#WritingQuote – “Write everyday of your life.” Ray Bradbury

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“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.” Ray Bradbury

There are three major lessons from this quote and we’d take each lesson one after the other. After this, we hope you will have a kind of blue print for what success as a writer is. 

Write.

Every writer has to do ONE major thing to deserve that title, write. If you are wishing you could write, thinking about writing or wondering how to write, you are not a writer. It’s that simple. 

Read.

Writers are readers. If you don’t like reading we are sorry to say this but you may not do very well as a writer. Writers read to relax, read to learn, read to get inspired and so many other things. Wondering what can make you a better writer? Reading is one of those things. 

The third point may be the most important because that’s one thing most of us are having issues with. 

Do it everyday!

Before you complain that we are asking for too much, remember that this is for your own good. If you however insist that you can’t do these two things – reading and writing CONSISTENTLY, then maybe writing really isn’t for you. 

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Thinking of co-authoring a book? Read this first

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Hello Sparkle Writers! Co-authoring is not something that is very common especially in this part of the world. Many writers are just getting to embrace this profession and we know that soon there will be more books written by co-authors. Writing is fun and can be much better with a partner. However, there are few things you must note. 

Communication is key

It’s important that you communicate with your writing partner.

Even if you have a lot in common, being able to speak honestly and clearly is important when you encounter bumps along the way. You can use a Google doc so that everything is automatically saved. This makes sharing easy and you and your writing partner can edit at the same time.

Your writing will also go more smoothly if you schedule weekly phone calls to go over important thoughts and concerns.

Share a similar vision

During the initial stage of planning, it’s important to clearly define your vision, to make sure both of you are on the same page. You and your partner are different writers and may have different goals for the book. Sort out these differences so you can move on to other things.  

Establish a timeline to complete the project

It’s a good idea to discuss timelines and how you plan to complete the project. This way everyone is on their toes and the book isn’t delayed.

Let go of control

Writing a book with someone means you are not as in control as you may want to be. You’ve got to learn how to let go of control and of course be open to criticism. Your writing partner has a lot to bring to the table just like you do. Make sure you don’t disregard his or her opinion. 

#PickOfTheWeek – Dreams, Love, Poverty and Life. You’ve got to read this

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It’s time for our #PickOfTheWeek. This week’s writers are talking dreams, love, poverty and life. They are baring it all. 

The first piece is by @barvemargai and he gives us a sneak and beautiful peek into his dreams. We can only imagine how big his dreams are by reading this. 

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The second piece that sure caught our attention is by Akinrulie Opeyemi. His piece helps us understand that poverty is a problem of the mind. He believes that if we can conquer it in our minds we would have made progress in conquering it physically. 

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Kunle Ibisola was right when he described love in this short and beautiful piece. See it for yourself. 

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Our final selection for the week is by Adewale Olayemi. For some love is a drug that cures pain, for others it is their worst nightmare. Yemi got this right. farmto table (3)

 

If you are a writer and you post your work on Instagram, don’t forget to forget to tag @thesparklewritershub for a chance to be featured on our Pick of the Week.

 

#Grammar Series – The real purpose of commas

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It is Tuesday and grammar time on the Sparkle Writer’s Hub. We are talking about commas. 

Commas are not supposed to be used haphazardly in sentences. There are rules guiding the usage of commas in writing. The whole idea behind rules is to prevent lawlessness and disorder in a society. Quite frankly, the wrong use of commas is equivalent to incoherence in your writing, and incoherence. Look at the following example and see the importance of commas;

Let’s eat Grandpa

and

Let’s eat, Grandpa

Now you see that commas can change the entire meaning of a sentence. They are that important and we are going to be looking at the rules guiding the use of commas. These rules will, in turn, unveil the real purpose for commas in writing.

1. Use commas between items in a series because they clarify which items are part of the series

Example: I bought a pair of shoes, socks, a bottle of wine, and butter at the super market yesterday.

2. Use commas in form of coordinating conjunctions (such as and or but) that joins two independent clauses together

Example: I went for a walk in the garden, and I was greeted by the sting of a bee.

In the above example, the sentences or clauses, “I went for a walk in the garden” and I was greeted by the sting of a bee can stand or make complete meaning on their own. Therefore, it is appropriate to place a comma before the conjunction “and” joining them together.

3. Use commas to separate direct quotations from the rest of the sentence.

Example: The lecturer says, “I would be your supervisor for the rest of the semester.”

4. Use commas after a parenthesis and not before one.

Example: After the police found Mabel (my sister’s daughter), the fear that held me bound disappeared.

4. Do not use commas with a question mark and an exclamation point that ends a quotation.

Example: “Where is my flower vase?,” I asked in panic.

In the above example, the comma is wrongly positioned. The right sentence should be rendered as, “Where is my flower vase?” I asked in panic.

Example: “Oh my God!,” Rose exclaimed.

The above example would be right if the comma after the exclamation mark was deleted from the entire sentence structure.

 

You’re not weird…you’re a writer!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Through the Eyes of Lucy: Living With Schizophrenia

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CHAPTER 4
By now, you must be particularly familiar with this lecturer-inflicted name of mine; Lucy.

I’d stick by it, for the purpose of this narrative.

I had a dream, last night.

You were weaved into its fabric, it felt like a genuine heart-to-heart connection.

Nah, who are we kidding? We all know the typical constants of my worlds.

It’s sad, but you aren’t a part of them. No, you definitely aren’t.

Spitefully, the Mafia did too. Whilst Collins and I were you know, loving up and stuff, the Mafia had to come boo us.

Urrrgh! I don’t even want to think about it.

So this blessed day, I say my prayers; preparing to head for the classroom.

This week, I am particularly interested, in building my relationships on hearth. ‘Why do you care so much about my actions? Or what I wear, for that matter?’‘No, I’m not listening to you this time.’

I have a presentation to prepare for.

‘Nooooooo!’ I shrieked, then stopped, as if suddenly regaining full consciousness.

‘Open the door, what is wrong?’

Reina was at the door. I hope that huge dude; the neighbor I was just talking to, is not behind her!

I opened the day, my eyes heavy from lack of sleep.

‘Reina, good morning.’

She sized  me  up; giving me her classic worried look.

‘Lucy! You scared the hell out of me. Why did you shout so much?’

‘Errhhmm…it’s nothing, really.’ At this point, I was looking anywhere but into Reina’s eyes.

‘Do we need to see a doctor, dear?’

I laughed uncomfortably.

‘Reina I’m fine; just tired. I need to prepare for the seminar presentation. Would you call me when you’re leaving for lectures?’

‘Of course, Lucy.’

‘But we still need, to talk!’

I stylishly show Reina out, careful not to exceed 15cm beyond my door.

That silly hulk of a neighbor, trying to use magnetic waves to control my thoughts!

I had chosen an orange gown which had black and white polka dots, to his dismay this morning.

For the past 2 weeks, he had literally been picking out clothes for me to wear.

In all fairness, he had a nice sense of style, but still! I get, to choose my own clothes.

It’s not like he talks to me in person, anyway- it’s just via these electromagnetic waves. I’m guessing its because he’s super-sophisticated?

I heard he works at this really big IT firm.

This morning’s instructions were however, a little overboard.

I mean, what happened to gentle romance that grew over time?

He’d literally ordered me to put on a blue pencil skirt,  a white shirt laced with gold around its edges and a black pair of open-toed pump heels.

I’d considered his suggestion.

He’d then asked that I paint my finger and toe nails red.

That, had been his undoing!

I had a seminar to prepare for,and he was asking me to paint my toenails red? A presentation before professors and doctors?

He must, I conclude, be the convener of the Mafia! He whispers, even now that he wants to take out to dinner, this evening.  ‘Errhh…I don’t want to have dinner with you, dear sophisticated Hulk who communicates with me using electromagnetic waves. I don’t!’

It has taken every ounce of willpower that I possess, to consciously put him out of my mind.

All I want, is peace, enough to tidy up my presentation and stop my team-mates from concluding that I’m the fool they always thought I was.

It’s 9:15am.

Gratefully, Mr. Hulk has gone to work, I presume- he has left me alone for about an hour.

I don’t care if he’s tried inviting another lady to dinner already.

Wait, I’m not being insecure, am I? Only being logical, right?

But really, why would he choose me over those fair skinned, pretty girls at his office?

I’m only a fat girl anyway, one whose tummy would definitely protrude through the pencil skirt he bought me. Oh, sorry, he didn’t buy it- only instructed me to wear it.

I take  a sneak peek into our wedding…I can see us together; me in white, he in black; saying our vows as I continuously admire the broadness of his shoulders and the absolute whiteness of his teeth.

I am interrupted by an individual who seems to be clearing the throat.

I look around, startled.

Has Reina come in, unnoticed?

‘Really, Lucy; really?’

I should have known; Collins would be jealous.

 

ABOUT ABIOYE PEJU

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