Your guide to finding clients that pay

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We know you are getting tired of writing for free. You keep hearing that there are people who are making money from their skill and you are wondering how and when it will be your turn to bill clients.

If most of the people who know you write do not see it as a serious profession or are not willing to pay for your services, today we are revealing our secrets and showing you where and how to find the clients that pay.

Thank us later!

Turn to your colleagues (including former colleagues) 

If our guess is right, you still have your day job, which is okay. Mention that you are writer to your colleagues so that they can inform you of any freelance opportunities. Talk to your previous colleagues. These people know you and trust you. Once there is an opportunity they will most likely remember you.

Connect with fellow freelancers

Don’t live in a world of your own and complain that writing doesn’t pay! It does. Talk to other writers. You never can tell, once they know you are available for work, they’d send you referrals from them.

Blog about your industry

Write useful articles you know your audience would love and submit to relevant websites. If you are targeting students look for where they visit often. 

Potential clients can see these articles and find a way to reach you. You never can tell.

Get referrals from existing clients

Email your existing clients to see if they can refer you to other businesses. If you have a great working relationship with them, they’ll be glad to send others your way.

Head to a co-working space

Co-working spaces give you tons of opportunities to meet other freelancers and business owners thankfully, there are a number of them around. Find them and use them. 

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#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. 

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. 

#GrammarSeries – You’ve made this mistake at least once

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When you talk about brands what do you refer to them as? Plural or Singular? 

Let’s make this easy. In grammar it is wrong to refer to a brand or an entity as ‘they’. A business is not plural. As a result you should refer to it as ‘it’ and not ‘they.’

Look at this;

To keep up with their diverse clients, Bird Air re-branded their airports in 2011

We hope you can see the issue? 

To keep up with its diverse clients, Bird Air re-branded its airports in 2011

The confusion is understandable. In English, we don’t identify a brand or an entity as “he” or “she” — so “they” seems to make more sense but it doesn’t.

It might seem a little strange at first, but once you start correctly referring to a brand or entity as “it,” the phrasing will sound much more natural than “they.”

#WriterSpotlight – “I am a silent type, I talk, but not serious talk. My writing speaks for me.” Bankole Wright

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Welcome to another #WriterSpotlight on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub. Bankole Wright is a writer and editor and we are glad to feature him today. We hope you learn a thing or two from his interview. 

Hello Bankole. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hello. Ok I am Bankole Wright, a graduate of Lagos State University where I studied English, majored in Literature. I am a writer, a book editor and a growing academic. I have a deep passion for teaching and writing. I love talking literature and creative writing, I love the fact that I create stories, both those that exist and those that don’t.

How did your journey as a writer begin?

Writing started at age 14, then I used to write juvenile love poems which usually ended in dustbins. I wrote songs as well. I just wrote because that was where I found fulfillment and joy. Growing up, I became conscious of my ability to create stories, and the fulfillment I derived from writing. Then I took writing more seriously, I began to write poems for several poetry sites such as Poetrysoup. I also wrote stories and articles at naija stories. I wrote at Pulse Ng where I was a blogger, then I started writing for OYA magazine till now.

What do you love most about writing?

Writing makes me feel like a god, genius and immortal. I am a silent type, I talk oh, but not serious talk, so my writing speaks for me.

In what ways has your writing grown since you stated writing?

For me, my writing  has really improved as a result of the frequent writing engagements I have had over time. They have pushed me to study deeply and I practice all I read to the letter.

Where do you get inspiration from when you want to write a story?

I derive inspiration from everything around me, both tangible and intangible. I observe tinniest details.

There are people who believe that writing can never be financially rewarding. What are your thoughts about this?

(Smiles), concerning finance, writing rewards. You need to create a niche for yourself to the point that you alone will be preferred and patronized. As a writer, if you work hard, you will be richly rewarded.

What lessons have you learnt since you started managing Oya magazine?

Hard Work, oh I have really learnt hard work. Also I learnt commitment and dedication, loyalty and consistency. OYA magazine has really built me and is still building me.

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What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

My ultimate dream as a writer is to be an influential one whose works are reputable and internationally acknowledged.

Do you think you will ever retire from writing?

(laughs). Writing is my life, retiring is like dying.

It’s one thing to write and another to help others edit books, how did you upgrade your skill?

I simply schooled myself in it. I got books on editing, I studied and I practiced and then I started helping friends for free, with time I was getting paid.              

Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies?

Aside writing, I read. I love reading a lot, like a real lot. I read anything and everything. I actually have a boring life to some people, but believe me, this is the life I choose.

Any advice for other writers out there?

Writing isserious business and it is a venture of the intelligent and disciplined. Also, don’t get caught up in trying to impress, just love what you do and do it with excellence.

 

Eight Blog Post Ideas That Will Make Your Blog Sparkle

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You would agree with us that it is not easy to come up with great content and ideas for your blog. Every blogger wants to write fresh and creative posts. Besides, no reader wants to read stale and uninteresting articles. Here are eight blog post ideas that will make your blog sparkle. 

Publish some little or unknown facts

The internet and different encyclopedias are full of facts, some of them really random. For example, “Did you know that the pink/red/white colour of flamingos comes from the food they eat?” You probably didn’t.

All of these facts can be gathered in your own post to generate buzz. Besides you’d be providing them with information they may need later. 

Write a post about things you regret doing or not doing

When you surf around Yahoo answers, you’ll find many very popular topics and posts about the things people regret doing and not doing. Try to write down your own list. Who knows, you might get comments from people who have a shared background experience with the things you have regretted not doing.

Publish a “What If” post

Use your imagination and write a post about what will happen if you going to move to another country or travel the world after winning a billion dollars. People love to dream and believe that these things will happen to them. 

Make a handwritten post and publish it by taking a photo

Hand-written texts look amazing and show your creativity as well as character. They help your audience see a different side of you; like your handwriting. Lol. 

Write a FAQs post

What questions do you get asked constantly, either about yourself or about others? Create a Frequently Asked Questions post answering all these questions.

Shoutout to your mentors and fans

Write a post naming specific people who have influenced your blogging journey. Be sure to let them know when the post is public to help drive their followers to your site. 

Showcase a reader

Do you have a strong relationship with some of your loyal readers? Ask one of them if you can interview him or her and post his or her responses on your blog. People love reading about themselves anyway. As long as the questions are interactive and the answers engaging you’d get readers.

Write an open letter

Do you have someone you have always wanted to say something to, whether it is a child or a celebrity or a robot? Say those things and post it on your blog for the world to see.  

Remember that except your blog is niche based, it’s a personal diary where you can publish whatever suits you. 

 

Culled from textbullet

 

 

This is what successful writers have in common

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Have you ever wondered how the famous writers you admire made it to the limelight? Even more so, have you ever thought about what they had to grapple with before their names and works ever saw the light of the day? The thing is, these writers might be domiciled in different corners of the world but these three qualities bring them together—Discipline, Persistence and Patience.

Discipline

Discipline is the art of writing one word at a time until you are done with the article, book or novel you had in mind when you began. This is easier written than done but successful writers write and get the job done even when they do not feel like it. In this thing called writing, feelings do not matter. What matters most is doing what must be done. Mystery writer Janet Evanovich pulled in $33 million in the year 2012 but wrote for ten years before getting published. Only a disciplined writer would keep on writing for ten years with a name and story unheard by the entire world. Keep on writing even when you do not feel like it. Even when you feel like you are writing crap, keep writing.

Persistence

This is the art of digging the ground until you find gold. When it comes to writing, discouragement always lurks around the corner, waiting for you to throw in the towel and surrender to negativity. Successful writers do not stop digging for gold even if there are slim chances of finding it. Do not stop digging; do not stop writing. No matter how many books you sell, no matter how many people visit your blog and no matter how many rejections you get, do yourself a favour and keep on digging. You will surely find gold, depending on what you see gold as. Judy Blume, who has sold 80 million books, got nothing but rejections for two straight years. Judy found gold after two years of digging. Never say never!

Patience

This is the art of waiting for the seeds you have planted to bloom and grow. A beautiful garden takes time to bloom. It has to be cultivated, nurtured and fertilized to flourish. It is the same with writing. Whenever you write, you are planting seeds and nurturing them. Successful writers understand this principle. Give your writing time to bloom and flourish. The only way to do that is to keep on writing. Do not be in a hurry to “hammer.” Great writers are patient enough to hone their talents and skills to perfection or near perfection. Always remember, patience has the ability to bring out the best in any writer.

 

#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. 

#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. 

Five Ways To Improve Your About Me Page

Many writers and bloggers are so focused on their blog that they forget the other equally important elements. “What’s more important than my blog itself?” You ask. The answer is your ‘About Me/ About’ page. Do you have one on your blog or website? We hope you do because there’s a lot you can achieve with this page. 

Your About Me page gives your readers more insight about you and what your blog is about. It is also a great way to publicize your social media profiles, and leave contact information especially for those who may want to collaborate or partner with you. If you have been neglecting your About Me page, you can use the suggestions below to work on it as soon as possible. 

Who Is Your Blog For?

For your About Me page to be great, you need to establish who your blog is for. If you are writing for women only, please state it. In our About Me page, we stated that this is a writing blog for writers. That already gives you an idea that our posts will be majorly about writing and books and it is easier to make a decision about whether this blog is for you or not. 

What Will Your Readers Gain?

You should tell your readers what they stand to gain from your blog in your About Me page. To do this, you need to know the major problems your blog solves. For example, your blog may provide quick and easy recipe options for professional women who are too busy to cook. 

Use the following questions as a guide for stating the value your blog offers;

  • Why did you create the blog?
  • What will your readers learn from you?
  • Why should your readers listen to you? What relevant experience do you have?
  • What should they follow/ subscribe to your blog?

Give Personal Details.

No, we don’t mean you should give out your address or your bank details. We are asking you to let your readers into your world. We love the way our Founder did it on her blog. She went personal without giving out too many private details making it easy for her target readers to connect with her. That’s the kind of thing you need to do. 

Talk About Your Blog.

Your About Me page gives you an opportunity to sell your blog or website to your potential readers. Give your readers a hint of what to expect from them. Consider your About Me page as the appetizer and your entire blog as the main meal. You see why you need to make it as interesting as possible. We love the way Kachi Tila-Adesina writes about herself and her website in her About page.

Include A Call To Action.

Make the most of your About Me page by including a call to action. This could be for your readers to follow you on social media or to sign up to your mailing list. You may also want to provide your email address so that your readers and potential clients can get in touch with you. 

We hope you will use these tips to improve your About Me page. See you next week!