#FeatureFriday – 5 Lessons I Learned From My Secondary School Days

I attended secondary school in Lagos, Nigeria in the 1990s. I have chosen to have very selective memories about my time there, so I dwell more on the memories of shared laughter and on the friends I made who I am still in touch with presently.

I will not dwell on the cutting of grass, the times I spent kneeling down for hours as punishment, nor on that senior girl who kept making me fetch water for her in her gigantic metal bucket which had no handle (I still remember her name).

No, I will not dwell on the negative memories.

Here are some lessons which I learned in secondary school which I have found to be relevant in my life as an adult:

Provision scarcity creates strange bedfellows.

I usually showed up to school with 1 ½-2 sets of provisions at the beginning of every term. You would have thought that by SS3, I would have learned my lesson and grown more economical with my consumption of milk and sugar, the holy grail of provisions.

This never happened.

By the middle of the term, I was often left with an awkward combination of Garri, Cornflakes and Bournvita; provisions which made more sense separately than as a combination.

During this period of provision scarcity, a few people were often labelled as being ‘friends-for-food’, meaning that they attached themselves to their fellow students who were fortunate enough to have surplus provisions throughout the term. The way I see it, they were merely forming strategic alliances to protect themselves from hunger.

Lessons learned: Save for a rainy day, and be strategic when forging alliances.

Keep your feelings to yourself.

So, you are a teenager who is experiencing puberty and a sudden awareness of the opposite sex. This is a very wonderful and normal experience, but one in which wisdom needs to be applied.

For me, I learned the hard way that just because you have a crush on a guy does not mean that you should tell anyone about it – that person you told might laugh at you behind your back, and make jokes with others at your expense.

Lesson learned: Secondary school kids are a cruel and judgmental bunch-but then, so are adults. Be wary about who you call your confidants.

Laughter can surface at inappropriate moments.

For some reason, everything in secondary school seemed so funny: the long queues to get food at the dining hall, the advances of a potential ‘toaster’, or the grammatical errors made by long-suffering teachers.

I cannot count the number of times when, as a junior student, I felt like bursting into laughter whilst being scolded by a senior student.

I really don’t know why this happened; I would feel the sensation of laughter building up inside me as the senior scolded me.

Luckily, I did not succumb to this instinct-my punishment for whatever crime I was guilty of would surely have doubled if I had laughed out loud.

Lesson learned: Try not to laugh when your boss is scolding you.

Nobody looks cool with a metal bucket.

The joy I felt when I graduated from my gigantic metal bucket to my first plastic bucket in SS1 was inexplicable. You would not realize the kind of “suffer-head” life that you are living until there is a period of water scarcity in your dormitory, and you have to walk quite a distance to the water reservoir to fetch your much needed water in your already heavy metal bucket.

If you were also toying with a ‘cool-person’ image, I can guarantee you that such an image would have evaporated as you gingerly carried your metal bucket full of water back to your dormitory (unless of course, a generous ‘toaster’ appeared from nowhere to help you carry your bucket).

Lesson learned: Do not buy a metal bucket. I repeat, do not buy a metal bucket.

Cutlasses were invented by the devil.

I cut my fair share of grass in secondary school, all in the name of ‘manual labour’. I am not sure if all that grass-cutting was supposed to teach me discipline and attention to detail.

All I learned was that my school was too cheap to pay for labourers to cut the never-ending growth of grass in the school’s premises and used us (the students) as free labour.

And the blisters I got…so many blisters.

The blisters were the end result of wielding dodgy cutlasses, which left my previously smooth hands blemished with painful welts.

Lesson learned: Unless you seriously enjoy the sensation of a cutlass digging into your hands, please pay someone else to cut your grass for you. Or buy a lawn mower.

What lessons did you learn in secondary school?

 

About Ivie:

Ivie Eke is a writer and NGO Professional who daydreams about constant electricity in Nigeria and mangoes. She writes poetry, stories and essays on her blog, 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.

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Blogging advice from top bloggers you need to be aware of

We welcome you to our blogging series. We hope you have been able to implement some of the tips we’ve shared so far and you’re seeing a difference. Today, we’ve curated some useful advice from top bloggers which we know you will find useful and also learn from. 

The Edit Button is Your Friend. No one is perfect. You will make mistakes. That’s why the edit button is there. As you write from your heart, make sure you also edit your post. There’s no excuse for not checking your grammar and spelling even after you hit ‘publish’. 

Schedule in Advance. Set out a few hours on a specific day, sit down, write your blog posts for a week and schedule. It’s one of the ways to beat writer’s block down the line and it’s a great way of making sure that you always have content on your blog. 

Be Mindful of What Happens Behind the Scenes. The fact that you just published your post does not mean that is the end of the story. There are things you still have to do. Encourage your friends to read your post. Share links on social media and get your friends to share those links. Go back to the post a few times to check for any comments and respond. Don’t disappear as soon as you publish your post.

From the Beginning, Be Serious. Take your blog seriously right from the moment you decide to create it. Do everything excellently from the content you post to the type of images you use. Imagine you are already making millions of dollars from your post and treat it that way. If you really love your blog, you will do all you can to make sure it is the best. 

Avoid Comparisons. You are not the next blogger. Both of you may be writing about the same thing, the look and feel of your blogs may be the same but you are two different people. Never lose sight of that. Focus on your goal. Focus on the value that you want to add and what you want your readers to get out of your blog. Let that be your driving force. It will take you to the top. 

Develop Your Community. Remember we told you not to disappear the moment you publish your post? Well, it’s because blogging is about community. Use your blog to build a community of loyal followers. You can do that by providing them with valuable advice and tips. You can share your successes and things that have worked with your followers. Reach out to know the issues they are facing and provide solutions if you can or direct them to where they can get solutions to those problems. 

Enjoy the Journey. Success from blogging is not something that happens in a day. The journey can sometimes be slow and time-consuming but it is nonetheless rewarding. You need to be patient. Yes, you only have 10 views at the moment but stick with it. That number will increase with consistency and time. The monetization, the comments, the page views, the social media numbers – they will all come eventually if you keep at it and you are dedicated.

Give your blog the best and you will get the best out of it. 

 

#WriterSpotlight – “Writing has taught me that nothing is impossible.” Chioma Anulika

Don’t you just love Thursdays on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub? It’s time for another wonderful #WriterSpotlight feature and today, we have Chioma Anulika Christine. She is a fantastic inspirational blogger who has learnt over the years that with writing, nothing is impossible. You will enjoy her interview with us. 

Hello Chioma. Can you please tell us about yourself in a few words?

My name is Chioma Anulika Christine. I run an inspirational and lifestyle blog called Anuli’s Blog. I am a writer, a content creator, a closet author, a weirdo and an introvert who finds inspiration in the most abnormal things.

When did you discover that you had a passion for writing and why did you decide to follow this passion?

I discovered my passion for writing as early as I started writing and reading. Boredom was one thing that made me realise how much I loved writing. My decision to follow this passion was not conscious. Writing made me happy so I continued doing it. Also, my parents and my brother, Joshua, were always pushing me forward. They always reminded me that what I could do was special.

Can you tell us what you love most about writing?

I love how writing gives me the ability to create a new world and be imaginative. I also love the fact that I can pass my message across with my words. Writing has served and is still serving as an escape when I find myself stuck in a place I do not want to be.

Your writing is centred around your faith and inspiring people. Why did you decide to go in this direction?

This was not a conscious decision. My faith is something that I am constantly growing and sharing always made me feel like I was doing good by God and that feeling cannot be traded for anything. I always want to make my writing a reflection of myself and sharing certain situations and phases my life has gone through and how I have been able to get through them makes me feel like I am also helping someone else.

What is the most important lesson writing has taught you?

Writing has taught me that nothing is impossible. Writing has taught me that we do not have to always use our mouth to speak, writing can speak for us.

In what ways have you grown over the years as a writer?

I have grown tremendously with my expression and interaction and being able to channel my thoughts properly before putting them into words. When I was growing into writing, I never put these things into consideration, I just wrote as I pleased. Writing for this long has made me realise the various aspects and just how broad writing is.

You inspire people a lot. Have you ever reached a point where you struggled to find inspiration? How did you handle it?

It feels great to hear that I inspire people. Yes, I have reached several points where I struggled to find inspiration. I just recently went through a phase and it was the most difficult compared to the others. I didn’t feel the happiness I used to and it made me really depressed. It took a while for me to find my way back but God helped me a lot. I had series of quiet time with God and with myself and I remember one thing I always asked God and it was that He should remind me why I loved writing so much and why I derived joy from inspiring people and He helped a lot. I also read a lot because reading has been one major point of inspiration for me.

What will you say has been your biggest achievement as a writer so far?

That would be the Inspire Week. The Inspire Week is a 7-day inspirational programme where 7 different statements are being emphasised on to inspire. We just got done with the second inspire week and this one was much bigger than I could have imagined. The first inspire week was a struggle and with help from my friend Dami and my sister, Esther, I could pull through. For the second, I had more company of seven other bloggers (Didi, Dami, Kemi, Feyi, Emeka, Nnamdi and Elizabeth), and they made the journey amazing.

Where would you like writing to take you in the future?

I want to be an inspirational figure and one sure way to do that is with my writing. I never want to stop inspiring with my words.

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

Never let the wave of the world or the trend determine your message. A lot of times, we hold back because we fear the world’s reaction to what we preach but mostly, what the world says does not matter. Be real, don’t contradict your message because you fear displeasing people. Not everyone would agree with what you must say but do not let that change your message.

#WordOfTheDay – Guess what ‘Complaisant’ means…

It’s Wednesday and you know it’s time to learn a new word on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub blog 🙂 Are you ready?

The word we have for today is ‘Complaisant’. Pronounced [kəmˈpleɪz(ə)nt], Complaisant means to be willing to please others or to accept what they do or say without protest. This word should not be confused with ‘Complacent’ which means something totally different. 

Words that are similar to ‘Complaisant’ include willing, agreeable, accommodating, obliging, conformable, docile, assenting. 

Here’s how to use it in a sentence;

  1. This is the most complaisant child I’ve ever met.
  2. He went to join his apparently complaisant wife for Christmas.

Find ways to use this word in a sentence this week. See you next week when we will have a new word for you.

#GrammarSeries – 10 common phrases that need to be retired

Hello Sparkle Writers! It’s another #GrammarSeries.

Are you ready to learn something new? Well, it is not something new per se. We want to teach you how to add a bit of variety to your writing by replacing some commonly used phrases that have now become boring. 

Here are 10 of such phrases and what you can use to replace them. 

According to. 

You can use the following to replace ‘According to’;

  • In line with 
  • In keeping with
  • As reported in/by
  • As said/ stated in/by
  • On the word of
  • In consonance with

As you can see.

This phrase is just too common. Try replacing it with any of the following;

  • Obviously
  • Evidently
  • Therefore
  • As shown
  • As demonstrated
  • It is easy to see

For example.

This phrase has been programmed into our minds since primary school. Here are other phrases to use in it’s place;

  • Such as
  • For instance
  • In a similar case
  • To illustrate
  • Especially 
  • In addition to
  • Namely 
  • This includes

I don’t like it. 

If you don’t like something, you can say this;

  • That’s not for it
  • I’m not into it
  • I dislike it
  • I’m not fond of it
  • I’m not a big fan of it
  • I don’t appreciate that 

In conclusion.

You’ve said this many times right? Here are some suitable alternatives;

  • In summary
  • All in all
  • To sum up
  • In closing
  • Overall, it may be said
  • All things considered

On the other hand.

This is what you can use instead of ‘On the other hand’;

  • Otherwise
  • However
  • In any case
  • Alternatively 
  • That being said
  • Nonetheless
  • Having said that
  • In contrast 

I don’t know. 

This is the easiest thing to say when you don’t know something but we have some other phrases for you;

  • I don’t have a clue
  • I’m not sure
  • I have no idea
  • I’m unsure
  • Search me

We hope you’ll use some of these phrases 🙂 

10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Deciding to Write a Novel

Hey Sparkle Writers!

We stumbled on this insightful article on Joanne Guidoccio’s website and we just had to share it. It’s about the 10 things author Julie Doherty wish she had known before deciding to write a novel. There are too many nuggets of wisdom to be gleaned from it. 

  1. IT IS A CRAFT THAT MUST BE LEARNED AND PRACTICED

Confession time: I am not, and never have been, an insatiable reader. As a child, I loved Ingalls-Wilder’s LITTLE HOUSE series, and in my teens, I discovered the Brontës and Jane Austen. Our family had little money, though, to spend on books, and I rarely thought about using the school library for fun reading. The library was only a place to study, copy stuff verbatim out of encyclopedias, and ogle the smart boys.

I’ve been a storyteller my whole life, though, so when someone suggested I write a book, I thought, Why not? How hard can it be?

Um, it’s pretty hard, and it might surprise you (like it surprised me) to learn that you don’t just sit down and fluidly pen a story. There’s a craft to it, something a practiced reader knows intuitively from the many hours spent with a book in her hands.

My first completed novel was a disaster, but that didn’t stop me from querying every agent and publisher in Jeff Herman’s “Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents.” Amid the rejections stuffed daily into my mailbox was the response of one agent who’d written notes in the margins of my submission. “Head hopping . . . Whose POV are we in?”

WHAT? I knew then there was more to writing a novel than merely telling a story. I began anew, picked up every how-to book I could get my hands on, and—TA DA!—I started reading. I’m glad I did. Every book, good and terrible, teaches me something.

  1. WRITING TAKES A LOT OF TIME

Pick up any book and look at the page. See those words? Yeah, those made it into the final product. For every one of them, there were buckets of others that didn’t. Still, someone wrote all of them, and that took time, the one thing most writers lack.

If you want to write books, you have to carve time out of your day to do it. If you have a day job or a family, this can be problematic. You might need to sacrifice sleep, lunch hours, even picnics, family reunions, your favorite television shows, and . . . clean pants. Eventually, your loved ones will complain, and you’ll need to figure out how to balance your real life with your dream. When you do, email me your secret. My husband is starting to complain about the scant fare at our establishment.

  1. YOU WILL FACE REJECTION

Repeatedly. So much, in fact, that you will begin to think you should throw your laptop off a cliff (with you still holding it) and give up writing forever. Don’t. They are a necessary part of your journey, because they force you to reevaluate. Should you be lucky enough to receive a rejection that offers more than “Sorry, not for us,” see it as the gold it is. Even though it’s a rejection, the agent or editor who sent it saw something in your writing that made her want to personalize her response and maybe even give you some direction. That’s a foot in the door. Wedge your size 8.5 stiletto in there and pry that baby open. Use every bit of hope as fuel, make adjustments, and one day, you’ll have a contract.

  1. A CRITIQUE PARTNER IS AS NECESSARY AS BREATHING

It can be hard to show your work to someone, and even harder to have it returned with red marks all over it. But a good, honest critique partner is something you can’t live without. You need that second set of eyes. A regular critique partner will know you and your work so well she’ll even tell you when you’re straying from your voice.

You will need to review your buddy’s work, as well. A lot of us struggle with this, because we don’t like to hurt feelings, or we think we aren’t good enough to offer anyone advice. You have to get over this quickly. Comments on another’s work aren’t a personal attack, and you can word them nicely. “While this is a great sentence, I think it might read better without so many adjectives.” You may find that critiquing another’s work is one of the best ways of learning what works, and what doesn’t.

  1. UNLESS YOU WRITE A BREAKOUT NOVEL, THERE WILL BE NO LONG LINES OF READERS WAITING TO SEE YOU AT THE BOOKSTORE

This should be your ultimate dream, but the odds of it happening on your first try are pretty slim. You will have book signings, but they’ll be sparsely attended, and mostly by your family. They are wonderful just the same.

  1. MOST OF THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU WILL SEE YOUR WRITING AS A HOBBY

Until my first contract, just about everyone I know saw my writing as a hobby. This can be a downer and make it hard to stay focused. It also means fighting for your writing time, since those around you will ignore the boundaries you try to set. You need to believe, though, because if you don’t believe, who will?

  1. WHEN YOUR NOVEL DEBUTS, YOU’LL THINK YOU’VE MADE IT

And you have! Sort of. But because you’re freshly published, you won’t understand that now the real work begins!

  1. YOU’LL SPEND AS MUCH TIME MARKETING AS YOU DO WRITING

Unless you land a contract with one of the biggies, you can expect to market your own books. Small presses do what they can, but it’s not much. Your release will debut and sales will be pretty good, because everybody who loves you will support you with a sale. You’ll relax and start calculating how many books you will sell in a year based upon the current rate, and it will be exciting! You’ll allow yourself to think about that old dream again, the one with the huge line waiting to see you at bookstores. Unfortunately, around the three-month mark, if you’ve done no marketing, your book will start slipping in rank, and several months later, you’ll realize you need to get the paddles out and yell, “Clear!” to find your book’s heartbeat again.

I’m at this point now with my debut novel. I’ve done two blog tours, advertised online, sent press releases off to local papers, visited my local library, dropped off cards just about everywhere I can think of, purchased a Google Adwords campaign, Tweeted, Facebooked, blogged . . . it wears a writer down. But by your second book, you’ll have figured out what works (and what doesn’t), so you’ll be smarter and less burdened next time.

  1. YOU WILL GET BAD REVIEWS

I was not prepared for how deeply my first bad review would affect me. No joke, it sent me to therapy and nearly ended my marriage. It wasn’t so much the content of the review, which was quite positive in parts. It was the way in which it was delivered, and it was, after all, my first.

The thing about a book (even yours) is that not everyone will love it. If you don’t believe me, look up your all-time favorite book on Goodreads or Amazon and check out the 1-star reviews. Those people hated the book you love.

When you get your first bad review, you will want to defend yourself and your work. Don’t. And don’t let Aunt Freda defend you, either. This will be hard, because it will seem like some of the reviewers either didn’t read—or skimmed—your book.

Remember why you write. Is it for praise? No, it’s because you love telling stories. So, tell them. If praise comes as a result, smile and strut around for a while. If not, consider whether there’s anything valuable in the critical reviews and then get back to your work-in-progress.

  1. YOU WILL STRUGGLE

If you’ve read 1-9 above, then it should be clear that the road to publication is a bouncy one. You’ll tire of working non-stop for little return. You’ll miss your family, clean clothes, a tidy house, and cupboards that are filled with food, not research papers and writing books. You’ll look at the money and time you spend on your dream and wonder if it’s really worth it. Someone will post a bad review and you’ll throw your stack of unread “Romance Writers Reports” against the dining room wall. That’s it! You’re quitting! You’ll storm out of the house and go for a walk and a good, long cry. Halfway around the park, you’ll notice young parents sitting on bleachers watching Little League practice. The guy on the top row isn’t watching his son. He’s watching the single mom three rows down. And your mind begins to wonder . . . will he ever get the nerve to ask her out?

And then you know. You’re infected. Diagnosis: terminal writer.

10 things your blog needs to attract more readers

We know you love blogging. You get to pour your heart out and write about things you love. 

However, what the point of writing day in day out if no one is reading the awesome things you are writing. As you post consistently on your blog, you must also think about steps you can take to increase your blog’s traffic. 

We have 10 things you can do today if you want more people to be attracted to your blog. Take a look at the list and implement a few of them as soon as possible. Your blog will thank you. 

1. Have a clear brand. Yes, your blog is a brand and that brand must shine through with every post. Pay attention to brand elements such as colour, design of images, writing style, tone etc. 

2. Meet the needs of your ideal reader. Don’t forget your reader. Make sure they actually find your blog worth visiting and reading. 

3. Sort out the tech stuff. Your blog needs to be responsive and mobile friendly. It’s 2017. We don’t need to say more. 

4. Work on your homepage. A drab homepage will drive readers away. Spend a bit of time working on your homepage. Use eye-catching images and some fun words/ phrases on your home page. 

5. Easy to navigate. Your readers should not struggle to search for things on your blog. Life is already stressful. No one wants to come online to be more stressed. 

6. Access to previous posts. If your readers want to read your old posts, you should make it as easy as possible for them to find those posts. Have a neat archive for your posts that is visible. 

7. Don’t be all over the place. Your blog should be simple. Messy blogs are tedious to read. It’s like too much is going on at once. Keep it as simple as possible. 

8. The comment section. Make it easy for your readers to leave a comment. No one wants to climb a mountain just because they want to drop a comment on your blog. 

9. Add some variety. Your content shouldn’t be the same day in day out. Switch things up. Use video, memes, quotes and guest posts to make your blog more interesting.

10. Contact page. Wondering why this is there? What if someone wants to contact you to offer you a big opportunity or a really big platform wants to feature your content on their site, how will they contact you? Create a contact page on your blog and include your contact details. You might want to limit this to your email alone so you don’t begin to have stalkers. 

We hope you can begin to implement some of these tips as soon as possible. 

 

#WriterSpotlight – “Being a writer means that you must continue to reinvent yourself.” Akinola Ajani

It’s Thursday and it’s time for another #WriterSpotlight feature! Today we have Akinola Ajani who is the author of the first Nigerian counter-terrorism novel. How cool is that? What’s more amazing is the fact that his books are sold in popular bookstores across the UK like Waterstones and WH Smith. We don’t know about you but we were definitely eager to find out how he was able to achieve this. He bares it all in his interview with us! 

Hello Akinola, please introduce yourself.

I’m Akinola Ajani, a Nigerian author, freelance writer, and poet, the author of Nigeria’s first counter-terrorism novel Operation Game Change published in March 2014.

When did you start writing and how has your writing evolved over the years?

I started writing when I was eleven years old. Most of the stories were fables told to me by my grandfather who was a master storyteller. I honed my craft over the years, improving my creative imagination and my understanding of the language through constant practice. I started out writing about past events and personal experiences but I’m more of a fiction writer now as I find more fulfillment in exploring the boundless limits of my imagination

How rewarding has writing been for you?

Writing has been quite rewarding, there are lots of opportunities to work as a freelance writer and earn a substantial income. There are domestic and international contests with attractive prizes and strategic publishing with the right marketing angle can yield amazing rewards financially. Being a writer means that you must continue to reinvent yourself, what it means to be a writer today is a lot different from what it meant a decade ago.

Do you think you were born to be a writer?

I would say I was born to be a writer but it’s not that straightforward. Writing is not just a profession, it is a calling. There is a strong bond between myself and my pen, so profound that nothing can get in the way.

Your book ‘Operation Game Change’ is a counter-terrorism novel. Why did you choose to write on this subject?

Operation Game Change is Nigeria’s first counter-terrorism novel and I wrote it at a time when Nigeria was struggling to cope with the scourge of terrorism in the north-east. As a country, we had little experience in dealing with terrorists and we found ourselves in an embarrassing situation with terrorists able to hit targets that were hitherto thought to be secure. We didn’t respond well because we didn’t know how to. Our armed forces are better suited to open warfare against known enemies and terrorism is the direct opposite. Terrorists fare better in urban warfare, small unit tactics and covert operations. I looked at the situation and saw the need to take a page out of the sustained counter-terrorism campaigns carried out by the countries like the United States in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, disaster. The role of technology in fighting corruption cannot be overemphasized as it helps to gather intel and stay one step ahead of the enemy. In Operation Game Change, I proffered solutions to the menace of terrorism and pointed out some of the angles that require more attention as far as Nigeria’s counter-terrorism strategy is concerned

How has the reception for your book been?

The book has been well received in some quarters but domestically, the reception leaves quite a lot to be desired. Operation Game Change was well received in France and the United Kingdom and I have positive feedback from fans in those regions.

How much did reading help shape your love for writing?

Reading has played perhaps the biggest role in my writing career to date. There is a lesson in every story, every writer shares a piece of their soul in their stories and that can open your eyes to better create your own. A book allows you to go into the writer’s mind and marvel at their creativity while picking up bits that can help you write in a different way or improve your understanding of grammar, expand your vocabulary or give you a better picture of certain things that you can call on from your subconscious when you’re writing. I feel compelled to try to write stories as compelling and engaging as some of the books I have read and I’m still trying to outdo some of my role models.

Tell us three ways social media has helped your writing career?

Social media has helped my writing career in a number of ways. It gives me access to platforms where I can meet other writers and form short-term and long-term professional relationships. It also provides avenues to learn more about writing on relevant blogs and websites. It serves as an information hub where I learn about current writing contests, freelance writing opportunities, and publishing packages.

What do you love most about being an author?

Being an author gives me the opportunity to talk about my book and its subject matter on many online and offline platforms. It is a privilege to be regarded as an expert on a particular issue and a lot of people are willing to listen to what I have to say about terrorism in Nigeria and writing in general. It also opens doors to connect with other authors.

How easy was it for you to find a publisher and what was your experience like?

It was quite easy to find a publisher as I belong to an international writing platform that makes it easy to reach publishers. The experience was quite interesting as it opened my eyes to the inner workings of professional publishing. I had a consultant for every aspect of the book from interior design to marketing, cover creation, and final printing.

Who are your favourite authors and why?

My favourite authors are Mario Puzo, Nora Roberts, and Chimamanda Adichie. Mario Puzo’s books depict an intriguing yet undeniably dangerous time in history and his masterful storytelling transforms the Italian mafia from a criminal cartel to a folklore reference point. Nora Roberts writes with the ease of a graceful Olympic swimmer, she maintains the flow from beginning to the end. Chimamanda Adichie’s wit is as impressive as her courage and undeniable fondness for her roots and the stories that make Africa what it truly is.

What has writing taught you?

Writing shows me that I can live twice; in the moment and in retrospect. I can live three, four lives in the same story and end up dead in all of them. It taught me that I can’t control a story entirely without the characters getting in the way. Writing also showed me that words can make you feel things you didn’t even know existed. You can close your eyes to the things you don’t want to see but you can’t close your heart, your feelings know you better than anything else.

If you could change three things about Nigeria through your pen what would they be?

If I could change three things with my pen in Nigeria, I would say Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, and Corruption.

What do you love about The Sparkle Writers Hub?

The Sparkle Writers Hub is a platform that constantly seeks to improve writers by exposing them to the various aspects of the profession. It brings writers closer to their writing goals and encourages them to keep going despite the odds against them. Its mission is to equip writers as much as possible to enable them to maximise the rewards and opportunities available in the writing profession.

What’s your advice to somebody who loves to write but doesn’t know how to start?

It is important to remember that there will always be better writers out there but nobody else has lived your life and the world deserves to hear your story. Writing requires courage and sometimes, self-doubt is a difficult obstacle to surmount but we’re all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master and that includes you.

Akinola’s book, Operation Game Change, can be purchased from Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, Ebay, Indigo, WH Smith, and Amazon.

 

If you know any writer who you feel should be featured on our #WriterSpotlight segment or you are that writer, please send an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com. 

#WordOfTheDay – This is what ‘Chicanery’ means

It’s time to learn a new word on The Sparkle Writers Hub!

Today’s word has a very interesting meaning and the word is ‘Chicanery’.

Pronounced \-ˈkān-rē, -ˈkā-nə-\, Chicanery means clever, dishonest talk or behaviour that is used to deceive people.

Here’s how to use it in a sentence;

  1. He wasn’t above using chicanery to win votes.

  2. That candidate only won the election through chicanery

Pretty easy right? Try using it in a sentence today. 

Say Goodbye to Writer’s Block

Hello, Sparkle Writers! 

We are so excited about our writing class coming up on Saturday 1st July and we hope you’ll find it useful. 

Before we talk about the class, let’s tell you why we decided to have it. 

One thing writers complain about when they reach out to us (or during their coaching sessions with our writing coach) is their struggle with writer’s block. Oh, writer’s block. It has limited so many writers from reaching the pinnacle of their talent. 

We’ve provided certain tips on our blog to help writers deal with writer’s block and we have also given one on one advice but do you know what? There is nothing like putting into practice the tried and tested tips for overcoming writer’s block. 

And that’s why we are having this class at The Sparkle Writers Hub. 

You are going to learn how to overcome writer’s block in the most practical and fun way possible. This is not a workshop. It’s a time to exercise your writing muscles and beat writer’s block!

Now that we’ve said that, here are all the details you need to know about the writing class. 

Theme – Exercise Your Writing Muscles and Beat Writer’s Block

Date – Saturday 1st July

Time – 11 am

Fee – N3,500

Venue – Will be sent to confirmed participants.

To book a seat, please send an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com. There is no deadline for registration but once all the seats are taken, we will stop accepting bookings.

Don’t be left out and see you soon!