All the writing events you can attend this weekend

 

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Hello, Sparkle Writers! There are a number of amazing events holding this weekend.  Check them out.

The FCT Book Fair

It is the first of its kind in Abuja so apart from getting the opportunity to hangout with book lovers, buy good books and have a great time, you’d be part of history. Is that not amazing? 

The Book Fair will feature a picnic, games like scrabble, monopoly and chess. There would be toys and bouncing castles for children. Authors and bookstore owners will make sure to bring great books you can buy. We think this would be a good way to have wholesome fun with your family and friends.

The fair would hold Sunday, August 27, 2017

The venue is Event Centre, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti Street, Srea 3 Garki Abuja.

Follow @FCTbookfairNg on Twitter for details. 

 

Tomi Adesina’s Book Launch

 

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Whoop! If you have been following us for a while then you’d know that we have featured Tomi on our #WriterSpotlight.

It is with great pleasure that we announce that she is launching her book George’s Pieces Of Me. 
The launch date is Sunday 20th August 2017  by 3:00 pm.

Tomi writes so beautifully you’d love her event.

 

If you want your event for writers to be featured on our blog, please send an email to thesparklewriters@gmail.com.

#WordOfTheDay – Ever heard of Nimbus? This is what it means

Hello Sparkle Writers, we’re bringing you another word today. Our word of the day is ‘Nimbus’ which is pronounced as /nɪmbəs/. It means a luminous cloud or a halo surrounding a supernatural being or a saint.

Nimbus can also mean a large grey rain cloud. Have you seen one before?

These words are similar in meaning to nimbus; Aroma, atmosphere, climate, flavour, halo, karma, mood, aura, note, odour, smell. 

Let’s form a few sentences with this word.

There was nimbus in the sky, flying everywhere. Did you see it?

Fans are inevitably disappointed when the nimbus of glamour about their favourite celebrity turns out to be an illusion.

We’d be glad to see your own sentences, post them in the comment box.

 

Your imagination has no limits when you have no critics

Hey Sparkle Writers, what do you think of today’s topic? We absolutely agree!

One thing writers over time have struggled with and present writers still struggle with is critics.

No matter how much we advise, some people may never know how to handle critics well. It’s okay. There’s no hard and fast rule to it anyway.

It is still a struggle for some writers to write their sincere and truest feelings because of the fear of what people will say. There are some people who write beautifully and just before they click publish they either completely delete the post or edit so bad that it doesn’t look like the original because they are not ready to face the comments.

But there’s one place you can write without criticism and restriction- Your Journal.

You don’t need anyone’s approval to keep a journal. You don’t need anyone to mark your ideas as good or important before after you write.

Use your journal to test out your wild ideas. You can shape them into more presentable suggestions when you edit.

But then again, maybe it’s better to be unreasonable.

You’ll never know if you don’t let your thoughts roam aimlessly on paper.

#WriterSpotlight – “I think it’s important for us as writers to risk ridicule and bring truth to life.” Tolu Oluwaseyi-Daniel

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Hey Sparkle Writers! It’s time for another #WriterSpotlight. Today we have Tolu Oluwaseyi-Daniel, popularly known as L’Queen. She is an author and blogger and she has some great advice for writers who want to publish books and write stories.

We can’t wait for you to dig in!

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

Hi, my name is Tolu Oluwaseyi-Daniel, also known as L’Queen. I’m a purpose driven person who loves to be a source of joy and motivation to others. I am a writer, blogger and public speaker.

At what point did you discover that you had a passion for writing and why did you decide to pursue this passion?

I fully discovered my love for writing in 2012, when I started my blog LQUEENWRITES.COM. Although before then I knew it was something I had a flair for. I’d always been inspired by books, every writer I know is a reader.  Growing up, I was surrounded by books. My parents read a lot so that probably birthed my interest. Somewhere along the line, I knew that someday I would have to share my own stories both fiction and nonfiction.

You recently published your book, ‘On the Ride’. Can you tell us what inspired you to write it?

Growing up, I saw a lot of books that addressed issues regarding living life as an adult but there weren’t so many books that related to our experiences as adolescents and young adults. Issues relating to building confidence, overcoming low self-esteem, mood swings, voicing out about abuse, bullying, the use of social media, grooming, utilizing talents and discovering purpose. Aside from my love for teens, I felt there was a need to put the right words to the shadowy corners in the lives of the younger generation so that definitely inspired me to write, On the Ride.

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We know you shared a lot of your personal experiences in the book. Was it easy for you to do this?

I think the true reason why God allows you go through things and survive them is so that your story can reach out to others and give them hope. It wasn’t easy putting myself out there but it was very important for me to share those experiences to help someone that might be encountering similar challenges.

Why is it important for writers to learn how to be vulnerable when they write?

Vulnerability as a writer is one way to make your readers connect with you. It sparks emotional feelings and gives them a more detailed knowledge of you as a person not just for the words written but because they can relate to your own personal experiences. Writing to me is a generous act so I think it’s more important for us as writers to risk ridicule and bring truth to life.

Let’s talk about publishing. What challenges did you face in writing and getting your book published?

One of the major challenges was finding a good publishing house to work with. I called several publishing houses but when it sounded like I wasn’t getting what I wanted from any of them I became a little frustrated. Fortunately, I found Winepress Publishing and they were just in sync with the ideas I had for the book. They did a good job ensuring that the manuscript was well edited.

Many writers find it difficult to finish writing a book and get published. What tips do you have for such writers?

I think the most important thing is to know that there’s a story you must tell, there’s someone out there that your story is meant to reach out to. There would be days when you don’t feel inspired to write but you have to constantly remind yourself that you have to get it done. Have a total word count in mind, have people you are accountable to, set a deadline and stay focused on the goal.

With the right amount of commitment and motivation, one chapter at a time you’ll see your book finished in no time.

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In what ways has your writing grown and evolved since you started writing?

With each article and short story I have written, my writing has greatly evolved. I have learnt to be more descriptive, my vocabulary has expanded and I have gained a better understanding of my audience.

Where do you want writing to take you in the next five years?

Well, my goal right now is to take more writing courses and develop my writing skills much more. I’d like to write more fiction stories and gain more recognition as a writer.

I’d like to explore the world, meet more people and have more experiences to write about.

Most importantly, I want to be that writer that blesses lives with words.

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

Fear would always keep a person under because it limits their capacity to become more. I would encourage such people to rise above fear to a place of courage. The message is always bigger than the messenger so they need to come out of that place of hiding and unabashedly share their stories with the world.

#WriterSpotlight – “I would love my writing to win a space for me in people’s hearts.” Ibukun Tunbi

 

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We absolutely love Ibukun Tunbi’s interview on today’s edition of #WriterSpotlight. She is such an amazing writer and her answers are so real. We love how, after struggling so much with her passion, she is finally doing what she loves which is writing. Be inspired by our interview with Ibukun. 

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

Assertive, strong willed, playful, bold, down to earth and spiritual.

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

At the back of my mind, I always knew I would write, I just never imagined it would become a passion. Growing up, I had this feeling that I would be successful at it and that made me very fearful of trying. Eventually, I found myself caught between this paralyzing fear and thoughts dying to be expressed. One had to give way for the other. On this particular day, I made a decision to get validation from someone that could be gracefully objective. I wrote a story and sent it to my sister anticipating her response. She was so excited and told me to continue with the story. Her feedback made me think, ‘Umm…maybe this could work’ but still I didn’t immediately jump into writing,

I started a blog last year and was still oblivious to the fact that I had a passion for writing. I knew I liked story telling but it seemed too big to touch so I didn’t really embrace the idea.

Eventually, after a few years of trying my hands at this and that, I accepted writing to be my passion. The year after, I was reminded of a scene from the movie Sister Act (II). It was something Whoopi said to Lauren Hill that caused my awakening.  She said to her, ‘If you wake up everyday and all you think about is singing that means you are a singer.’ Applying this to myself, I decided it was time to stop being chased by my passion and chase my passion instead, I was a writer.

 Can you tell us what you love most about writing?

What I love most about writing, specifically storytelling, is the power inherent in creativity. Once one word is written the next obediently follows. The words always find an avenue to come alive and find their place in your story. Characters, scenes, dialogue…all of it, fascinates me as they mix together to create a beautiful piece. Most times, I wonder if I am the one writing or if the story is really telling itself through me. The feeling I get in the mixing and matching process is amazing. What is even more fulfilling is the joy that comes from beholding a finished work. I usually feel I earned myself a reason to sleep afterwards.

 What is the most important thing writing has taught you?

Writing has taught me that you get better with use. In whatever field you are in, I believe this rule applies. Experience really cannot be bought; knowledge can but experience cannot. The more you make use of something the better you are at manoeuvring it.

 At what point did you decide to start your blog and how has the experience been?

My blog was my training ground. It started at a time when I was trying to discover myself. The words in my head kept bouncing around until one day God told me, “Start a blog.” It was very direct. I started to give my excuses, which He sorted out. All that was left was the courage to start and that came along too. I did it afraid. I still do.

It’s been a roller coaster. In the beginning, I got so much support, then it reduced. At a point, I felt drained. I had to stop but a friend encouraged me to continue. Sometimes, I ask myself ‘why am I doing this?’ But somehow, I get encouraged again. I can tell you, as of a few days ago, I was thinking of shutting down the blog, but this has encouraged me to continue.

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

Hands down, C. S. Lewis. I would love to peek into his mind to see how it worked.

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Have you ever reached a point where you wanted to give up on writing?

Not really but I found myself extremely discouraged recently. I submitted a script to this production house but they got back to me saying they couldn’t produce my story. It was my first bold step in putting my work publicly and I was terribly crushed. I felt very powerless to keep trying. It’s a terrible thing to feel like a dream died. So anyway, one of my Spurlies (friends) called me and suggested we attend this program. I was still in a haze so I told her to register on my behalf. Eventually I made it to the event, half interested. When I got in, I met this lady speaking. She mentioned that every year for the past ten years, she has considered giving up but somehow, she has kept going. I was really shocked, especially because the lady is quite successful in her field. This theme was re-occurrent throughout the program. A few other successful speakers mentioned how they kept going despite the temptation to give up. It then dawned on me that everyone was bound to go through this stage of despair and I was in good company. Thus, my resolve to keep moving.

When you are struggling to find inspiration, can you share some of the things you do to find that inspiration to write?

Sometimes, I just write anything that comes to my head and try to force the words out. However, in situations like that, I feel like my work doesn’t make a lot of sense. Other times, I change my environment, and I get inspired. This trick doesn’t work too often though. The one that works mostly is spending time with God. After I do, I feel a flow and writing becomes effortless.

I have learnt that my writing flows from some place and so I respect that. Therefore, if there’s still no flow after I have done all that I know to do, I wait until I am stirred, and I always am, then I write.

 Where would you like writing to take you to in the future?

As much as I would like to win Oscars and Nobel Laureates, I especially would love my writing to win a space for me in people’s hearts. The ultimate for me is when my words become a voice. A voice that influences how society is shaped; a voice that creates a worldwide platform where the very hearts of people are touched.

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

You can only run so far. It’s time to stop and embrace your message, your fulfilment is hidden in your fear.

 

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. 

Dear Writer, you can do more

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‘Great work’, ‘Oh my goodness I could totally relate with that.’

These are just some of the kind of comments you have received from readers and you totally deserve it because you’ve done a great job. 

But can we talk? 

There’s still more, so much more you can do.  

“What more can I do,” you may ask? 

Our answer is much more than you are already doing. When you begin to feel comfortable with where you are and what you have achieved please know that it is time to reach into your wells of creativity and bring out or do something different. 

Building a career in writing is not just about blogging every day, posting your articles on social media, or guest blogging.

Have you started reaching out to other writers or are you still one of those that believe writers must be introverts with no form of social life at all?

How about collating all your poems and creating an e-book? Big deal? Not so much. 

What if you did something bigger like reach into the hidden and almost forgotten folders on your computer and finish up that beautiful story you were working on. When we say story we do not necessarily mean fiction. It doesn’t matter what you have achieved so far there is room for MORE. 

 

Writing Events This Weekend!

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Hello Sparkle Writers!

Every Friday, we will bring you events and training for writers that we think you should be aware on a weekly basis. There’s no reason for you to miss out on great events anymore. 

This week, we have the following events;

White Lagos Book Party

You may have heard of the award winning travel writer in Nigeria, Pelu Awofeso, but we are not sure you have seen his new book White Lagos! 

The book is a beautiful documentation of the popular Eyo Festival in Lagos and to officially launch it, Pelu will be hosting the White Lagos Book Party this Sunday, July 23rd 2017 at Page Book Connoisseurs 

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos State, Steve Ayorinde, will be a special guest at this event. 

Want to attend? Purchase a copy of his book and you get an instant invite. 

For more information about this event, kindly visit Pelu Awofeso’s twitter handle (@PeluAwofeso)

 

OkadaBooks Writers Association Masterclass

OkadaBooks is hosting a Masterclass this Sunday to teach writers how to create book covers for free. How awesome is that? This is a great opportunity to learn how to create amazing designs for that book you are writing. 

You don’t need to own a complex graphic design software or have a degree in Graphic Design to create beautiful images. Just attend this masterclass. 

In this free session, you will learn how to create beautiful book covers and fliers with a program as simple as Microsoft Word.

This class is ideal for authors who want to design simple but beautiful book covers without shelling out thousands of Naira.

This class will hold at Workstation in Victoria Island. Spaces are limited so RSVP as soon as possible by sending a mail to okada@okadabooks.com.

 

If you have an event or training for writers that you would like us to feature, please send an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com. 

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! 

#WriterSpotlight – “No story is to short to tell, too long to narrate or too irrelevant to be listened to.” Abifola Abraham

 

It’s another Thursday and you know it’s time for our #WriterSpotlight feature! Before we tell you about today’s writer, we want to remind you about our special #WriterSpotlight Anniversary Edition. This evening, we will have an Instagram Live Chat with our Founder where she will give writing advice and solutions to common problems writers face. It starts at 7 pm so don’t miss it. 

Back to today’s feature! It won’t be an exaggeration to call Abifola Abraham a creative genius. He expresses his creativity in poetry and pencil art. We love the fact that he is self-motivated and he is willing to work hard to be successful in his craft. Enjoy his interview with us.

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

Olorunlana Abifola Abraham is my name. I’m 18 years old. I hail from Ondo state Nigeria. I draw and write poems.

Drawing and writing poems. That’s an interesting combination. How did you develop a passion for these two things?

Let me say it has always been in me. All I did was let it out. The passion comes as a result of my hard work and encouragement from people who see my work and appreciate it.

In what ways are art and poetry related?  

Well, I define art as a creative way of expressing one’s self. Poetry exhibits this, likewise drawing. So poetry is just a form of art.

Take us through your journey to getting to where you are today. How did you begin as a pencil artist and as a poet?

Well, that’s a long story, but I’ll try to keep it short. It all started when I was little. I was a fan of old British movies, where they’d sing while acting, or sometimes recite rhythmic words while acting. I also loved comic cartoon characters and paint works made by art legends such as Van Gogh, Lionel Da Vinci, and Picasso. I always tried mimicking the actors and actress in those movies I watched. Then I continued until one day my friends saw me in that act and they encouraged me to keep up. As I tried keeping up with the act, I was making caricature comic drawings of my own. Then as I grew older my fascination for comic characters began to fade right from the moment I came across “tag drawing”(a form of drawing in which you use objects to represent or describe a person, society or situation). I kept on making imaginative tag drawings until I came across a pencil portrait work of an Africa girl on the internet. I was amazed. I decided to give it a try and I discovered I had what it takes. Ever since I’ve been making pencil drawings, and I’ve not for once regretted being a pencil artist. On the other hand, I began to write poems the day I was introduced to poetry writing in secondary school. I was 14 and I did literature in secondary school even though I was a science student.  Ever since I’ve been a poet and a pencil artist.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration is a thing that comes to you anywhere, anytime.  Sometimes I am my own inspiration. Most of my poems are written based on things that have happened to me. So I just tell the story in form of a poem.  Sometimes, I get my inspiration from the society;  what’s going around me. I basically write my poems to express my thoughts in simple words, which of course will be easy for readers to relate with and get absorbed into.

Did you face any challenges in your journey and how were you able to overcome them? 

Of course I did face some challenges. There was a time I had issues with getting people to read my poems. But thanks to the existence of social media I get to share my poems on Instagram to a wide audience who can read my poems. On the other hand, drawing was more challenging. My parents always believed being a pencil artist was a waste of time and wouldn’t bring reasonable returns. All I did was to raise capital on my own. I denied myself of some things so I could get art materials which are not cheap to purchase and have never been cheap to purchase. It took a while before I could acquire a lot of professional drawing tools. I now have reasonable number of drawing tools.  I kept up with the work until my dad came home one day, saw one of my works and told me to keep the good work up. Today, I fund my own art.

What do you love most about what you do?

What I love most about what I do is that I get to express myself as well the fact that people appreciate my works when they see them.

Has combining art and poetry been profitable for you?

Yes, it has been profitable so far, especially drawing.

As a creative person, what are some of your frustrations with the way art is viewed in Nigeria?

First of all, most attention is focused on people who have spent decades doing art leaving the young and upcoming ones crawling their way up on their own. Secondly, art in Nigeria is not that well-appreciated. It’s sometimes considered as being cheap. People give you good credit for your works but don’t want to pay to have them.

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?

Well, it happens in almost every occupation. All I think could be done is that one should try to stand out in whatever he or she does. The more the expression of creativity, the more the chances of appreciation.

What is the most important lesson writing has taught you?  

The most important thing I’ve learnt from writing is that, whatever story it is you have in mind, learn to put it down and showcase it to an audience. You never can tell who’s going to learn from it and whose life it is going to change for good. I’ve written a poem which I didn’t consider to have a strong theme but I was surprised when a reader texted me saying he read my poem and his mind was eased. He, in fact, thanked me for it.

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

My advice to those who have something to share yet allow fear to hold them back is, no story is too short to tell, too long to narrate or too irrelevant to be listened to. Do not mind the number of your audience. Not every story is for everyone. Just express yourself to an audience and you’d see your story touching souls and changing lives.

 

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 – 20 Ways to Avoid Using The Word ‘Very’

Hello Sparkle Writers! Welcome to another Grammar Series on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub. Today, we want to teach you how to avoid using the word ‘very’ when you write. 

‘Very’ is not a bad word. The problem is that when you use it too much, your creative muscles become lazy. Instead of saying, “I am freezing,” you opt for “I am very cold.” As writers your choice of words matters. ‘Freezing’ evokes more emotion than ‘very cold’.

To help you avoid using the word ‘very’ too often, we have a list of alternatives that you will find useful. 

1.  Very Afraid – Terrified, Frightened.

2. Very Bad – Inadequate, Atrocious.

3. Very Beautiful – Alluring, Exquisite.

4. Very Clever – Intelligent, Brilliant. 

5. Very Happy – Excited, Elated. 

6. Very Worried – Anxious, Distressed. 

7. Very Strong – Powerful, Sturdy.

8. Very Rude – Impolite, Cheeky. 

9. Very Fast – Quick, Swift.

10. Very Slow – Lengthy, Time-Consuming. 

11. Very Thin – Slim, Lean. 

12. Very Quiet – Silent. Tranquil.

13. Very Serious – Solemn, Significant. 

14. Very Neat – Orderly, Immaculate. 

15. Very Tired – Exhausted, Drained. 

16. Very Stressed – Pressurized, Burdened. 

17. Very delicious – Mouth-watering, Appetizing. 

18. Very Risky – Dangerous, Perilous. 

19. Very Big – Spacious, Roomy.

20. Very Important – Critical, Paramount.