#WordOfTheDay – Don’t know what ‘splenetic’ means? Read this

It is time to learn a new word Sparkle Writers! Let’s get to it. 

Splenetic, pronounced /splɪˈnɛtɪk/, means to be marked by bad temper, malevolence, or spite. In previous times it was a word used to describe melancholics. 

Look at a few words that have the same meaning with splenetic; bad-temperedill-temperedangrywrathfulcrosspeevishpetulantpettishirritableirasciblecantankeouscholericdyspeptictestytetchy. 

We’d use this word in a few sentences and wait to read yours in the comments box. 

These are our own examples.

I emailed the article to Glory, warning her to avoid the splenetic comments at the bottom of the page.

Matthew was splenetic after his wife left him for another man.

See you next week when we bring another word!

 

 

#GrammarSeries – This is how to use ‘between’ and ‘among’

It is not news that our grammar series has helped clear so many confusions about English language. 

Today we want to clear yet another one.

Many people believe between should be used for choices involving two items and among for choices that involve more than two items. That can get you to the right answer some of the time, but it’s not that simple. 

Here’s the deal – You can use the word between when you are talking about distinct, individual items even if there are more than two of them. For example, you could say, “She chose between Harvard, Babcock, and Bowen university” because they are individual things.

On the other hand, you use among when you are talking about things that aren’t distinct items or individuals. For example, if you were talking about colleges collectively you could say, “She chose among the Ivy League schools in the world.”

If you are talking about a group of people, you also use among:

Look at these examples;

Fear spread among the hostages.

The scandal caused a division among the fans.

 

Important writing lessons you need to be reminded of

Hey Sparkle Writers!

We stumbled on this insightful article on Bryan Hutchinson’s website and we just had to share it. It’s about the 17 lessons The Magic Violinist has learnt from writing. 

Most of these lessons resonated well with us and we think you would relate too. There’s so much to glean from it. 

  1. Write for you.

This was the first thing I wrote about for “Positive Writer.” Don’t try to please everybody else. You’ll just make yourself crazy. Write what you love and write for you.

  1. Write every day.

On days with more free time, write pages and pages. On busier days, a few paragraphs. On the extraordinarily busy days, a sentence. That’s all it takes. Just a few taps of a keyboard or scribbles of a pencil every day to stay in the habit.

  1. Don’t compare yourself with others.

Your personal goals are different from the goals of others. Your capabilities, circumstances, habits, all of those things will be different. If you’re over the moon because you finally filled a page but somebody else wrote fifty in that same amount of time, don’t let that get you down. If your accomplishment makes you happy, you did something great.

  1. Try writing in different genres.

You never know what’ll spark your interest. Maybe poetry was never something you thought to try. Write a few stanzas. Who knows? You might have an affinity for it.

  1. If you’re going to procrastinate, use that time wisely.

We all procrastinate. Don’t try to deny it. Some of us may do it more than others (I certainly procrastinate more than I should), but it happens to all of us. When you do procrastinate, though, do something else that’s productive. That means closing Facebook and Twitter and picking up a book or taking the dog for a walk.

  1. Reach out to writers and authors online and in your community.

Find a critique group at a local library or coffee shop. Say hi to that blogger you admire. Writing can be a solitary or even lonely activity, but it definitely doesn’t need to be. The writing community is alive and thriving. Make yourself a part of it.

  1. A critique of your writing is not a critique of you.

Once in a while, a critique of your work can sting a little. Or a lot. Especially if it paints something you thought was amazing in a negative light. The important thing to remember is that just because someone didn’t like something you created doesn’t mean they don’t like you. It also doesn’t necessarily mean you did anything wrong. And it certainly doesn’t mean everything you write will be horrible and you should give up now. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on.

  1. It’s okay to be in a writing slump.

You can’t always write the next bestseller. Sometimes for weeks at a time, everything I put on paper is garbage. I might hate my current work in progress. Nothing I do keeps my interest. All of that is perfectly fine. Just put something on paper. Hate every minute of it, if you must. The only way to get out of the slump is to claw your way out, word by word.

  1. Read, read, read.

Read widely and read often. Read good work and terrible work. Read classics and poetry, but also read children’s books and whatever’s popular. Read something short and something long. Read articles and fan-fiction. Re-read your favourite book. Read something in your genre. Read, read, read, and learn from it.

  1. Your writing will not be loved by everyone.

Don’t send yourself into a never-ending spiral of negativity by trying to please everyone. You won’t. Some people will hate what you write. That’s okay. Don’t some people hate your favourite book? Of course they do, but their dislike of the book doesn’t diminish your love for it. Your writing will be loved by those who need to read it most.

  1. Good work takes time, energy, and multiple drafts.

My best writing has come out of the projects that have been hardest for me to finish. It could take years of effort to complete something work sending out into the world. It won’t always be enjoyable trying to polish something up, but it’s always satisfying to make progress. It’s worth it in the end.

  1. There’s nothing like a little music to get the creative juices flowing.

It doesn’t matter what kind of music so long as it inspires you. The lyrics tell a story. The composition tells a story. Sometimes those stories are the hidden, not-so-obvious ones. Tell those stories.

  1. The best ideas come to you when you’re supposed to be doing something else.

Don’t necessarily take this advice, but reassurance. If you feel like your work is stale and repetitive, don’t worry. A new and interesting idea will come to you eventually. It just might happen while you’re doing the dishes or homework. Make sure you always have pen and paper nearby for those situations.

  1. You will make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them.

I won’t even try to list possible mistakes because there are so many, but you’ll make at least of one those. It won’t be fun, and it might take a while to stop obsessing over it, but you’ll move on and learn how to avoid making that mistake again.

  1. Be on the lookout for opportunities and go after them, even if you think you don’t have a shot.

I got my first regular writing position at twelve. When I applied for the job, I didn’t believe my age would be an issue, because no one had ever told me it could be. Now, I was lucky to have supportive parents who never tried to discourage me, even if they might have thought I was a little young to do what I was trying to do.

If you do have those doubts, whether they stem from yourself or others, try your best to block them out. Apply for internships and enter writing contests. Sometimes your greatest achievements come from those you thought were least likely to happen.

  1. Have other creative outlets besides writing.

It’s important to stay creative and keep thinking like an artist, even if writing is going so well for you in the moment. Have something else you can turn to during those times. Sing, dance, act, draw, knit, sculpt, sew, paint, cook. What interests you?

  1. Your writing is better than you think it is.

We are our own worst critics. Our writing might bore us sometimes because we’ve been working on it for such a long time. The plot twists seem predictable because we came up with them. Our characters aren’t interesting because we have to spend time with them day after day after day. As scary as it can be, sometimes showing your writing to a trusted friend is the best thing you can do for yourself.

You have people in your corner cheering you on, and those people love nothing more than to read what you’ve written and shout from the rooftops about how talented you are. Your work is not as bad as it seems. Take a step back and really look. You created that, and there are so many great things about it.

Writing events you would love to attend

Every weekend there is an amazing event for writers and readers. Check out these weekend’s events. 

The Author’s Talk 

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This is an annual event powered by @kateekanem @katetalesfoundation. 

The talk will be addressing the central theme of “Unpacking Your Diversity In Stories”, and tackling sub-themes like feminism, art as a mirror of society, gender bias and sexual orientation. Creatives like Chimdinma Adriel Onwukwe, Amarachi Atama Amu , Sophia Jerome amongst others will be present.

There will be spoken word performances and poetry readings too. If you want to attend this talk, register here

 

The Medina Special Anniversary Bookference

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Medina Book club will hold its anniversary bookference Saturday, August 12th 2017. This event will feature a book chat and panel session, spoken word and a special meet and greet of book clubbers. 

Venue is P.A.G.E Book Connoisseurs, 23, Opebi Road Ijeka Lagos. 

If this is something you would love to be a part of don’t hesitate to join them. 

Words are Work Fiction Masterclass

 

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Fiction writing is not so difficult but some writers are still having issues creating great fictional characters. To this effect, Words Are Work and The Future Africa have teemed up to bring you an amazing master class that teaches you how to do just that. 

If you know you need this class send a mail to info@thefutureafrica.com.

This class will hold Saturday August 12th , 2017. 

Here’s what you need to know about changing the name of your blog

 

Have you been thinking of changing the name of your blog but you think you would be committing a criminal offence under the blogging code if you actually do.

Fear not!  Today’s post has come to your rescue!

Just like your personal name, the name of your is super important. It is literally the first thing that anyone notices about your blog and it helps to pass a strong message about what your blog is about.

When you want to change your personal name there are so many things to consider. The same aplies when you are thinking of changing the name of your blog. It is possible to outgrow a name when it comes to blogging but you must take precaution. 

You have to consider the following;

How important is it?

Is it really that important? A name is not something you play with. Why do you want to change the name, and essentially your identity online? Because you feel like it? Because the current name doesn’t exemplify what the blog is about anymore? You need to answer all these questions.

How far gone have you gone in the blogging game?

For popular bloggers, it may be difficult to change their name because they have spent so much time, energy and money in turning that name into a brand. If your readers are already accustomed to the name of your blog you may want to think twice before you change that name.

Match your blog’s new name with a domain. 

If it’s imperative that you change the name of your blog please make sure that you do all you can to match the blog’s name and domain (URL). As you’re considering what to change your name to, do a search to see if the domain is available (and try to get the .com and .net). Having your blog name and URL match isn’t just good SEO, it’s an easy way for people to find you. If a reader can remember the name of your blog, she can remember your URL and find you. 

Match your brand throughout your social media accounts. 

Once you change the name of your blog update the change on all your social media accounts. Let your followers know and change your bio information where you need to. It is not nice to confuse everyone. 

We hope this was helpful! 

 

 

#WriterSpotlight – “Find your voice, be consistent and stay true to yourself.” DamiLoves

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We have Damilola on today’s #WriterSpotlight. Her description of the difference between inspiration and motivation and the role discipline plays in the life of a writer is insightful and so is the rest of the interview.

Enjoy!

Hello Damilola Can you please describe yourself in a few words?

Damilola is a determined lady trying to live out God’s calling on her life, who endeavours to utilise all opportunities she encounters.

When and how did you discover your love for writing?

I cannot accurately pinpoint where my love for writing grew from, but I can certainly say that it was born alongside my love for reading books and stories. Growing up my father and maternal grandfather always had a book in their hands. They are two of the most intelligent people I know, yet they still wanted to learn and explore more. In reading, I feed my desire to learn more about the enigma that is life, and in writing, I attempt to bring a voice to stories that would have been forgotten.

What is the most important lesson writing has taught you?

Writing has taught me the value of patience. It has shown me the importance of stepping out regardless of the amount of fear and hesitation one may have. The reason for this is that writing is an exercise in editing, but you cannot edit a piece of work if there is no first draft. You must have the boldness to write down the first few words of the first draft, and return to it and work on it until it resembles the finished product you have envisioned. It can be a gruelling process, but the catharsis it produces pays off in the end.

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

I will choose a dead author in the person of Rainer Maria Rilke. I bought the book “Letters to a young poet” as a young teenager, and I find his instructions to Kappus the young poet still resonating with me till today; the letters were written in 1902, but the wisdom is still relevant today.

Have you ever reached a point where you wanted to give up on writing?

Give up on writing? No, it has become part and parcel of who I am, I even write letters to some of my friends, and I adore love letters. Writing is a way for me to reflect, learn and even pray to God. So, no I have not wanted to give up, but when a project is due, or I am near a deadline, and I don’t have the finished product I envisaged, such moments can be testing.

When you are struggling to find inspiration, can you share some of the things that you do to find that inspiration to write?

I will acknowledge that there is no real lack of inspiration for a writer as there is a lack of motivation. Life is inspiring; nature, sorrow, joy, pain; there is some inspiration all around us. However, I have found that motivation and discipline are the more significant factors when writing seems to have reached a point of no return.

Creative people are more often than not taken for granted because people do not understand the amount of time and effort they put in their work. What do you think can be done to change this?

I have encountered the sharp sting of having my work rejected, and I acknowledge that a lot of us do work that inadvertently becomes pro-bono. So to change the current narrative, we will need to alter the mindset of those who are in the driving seat. Consumers and publishers alike need to understand the struggle, and sometimes tears that it takes to produce quality content.

You manage a blog, in your own opinion what’s the most important skill a blogger needs to have?

I currently run damiloves, and when I started, it was about my journey, but now it is about the journey of women. I endeavour to encourage women by sharing stories, poems or my thoughts of social events; reaching where we are today has been a lesson in evolution. I will say a passion and a desire to excel will be the main driving force. Find your voice, be consistent and stay true to yourself; your niche may change but don’t attempt to run someone else’s race.

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

I completed a short series last year on my blog “a collection of scars“. It was a collection of fictional monologues by fictional Nigerian women who were carrying some burden or another. I was enamoured by the feedback I received, so many people had such unexpected emotional responses to the stories, their feedback humbled me.

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

I would like my writing to be part of the legacy I leave behind. I want my words to bring joy, comfort and healing even after I depart from this earth.

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

I would say to them just write, start with small steps and whatever you do just write. There is a talent in you that the world is waiting for; in following your dreams, you open the doors for someone else to walk towards the light of their destiny.

 

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 the meaning of Onerous

 

Hey Sparkle Writers! Did you know that developing a great vocabulary is one of the most overlooked ways to improve your life personally and professionally? This is another reason why you need to take this section of the blog seriously. 

Let’s get to today’s word. 

Onerous is an adjective pronounced /əʊn(ə)rəs,/ or /ˈɒn(ə)rəs/.

Onerous could mean that something or someone is involving, imposing, or constituting a burden or being troublesome. It can also mean having legal obligations that outweigh the advantages

Look at a few words that have the same meaning with onerous; Awkward, back breaking, burdensome, crushing,  heavy, inconvenient, oppressive. 
 
We’d use this word in a few sentences and wait to read yours in the comments box. 
 
 These are our own examples. 

Taking care of my puppy is an onerous task.

When I agreed to help my father cut the grass, I did not realize the chore would be so onerous.

See you next week when we bring another word!

#GrammarSeries – All you need to know about non continuous verbs

It is #GrammarSeries on the Sparkle Writer’s Hub blog today and we want to learn about non-continuous verbs. 

Non-continuous verbs are verbs that we do not normally use with continuous tenses. These “stative” verbs are about state, not action, and they cannot express the continuous or progressive aspect. Here are some of the most common non-continuous verbs:

Here are some of the most common non-continuous verbs:

  • Feelinghate, like, love, prefer, want, wish
  • Sensesappear, feel, hear, see, seem, smell, sound, taste
  • Communicationagree, deny, disagree, mean, promise, satisfy, surprise
  • Thinkingbelieve, imagine, know, mean, realize, recognize, remember, understand
  • Other statesbe, belong, concern, depend, involve, matter, need, owe, own, possess

If you’ve been using any of these verbs in the continuous tense you have to stop. 

Look at these examples

I am wanting cake (Wrong)

I want cake (Right)

I am not hearing anything (Wrong)

I can’t hear anything (Right)

Until next week when we bring another series your way, keep your grammar in check. 

‘Keep an honest, unpublishable journal’ – Madeleine L’Engle’s advice to writers is epic!

We’ve seen a lot of advice to writers so you can trust us when we say Madeleine’s advice is epic. It is in three folds and we’d just highlight them properly. 

On keeping an honest journal. 

‘If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair.’

We totally agree. One of the reasons why we are lacking original content is because everyone is churning out what they think people want to read people or are copying what they see from other writers and as a result, there’s just a bunch of duplicated copies of art, content and truth. It is time writers wrote out their true feelings, the deepest, and most vulnerable. Keeping this journal will help to keep that truth alive.

On why reading is and will always be important

‘You need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write.’ 

As a writer, you must be someone who loves to read. There’s nothing more to add to this. 

On why writing every day is still relevant 

‘The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.’

Because in the end that’s why you are a writer, to write.

Do this when you don’t know what to blog about

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You have decided to be consistent with blogging and you even went ahead to set a target for yourself. The only issue is that you don’t know what your next post will be about. 

We have a suggestion for you – Do something interesting and then write about it.

If you really think you are stuck, do this and it will fix all your problems. Life is way easier to write about when you’re doing something interesting. Don’t you think so? Take a course, tick activities off your bucket list, say hello to a stranger on your way from work. It doesn’t have to be anything super serious but it must be interesting enough to catch the attention of your blog readers. 

You never can tell, they may like the post so much and request that you make that post a regular one on your blog. This would however not happen if you do not try it out first. 

Blogging doesn’t have to be so straight jacketed and boring. Try new things and have fun while you are at it. Just make sure that you don’t use writer’s block as an excuse not to write. You know what we think about it already.