#ChroniclesOfAWriter – Once upon a time, my dream was to write for Financial Times

Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

If you’ve been following my #ChroniclesOfAWriter posts, you’d know by now that being a writer wasn’t exactly part of my plans for what I wanted to achieve in life. I used to write for the sake of it.

When I eventually realized that this was what God has called me to do, the only way it made sense to me was if I was writing for Financial Times or maybe Forbes.

That was my measure of success. Financial Times.

Back then when I was a Staff Writer, people used to tell me how amazing the work I did was. Such comments flew over my head. I wasn’t writing for Financial Times so what’s the big deal?

I remember a discussion with a young lady. She had been impacted by the stories shared on a writing series that I managed. She showed me many comments from people who mentioned how something they read resonated with them or transformed them.

I nodded. I wasn’t thrilled to be honest. It didn’t mean much to me because I wasn’t writing for Financial Times. As far as I was concerned, I hadn’t arrived yet because…you know it; Financial Times was not yet in the picture!

My perspective changed in 2014 when God asked me to start my personal blog.

I was quite reluctant to do so. Why would I want to share my life with the whole world??? But I obeyed and I started to share my thoughts, musings and experience in life.

My followers gradually increased.

One comment here telling me how what I wrote was the person’s current experience and my post brought hope; another comment there saying, “Thank you for sharing this. I needed this.”

It continued.

And then my measure of success began to change.

I didn’t need to be a writer for Financial Times before I could be called a successful writer. My success comes from the amount of people I am able to bless through the things I write. 

When my perspective changed, writing became more rewarding for me. Oh the joy I get when I know something I wrote helped someone in one way or the other. Money cannot buy it.

I want to ask you; what’s your measure of success as a writer?

Don’t get me wrong. I want to make money just like you but money isn’t my motivating factor. For example, I am not writing this because I want to make money. I am writing it to let at least one person know that there is a greater purpose for the beautiful writing gift that they have.

The fact that you have not yet made much money from writing does not mean that you are not a successful writer.

The fact that no big website or magazine has published your work yet isn’t proof that you have failed as a writer.

If one person can stand and say, “Because of *insert your name’s* article/post/book, my life has been changed positively,” then you my friend are a successful writer.

Let that be at the back of your mind always.

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#ChroniclesOfAWriter – Do not be afraid to shine

Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

About a year and a half ago, I was called to manage a research project for a big client. I had to go for an interview to get the job. The person who called felt it was something I could do because she knew I had good research skills.

I didn’t really think much of the call except for the fact that the lady kept emphasizing how confidential and big the project was.

My meeting with the boss was the next day but I didn’t really prepare. How does one prepare for a project they know little or nothing about?

I arrived at the venue on time and after waiting for over an hour, I was invited into the boss’ office.

The man was not smiling.

The first thing he asked for was my experience. “Have you ever handled a big research project before?”

“No,” I replied, “but in my previous role as the Assistant Editor of Y! Magazine, I did a lot of research and in my three years as a Law student and the one year spent in Law School, research was something I did frequently.”

He gave me this funny look from the top of his glasses. Then he asked some more questions. I answered, still wondering how big this research project could really be.

Some minutes later, he dropped the bombshell.

“This project is for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the findings of your research will form the basis of their activities in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Are you sure you can handle a project of that magnitude?”

My heart stopped. Bill and Melinda what??

Immediately, several fearful thoughts flooded my mind.

“Better just tell the man that you can’t do it.” “Is it the small research you did at YNaija that you think you will do here?”

The thoughts didn’t stop.

But there was another voice. That voice said, “You can do it.” “You have great research skills. You are just applying that little skill that you have to something bigger.”

I chose to listen to the second voice and I told the boss that I could deliver.

He was sceptical but he agreed.

Knowing that a lot was at stake for me, beyond the money I was being paid (it would be the first time that I would earn money in foreign currency), I gave this project everything I had.

I went over and beyond in my research. I just had to deliver.

At the end of the day, I surpassed expectations to the point that the report I handed in became a template that other African countries used for their own report.

And the icing on the cake, I was called back to handle more projects for them.

That episode got me thinking, what if I walked away from that opportunity because I was afraid; because I had never done research and writing of that magnitude?

I would have missed out big time.

Let’s come to you for a minute; what opportunities are you denying yourself of simply because you are afraid that your writing is not good enough? What opportunities have you lost because you doubted your ability?

You cannot be successful if you always give in to fear. Most times, what you are afraid of never actually happens.

It always amazes me that the people who start off saying, “Adedoyin I’m not a great writer like you so manage what I have written,” end up writing amazing stuff. Really, I’m always amazed.

Your skill might not be where you want it to be yet but it will never get there if you don’t take the risk and put yourself forward.

If you don’t write, you will never get better.

If you don’t pursue opportunities to make your work more visible, you will keep writing for yourself only.

Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid of the skill you possess.

You are a great writer. I believe it. Do you?

#ChroniclesOfAWriter – Be prepared to go the extra mile

Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

Since this is the first #ChronicesOfAWriter post for 2017, allow me to say “Happy New Year!”

I hope you are excited about 2017 just as I am. Many of the writers that I coach have grand plans this year; booksto be written and published, blogs soon to be launched, opportunities to be explored both nationally and internationally. I am excited because for a lot of them, they never knew they could achieve all that they’re achieving today. In fact, one of the most common things I hear in my first coaching session with writers is, “I don’t think what I write is good enough.”

That statement always makes me laugh. Always.

Who told you that your written words are not enough?

Tell me who said you do not have what it takes to write a book or start a blog?

I can tell you this; those are all lies.

You can and you will achieve anything that you want this year if you choose to go the extra mile.

Let me tell you about one of the writers I coached last year.

She started off being unsure of her talent. She just knew that she had a burden to help people.

She would send me random articles on BBM to review before she posted on social media. I obliged in the beginning but after a while I stopped. “Don’t be afraid of criticism,” I said to her. That was the first time I refused to read what she had written. The comments will make you better. They will make you stronger; you’ll learn how to develop thick skin. She really didn’t find it funny.

After our first session, we had a roadmap of the steps she needed to take to make the impact she desired. The first thing was to begin to take her blog more seriously and post more frequently on it. She was afraid but she did it, running several series around sensitive topics and just pouring out her heart for people to read.

Starting off with two readers, more people began to click on her blog and eventually, a speaking opportunity came for her because she used her voice to talk about sensitive issues. An opportunity to work on a book collaboration project arose from this too.

Things were looking great but this ambitious writer didn’t stop there. She explored various platforms to make her work more visible. She sent articles to blogs and posted links to her blog on selected Facebook groups. She did this every day.

Did it pay off?

It sure did. She now has international freelance writing opportunities lined up for her simply because she moved beyond the comfort zone of her blog.

From starting 2016 being unsure about whether she had what it takes to become a writer to ending the year with great opportunities lined up for her, she definitely got more than she bargained for.

I believe that no writing goal is too big for you to achieve. In fact, I challenge my writers to set bigger goals for themselves. They are usually amazed when they meet and surpass these bigger goals. That’s essentially the power of focus and being able to go the extra mile to achieve your dreams.

Don’t set goals that are too comfortable. Don’t use your talent to test the waters. You must be certain of what you want to achieve this year as a writer. When you decide what you want to achieve, please create a plan.

Draft a book calendar for the book you want to write this year. Decide which platforms you want your work to be featured on and begin to look for ways to contact on. Whatever your goal is, act and act now.

I wish you a rewarding 2017 and I look forward to seeing all that you will achieve this year from your writing.

#ChroniclesOfAWriter – Trust Your Voice

Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

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

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

“Eventually?” I asked.

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

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

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

I had to laugh again at her response.

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

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

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

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

It’s the same thing with writing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It all starts with you believing in yourself.

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

#ChroniclesOfAWriter – Should you wait for inspiration or not?

adedoyin-jaiyesimi-1

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

writing quote

Some agreed with it 100%.

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

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

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

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

But what happens when inspiration doesn’t come?

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

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

The pressure can be quite real.

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

Yes I said it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

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

 

#WriterSpotlight – Iyanu Adebiyi writes knowing that she is the answer to somebody’s prayer

Iyanu Adebiyi

Hello Iyanu, how are you doing?

I’m alive. I can’t believe it. [chuckles]

We googled Iyanu Adebiyi and you are dominating the first page on Google. Your poems are amazing, and you are successfully carving a niche for yourself. Can you please take us through your journey?

I guess you can call it a journey, but the places I’ve been to are the hearts of the people I’ve met. First, it was growing up with my father’s library, then there were two teachers who helped lay a good foundation for me; Ms. Akunna, my very first Literature in English teacher. She took interest in me after giving us an impromptu test on her very first lecture. She gave me friendship and made me fall in love with literature.

Mr. Henry, was a no-nonsense English teacher, who was very kind to me. I can’t explain it, but I found myself writing essays and short stories at the end of every school day for him to grade. When he began to mess up my work with his red ink, I wanted to stop but found that I was hooked already.

I also had friends at that time who nicknamed me ‘Soyinka’ and that sort of stuck. I guess all of these provided a good foundation for a lifetime of writing for me, but the thing that made me conscious of writing the most was heartache. [smiles]

iyanu adebiyi

I’d been rejected by many people, who meant so much to me. I was thinking about suicide and had developed a very low self esteem. One day, I was scrolling through my timeline and saw a post by Michael Ogah. He was writing about how it felt to be depressed and want to commit suicide in a way that resonated deeply with me. As I read on, it suddenly dawned on me that I had talents that I wasn’t using and that, to me, implied suicide. Impulsively, I started to send friend requests to writers on Facebook and that opened a whole new community to me. There I met fine writers like Hymar David, Tj Benson, Ife Olujuyigbe, Akintunde Aiki, Innocence Silas and a host of many others. Innocence’s poems had a great influence on me and because I used to write songs in my childhood, poetry came naturally.

Early this year, I met myself. It was like the experience of Adam and Eve at Eden when their eyes were opened and they saw their nakedness. I wrestled with myself. Sometimes I won, but mostly, I got beaten to a pulp and out of my wounds, poetry gushed out and right there in my pain, I knew the world needed my poems, so I started to post them online. After a few months, I started to do spoken word because I wanted to embody my poems and allow them heal me.

At what age did you write your first poem and can you tell us what you did with it?

I must have been 18 years old, when I wrote “Standing Friend”. I can remember being so scared that I had to shut my eyes when I published it on Facebook.

You recorded the ‘Up Nepa’ poem in celebration of Nigeria’s 56th independence what inspired you?

I am a very patriotic person, and I got inspired by my enthusiasm for Nigeria. Nigerians need to know that if anything good must come out of this country, then it must come out of every single one of us.

I do believe that we are still going to be great, so I wanted to spread hope, to let Nigerians know that we can make it out of these hard times if we come together and put heart and mind to raising our nation from the ashes. As a country, our mentality is marred by the past. We need to unlearn many things, forget about what has happened and strive to reach a common goal.

Spoken word is gradually becoming a thing in Nigeria but some people still don’t know what it is about. Would you be kind enough to explain the concept?

Simply, Spoken Word is poetry when it is performed. For me, Spoken Word is poetry that decides to stand up from the pages of a book. It has the power of breath because it is spoken. I believe that when words are spoken, they have better effect and meaning because the poet has the opportunity to embody the poem and also portray the exact meaning of the poem. A person’s voice is the DNA of his or her spirit, so when a poem is being spoken it allows for a connection with the audience.

iyanu adebiyi

Spoken Word is usually written to address a particular issue that is relevant to the society or audience to which he is performing the poem, there has to be a binding force, a unifying factor and a shared experience so that even though the poet is speaking from his own perspective, the audience is able to enjoy the performance as though it were theirs.

It has strong ties with the hip hop culture, story telling and monologue theatre. Some spoken word pieces require the use of word play, gesticulation, free styling etc. Yes, in Nigeria, spoken word is becoming a thing and that is a welcome development.

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

“It’s too dark, it might trigger depression.” This really hurt, because depression is one of the things I hope to cure with my poetry. I was sad for a few days within which I was feeling useless, but I shrugged it off, knowing that empathy is not darkness. My poems are meant to heal, especially by telling sad people that I know how they feel, that they are not alone. You know, something to take them through that pain and help them really conquer it, not run away from it. If it triggers depression, then it means there was a problem the person didn’t know he or she had before reading my poem.

Different people write for several reasons; fame, fortune, impact. Can you please tell us why you write?

The reason I write is pretty much summarized in Isaiah 61:1-3, which is to bring good news to the hopeless, to heal the brokenhearted, to release souls from their prisons and proclaim freedom, to comfort all who mourn and grieve.

I believe it is a calling and whenever I write. I write knowing that I’m the voice of a people who may never get heard. I write knowing that hey, somebody’s life could take a positive turn because they read my poem, and so that the younger generation can say, “If Iyanu can do it, then I can do it ten times more.”

Iyanu Adebiyi

The other day, someone I don’t know from Adam sent me a message saying that, my poems may be the only reason why she is still alive. So I write, knowing that I am somebody’s answered prayer and a line from my poem could be the mantra that saves a life. It sounds too pompous or ridiculous, but I’m beginning to believe that.

Do you have a writing mentor and why?

Right now, I can’t say I have a mentor. Maybe I’d just feel out of place with a mentor because I’m doing the type of thing I’m doing. Nobody can teach me pain, passion or purpose. These things just spring up on me and how I catch them is my poetry. Also, I am afraid that I might begin to write like someone else. I want to protect my originality, but that doesn’t stop me from learning from others by asking questions and observing.

On the average, how many times do you edit a poem before you say it’s ready?

Who is counting? [laughs] I don’t count. I just write until the picture I have in my hand resembles the picture I have in my heart.

What’s your take on the belief that ‘talk is cheap’?

Talk is not cheap. Talk is expensive. In fact, it takes a huge amount of courage to speak up in these days of social media subs and bullying.

I think the statement was borne out of frustration from hearing people say that they’re going to do this or that without putting any effort, but talk is where change starts from. I do believe that the world is in so much turmoil because of silence. We are not speaking up enough.

Iyanu Adebiyi

When Iyanu is not writing, or performing, Iyanu is…?

Singing. I write songs and sing in the choir. I’m currently teaching myself how to play the piano, in order to further develop my music skills. I also sell poetry inscribed t-shirts.

Complete this statement One day my writing will…

…crown the lips of children. It will be the song they sing to themselves when they are trapped in darkness.

Is there a poet, writer or spoken word artist you would absolutely love to meet and why?

Kahlil Gibran is the poet I’d absolutely love to meet. He’s dead, and I wish I could wake him up from the grave, put my hands on his shoulders, shake him vigorously and ask: “what is your ‘juju’? But the words he requested to be written on his tomb say there’s no need for that; “A word I want to see written on my grave: I am alive like you, and I am standing beside you. Close your eyes and look around, you will see me in front of you.”

What’s your advice to upcoming poets?

What I’ll say to upcoming poets is this; There is no ‘upcoming’ when it comes to poetry. You’re either a poet or not. ‘Upcoming’ is just your excuse for not rising up to your full potential. Cut that crap and own it. Write from your soul. As long as you feel what you write, don’t be afraid to spill the truth of your existence on the world.

 

#ChroniclesofAWriter – Let’s talk about your writing goals for 2016. How many have you achieved?

In a few days, we will enter into the month of November.  About eight weeks later, 2016 will come to an end.

I’ve been very amazed at how quickly the year has gone by and 2016 has been quite an eventful year.

This is a good time to do a review of 2016 and start planning for the next year.  I don’t believe you should wait until December to plan for the next year. It’s good to set your goals early.

Have you achieved all your writing goals for the year?

Did you complete that book? Did you event start?

Did you launch your blog? Did you post consistently?

Did you share the message that has been lingering in your heart through your articles?

What have you achieved with your writing gift this year?

I’ll tell you what I have achieved.

I’ve been able to write to inspire people to do more with their writing gift.

I’ve been able to inspire women around the world to aspire for greatness through my position as the Editor/ Content Manager of Leading Ladies Africa.

I have written articles to help startups and entrepreneurs manage their business better thanks to being a contributor for 234Finance.

I have mastered the art of creating and writing social media content. As a result, I have managed content and social media for awesome brands like Black Opal Nigeria and I was part of the content and social media team for the 22nd Nigerian Economic Summit. I am currently working with the Communications team at WIMBIZ, in preparation for their annual conference next month.

Through The Sparkle Writer’s Hub, I have created and written different types of content to help all writers to master their craft. I have also been privileged to teach a good number of writers how to monetize their writing skill. The icing on top of the cake is that those writers are now flourishing and earning income from writing.

Although it looks like I have done a lot, there is one thing I haven’t done yet.

I haven’t written my book.

This has been a goal for two years now.

I coach people through the book writing process and I have ghostwritten several books so it’s not about not knowing how to write a book or having the time to write one.

You know what’s missing? It’s that ‘eureka’ light bulb inspiration. There’s a lot for me to write about but I want to write what God wants me to write. Writing a book for writing sake isn’t my desire. I want to be led by God as I write my first book.

So let’s come back to you.

Have you achieved your writing goals?

If you haven’t what’s stopping you?

Why haven’t you written your book? Why haven’t you started your blog? Why haven’t your articles been featured on different newspapers and websites?

We have two more months left in 2016. It’s not too late to take action.

You can start today. Don’t end the year wishing you had started your blog earlier.

If you need help getting started, you know you can always get in touch with us at The Sparkle Writer’s Hub.

The Sparkle Writer's Course

On Saturday, I’ll be teaching a group of writers how to express themselves through writing and monetize their writing gift. I invite you to join us. Register today and take advantage of our 25% discount. It will be worth your time. Send an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com to be a part of the class.

See you next week!

 

#ChroniclesOfAWriter – This is the tried and tested formula for success as a writer

Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

I’m sorry. There is no tried and tested formula for success as a writer.

Anyone that tells you do A, B, C and you will automatically be a famous or rich writer is deceiving you. This is because on this writing journey, there are many paths to take.

A young man recently applied to join The Sparkle Writer’s Network. He has been a silent follower for months and during my telephone interview with him, he was very excited about the possibility of having access to freelance writing opportunities.

I loved his enthusiasm. Less than two days after our telephone conversation, I had an offer that I felt he would be suitable for. I called him to confirm whether we should include his name in our list of recommendations. He was delighted.

Five names were sent for the particular writing job and this young man was chosen. Actually he was the only one interviewed. The client loved him. A few days later there was also an unpaid writing opportunity with a very big platform that came and he was suited for it.

Again I called him to confirm if he would like to be recommended and he replied positively. Right now, he is rising steadily and I won’t be surprised when he begins to make six figures from writing.

We have another writer we’ve been trying to place in a writing job for months. Offers have come that she has been suitable for but something never clicks. It’s either the client isn’t satisfied after meeting with her or she didn’t do well after being interviewed.

I don’t know what it is but I know that this particular writer ticks all the right boxes when it comes to writing talent.

If you write a book and your desire is for it to be a bestseller, you have to do more than just write a great book. There are many great books out there that never saw the light of day.

If you want to inspire people with your words, you have to do more than setting up a blog. As you know, there are thousands of blogs out there.

If you want to earn six figures from your writing gift, you have to do more than writing consistently and sending guests posts here and there.

What is this ‘more’ you may be wondering.

Well, it depends on where you are going, what you want to achieve, you unique talent, the niche you have carved for yourself and so on.

More requires strategy. If you are not thinking strategically about your writing, you are missing out on great opportunities.

Impacting lives or making money from writing doesn’t happen by chance. It takes being intentional about it.

Do you have a plan for what you want to achieve as a writer or you are simply leaving everything to chance?

Whether you are yet to make the decision to write the words burning in your heart or you are already an experienced writer, it is not too early or late to create a strategy for success for yourself and your writing gift.

At The Sparkle Writer’s Hub, our goal is to help people to find expression through writing and monetize their writing gift. We want to help you create your formula for success through our Sparkle Writer’s course. It’s an intensive one-day course that will help you hone your skills and carve out the path of success for you.

The Sparkle Writer's Course

The course costs N10,000 but if you register before Sunday 23rd October, you will enjoy a 25% discount and will only need to pay N7,500 for the course. Awesome right? We think so too. Take advantage of this special offer and send an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com to register. Spaces are limited so don’t procrastinate.

See you next week!

#ChroniclesOfAWriter – If you don’t talk about your work, who will?

Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

Hey Sparkle Writers! I hope you’ve been gaining useful tips from the #ChroniclesOfAWriter series. If this is your first time reading this, you can click here to view previous posts. The aim of this series is to help you navigate the bumps and curves on your journey as a writer.

Today I want to talk about social media and why every writer needs to understand how to harness its power to promote their work.

Last week I coached two clients on separate days as part of the services we offer under our sister brand, Content Craft. It was a Content and Social Media strategy session and the aim was to develop strategies to help them engage with their target audience and create awareness for their brands.

After discussing strategy with both clients, I was surprised to see how surprised they were. “I don’t like this social media thing. Talking about myself there makes me feel like I am boasting,” said one of them. The other lives a “private” life and is just warming up to the idea of talking about herself and her brand on social media.

What I said to both of them was this, “If you don’t talk about your brand and promote it, who will?”

The same applies to writers.

I have met writers who want to be coded. They just want to write and not want to deal with the ‘extra work’ of talking about what they do or showcasing things they have written on social media.

Being private with your work is ok if all you want is simply to be able to put down your thoughts on paper and lock it in your closet.

If you, however, want the world to know about you or you want people to hire you to write or create content for them, then you have to use the power of social media to achieve it. You cannot escape it.

female hands with pen writing on notebook

Tunde Leye recently launched his book and I love the way he used social media to talk about the book before and even after the event. The book launch is one of the best I have seen so far in the Nigerian literary sphere; well organized, well attended and books were actually sold.

Social media is powerful. It can open you up to freelance writing opportunities beyond your physical location. It can announce you even before you get to a place.

I remember some years ago when I went for an interview and I mentioned my name to the lady who was to interview me. She squeezed her face and said “Adedoyin Jaiyesimi? That name sounds familiar.” It turned out she used to read my articles when I had a regular column with a popular online media magazine. We spent the next few minutes discussing why I didn’t write on that particular platform anymore and where she could read my articles.

Needless to say, she didn’t ask me too many questions during the interview. She had already concluded that I was capable to do the job based on the articles she had read.

So dear writer, please use social media to push your work. Put links of your article on your Facebook and Twitter timelines. Don’t just add a link and click post. Put some text and possibly add a picture to make it more interesting. Use Instagram creatively.

I love our followers on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub Instagram page. They have found creative ways to showcase their work and quite a number of them tag us whenever they put up their poem or short story. Imagine we have a client that needs poets or people who can write short stories? We’ll definitely think of them first because they’ve been consistent in showcasing their awesome work.

I hope this post motivates you to change your social media posting habits. You can post something every day to let people know that you are writing. When it comes to the world of social media, you never know who is watching. You never know.

If you need help with any of this, you know you can always talk to the great folks at The Sparkle Writer’s Hub 🙂

#ChroniclesOfAWriter – Writing is not a mediocre craft

Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

I had a conversation with a publishing agent a few days ago and she was telling me about how difficult it is to get good manuscripts from writers to publish. I found this interesting because I have many writers at The Sparkle Writer’s Hub who complain that no publisher wants to publish their manuscript despite all the time and effort that they put into writing it.

This was something that got me thinking. Publishers are desperately looking for writers and writers are looking for publishers. So why is it hard for both parties to connect? After all, this appears to be a seamless fit.

As I spoke to the publishing agent and remembering my experience with some of the writers I have had the privilege of coaching, I had a better understanding of the cause of this problem.

Here it is.

Some writers are simply not ready to be published.

Before you raise your defenses, let me explain.

Publishing a book is serious business. Unfortunately, we live in a country where anything goes so we have a lot of sub-par work being thrown into the market. There are also sub-par publishers who throw standards to the wind by publishing any and everything.

Have you ever bought a book and right from the blurb you find cringe-worthy errors? I have found a lot of such books which are published locally.  

I believe all writers should be held to the highest standard possible. This applies to publishers as well. In the few years that I have been able to coach writers and connect them with freelance writing opportunities, I have realized that some writers are not as good as they think. Getting them to improve is also a battle because they believe so much in the quality of their work that they feel there is nothing to be improved.

It’s quite sad.

As a writer, you must be committed to self-improvement on a daily basis. I have been writing professionally for over four years and I still make mistakes. Sometimes I have to check the dictionary to ensure that I’m using a word in the proper context.

A perfect writer does not exist. So if a publisher rejects your manuscript and tells you that your work is not good enough, don’t take it personal. The publisher is not out to get you. While I understand that there are bestsellers that were rejected by publishers because they failed to see the potential in the manuscript, sometimes the problem is with the manuscript itself.

The publishing agent I spoke to told me about the number of manuscripts they had to reject because they were poorly written; bad English, grammatical errors and structure. Instead of the writers to implement the feedback, they simply find a publisher who will accept to publish the manuscript despite the very obvious errors.

Writing is not a mediocre craft. You have to put in your very best. I don’t think you want to be known as the writer who always brings out low quality books. That’s not the kind of writer you should aspire to be.

Contrary to what you’ve been made to believe, there are publishers who want to publish your work. Your duty is to make your manuscript as irresistible as possible.

It’s my desire that the gap between publishers and writers will get smaller and completely disappear in the coming years. We are working hard at The Sparkle Writer’s Hub to bridge that gap.

If you need help to improve your writing skills, reach out to us. You can be the best writer that the world has ever seen.