Your blog readers mean much more than you think

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How many times do bloggers try so hard to get more readers, get more likes, more shares and more comments.

Countless number of times. All in a bid to have a great blog. All these are good but one of the most important aspects of your blog is are your readers.

Can you imagine producing great content day in day out for your readers. Every time you publish a blog post, there is a tribe waiting to read and if possible comment and share. In no distant future you will increase your followers, readers and community because those people will share the content they love with their friends. 

However if you focus on just promoting posts, begging people to follow you, you may not get that. large following. 

When people love what they see and notice that you are consistent they will advertise your blog for you. 

Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers. Identify what your readers want, like and need and stick to it. Your followership will increase in leaps and bounds. 

#WriterSpotlight – “It’s lovely to know that even when I am gone, generations to come can get an insight into my mind.” Tolu Akinyemi

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Hey Sparkle Writers. It is time for one of our favorite segments on the the Sparkle Blog, #WriterSpotlight.  Much more than we could have imagined, this series has helped us gain insights into the life of many amazing writers. Today’s guest is no exception. 

He is an outstanding writer and we are honoured to feature him on this platform. If you do not like poetry, we’d ask that you look for any of Poet Tolu’s poems. You will definitely change your mind. 

Enough of the talking; let’s go straight to his interview. 

Hello Tolu, please introduce yourself to us.
My name is Tolulope Akinyemi, also known as Poet Tolu. I’m a writer and a poet and a few other things. I am a Nigerian who currently lives in the United Kingdom.

We did a little snooping around on your blog and found out that you are a writer, architect, and entrepreneur. Can you please take us through the process, how do you do all these simultaneously?
I write mostly at night and it helps that for some years till now, I’ve learnt to get by on a few hours of sleep daily. It also helps that I’m a single man without family commitments yet. My time is completely mine. I write by night and do the other things by day.

Do you think you were born to be a born writer?
As a kid I really wanted to learn to play the piano, but my parents couldn’t afford to buy one. I would arrange my mum’s cooking pans in a line on the floor, turning them into a kind of ‘percussion piano’ but it obviously wasn’t a real piano. The interest died out eventually, and I didn’t become a piano prodigy that I might have become if we had a piano in my home and I also had an opportunity to learn it. Perhaps people are born with talents, but I think what we call talent is usually opportunity that met interest (voluntary or induced) that became a passion. Growing up, we didn’t have a piano in my home, but we had books, tons of them and I read them all, including the ones in Yoruba, my native language. Did that contribute to me becoming a writer? I think so, and that lends some credence to my earlier hypothesis about opportunity, interest, passion and talent.

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You have written three books, which was the toughest for you to write?
The first one. Not the writing per se, but being new to writing and publishing. There was a slight learning curve with many things I needed to understand.

We know that you write poetry for those who seemingly ‘hate’ poems how well has this worked out?
The amount of positive feedback I get suggests it’s been working out well. Many people avoid the poetry genre not because they don’t enjoy reading but because they find it tedious, obscure and difficult to understand or relate to. Remove that, and they enjoy poetry almost as much as any other genre they love to read.

Did you have to train yourself to write simple yet profound stories or does it come naturally?
In a way, I had to learn to understand my audience and define what my own style would be.

We know you loved reading since secondary school in Akure when you smuggled library books so let’s play a little game;

Enid Blyton or Charles Dickens
Enid Blyton (because of the fond memories from my childhood)

Playing football or reading a novel during the weekends?
Tennis

Fiction or Poetry?
Fiction (interestingly)

How much did reading help shape your love for writing?
A lot. I always say every good writer must first be a good reader. It’s the love of reading that sparks the love for writing. It’s like opening the door before walking through.

What’s your take on the belief that ‘talk is cheap’?
It’s not a belief, I think it’s a fact. We may not be able to say the same for its consequences, but ultimately, speech is free.

Tell us two things social media doesn’t know about Poet Tolu.
I’ll tell you one. I have never tasted alcohol.

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How do you know that a particular story will be a hit or do you just write hoping that somebody will relate to it?
It’s hard to know how well people will accept a writing, but the chances increase with how well you understand your audience and what they love or want.

What do you love most about being an author?
Next to taking ‘selfies’ it’s one of the easiest ways to immortalise oneself. It’s lovely to know that even while you are gone, generations to come can get an insight into one’s mind. There’s also a ‘social prestige’ that comes with being an author. I once went for a medical checkup and the doctor got really excited when she learnt I am an author. She insisted I signed a flyer advertising my book, which I found amusing.

To get Tolu’s books go through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. They are also available in Nigeria through Konga, Jumia, Rovingheights, Okadabook

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- What you need to know about sentence length

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Hey grammar lovers, are you ready to learn?

Let’s talk about sentence length and its significance in writing.

One of the simplest ways to spice up your article is to vary the sentence length. With varying sentence lengths, you can capture your readers’ attention more quickly.

However, you should avoid using very long sentences. If you must, make sure that it is unambiguous. A sentence becomes too long when it is incomprehensible. In most cases, very long sentences can be broken up into shorter ones.

On the other hand, your article should not comprise only simple sentences. If you do this, your article will be boring. Short sentences can be used on occasion. For instance, short sentences in an article or write up help to draw the attention of the reader to the information in that sentence.

We hope that helped.

It’s not too late to succeed as a writer

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You know how it feels when you look at other writers and how they have intentionally taken steps to improve their skill and you want to beat yourself up for being so lazy. There are times you may even feel like there are too many people who have gone ahead and it is too late for you to make headway in this career. 

This is NOT true. It is never too late for anyone to succeed. Just take it that the day you decide to take your writing serious is your own morning. 

If you’re still breathing, you haven’t missed your window for success as a writer. Those chances will remain open as long as you keep trying. Saying ‘it’s-too-late’  is just another attempt to find a reason to quit. Don’t give that thought any importance. 

Look at what we found out;

  • 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 remind us, how old are you again and why do you think its too late for you to succeed as a writer?

 

Every blogger needs to read this

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How do you feel when you see bloggers who write posts and get 20 comments, 100 shares and even gets endorsement deals because of their blog. It makes you wonder what you are not doing right.

We saw this quote and we were encouraged and being the great people that we are, we have decided to share. This quote was shared by Darren Rowse.  He said

99.9% of great bloggers are not awesome on day one. Their awesomeness is the accumulation of the value they create over time.”

How profound is that? 

This means that you have no business getting envious of other bloggers and their successes because they have done so much work overtime to get to that point. You can’t be blogging for one month and expect the same results as someone who has been blogging consistently for one year. 

No blogger becomes perfect by writing just one blog post. Perfection and mastery comes from blogging over and over and over again. So if you are feeling depressed as to why you are not seeing results be rest assured that they will come you just have to keep blogging.  The more you blog the better you become at editing posts, creating images and sharing your thoughts. 

We know that there are some people who will argue that they’ve been blogging for a while and still no results. Our advice is this keep blogging your time will come. 

 

#WriterSpotlight – Eniola Adenijiloves that writing gives her the power to weave beautiful stories

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It’s #WriterSpotlight time! Who is excited because we are. Our guest is the multi-talented Eniola Adeniji. According to her, hardcore dedication, tenacity, persistent and a drive towards success have helped her get to this point. You need to read her story. 

Hello Eniola, please introduce yourself to us.

My name is Eniola Ennmae Adeniji. I am a writer, a content developer, a Marketing Strategy Consultant, a Chef, Fashion Designer, a social entrepreneur and a farmer (Let’s just say I am an Industrialist).

When did you start writing and how has your writing evolved over the years?

I started writing when I was 16, that was 14 years ago. I believe with age comes a different outlook to life, people and things. And of course our experiences along the way and how we’ve been able to navigate through life and it’s numerous circumstances and indeed success, all this have shaped the way I write over the years.

Like you mentioned earlier, you are a writer, coach, marketing strategy consultant, industrialist, agropreneur. How in the world do you manage all these effectively?

I manage them basically by having little to no social life (Chuckles). It’s been a journey of hardcore dedication, tenacity, persistent and a drive towards success

Why did you choose Instagram as your primary platform?

Actually Facebook is my primary platform, I only share some of the things I share on Facebook to Instagram. So you’d find more of my writings on Facebook.

Do you think you were born to be a born writer?

I don’t know if I can say I was born to be a writer, I just know someone took the time to mentor me at the age of 13 by giving me two books a month to read and write my perception of it, and this went on till I was 21. That was the birth of my ability to write really.

What’s your take on the belief that ‘talk is cheap’?

Indeed talk is cheap. I’ve seen quite a number of people who aren’t anything close to what they write. But again, as much as most of what I write were drawn from my daily life experiences, as writers we are also sometimes inspired to write things that does not necessarily mirror who we are, but who we aspire to be. The goal is to keep working towards closing the gap between what you say, what you do and who you are. The goal is to go beyond saying to being.

Tell us two things social media doesn’t know about Eniola?

I am pretty shy outside social media and often avoid the camera. I love Cartoons 

Do you have an author crush?  If yes please tell us who?

Oh yes, quite a lot of them though (Chuckles). But I’d stick with John Grisham

Tell us three ways social media has helped your writing career?

Social media has helped my writing career by helping me to first built a platform, then an audience and on the long run referrals.

What do you love most about being a writer?

I love the ability to weave my own stories, which other people can connect with daily.

What is your advice to other writers who want to merge their talent and faith together but don’t know how to start?

Read. Every great writer is first an ardent reader. Find your voice and never do the smoke on screen with it (Own it) if you don’t, chances are you’d find it pretty hard to convince others to. Begin where you are, write your stories and faith, the more you write the better you will become.

What’s your ultimate goal as a writer?

Publish my books and raise a generation of kids who love reading and writing from early ages through my Mae’s Book Club.

 

#WordOfTheDay- Know what kerfuffle means

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Hello, Sparkle Writers. It is time for #WordOfTheDay and we are super excited to talk about today’s word. One of the reasons why is that we find the word quite interesting. It has a simple meaning but the word itself is what intrigues us. 

Today’s Word of the Day is Kerfuffle.

Kerfuffle is a noun than means a fuss or commotion, especially one caused by conflicting views. Quite simple right?

We’d give two examples and then it will be your turn to use this word in at least two sentences.

There was a bit of a kerfuffle during the meeting because the warring parties were present.

He apologized for causing a kerfuffle at the dinner table.

Now, it’s your turn. Try to compose sentences with this word.

#GrammarSeries – How you should never use a comma

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If you’ve learnt a thing or two from our #GrammarSeries raise your hands! Today is another day and we will make sure you learn something again today. 

The comma is very important in English language but today we are here to tell you how you should never use a comma. 

Never use a comma to separate two independent sentences. Many people tend to do this without even knowing that it is wrong.

For example: There was no jam, he used butter. 

This is wrong.

Two independent sentences cannot be separated by a comma.

Now, you may ask how you separate such sentences? Our answer is this. Use conjunctions, a period/full stop or a semicolon.

Look at this example: There was no jam; he used butter.

There was no jam so he used butter.

There was no jam. He used butter.

In this case, periods should be used only when you don’t want to connect the two sentences or when there isn’t a strong connection between the two sentences.

We hope you have learnt something. 

Stop confusing failure with weakness

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Failure is really not a good thing. But we’ve all felt like failures at one point in our lives. And the pain that it brings can be enough for us to slam the brakes on ever trying to be a writer again.

However, when you start writing you do not necessarily need to get everything right immediately. Have you seen a baby learning to walk? He falls, stands up and falls again but hardly does he refuse to walk again because of that. A good writer masters the skill by writing, rewriting and writing again.

We know failure has a way of getting to you. You’d probably just believe that this is the kind of person you are – a failure and there’s little or nothing you can do to get better. It is not true.

Not getting it right the first, third or tenth time doesn’t mean you are weak or not good enough. Failure is a critical step in learning what works and what does not. Take note of that.

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. Same as being a writer, if you could write the wittiest and most intriguing stories at first trial, you would have no need to grow and most likely you would not appreciate the skill you have.

If you still need some dose of inspiration contact us and we will hook you up!

 

These tools will help you blog like a boss

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Sparkle Writers, how are you doing? and your blog? Fine we hope.

You know how time consuming it is to manage a blog right? It’s even more difficult when you are trying to do things right. In between finding the right images for your blog, editing the images and posting on facebook, twitter and instagram time never seems enough. 

Here are a few tools that can help you blog like a boss.

Fiverr

Ever heard of this amazing community? It has a pool of experts that can help you with several blog activities. Logo design, template creation, programming and lots more. All you need to do is get started by signing in. What’s best? It costs $5dollars. Well you can get them for that amount or higher, depending on what you want. 

Grammarly 

Grammarly is a great tool  that helps you improve your writing. It helps to correct your typos and grammatical errors. What do you think about having something that helps you edit your work just as you are typing.  Well that’s if you sync it with your computer. Grammarly is that tool that can work for you.

Mailchimp

What serious blogger does not communicate with his reader via email? Not sure there is any. Mailchimp helps you send messages to your reader, talk about blog posts and grow your community. They have free and paid versions so you can choose what plan suits you.