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.

 

 

 

 

 

#PickOfTheWeek – Life as we know it

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Social media has changed the way life is and the earlier we accept it the better. Today’s title is dedicated to one of the posts we selected. You will love this week’s pick. 

This is one great thing writing does. It helps to pass strong messages across without causing so much trouble. Thank you Fawaz for sharing. 

brunch (1)Sue Chioma touches a very important point with this post. Home is where the heart is but we all agree that home means different thins to different people. While some have family members who make life beautiful, others have found succor in the arms of friends. Whatever home means to you, you will agree with us that there’s no place like it. 

brunch (3)Your work goes before you and speaks clearly. Not just your words. We’re with Muhamad on this one. brunch (4)Tomiwa blew our minds away with this post. Social media has made it easy for you to know that you are not alone. Going through something and want to find out who else is going through the same thing? Hashtag it! brunch

#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!

 

#WriterSpotlight – “The depth of poetry isn’t necessarily in big words but in the mastery of stringing words together to make art.” Femi Peters

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Hello Femi Peters, please introduce yourself

I’m a man of many parts but a single core, Jesus. I’m a writer, blogger, author, and an entrepreneur. I value relationships. I am married and a serial father.

When and why did you start writing?

I started writing way back in secondary school. I remember helping classmates and friends draft love letters to their crushes and girlfriends. Then I wrote a couple of short stories in the university. I took a shine to it when I started blogging in 2007. I write because I believe a have a message to communicate.

Permit us if we are wrong but you recently entered the writing scene with the introduction of your book ‘Notes to My God’. How has the reaction been?

The reactions started with my first blog that has the same name as my debut book. It pointed that I was solving problems, that my poems were needed. The reactions from the book has been astounding, humbling and has spurred me to write more.

We hear it took 10 years to put this book together. Why did it take you so long?

Well most of the poems came between 2006-2009 but other factors came into play. I had to overcome self doubt and other people’s opinions. I had to journey from getting a publisher to self publish amongst other factors.

We know you are a blogger, when did you start blogging and what’s the biggest lesson blogging has taught you?

I started blogging in 2007. I learnt a lot of lessons, the biggest of them is that I am a solution to someone’s need. Consistent writing betters your gift. Blogging opens you up to a wider audience for a myriad of purposes of which critiquing is one.

Poetry can be therapeutic. Has it been that to you?

Poetry is beautiful in many ways. It is therapeutic for me in the sense that birthing a poem sometimes stems from a prevailing thought and I could start as a quest and end with result.

What’s your take on writing poetry that is becoming relatable as opposed to what poetry used to be? Words many people couldn’t understand because it was too ‘deep’

There are different types of poetry, different kinds of expression. The depth of poetry isn’t necessarily in big words but in the mastery of stringing words together to make art, art that convey a message.

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What do you think in your own words make a good poem?

For me what makes a good poem is one that is fluid, rhythmic, memorable and stoking.

What has putting together Notes to My God book taught you?

It has taught me go after my dreams, that my gift was given to be shared and that God is waiting at the point of our use.

Are there plans to release another book soon?

Yes, I’m working on a couple of books actually and one of them should be ready for early 2018

What challenges did you think you were not prepared for in the process of putting this book together?

For one I was hoping I would remain behind the scene and churn out the work but I find that I have to be out there speaking for the book as we are Siamese twins of some sort.

Where can readers get your book?

It’s available at Glendora, Ikeja City Mall, Patabah bookstores, Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall,  Jumia.com.ng and the Kindle edition is available on Amazon.com

What’s your advice to writers who have been working on a project for long and are getting tired?

It’s never too late to put it out there, stop procrastinating. The world needs to hear your voice. Your book is the solution someone is waiting for.