Writing is a craft; treat it as such

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Google Analytics explained

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

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

Google Analytics helps you to: 

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

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

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

 

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

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

Enjoy.

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

Writer. Rewriter. Poet. Shy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where do you get your inspiration from?

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

What is the most important lesson writing has taught you? 

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

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

Only one? Sylvia Plath

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

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

 

 

#WritingQuote – “Don’t talk about writing. Don’t whine about writing. Write and then edit and edit again.” Nnedi Okorafor

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Don’t talk about writing. Don’t whine about writing. Don’t spend all your time obsessing over who wins what award. Write. And then edit. And edit again. Put in the work. Put in the time. Don’t try to get published too early. Don’t focus on making money or receiving praise, focus on been the best writer you can be.
Nnedi Okorafor, Author of Lagoon

We find this straight-to-the-point quote for today really refreshing. It is so relatable and that is what makes this quote relevant to us as writers. Think about it. How many times have you talked about writing, heard about writing and even read books about writing and yet, you haven’t brought yourself to write a single word, phrase or sentence about anything on your own.

Even when you eventually bring yourself to write, you still obsess about the award that you so badly want your writing to bring for you or the barrage of criticisms that may, most likely, follow your writing.

Nnedi Okorafor is speaking to you today dear writer.

Focus on your writing; focus on being the best writer you can possible be. Go beyond all of the talking about writing and actually write and then edit and edit again. There is no crime in editing. Remember, let your focus remain on you and what you can do to improve you. Seriously, no one becomes a great writer by doing every other thing related to writing except writing itself.

#WordOfTheDay – Egregious is a word you should learn

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Hello Sparkle Writers our word for today is ……egregious.”

We thought to bring this word to your notice today. So, the next time you write, you can find a new way of expressing old concepts or meaning.

“Egregious,” is pronounced as / i-GREE-juhs/.

It is an adjective used to mean, “Remarkable in a bad way; Exceptional, conspicuous, outstanding, most usually in a negative fashion; outrageously bad or shocking.”

The word actually has an origin. It is from Latin egregius (outstanding). Earlier, something egregious was one that stood out because it was remarkably good. However, over time, the word evolved and today it refers to something offensive

For example,

The boy’s narrative was marred by a number of egregious spellings.

 

 

 

 

 

#GrammarSeries – The difference between stative verbs and dynamic verbs

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Trust us, if you are a fiction writer, you would want to know what this is all about. Knowing the difference between these two verbs can transform a boring story into an engaging one. It is all about knowledge of verb choices in your writing.

What exactly are stative verbs?

This is really simple. Stative verbs are verbs that describe a state of being. For example, you might say the following:

“I feel really terrible today”

“My dog hates being ignored.”

“He loved to play football every day.”

All of the above sentences describe someone or something’s state of being in a specific situation such as loving something, feeling something and hating something. Stative verbs do not describe a physical action. Rather, they describe thoughts, emotions, relationships or a state.

What are dynamic verbs?

Dynamic verbs are verbs that are all about doing something. This is really interesting because action verbs come into play here. For example, you might say the following:

“She drank ten bottles of Coca-Cola.”

“The baby slept all day on my couch.”

“The man walked three miles in this stadium last week.”

If you want your story to enegage your readers properly. Mix these verbs well. 

The bright side of writer’s block

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As much as we do not believe in writer’s block, we know there are some writers who still struggle with it. Today we have discovered something fun…the bright side of writer’s block! 

Who ever thought that writer’s block could have a bright side? 

Firstly, if you want to get the best out of a writer’s block experience (since you insist you have it) you have to change the way you see it. You have to stop seeing the block as an enemy. If you continue to see writer’s block as the enemy, you would end up frustrated and anxious. This will further hinder the inspiration from coming at the time it should come.

Secondly, writer’s block is life’s way of saying, “Hey, writer, it is time for you to take a break and have fun.” It draws your attention to some areas of life that you probably have been missing out on. It could be a shopping experience, a movie, another genre of novel that you probably never considered reading, a sermon, a scrabble game, a walk around the neighborhood, a music album, playing the guitar, anything to take your mind off the task for some time. The list is endless really. Have you ever wondered why inspiration drops at times when you are not even deliberate about it? So, relax and be calm. Handle writer’s block like a pro.

Finally, writer’s block will help you develop patience as a writer. It will teach you how to go easy on yourself and bring you face to face with your humanity. When you write in that “lack of inspiration” state and feel like what you have written is not worth writing or reading, you have to understand that with just a little patience, you can make something beautiful out of a crappy piece of writing. Do not give up on your writing because of writer’s block. Look on the bright side and become better at your writing craft.

See that writers block isn’t so bad after all? 

 

12 things to note when getting your domain name

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If you are a blogger considering moving from probably a wordpress.com account to hosting your own website, this post is for you. We will not be able to exhaust all of the dos and don’ts in one post but we can give you enough information that will help to shape your website decisions.

Here are the dos and don’ts.

  • Choose the right technology and hosting solutions in website building.
  • Use the smallest images you need, not the smallest images available.
  • Use software programs to compress large images or to resize.
  • Avoid complex designs. Stick with a simple design.
  • Use the same background images on every page.
  • Limit what your visitors have to download.
  • Open the site on a mobile using data connection and check how fast it loads.
  • Make the site mobile-friendly.
  • Make the icons clear and well-organized.
  • Make it easy to find addresses and phone numbers.
  • Make sure your web designer is cool with codes and scripts that is if you are not the web designer.
  • Do a test-run on as many browsers and devices as possible.

And you are good to go!

 

#WordOfTheDay – This is what cocksure means

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Hey Sparkle Writers! 
Our word for today is “cocksure.” It is pronounced as /KOK-shoor/.
It is an adjective used to describe someone who is arrogantly or presumptuously overconfident.
The origin of the word is cock (a euphemism for god) + sure, from Old French seur, from Latin securus (secure). Earliest documented use was in 1520. Yeah its that old. 
Examples:
I thought myself cocksure of the horse which he readily promised me. 

I do not like Mr Shawn he seems preety cocksure 

 

#WritingQuote – Stories can break the dignity of a people and they can also repair that broken dignity. – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity. – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story, Ted talks.

This is one powerful quote from a Nigerian literary icon. Can you see just how much power your stories possess? Your story matters. If you are out there thinking it does not, you are either lying to yourself or listening to the lies of other people.

Give your story the chance to do what it has the power and capacity to do. Look out for someone around you to empower and to humanize through your story. Your story has repairing power! Can you believe that?

Dear writer, don’t stop writing.  Let your words give somebody else a reason, a single reason to live and a reason to see the world from a whole new perspective.