Through the eyes of Lucy :Living With Schizophrenia.

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CHAPTER 6

I am not, mentally deranged.

I need to state this pretty clearly, as I seem to be in the minority as regards this view.

So, after the seminar saga, I was literally bundled to see a psychiatrist.

Why is everyone so bothered about my actions? I’m a little strange, I know that, but we can’t all be the same now, can we?

Some of us have supernatural gifts- we see unseen people, talk to them, have our thoughts broadcast on the radio, and communicate with others via smart mediums- such as electromagnetic waves, now, what’s wrong with that?

Well, I do not have a choice. I have been made, to see a psychiatrist.

I register my defiance, choosing to ignore all of his questions.

Up until when he asks if I hear voices. I look up at him, and suddenly I remember Collins?

What if, this doctor, is my savior

Could he, help me get Collins back?. With tears in my eyes, I whisper, barely audibly, ‘Yes’

‘I hear voices.’

‘I want Collins back, can you help me?’ He looks at me, and I note kindness in his eyes. I am desperate for Collins. I really am.

The doctor asks some more questions, and I respond. ‘Please, I need Collins back! I can’t live without him!’

I register the horror on Reina’s face but right now, I could really care less. People on hearth just didn’t understand.. But I think this doctor does.

And so, I listen to him.

He gives me some drugs and asks me to be dutiful at taking them. I respond in the affirmative.

I would do literally anything for Collins.

Anything.

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

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This is why you shouldn’t change your blog template so often

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Hello Blogger!

Its time for another #BloggingSeries, we hope you are ready? Today we are talking about blog templates and how necessary it is to frequently change them.

Your blog template determines the general look and feel of your blog and goes a long way to determine how visually appealing and accessible your blog is to readers.

There is nothing wrong with changing your blog template, in fact change can sometimes be good especially when it is done right. Imagine choosing the right color scheme header and gadgets for your blog. Your readers will definitely thank you for it.

So why then are we saying you shouldn’t do this so often?

You are building a brand

Whether you believe it or not, your blog is your brand. You don’t want to be seen as inconsistent or confused because you keep changing the template every time you see something new. That is why you have to be sure of your decision when you are choosing a template. Make sure it is what you love and can work with for a considerable length of time.

You can upset your readers

Your readers are one of the most important stakeholders in your blogging journey. You can imagine if every time they visit they have to start searching for where the home button or other important buttons are on your blog because you keep changing the template. They won’t want to visit as often as they should.

There’s more to your blog than the template

This may sound harsh but trust us when we say we are just being honest. If you keep changing your blog template at the slightest chance, will you ever have time to create content,write, reply your readers, promote your blog posts, attend blogger meet ups?

Not really.

 

#WriterSpotlight – “Write. Don’t worry about if it will get published or not. Just write.” – Abimbola Dare

 

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For somebody who has been rejected a number of times, today’s guest proves beyond reasonable doubt that rejection is never the end of the road for a writer. Would you believe us if we tell you that she has authored two best selling books and has another two in the works? This is Abimbola’s interview with us. Read and be inspired!

Hello Abimbola please introduce yourself.

Abimbola Dare is first a believer of the Lord Jesus Christ, a writer and an author of four books (two are published and two are in the process of being released). I am also an anointed speaker, a playwright and screenwriter. I am also a mother, a wife to an amazing man and an IT professional. I wear many hats by God’s grace and grateful for them all.

You have been writing for about 11 years, can you tell us one profound lesson these years of experience has taught you:

That you need to always improve on your writing, and constantly churn out material. You cannot afford to be complacent or else you will soon become irrelevant, and that soon affects your skills as a writer. I have also learnt the importance of patience. A good book can take many years to be written and as someone who likes to be engaged with her readers, it is tough to balance the incubation period (when I am writing) with the period when the final product is ready to be published.

Two of your novels have become bestsellers at different points since their release, what do you think is the reason for this?

I am not sure to be honest. I’d like to think that-apart from God’s grace- the themes which I write about (marriage and relationships) resonates with a lot of people. I also try to write stories that are filled with suspense, which generally garners a lot of interest.  I know that a lot of people have recommended my novels to others, so word of mouth advertising has been very beneficial (thank you to all my reader-friends, as I like to call them).

Since you started writing in 2006, how rewarding has the experience been?

It’s been a rewarding, humbling experience to be recognized for my work, to be nominated for awards and to even win a few! My greatest and most rewarding experience was when I got feedback from a reader that one of my books helped save her marriage.  I have received several of such comments from readers, and each time I get such emails/ comments, I get a sense of satisfaction that words cannot fully explain.

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You specialize in fiction writing. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I try to be as original as I can be but at the same time, I have to understand that I write a genre that is not familiar to everyone, and so, I tend to keep my stories simple but filled with enough conflict to keep you wanting more- while still managing to deliver the true message of God’s love.

What’s the best way to market your books?

Word of mouth! It’s been my greatest marketing tool. I also use social media (Facebook, Instagram,and sometimes, paid advertising).

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

Hard to say. Maybe my day job, but I love that too!

Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies?

I love to cook, hang out with my family. I love to eat out (Thai food is my favorite), and just chill out with my friends whenever we can take time out of our busy lives to meet. I have a passion for stage and I am trying to get out more and watch stage plays. I read a lot of books (a mix of Christian fiction and secular fiction).

Have you ever been rejected as a writer, if yes please tell us about it:

Oh yes! I have been rejected many times. I have sent a number of query letters to agents and gotten a mix of standard rejection letters to more bespoke: ”We like your writing, but your work is not for us” type of letters.

What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

To see my novels on every book shelf in the country and in the world. To know that my novels have saved a life, a home, a destiny. To know that my books have changed lives and altered destinies for the better.

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How long on average does it take you to write a book?

A year.

How has your writing evolved over the years, did you do anything specific to make improvements? If yes, please share with us:

I attend creative writing courses and read a lot of books on the craft. I am currently on a creative writing programme that has taught me how to write short stories and now, I have written three short stories (which was an area I would never have touched in the past!)

What’s your advice to upcoming writers?

  • Write. Just write. Don’t worry about if it will get published or not. Don’t be afraid of what people would say about your work.  Just get up and go. Do it. Do it now.  Start a fiction series on your blog, submit your work to platforms where you can get feedback. If you have been called to write Christian fiction, treat it as just that: a calling – answer it.
  • Read a lot of books. Books are the greatest writing teachers. Utilize them.
  • Engage on a writing course if you can, get feedback (through a critique circle, or through a writing workshop).
  • Find a writing mentor and learn from them.

 

#WordOfTheDay – Learn what lief means

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Hello and welcome to our vocabulary column where we learn new words and use them in sentences. This column helps us become better writers because words are every writer’s tool and the more words you know the better your writing gets.

Today’s word is lief. It has two meanings depending on how you are using it.

Lief as an adverb means willingly, readily without resistance.  However as an adjective it means beloved or treasured.

Let us make two sentences using this word;

I think I would lief cook for everyone as long as there is light. 

My lief bag was stolen today. You can imagine how I feel. 

Note that we used the word in two different circumstances.

Now go ahead and make your own sentences.

The difference between enormity and enormousness

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We are almost sure you have made this mistake over and over and again but not to worry, that’s why we are here.

You probably think the words in today’s topic are interchangeable but in actual fact, they are not.

Enormity and enormousness mean two different things and we’d tell you what.

Enormity is originally used to describe something that is overwhelmingly horrible. While enormousness is used to describe something huge. However enormity is now used in place of enormousness which is not right.

It usually confuses people in sentences when it could mean either of the two.

Look at this example

The enormity of the landslide daunted the clean-up crew.

Due to confusion with enormous, the word enormity is widely used as a synonym for immensity, but many people consider this use incorrect.

Strictly speaking, enormity refers to the dreadfulness or atrociousness of something bad, and as such should only be used in a negative context – so you can discuss “the enormity of a person’s crime”, but not “the enormity of the crowd at a music festival” (unless it’s a pretty unpleasant crowd).

Do you understand the difference now?

 

 

You’re not weird…you’re a writer!

Do you ever see writing as a burden? Why couldn’t you have been given any other gift; something simpler perhaps? You see, it’s not as if being a writer is not exciting. It is. It’s just that it comes with certain peculiarities that may make you seem weird among the so called ‘normal’ people.

Here’s what we mean. A typical writer tends to be deep; introspective more often than not. We think a lot and are often stuck in our heads. It’s not that we are anti-social (it can be argued that some of us are), we just tend to reflect a lot. This is what allows our creative juices to flow. How can we come up with those though-provoking articles, if we lack the ability to step back and reflect?

Depending on the social circle, a writer may be perceived as being boring. Can you blame people? When they want to engage in light-headed conversations, the writer wants to go on the deep path. If they are in the mood, they can be the life of the party. If they are not, you might as well have not invited them out because they may just sit still and observe.

The thing is, when a writer does this, he doesn’t consider himself as being anti-social. He’s observing what going on and might as well be formulating the basis for his next though-provoking piece. 

For a writer, inspiration can come from anywhere. While walking down the street or having a conversation with your favourite cab driver. You never know what will cause that light bulb in your head to go on so you have to be open to everything.

Unfortunately, unlike music artists, writers don’t have the privilege of making two-syllable words to become the trend of the day. You know how musicians sing things like ‘doro’, ‘mama eh’ and the like and it’s ok? Well we can’t do that; at least serious writers can’t. We need to engage our readers and even help some escape reality. If you don’t have inspired words, you won’t be able to achieve this.

No one ever understands what you are doing as a writer. Asides from calling you weird, only very few people consider it to be an actual job. The conversation is usually weird;

What do you do?
I’m a writer.
Oh ok. So what do you do to earn money?
*confused look*

Have you ever had this kind of conversation> Many writers have. Again, we don’t blame such people. Being a writer in Nigeria doesn’t pay as much as it does abroad. Saying that you are a writer alone makes you look jobless and will definitely earn you a long speech from parents who are wondering whether this is what they actually sent you to school for. To become a jobless writer. Isn’t that exciting?

Nonetheless, being a writer sis such a priceless gift. Nothing compares to it. If writing is what you are passionate about please, don’t be ashamed of it. People may not understand your gift; that’s not your problem. Just stick to what you do best and you will the reap fruits. The people who look at you funny will be the same people who will want a share of your success when it comes – when your bestseller can be found on bookshelves across the nation. 

Don’t abandon your dream for anybody. It’s never worth it.

This is why you shouldn’t copy somebody’s content on your blog

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Hello Blogger! Welcome the blogging series on the Sparkle Blog. Today’s topic may sound strange to you ( If you’ve never copied somebody else’s content before) but we know there are a few people who still need logical reasons why this is wrong.

Today’s post is dedicated to that group of people

Reason 1: Copying is the same thing as stealing

Do we need to explain this any further? There’s no point using a trendy name for it. Copying content from somebody else and posing it as yours is stealing. Period.

Reasom 2: Somebody worked hard to get what you just want to spend five minutes copying and pasting

Think about it. It will take you about five minutes or lets say 10 minutes to take the content from the original source and paste on your blog. The writer probably spent the whole night working on that piece. You are disrespecting the work by stealing it. If you love it so much why don’t you get express permission from the blog owner before you use it?

Reason 3: You are diminishing your creativity 

Creativity is like a muscle, the more you flex it, the stronger it becomes. When you refuse to use your creativity over and over again and prefer to steal content from other people you are doing yourself more harm than good. Do you know that no matter how much you write you can never use up creativity? So don’t be scared to flex those creative muscles.

Do you have more reasons why people need to stop stealing content? Share with us in the comment box!

Through the eyes of Lucy: Living With Schizophrenia

 

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CHAPTER 5

I feel, like a cheating girlfriend.

‘Collins?’

Collins is hurt. I can feel his eyes- can almost see the tears as they course down his cheeks; defiantly refusing to acquiesce to the staunch look he is trying to project.

‘Lucy, why?’

‘But I love you; so much. Why are you still thinking about him? He barely cares for you.’

Calmly, Collins started.

‘Does he watch your best movies over and over with you?’

‘Sing to you when you’re sad?’

‘Kiss you goodnight, as you go to bed?’

‘Encourage you, when others hurl insults at you?’

I looked down, ashamed.

‘Collins, I’m sorry.’

It was just, you know, a moment of weakness.’

‘Lucy, don’t even dare. I’ve seen him pick out your clothes within the last 2 weeks. I see how you stare into his eyes when you meet at the hallway. I sense how uncomfortable you feel when you see him- expecting him to start a conversation that he’s obviously not interested in making.’

Collins raised his hands in despair.

‘Lucy, I’m sorry, but I think I’m done!’

I began to cry.

‘Collins…please.’

‘Collins!!!’ I shrieked again.

Reina was at the door but this time, she said nothing.

She walked in, and gave me the look I’d grown to recognize.

‘It’s time for the seminar. One of your team mates got across to me, he said you haven’t been picking your calls.’

I mustered the little strength I had left.

Hearth, was again, in need of me.

As we stepped out, my headaches started again.

I said nothing; for Reina would have been quick to force me into the clinic; which I wasn’t willing to subject myself to.

All I wanted, was to be done with this presentation, so I could go home and sort out my boy issues.

I saw my team mates and from where I stood, I could make out their faces filled with concerned disgust.

Concern, because this presentation affected their cumulative grades as much, as it did mine; and disgust, for being paired with me.

Defiance was clearly stated on my face.

Collins, had left. Here I was, alone; and I deserved it.

‘Good luck.’ Reina whispered.

I smiled at her, then nodded.

As I walked towards them, I noted that they- a,ll of them, all had white shirts and blue skirts/trousers on. Had there been a dress code? Did they also, communicate with neighbor Hulk?

One of them, spoke up.

‘Lucy! So glad you could make it. Didn’t you get the message about the dress code? Well, your dress looks beautifully…different!’

As I looked on in dismay, I began to have palpitations.

I had ignored neighbor Hulk, and this, was not turning out well for me.

The others just looked on, and now that I look more closely, the disgust on their faces is way greater than the concern!

This, was clearly earth’s Mafia. Any surprise, that they communicated with Hulk, the suspected convener of the Mafia? I had to up my private investigation game!

Collins. This, was where Collins always came in.

The presentation had started well. I couldn’t guarantee however, that it would end well- for I was to be the last presenter.

As I fiddled with the edges of my silk orange gown, I finally stood up, for my time to present, had come.

I could literally feel the tons of eyes on me as I walked on- and though they neither booed nor threw objects at me, I instantly sensed that they would, if they could!

The minute I opened my mouth to speak, I began stuttering.

Visibly, I saw Hulk; packing my thoughts and holding them in the palm of his huge right hand.

I whispered, in despair, ‘Please’; until I started begging ‘Please!!!’ I screamed, at the top of my lungs.

The moderator of the presentation stood up, visibly angered.

‘Get her, out of here!’

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

A recap of the Teens and Kids Read premier event.

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A Nation without readers is one bound to fail. This is why Joyce Marcus, initiated the Kids And Teens Read (KATRead) platform recently. The platform aims at promoting reading culture among children and teenagers in different communities in Lagos. 
The event featured book reading, book conversation, interviews, question and answer sessions.
The Kids Reading segment was separated from that of teenagers.
The teenagers session, highlight was when a teenage author of the book, The Girl Who Loves Her City, Aishat Ibrahim, read her book and responded to questions raised from the book.
Aishat in the course of her reading addressed the need for people to accept and value their culture, using her tribe, Fulani as an instance.
Further, in chapter eighteen of the book which talks on corruption. Aishat said that ‘everyone is corrupt, we should search ourselves and work on it’ while one of the teenage participant who doesn’t want his name on print, in response insisted that not everyone is corrupt.
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In response, Joyce Marcus mentioned that ‘corruption cannot be totally eradicated but reduced to its minimum when people are adequately provided for’.
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When we say the event was a great success, we mean it. Ayodeji Faniyi, 9, in a brief interview said, ‘I enjoyed myself and I read five (5) books, myself and my brother came early’. While Olaoluwa Gbadewole,7, did request that his drink and snacks be exchanged for additional book to the ones given. Isn’t that great? 
Joyce Marcus in closing did talk about the need for children and teenagers to read as it will aid them any attain heights, she also stated that readers are always leaders.
The April edition is slated to hold at a library in Idimu-ikotun. We hope your children will attend. 

#WriterSpotlight – “Everyone has a story and I think the world is waiting to hear it.” Crystal Chigbu

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It is with great pleasure that we introduce today’s #WriterSpotlight guest. She recently released her first book, Irede…an unending story of hope, and she lets us into the entire process of writing, and publishing this fantastic book.

Enjoy her interview with us.

Hello Crystal. Please tell us about yourself.

I am a people lover driven by a strong desire to bring out the best in everyone I meet. I am crazy passionate about whatever I decide to do…some of my friends call me the ‘Passion Magnet ‘.

I currently serve as the Executive Director of Irede Foundation, an organisation founded to provide prosthetic limbs for child amputees. I am married to Zubby Chigbu, and we are blessed with two kids – Beulah and Eden.

Congratulations on the release of the Irede Book. Can you tell us why you decided to write it?

The story of Irede goes beyond a family faced with the decision to amputate their child, it’s about deep life lessons. For me it’s being able to share those life lessons beyond where my feet can take me. It’s the opportunity to create awareness on limb loss and disability around the world.

I am sometimes privileged to share my story with people and the maximum number of people have been a little above a thousand people at once and indirectly via social media to probably about 5,000 people. I know there are a lot more to reach and I believe the book will go farther than I can.

Why did you choose the title, ‘IREDE…An Unending Story of Hope?’

I am a person of faith and I believe you can only comfort with the comfort you have been comforted. The book is a memoir of hope that has come about as a result of the pain I have gone through.

I feel that what IREDE has done is to birth hope in so many people and it is continuous. I simply feel the title Unending story of hope captures it all.

Since the book was released, what has the reception been like?

I must say it has been amazing. Very Amazing. It’s gotten me excited.

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Writing a book is not an easy task. What was the writing experience like for you?

Hmm…The writing of the book took about three years. I cannot take all the credit for it because I had someone that basically transcribed all I had in my head to written form. Writing was also easy because of consistent journaling.

Did you face any challenges while you were writing the book and how were you able to overcome them?

I got tired along the way. I was a bit frustrated with not meeting my deadlines and the biggest was getting the print done in Nigeria. All of this I was able to overcome because I persisted. I told myself I will make it happen and I just kept at it .

What do you love most about being an author?

Working with a team. Writing goes beyond just writing down your stories or facts. For me it’s the synergy between the editor to graphics designer etc.

There is a general opinion that the reading culture in our country is poor. What are your thoughts about this?

It’s very true, the culture is bad but I think gradually we are getting around it. Educating children from when they are young makes it better.

Should we expect any other book from you in the future?

O yes! Couple of more books.

What advice do you have for someone who has a story to tell but is afraid to write it in a book?

Everyone has a story and I think the world is waiting to hear it. So stop stalling and put your pen to paper. You will keep getting better as you write.

To purchase a copy of Irede…An Unending Story of Hope, click here or watch this video. You can also send a text to 08052098130 .