#WritingQuote – “In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the content of your mind, your heart, your soul.” Meg Rosoff

Medieval (1)

Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul. – Meg Rosoff

For those who have never understood all the plenty talk on writing voice, this quote by Meg is apt!

There are many writers who try to shape their writing voice or at best make it sound like the voice of a writer they admire. While this is not bad, such writers face the risk of losing their own authentic voices. 

Dear writer, your writing voice is precious. It is unique to you, your mind, your thoughts and your heart. Don’t be afraid to flaunt it and do incredible things with it! 

Advertisements

#Writing Quote – ”There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou

Medieval (2).jpg

 

”There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou, I know why the Caged Bird Sings

We know this is a popular quote but the message still holds true.

It is quite unfortunate that a lot of writers have died with untold stories, stories that struggled to breathe, stories that were shut up in their bowels simply because they felt the words that made up these stories were not worthy enough to be read, heard, experienced and felt.

Dear writer, it is time to give those words the freedom to breathe. It is time to tell the world your story. Do not keep on bearing untold stories inside of you. Listen to the words of Maya today. It is time to give life to your stories. Rise up to the occasion, stare brazenly at your laptop screen and type away. Type for that one person who needs to hear your story to snap out of that depressed state or that suicidal thought.

Never underestimate the power of your story.

 

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.

12 Reasons Why You Are Good Enough to Write a Book

Hello, Sparkle Writers! Welcome to a new week. We know some of you would love to start writing but you keep second-guessing yourself. We are here to help you with that. We came across these 12 reasons why you are good enough to write a book and we knew we just had to share them with you!

Whether it’s a book, a blog post or an article that you want to write, we hope these 12 reasons will spur you to do so immediately!

1. If you’re not willing to give up on your dream…you are good enough.

2. If you’ve ever read a book and thought, “I can totally do this!”…you are good enough.

3. If someone’s ever asked you, “How did you write that?”…you are good enough.

4. If you’ve experienced a tragedy and you came out stronger…you are good enough.

5. If you can hold a pen, with your hand, toes and even your mouth…you are good enough.

6. If you think your message can touch ONE life…you are good enough.

7. If people comment on your Facebook (or Instagram) posts saying how it blessed them…you are good enough.

8. If someone has ever said to you, “You should write a book!”…you are good enough.

9. If you’ve ever been so passionate about something you felt your heart would burst…you are good enough.

10. If you care about your family, neighbours, friends, or the world…you are good enough.

11. If you’ve ever felt pain…you are good enough.

12. If you’ve ever wished you could inspire others the way a book inspired you…you are good enough.

If one of these things is true…You. Are. Good. Enough. Now go and write that story! 

Dear Writer, Comfort Is Not What You Need

When you want to move forward in life, career, business you are often asked to do one thing. Do you remember what that thing is? It is, ‘Step out of your comfort zone.’

Why do you think people are always asked to step outside their comfort zones? It is because growth lies outside your comfort zone. There’s something about stretching yourself, doing something you are not used to and conquering new grounds. It gives you fresh joy, excitement and energy to continue working.

As a writer, stepping out of your comfort zone is no different. You must forget about being comfortable and be ready to push yourself. When you do not feel excited about writing or you just want to take things to another level we suggest that you step out of your comfort zone in writing.

Explore new ideas and extend every boundary. Do something you have never done before. Put your all into your craft and see how it turns out. 

We have a few ideas that will help you to achieve this;

  • Take something ordinary and make it unusual. Sounds pretty easy right? Let’s help you even further. Write a story about something terribly boring but with a dramatic twist. 
  • Try writing about something awkward, upsetting, embarrassing, or controversial. If you are a writer who likes to play safe, tackle subjects like incest, religion, and STDs, or reveal your deepest, darkest fears in story form.

Everyone feels more comfortable with what they know, and writers can easily fall into a habit of sticking to their comfort zones. These habits block new and innovative ideas. Step out of your comfort zone and you’d be amazed by what you will produce.

 

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

Hey Sparkle Writers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. WRITING TAKES A LOT OF TIME

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

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

  1. YOU WILL FACE REJECTION

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

  1. A CRITIQUE PARTNER IS AS NECESSARY AS BREATHING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. YOU WILL GET BAD REVIEWS

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

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

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

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

  1. YOU WILL STRUGGLE

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

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

Get started as a freelance writer with these tips

One of the greatest joys of being a freelance writer is getting rewarded for your skill. We are referring to financial reward. At a time where many people call themselves writers, what are the odds that you will get good paying freelancing projects?

Well. the odds are not that slim. You however need to take some steps to make it easier for you to attract those kind of opportunities that will make you smile to the bank. 

Here are some tips which we know you will find useful. 

Define Your Niche and Target Audience 

You cannot be a jack of all trades when it comes to freelance writing. You need to have a specialty. Will it be fashion? Lifestyle? Politics? Or Inspiration? You decide. 

Make your choice based an area you are good at or you can easily adapt to. Don’t limit yourself to areas you love. Think a little bit wider. 

Once you have chosen your niche, identify who your potential clients will be. If you want to specialize in tech, you may want to list out all the tech companies available and begin to do your research. Keep your ears open for opportunities to do freelance writing jobs with those companies. If you are bold enough you can even pitch your services to them.

Create a Website or Blog

How will potential clients find you? How will they assess if you are indeed able to deliver. A website or a blog will address this. 

You can begin by building a simple WordPress website or blog. Once you’ve done this, post some freelancing work you have done. Don’t forget to include a list of the services you offer, testimonials from previous clients if you have any (It’s always a good idea to get testimonials from those you write for) and of course, your contact details. 

We love the way Ebun Oluwole showcases her work on her personal website. 

Publicize what you do 

Yes, we know you are a writer but if no one knows what you do how will you make money from your writing skills? You must begin to see your freelance writing as a business and to attract high paying clients, you have to do some marketing. There’s no other way around it. 

Make the most of social media. Have a great bio. Across all the social media platforms, let it be clear that you offer freelance writing services. Promote your work on social media; both organically and through paid ads. You can do this with as little as $5. 

You also need to interact and do some social listening. Twitter is great for this. People are always looking for who can offer one service or the other. Another great platform for you to market for yourself is LinkedIn. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, we advice that you create one. You will come across several useful clients and opportunities there. 

The last thing we will suggest is for your to become visible on Google. Aside from writing blog posts on your website, feature on other websites through guest blogging and contributions. This will improve your Google ranking when your name is searched for. Always make sure your bio reflects that you are a freelance writer when you contribute to these sites. 

Don’t forget that making the money you want from your writing skill will take some time and hard work. You cannot afford to leave anything to chance.