Weird blogging tips that actually work.

Medieval.jpg

You may have heard some of these tips before and others may sound strange to you but trust us when we say they work. We found them on Marc’s blog and we instantly thought to share with you.

  • Never wait until it is time to blog before penning down ideas that come to you as you go about your normal activities. Document them as they come so you would have what to always blog about. Some bloggers would have ideas and feel its not time to jot them down because they are not supposed to blog today! Stop that from now.
  • Have you ever thought about doing a post about Google? This is no joke because it works. Google loves when you talk about her and will make sure your blog comes up during a search.
  • Get Google Authorship. When someone searches your name, a box with your picture and latest Google Plus post will appear to the right. Google Authorship is a way to link content you create with a Google+ profile. 
  • Review products on Amazon. Millions of people visit Amazon, and one of the products you like may only have 50 reviews. People hear your honest opinion, and as you review more products, people will see you more often. As people see you more often, they will want to learn more about you. Then, they find your blog.

How did you find these tips? Try them and let us know which one works for you.

Advertisements

#WriterSpotlight – “Everyone has a story. Don’t be afraid to share yours.” Affiong Ene-Obong

IMG_20160130_194429

There’s something powerful about a writer who has a WHY! We love Affiong Ene-Obong because she knows why she writes and the reason is powerful. Find out in today’s #WriterSpotlight.

Hello Affiong, please introduce yourself

I’m Affiong Ene-Obong, a lawyer, author, poet and content creator. I’m a young lady who earnestly desires to inspire, impact and transform lives with my talents, spreading light and love across the world. I’m a member of The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Rivers State Chapter, Poets In Nigeria (PIN) and member of The Sea View Poetry Club, Port Harcourt. I’m an advocate for young people living with disabilities. My first book, ‘A Life Called Forever’ is a collection of inspirational poems beautifully written to inspire, impact and transform lives; spurring others to live their best lives amidst life struggles, obstacles and detours. My second book; a debut novel encourages women and kids with special needs to live their best lives giving them love, wings and showing them their roots.

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

I discovered I had a passion for writing as a child. I had beautifully written essays and I was commended for my effort so I decided to hone my craft.

You authored the book ‘A Life Called Forever.’ What inspired this book?

My book, ‘A Life Called Forever’ was inspired by my earnest desire to fulfill God’s purpose for my life. I told Him to write His stories on my heart so I could share with the world.  The poems were composed to spread His light and love across through the words He gave me.

I write for those who see light in words and hope in my self- expression. In my opinion, writing is an act of faith and not a trick on grammar. Everyone has a story. The art of writing gives anyone the ability to express oneself freely, sharing stories with anyone, anywhere and that’s what I love.

What challenges did you think you were not prepared for in the process of putting this book together?

The challenges were minimal but with perseverance, I pulled through. I was determined to share stories with the world.

unnamed

What do you love most about writing?

I have been able to share my stories with the world and lives have been transformed to the glory of God. Writing has become not just a passion, but a medium of communication. Writing has grown in leaps and bounds over the years because I haven’t stopped learning and improving.

What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

My dream as a writer is to inspire impact and transform lives with words and ultimately make the world a better place.

Do you think you will ever retire from writing?

Writing is a passion, it’s a gift. I live to write; I write to live.

Aside from witing, what are your other hobbies?

Aside from writing, I like researching, editing, singing, studying and I’m an art enthusiast.

What do you love about The Sparkle Writers Hub?

The Sparkle Writers Hub is a platform for writers to hone their craft, connect with others, learn and grow. Sparkle Writers Hub coaches, trains and motivates and encourages writers to believe in the talents they possess.

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

Everyone has a story. Don’t be afraid to share your stories. The world wants to hear your voice and your words could be louder than your voice. 

 

 

#WordOfTheDay – Learn what Quaggy means

Medieval(3).jpg

Hello Sparkle Writers, we hope you’ve been using the new words on this section of the blog? Today’s word is “Quaggy” pronounced / KWAG-ee/.

Can you guess what it means?

It is an adjective that describes the nature of something. It could mean marshy, flabby or spongy.

The word originated from the word “quag” (marsh) which has an unknown origin.

Look at these examples:

Ariana playfully poked at her grandfather’s quaggy belly.

The soil in our garden has a quaggy feeling when touched.

We would love to see your own sentences using this word. Drop them in the comment box!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WritingQuote – If you want to write you won’t find the time, you will make the time

Medieval(2).jpg

“Finish the damn book. You don’t know what you have until you’ve finished it. You don’t know how to fix it until it’s all down on the page. There is no magical motivation fairy. Success is 10% talent, 10% luck, and 80% blood, sweat, tears and determination.  If you want to write you won’t find the time, you will make the time.”                        Lauren Beukes,  Author of Broken Monster.

Lauren gives it to you straight from the heart and we absolutely love that about her!

First, if you do not actually write and finish your book, all you have is NOTHING. It is when you sit down to write that you have SOMETHING that you can fix and tweak. You can’t edit what is not written down already.

Secondly, there is no such thing as a magical motivation fairy. You have got to learn how to speak to yourself and encourage yourself really. You know we say this, ALL THE TIME.

Thirdly, talent is just a small part of the jigsaw puzzle when it comes to writing. The bulk of the puzzle is “blood, sweat and determination.” The process is not going to be all rosy.

Finally, there is never going to be enough time. All we have is twenty four hours. We know you wish we had thirty six hours in a day, don’t we all do? Sadly, that is never going to happen. Just like Lauren says, if you really want to write, you will not “find the time.” You would have to “make the time.”

PS: Lauren wrote her novel at night when she had a three-month old daughter and a full time job. You absolutely have no excuse!

 

#PickOfTheWeek – Life is in seasons

Medieval

Hey Sparkle Writers, it has been months since we started the #PickOfTheWeek  segment on the blog and it’s been amazing.

Like other Tuesday’s we have four amazing writers from instagram whose posts will be featured today.  Let us know what you think.

The first post is by Hannah and she strikes the right chords talking about one sided love.  It can be heart breaking when you are giving all you’ve got and you’re not getting any response.

farmto table(5)

 

 

True! Every thing that seems impossible and stressful will soon be in the past. All we’ve got to do is hold on. Thank you Mercy for this.   farmto table(4) 

Hussaynes gives us some much needed advice in this post. One of the reasons our relationships are not working is because we’ve not taken out time to understand people.

farmto table(3)  This post helps to buttress the previous one in a unique way. We don’t have to think alike to have fun. Do things your way and enjoy yourself while you’re at it.farmto table(2)

#GrammarSeries – Pronouns are more important than you think

Medieval.png

Can you imagine a world without pronouns? It sure will be full of repetitions.

Pronouns are words that stand in place of nouns like “Sola” in the example below.

Imagine reading a book completely devoid of pronouns. It will sound like this:

Sola went home from school this afternoon. After Sola got home, Sola quickly raced up the stairs to greet Sola’s mother before stepping into Sola’s room.

Books will be all shades of awkward if this is how they are being written. Thank God for pronouns.

We would be looking at Possessive pronouns today.

Possessive pronouns, like the name suggests, are used to show possession or ownership of properties, things as well as people. Examples are; yours, mine, hers, theirs, his, ours, its.

It is very vital to note here that these possessive pronouns do not have apostrophes like her’s or our’s.

Here are a few examples:

The lady is mine.

That dog is ours.

The field belongs to Ogunleyes. Therefore, it is theirs.

Its cage was beyond redemption.

My name is Precious. What is yours?

That lovely dress is hers.

The leather belt is his.

 

Writing is a craft; treat it as such

Medieval

Do you know that there has always been this argument about the difference between art and craft? Well, it has often been said that writing cannot fall into the category of craft because it does not produce something tangible like pottery, sculpting and wood-carving would produce.

It has also been mentioned that art comes as a result of a person’s innate talent while skill in craft can be acquired with experience. How wrong! 

You see, writing is art and craft all at the same time. It is true that writing, irrespective of whatever genre, first begins with your innate talent. However, it does not end there.  You’ve got to put in the work. Someone who carves wood for instance becomes skilled with experience. No wood carver becomes a legend overnight, irrespective of how talented he or she maybe. It takes time, lots of work, practice and experience to become a better crafts-person. The same happens with writing. Don’t see yourself as someone who just puts down whatever he feels like. You are a skilled person, setting hearts free, bringing joy and hope with your words.

It is high time you began seeing your writing as a craft. When you do this, it takes on a new shape. It becomes something tangible. You begin to see yourself as a crafts-person using his or her tools, which in this case are not concrete, to carve out images that people can relate with.

How do you get to that point where your writing becomes so tangible and real that your audience can almost touch your message? The answer is to keep writing to gain mastery of your craft.

One thing you should always remember is this: it is a good thing to be a talented writer. However, without practice and determination, you will never be a skilled crafts-person. Talent is just never enough.

Here’s a sneak peek of the cover of Nnedi Okorafor’s new release – Sunny and the Mysteries of Osisi

Cassava Republic Press recently revealed the cover for the African and European edition of Sunny and the Mysteries of Osisi by award-winning fantasy writer Nnedi Okorafor and we are totally in love with it.

Designed by Anna Morrison, this arresting cover is a rich blue, flecked with gold, that hints at the magic within the books pages. The sophisticated design and mix of colours will appeal not only to a YA audience, but to adults as well. At the centre of the cover is a beautiful image of Sunny in profile, illustrated by Greg Ruth, which showcases Sunny’s hidden strength. Layered over the image are Nsibidi symbols and a mysterious red spider, whose significance will become clear as the book unfolds.

The spellbinding sequel to What Sunny Saw in the Flames, published as the Akata Witch series in the USA takes us one year into the future, as 13-year-old Sunny Nwazue continues her juju training in Leopard Knocks, a city in Nigeria inhabited by magic wielders. With the help of her friends and her mentor, Sugar Cream, Sunny must harness her newly discovered powers to defeat Ekwensu, a terrifying lake monster who is determined to usher in the apocalypse. If that wasn’t complicated enough, Sunny must do all of this without revealing her true identity to her family.

We sure can’t wait to grab a copy of the second installment of the YA fantasy series!

Google Analytics explained

 Meaning pf wpebegone (4).png

If you are a blogger and you do not know just how important Google Analytics is for your blogging thank us later. Google Analytics is a super important tool for any blogger. We know you may have heard people raving about it but this post will tell you how it can help.

If you’ve not taken it seriously before now, you need to change your ways and this is why. 

Google Analytics helps you to: 

  •  Track down daily and monthly visitors to your blog.
  • Track the time spent by visitors on your blog.
  • Track how quickly audience leave your blog.
  • Provide information on the trending keywords among your target audience.
  • Track the channel trough which traffic is generated to your blog.

Generally, Google Analytics is a necessary tool for monitoring the overall performance of your blog as well as traffic. Knowing all of the above information can help you as a blogger to improve the quality and performance of your blog thereby increasing its visibility on the web.

If you have not gotten a lot of traction on your blog maybe you should employ Google Analytics to help. It gives you raw data you can work with. 

 

#WriterSpotlight – “Share the message. If you err, try again.” Tomilade Olugbemi

unnamed  

Today on Writer Spotlight, we have the prolific poet, Tomilade Olugbemi. In our interview with him, he talks to us about how he developed the passion for writing and where he gets his inspiration from.

Enjoy.

Hello Tomilade. Can you please describe yourself in a few words?

Writer. Rewriter. Poet. Shy.

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

I was twelve or thirteen. I fell in love with poetry somewhere between rap music and writing a poem for an English Language assignment. Why follow it? I’m really not sure. I guess I followed my instincts.

Can you tell us what you love most about being a writer?

It can be exhilarating when it is not frustrating. The potential of creating stuff with words gets my blood flowing. It is the only uncertainty that doesn’t constantly torment me: a place for my other uncertainties. I also like that the work inspires, tickles, heals and sometimes, terrifies people.

Why did you decide to put your poems together into ‘Love is not a tempest?’

It wasn’t exactly a putting-together of poems. Most of the poems were written specifically for the chapbook. I spend an inordinate amount of time in my mind, battling doubt, anxiety and all their friends. I was in a place where I needed to transfer all that angst into something. A chapbook seemed like a good idea so I started writing the poems on a whim.

Since you released the book what has the reaction been like?

I have a limited sample size but it’s been well received. A handful of people relate to many of the poems and that makes me happy. We write for ourselves, and I certainly did that, but we also write for others. It’s always such a joy when anyone reads my work. I don’t take it for granted.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I am inspired by a great number of things: a nagging need to write, people and their lives, music, other people’s work, etc. There is, however, no greater inspiration than one’s own worldview and experiences.

What is the most important lesson writing has taught you? 

Nothing consequential comes to mind. It has probably made me more curious and taught me a lesson or two in patience.

Which author (dead or alive) would love to spend a day with if given a chance?

Only one? Sylvia Plath

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

I think writing, at least my writing, is mostly trial and error. It’s a cliché but I’ll advise them to just do it. Share the message. Try. If you err, try again. I dislike some of my work in retrospect. But without them, I’d have no barometer for progress or lack thereof.