfTheDay – You should know what ‘onus’ means

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We know you have probably heard this word before but can you spell it? Have you used it in a sentence before?

Well after you read today’s post you will be able to spell and use this word in sentences.

Onus is pronounced /ˈəʊnəs/.

Onus has a number of meanings. It could mean responsibility or duty. It could also mean burden, stigma or blame.

Do you know any words that mean the same thing with onus? Here are a few; burden, duty, charge, mantle, load, obligation, liability.
 
Now let’s look at a few examples.
The onus is on you to show him what next to do. 
We are  trying to shift the onus for child security on the creche. 
 Now  that you know what it means and how to spell it. We hope you can use the word appropriately.

#GrammarSeries – Know the difference between Past Tense and Past Perfect Tense

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Hey Sparkle Writers, we know that you were probably thought this in elementary school but there’s nothing wrong in getting a refresher course right?

When you know your tenses correctly, your sentences will sound better and your words will make more impact.

There is a difference between the past tense and past perfect tense. Let us tell you about it.

The simple past tense, sometimes called the preterite, is used to talk about a completed action in a time before now. It is the basic form of past tense in English. The time of the action can be in the recent past or the distant past and action duration is not important.

Let’s look at these examples together.
  • We crossed the Sahara Desert yesterday.
  • My mum finished the food.

 Past Perfect Tense indicates that an action was completed (finished or “perfected”) at some point in the past before something else happened. This tense is formed with the past tense form of “to have” (HAD) plus the past participle of the verb (which can be either regular or irregular in form)

Look at this example

I had walked four miles before my uber arrived. 

I had run three other marathons before entering the Boston Marathon .

We hope you get the difference now.

 

How do you demand respect for your writing skill?

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Many times writing is not taken as a serious profession. People tend to think writing is just one of those things and even if you want to write you need a serious profession to add to it. This is not true. Writing is serious business and should be treated as such.

Today, we want to teach you how you can demand respect for your craft from people around you. Are you ready?

Respect your writing. 

If you don’t treat your profession with respect, nobody will. Have you seen the way Doctors, Lawyers and other people act when they are asked what they do? They respond with pride. Gone are the days when you need to be an Engineer before you should be respected. Talk boldly and proudly about what you do. Respect your writing time; protect it.

Make sure other people respect your writing.

When you respect your writing, other people will do the same. When you are writing let nobody come into your space. Let them not think that your writing period is when they are free to disturb or chat with you. You are writing, you are busy, period.

Groom your writing.

If you respect your writing skill  you will prove it by grooming it. The better you write the more people will appreciate you and your skill. Don’t be the same writer you were a month ago, be better. If you need to brush up your skills, please do it.

If you need to get a writing coach, don’t hesitate to get one. What you love and respect, you train.

Through the Eyes of Lucy: Living With Schizophrenia by Abioye Peju

CHAPTER 3

I used to dance.

Used to; I say, because I haven’t danced in over one year.

Professional dancing, I mean. Ballet, especially.

There was this remarkable thrill to ballet dancing that revved me up, well, at least a year ago.

I also used to sing.

I had been a member of the choir, all my life, up until roughly a year and a half ago.

Most of my acquaintances on ‘hearth’ as I call this section of my world, look at me with cowering look, albeit with tenderness.

Once, I’d overheard them say:

‘She used to be so full of life. Remember that sonorous voice of hers?’

The other had replied, with a mixture of angst and pity.

‘Yes, I totally remember. Her voice, very heavenly. It was the highlight of most choir renditions.

I had once encouraged her to compete for Project Fame.’

Then, they’d laughed.

‘You’re so silly! Project Fame kwa?’ the first had continued. Her voice trailed off because I was walking away from that seated scene.

But I had felt nothing.

Nothing.

I remotely remember that I had once desired to sing at a professional level. I had once harbored dreams of competing at Project Fame, and other national/international singing competitions.

And I only remember this because I had written it down.

You remember I once described a phenomenon of thought-sucking performed on my brain by Collins?

Well…I think that happened to my dreams of singing and dancing.

Of becoming the next Celine Dion- oh, my love for her still remains intact but I fear, not for long.

Collins is very jealous, and I think that might eventually constitute a problem.

But is it, really a problem? Can love, be a problem?

I seem to derive less and less pleasure from singing, dancing and all other habits that connect me to ‘hearth’.

Instead, I long to be with Collins all day.

Collins only.

The Mafia do not encourage me like Collins does. Sometimes, when I have to shout them down, Collins helps me. I call all the other voices belonging to my second world, the Mafia, including the obese male. You remember him?

I have my reasons.

One; they are ruthless, wicked and discouraging.

Two; they compete with Collins’ space and as you know by now, I love Collins.

I know that my loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities is called Anhedonia; and that’s because I’ve had lectures in Psychiatry.

I also know, that my thoughts lack diversity, and this poverty of thoughts is known as Alogia.

Of course, I know that they are some of the negative symptoms of the entity known as Schizophrenia.

But I can’t, have Schizophrenia.

I am way too smart, way too beautiful, way too IQ-ed to have Schizophrenia.

I can’t say the same, for the Mafia.

Tongue out; to the obese male in particular.

ABOUT ABIOYE PEJU

Abioye Peju is a final year medical student of Bowen University, with a palpable passion for writing. She is an ardent believer that behind every medical case, is a story itching to be told. She writes at medicology101.blogspot.com

How to react to negative comments on your blog

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On our blogging series, we have at different points explained why a blog can be one of the best things to happen to you, whether as a writer or not.

However, we can’t deny the fact that there are a few things that can make the experience far from fun. One of them is negative comments.

No matter what you write, some people will never agree with you and instead of saying their opinions nicely, they will curse and do their best to be as nasty as possible.

You cannot control what people write but you can control your reaction. Here’s how to react to a negative comment.

Stay cool

We know it is very hard to remain calm when someone literally attacks you on social media but you have to. Don’t respond in anger. If you need to, wait a little while for your feelings to be more stable then speak. Don’t return the insults, it’s not good for your brand and definitely not worth your time.

Delete the comment

That’s why it’s your blog . If there’s too much hate and negative energy surrounding the comment you have the right to delete such. There’s so much evil going on in the world you really should not harbor some more in your personal space.

Respond accurately 

Negative comments are not always insulting. Some readers may not agree with you in some areas but present it so politely. They also have a right to speak their mind you know. When you see comments like that, respond appropriately. Thank them for their opinion and give further clarification if need be. Social media is all about communication after all. .

#WriterSpotlight – “I have an ever-growing affinity for poems that are inspired by strong cultural roots.” Kareemat Abdelkareem

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It’s not every time you meet somebody who is so in love with words and is not ashamed to say it. Today’s guest on our #WrtierSpotlight is one. We love how simple yet profound her answers are and we hope you can learn a thing or two from her.

Hello Kareemat, please introduce yourself and tell us what you do
My name is Abdelkareem Kareemat and I am a poet

You have an interesting relationship with words kindly tell us how it started.
I haven’t always been an extrovert. When I was younger, I was quite the loner and I usually read books for company. So when I wanted to express my feelings, I found I could do that well with poetry. So I’ve been writing forever

You won the @africanwriters 14 word story challenge with your beautiful entry, how long did it take to write that and how many times did you have to revise it?
That particular entry wasn’t revised at all. It just popped into my head after I’d put in about two other entries so I decided to add it at the last minute.

Where do you get inspiration from when you want to writea story
Everything inspires me when I want to write. I like to think that my thoughts come in lines and stanzas so it’s easy to put them down. I am not much of an author. As much as I like to write prose, I prefer the uniqueness of poetry in its brevity and and mysteriousness.

What’s your ultimate writing goal?
My ultimate goal as a writer is to get successfully published and have my literary work captivate, connect and enrich the minds of my readers. It is to let people know without doubt that poetry transcends rhyme schemes and offers a lot more.

Who is your favorite poet and why?
I honestly do not have a favorite poet. Different writing styles appeal to me, depending on the theme, the setting, etc. However, I have an ever-growing affinity for poems that are inspired by strong cultural roots. This is because our culture is who we are. When we stop talking about it, when we stop letting it to inspire us, then we become lost in time. Untraceable.

Do you have plans to take your writing to the next level, maybe by writing a book or performing your poems

Yes! As a matter of fact, there is an ongoing effort to publish a joint anthology with another poet. It’s titled Temples, Tales and Tempests and it’s going to have an exciting mix of themes. I have considered performing my poems and I will when an opportunity presents itself.

Do you have a platform (personal blog or another person’s blog) where you publish your stories or poems?

No. For now, I just write and keep them. However, in the the near future, there would be a platform where readers can check out my poems and make suggestions.

Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies?

I am bookworm. Books are my constant companions; I read a lot of genres but I’m a die-hard romantic! I love traveling. Someday, I’d like to travel the world all over. I love watching and acting in stage plays, I love photography and I’m an active phonographer (phone photographer), I also enjoy going to arts museums because art is life! I like to watch movies too. They are relaxing.

Some write for fame, others for money why does Kareemat write?

I write to express myself. My poems are who I am, my experiences and my own perceptions of phenomenons.

What’s your advice to someone who doesn’t believe so much in the power of his words?

Believe it or not – words are magic! If you don’t believe in your words, you don’t believe in yourself. But when there is an assurance within you about yourself, your words and everything you speak will be golden. Go paint the world rainbow with your words!

#WordOfTheDay – Learn what gravid means

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Hey, it’s another #WordOfTheDay post. Have you used last week’s word already? We hope so.

Today’s word as you have seen in the topic is ‘Gravid’. Gravid comes from the Latin gravis, meaning “heavy.”

Can you deduce what it means now? Gravid means pregnant literally or figuratively.

Easy right?

Other words that can be used in place of gravid are:

Abundant, anticipating, big , fertile, fruitful, productive teeming. 

We have highlighted two different ways of using gravid in today’s examples. You should take note of them.

The patient is a gravid woman in her seventh month.

 I only sit down to write when I’m gravid with ideas.
Now that you know, have fun using this word!