#WritingQuote – Writers are like dancers, athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.

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Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up. Jane Yolen, Author of Owl Moon.

Today’s author whose quote we are focusing on today is top notch. Jane Yolen is the prolific author of children’s books and science fiction and has written well over 300 books. Trust us when we say this author is phenomenal. And she advises other writers, including you reading this right now, to exercise the writing muscle. Her advice is definitely valid based on what she has accomplished in her lifetime as a writer.

What you write about does not matter. All that matters is that you write not just weekly or monthly but every single day. Think about it. If an athlete forsakes his daily exercise routine for as long as a month, it would tell on his ability to run or jump properly. Usain Bolt would not be all that exceptional if he was not actively involved in daily exercising his muscles.

There is no shortcut to being a terrific writer. Writing daily is the surest way.

So, dear writer, just write. No matter what the subject of your writing is about, just write your way into excellence every single day. Do not allow your writing muscle seize up and get all rusty.

                  

 

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#Word of the Day – Let’s talk about what misanthrope means

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Hey there!

Today, our interesting word is “misanthrope.” If you look really closely at this word, you can tell that it is related to the word “anthropology” which means the study of humans. The word “misanthrope” is pronounced /mis∂nƟ∂up/.

Misanthrope is a noun used to refer to a person who hates all mankind and humanity in general. This is a formal word, derived from Greek misanthrōpos “hating mankind” from misein “to hate” plus anthrōpos “a man.” From the same root, we get the English word anthropology.

If you make a statement or do something that is particularly hostile or untrusting, you can call that misanthropic.

Here is how it is used in sentences.

Examples:

 I do not know of any sane person who would publicly declare himself a misanthrope.

Do not be deceived into thinking that a misanthrope could have genuine love for you.

 

#Grammar series – Let’s talk about reciprocating pronouns

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Hey, Sparkle Writers! Today on grammar series, we will be looking at pronouns. Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns in sentences.

Example: John is in love with his wife (The pronoun ‘his’ replaced the noun ‘John’).

However, our focus will be on a special kind of pronoun: reciprocal pronouns.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘reciprocal?’ 

Reciprocal is a word used to describe the relationship in which two or more people or groups of people agree to do something similar for each other.

Reciprocal pronoun, on the other hand, is a pronoun that involves an exchange between two or more people. If each of two or more subjects are acting in the same way towards the other, reciprocal pronouns are used.

There are two reciprocal pronouns in English and they are each other and one another. ‘Each other’ is used when two people or two groups are involved in the exchange. ‘One another’ is used when the exchange involves more than two people or groups.

The following examples will clarify the usage of both reciprocal pronouns.

The two maids cleaned each other.

The twin boys made a promise to each other.

The couple sang a song to each other.

The seven dwarfs gossiped with one another until Snow white opened her eyes.

The angels discussed the rebellion of Lucifer with one another.

That’s it on grammar for the week. Till next Tuesday! 

 

 

Dear writer, be your own Chief Encouragement Officer

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As a writer, one thing you have to learn is to be your own CEO – Chief Encouragement Officer.

To be a successful writer, you have to learn how not to depend on the encouragement of others to keep you writing or to keep you going. You have to learn how to speak nice words to yourself about your writing. This is because you might not always get the encouragement you desperately desire from people. We know that writers can be harsh critics of their own work. So, here is how to go about being your own CEO.

Whenever you write and you feel like your work is not good enough, just say this to yourself: “This write-up isn’t so bad but I can always make this better.” That should be the attitude rather than saying, “This write up is so dumb, no one would ever want to read this.” We already know that if you keep up with the negatives, the write-up will end up in the recycle bin.

Now, we are not saying that you do not need cheerleaders (encouragers) in your life. Cheerleaders are an important part of a writer’s life. Rather, all we are saying is that you cannot afford to allow other people determine your confidence level when it comes to your writing. 

Learn how to be your very own CEO. In other words, inspire yourself to greater heights. Always remember that you are your own biggest fan.

 

Writing Quote – The useless days will add up to something  

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“The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels…. These things are your becoming.” Cheryl Strayed, Author of Wild

One thing you should know and understand as a writer is this – no experience is useless. It really does not matter if it is the most condescending of experiences. It is all going to count for something in the end.

For a writer, every single experience is a potential story waiting to be birthed through words – your words.

It does not matter if it is a heartbreak, a boring lecture, a difficult roommate, an overbearing sibling or parent, a boring book that you have to read for an exam, a birthday celebration, a harrowing experience with your mother’s annoying customers, taking care of your pet dog or the pain of watching your puppy die. All of your experiences will add up to something in the end.

Just like the writer in the above quote says, “These things are your becoming.”  The seemingly useless days will add up to something beautiful in the end.

Writing Quote – It does not matter if you are a struggling writer

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“It does not matter if you are a struggling writer or if your book is in its ninth printing. The only thing that is going to make you feel like a decent person, halfway decent human, is if you stop comparing yourself to other people and write what you need to write.” – Courtney Maum, Author of the novel, I am having so much fun without you.

The comparison trap is one that writers are familiar with. There is this nagging unwholesome temptation to always want to compare yourself with the next writer just so you can tell if you measure up or if you are good enough. God help you if you fall into that temptation.

Well, the good news is this! No one is the standard for measuring how great a writer you are. Keep telling yourself how great you are until people’s eyes are opened to see your greatness. Successful writers have been through that comparison route before but they refused to stay there.

Comparing yourself with some other writer is not going to make you a better writer. You would lose yourself in the comparison game. It is going to make you engage in an unhealthy competition with a person who will, most likely, be totally clueless about the race you are hell bent on winning.

Like the quote above says, “Stop comparing yourself to other people and write what you need to write.” Celebrate your uniqueness as a writer. No other person on the surface of this earth can string words together like you would. Quit expending your energy on fruitless competitions, pick up your pen and write till you have no more words left in you.

Word of the Day – Jekyll and Hyde

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Ever heard of the word Jekyll and Hyde? The fascinating thing is that it exists!

The word is pronounced /ʤekl ∂n haid/.

Jekyll and Hyde is a noun. It is used to refer to a person who is sometimes very pleasant (Jekyll) and sometimes very unpleasant (Hyde) or who leads two very separate lives.

This unusual word has an origin. It found its way into the dictionary from the story by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in which Dr Jekyll takes a drug which separates the good and bad sides of his personality into two characters. All the negative characters go to Mr Hyde.

Here is how the word is used in a sentence;

Jack is a difficult person to live with because of his Jekyll and Hyde attitude.

I couldn’t explain her sudden Jekyll and Hide personality, either.

 

 

 

 

#PickOfTheWeek – We are loving these poems; we think you would too

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Hey Sparkle Writers, we are excited to show you some of the amazing poems we have read so far on our timeline for our #PickOfTheWeek. We hope you love them as much as we do. 

The first poem we have to feature is @thatpoetclem’s I think I love my muse. We think the poem is beautiful but his reason for writing it is what got us. How many times have we preached to you about writing even when you don’t feel like it or at the worst write about your writer’s block? This is exactly what he did. 

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Oguntola Dimeji  (@dime1ddon’s) poem titled ‘Our love is water‘ is the next on our list. We love the way he shows us the different sides of love in a precise and beautiful way. Look at it yourself. 

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The Ideal African Childhood by Victory (@the_vic.tory) also caught our attention. He took us back to our childhood and we didn’t want to come back. Do you miss your childhood?

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Last and definitely not the least is China Tori (@miz_uvi’s) poem that got us channeling our parenting instincts. 

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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.

 
 

Learn more about hashtags and blogging

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Any blogger would know that hashtags are important else, why would you use them in your social media posts? 

However, some of us do not know the right hashtags to use for individual posts and this in no small way affects the visibility of your blog posts.

Just because you blogged about phones doesn’t mean the only hashtag you’d use will be #phones, You won’t get as much engagement as you should. 

What other things do your readers love? What other things do they look for? What are the hashtags trending in your industry presently? You must be able to identify all these and use them to your advantage. 

Ensure you try to mix and match high performing hashtags with medium performing hashtags.

You do not want to take chances.

Finally, when using hashtags please arrange them neatly. You don’t want them scattered and distorting the aesthetics of your page.

We trust you understand this and will apply properly. 

#WritingInspiration – 8 Ways To Stop Feeling Like A Failure As A Writer

Hello Sparkle Writers. We know that sometimes you get discouraged especially when your work is rejected or your article did not have the effect that you hoped it will have. We all have those moments when we feel like we have failed but you should never let such moments hinder progress. 

Read this lovely article by Laura Tong. You will enjoy it. 

If you study successful writers, you will discover that one of their most defining characteristics is that they have all failed, sometimes multiple times: failed to finish novels, failed to get them published (assuming they did finish them), failed to make a living writing and even failed to carry on writing.

Those writers who succeed understand that to stop feeling like a failure and dare again, you need to re-examine your idea of what failure as a writer actually is and what it means to you.

Because before you can start to feel like a successful writer, you must stop feeling like a failed one. Here’s how:

1. Stop seeing failure as your enemy

When you fail, you need to know that it isn’t personal. Failure doesn’t wake up eager to single you out as its victim.

So stop taking a fail as a personal attack on you and your writing goals.

Treating failure as your enemy adds significantly more stress and conflict to the creative process. You need clear thoughts to regroup and re-plan. Don’t waste energy on how battered you feel from the blow of an imaginary adversary.

Instead, embrace failure as a friend, as an honest if brutal editor. Friends and editors tell you how things truly are so that you can move on. They’re right there with your best interests at heart.

 

Realize that failure can be your greatest friend and most powerful editor – listen up and take note!

2. Stop thinking that failure defines who you are as a writer

You alone have the power to craft your self-image. The labels you define yourself by steer your every thought and decision. So you must choose only those that will serve you.

The self-portrait you hang in your mind will frame how successful you become.

Describing yourself by derogatory, disdainful, or disparaging terms will sabotage your every creative effort. Thinking of yourself as a failed author, screenwriter, poet or blogger will ensure that success eludes you, no matter how hard you try.

Realize that failure is an event, not a person. You may have failed three or four times to be published or to write that viral post, which means three or four decisions and paths of action didn’t work.

It doesn’t mean you don’t work, or that something is wrong with you, or that you’re doomed to fail in life. It absolutely doesn’t mean you can’t succeed next time.

Imagine if these authors had thought of themselves as failures and given up? Imagine all those works lost to the world!

Every failure brings the opportunity for you to decide that the act of failing won’t define who you are.

3. Stop confusing failure with weakness

 

As a toddler, you learned to walk by falling but also by getting up each time with an inch more knowledge of how your legs worked. You built your muscles, balance, and coordination through repetition, trial, and practice. The process of mastering the skills needed to be a successful writer work the same.

Not getting it right the first, fifth, or fiftieth time is not a case of weakness. Pianists play scales over and over for years, artists experiment with brush lines over thousands of canvases, and writers write…and re-write…and…you get the picture.

Failure is a critical step in learning what doesn’t work to get to what does. Most writers acknowledge that in the creative process. And it’s no different in all the other processes that add up to being a ‘successful writer’.

See failure as the adult version of falling down through lack of experience, practice, or knowledge – all of which you are on your way to acquiring. If you could have walked from birth, you would have defied the laws of human development.

4. Stop searching for excuses to quit

 

Failure only has one cast-iron ally — the act of giving up. Don’t listen to yourself or others who tell you it’s OK to abandon your dreams of achieving, doing or creating something remarkable.

Remind yourself again – just how few great works of art would there be in the world if their creators had quit?

Finding excuses to cut and run is always easier than sticking with whatever the road to success throws your way. Packing it in is way less effort than keeping on keeping on. You will always be able to find justifications to quit if you look hard enough.

And when you hit a bump or experience a curveball, such as writer’s block or your latest rejection, those reasons will seem all the more valid.

The most successful writers are those who refuse to quit, no matter how many times they’ve failed in the past.

And as a writer you have a double reason not to quit: not only would it rob you of the fruits of your creative labour, but it would also rob your future readers of the joy of discovering your work.

 

5. Stop convincing yourself it’s too late

If you’re still breathing, you haven’t missed your window for success as a writer. That’ll stay open as long as you keep trying. And as long as you realize that ‘it’s-too-late’ thinking is just another attempt to find a reason to quit.

Anthony Burgess didn’t publish his first novel until he was 39. And Toni Morrison may be a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, but her first novel, The Bluest Eye, wasn’t published until she was 40. Here are some other late bloomers:

  • Helen DeWitt published The Last Sumarai at 41
  • Richard Adams published Watership Down at 54.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder was in her mid-60s when she published Little House in the Big Woods (Little House On The Prairie came soon afterwards.)
  • Harriet Doer published Stones for Ibarra, at the age of 73.
  • Millard Kaufman published his first novel at the age of 90.

So if you’re under 100, stop using age as an excuse. And if you’re not, then go out there and make literary history!

Age is not a hindrance; it’s an asset. It brings a wealth of experience, ideas, skills, and knowledge that youth could never provide.

6. Stop crying over decisions you made yesterday

Thinking that your past creative failures dictate your future is a common mistake. Your past may have been shaped by the decisions you made, but your future is shaped by the decisions you haven’t made yet.

And while your past may also have been shaped by your creative failures, your future is just as likely to be shaped by your creative successes.

Rather than waste time and energy regretting your past decisions, you have the power to make new ones today. And the power to change your future by doing so.

Feeling like a failure is a result of being stuck in a loop where you imagine your future is held hostage by your past. In reality, your past has little hold, except in your mind. Break these mental chains, and see the past for what it is – a paper tiger with no teeth.

One great decision made today can set you free.

So celebrate your decisions regardless of the outcome because your reaction to yesterday’s failure will determine tomorrow’s success.

 

7. Stop thinking you are alone

 

Realize that missing a milestone, making a seemingly disastrous error, or taking a significantly wrong turn are all the experiences of successful writers.

Like you, they discovered that the road to success can take some unexpected deviations that might leave you feeling lost, confused, and alone. Even a successful first novel can be followed by a flop.

But they found the resolve to re-plan their route when they were knocked off course, just as you can.

Remember, you are far from alone when you fail. You are standing right where all the successful writers stood before you. You’re walking in their shoes and taking their path.

Stop feeling like a failure as a writer, and start feeling like a success because by failing you’re in the best company to succeed.

8. Stop believing failure is the end

Every action you take moves you forward, no matter how far backwards a failure may seem to have set you.

  • Have your novels been rejected for years by every major publishing house? Then treat it as a chance to self–publish. Amanda Hocking did – and sold over 1.5 million books.
  • Have you put your heart and soul into a blog post that was read by practically no one? Then re-work the title and have it go viral – Erin Falconer of Pick the Brain did.
  • Has your screenplay been rejected by all the major movie companies? Guess what? That’s right. It’s not the end for that screenplay, it’s the beginning.

See your version of success as being at the head of the road; what happens along the way is immaterial. It certainly isn’t terminal. Neither is it stronger than you.

Halt any thoughts that a single stumble is going to stop you. Or a dozen.

Refuse to accept that failure will get the better of you achieving your goal of being a successful writer.

 

Take inspiration from successful writers like Meg Cabot, best-selling author of Princess Diaries. She couldn’t lift the bag of rejection slips she kept under her bed, but she never gave up. Now she’s sold over 25 million books in 38 countries. Isn’t that fantastic?

Failure isn’t the end. Failure is just the chance of a new beginning, just like every first draft.

The end is success. That’s where your road leads. Keep on writing.