#WritingQuote – If you want to write you won’t find the time, you will make the time

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“Finish the damn book. You don’t know what you have until you’ve finished it. You don’t know how to fix it until it’s all down on the page. There is no magical motivation fairy. Success is 10% talent, 10% luck, and 80% blood, sweat, tears and determination.  If you want to write you won’t find the time, you will make the time.”                        Lauren Beukes,  Author of Broken Monster.

Lauren gives it to you straight from the heart and we absolutely love that about her!

First, if you do not actually write and finish your book, all you have is NOTHING. It is when you sit down to write that you have SOMETHING that you can fix and tweak. You can’t edit what is not written down already.

Secondly, there is no such thing as a magical motivation fairy. You have got to learn how to speak to yourself and encourage yourself really. You know we say this, ALL THE TIME.

Thirdly, talent is just a small part of the jigsaw puzzle when it comes to writing. The bulk of the puzzle is “blood, sweat and determination.” The process is not going to be all rosy.

Finally, there is never going to be enough time. All we have is twenty four hours. We know you wish we had thirty six hours in a day, don’t we all do? Sadly, that is never going to happen. Just like Lauren says, if you really want to write, you will not “find the time.” You would have to “make the time.”

PS: Lauren wrote her novel at night when she had a three-month old daughter and a full time job. You absolutely have no excuse!

 

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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? 

 

#GrammarSeries – 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing Instantly

Hello Sparkle Writers! Welcome to another Grammar Series. We hope you’ve been learning from our previous posts. Today we want to share 10 ways you can improve your writing instantly. These are little changes you can make to your use of grammar that will make a big difference in the quality of your writing. Are you ready?

1. Prepositions (after, towards, against etc) are not words to end sentences with. Try to use them either at the beginning or in the middle of your sentences. 

2. Avoid cliches like a plague. Why write, “As busy as a bee” when this expression has been overused. Be more creative. 

3. Do not use more words than necessary. It’s superfluous and actually takes away from the true meaning that you intended your words to have. 

4. Avoid profanity as much as you can. Use it sparingly and only when necessary. 

5. The passive voice should ideally be avoided. We’ve discussed this on the blog before. 

6. Depending on the nature of what you are writing, avoid colloquialisms if possible. 

7. Let your use of alliterations be limited. Alliteration is the repetition of the same sound or letter at the beginning of each or most of the words in a sentence. For example, ” Anxious ants avoid the anteater’s advances.” Imagine how your work will be if it is filled with a lot of this. 

8. Do not abbreviate. Try as much as possible to use the full meaning. If it is something you will use several times, then you can abbreviate from the second use. 

9. Be mindful of how you use contractions (don’t, won’t, can’t). Do not over do it. 

10. When in doubt about a word, phrase or grammatical expression, rephrase your sentence to avoid using that word. Better to be safe than sorry 

See you next week! 

This is why you shouldn’t write and edit at the same time

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Have you ever tried to write a paragraph, rewrite it, read it again and found out it wasn’t capturing your idea perfectly so you edited once again?

How long did that last? Not so long most likely.

We bet you probably ended that writing session without achieving more than that paragraph. How long will you do that before you finish writing a short story? Maybe six months. 

Yes we said it, six months. 

When you try to write and edit at the same time, you’re doing TWO different activities.

The part of your brain that must write to get ideas out of your head and organise them — your internal writer — shies away from your inner editor.

The part of your brain that takes your first draft and turns it into something that shines — your internal editor — does his or her best work when you have a complete first draft.

Get the idea written down. Make sure you have emptied your heart out on paper. Then edit ruthlessly. You’d record more achievements. 

Trust us. 

How do you demand respect for your writing skill?

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Many times writing is not taken as a serious profession. People tend to think writing is just one of those things and even if you want to write you need a serious profession to add to it. This is not true. Writing is serious business and should be treated as such.

Today, we want to teach you how you can demand respect for your craft from people around you. Are you ready?

Respect your writing. 

If you don’t treat your profession with respect, nobody will. Have you seen the way Doctors, Lawyers and other people act when they are asked what they do? They respond with pride. Gone are the days when you need to be an Engineer before you should be respected. Talk boldly and proudly about what you do. Respect your writing time; protect it.

Make sure other people respect your writing.

When you respect your writing, other people will do the same. When you are writing let nobody come into your space. Let them not think that your writing period is when they are free to disturb or chat with you. You are writing, you are busy, period.

Groom your writing.

If you respect your writing skill  you will prove it by grooming it. The better you write the more people will appreciate you and your skill. Don’t be the same writer you were a month ago, be better. If you need to brush up your skills, please do it.

If you need to get a writing coach, don’t hesitate to get one. What you love and respect, you train.

10 writing habits every writer must develop

Becoming a professional writer is not as hard as you think. You just need to develop some good writing habits and get rid of the bad ones you’ve picked up over time. Even if you don’t want to write professionally, the writing habits we’ll share today will help you to become a better writer.

Here are the 10 tips you must develop:

  1. Have a writing schedule and stick to it

2. Write when you are not inspired

3. Re-read your work days after you have written it and critique it

4. Read other writer’s work weekly. If possible, subscribe for their articles.

5. Commit to writing for at least 15 minutes every day. What you write is not important. Just write.

6. Question the status quo. What if things could be done differently? Put down your answer as a post or article.

7. Look for a better way to write the last sentence you wrote.

8. Disconnect from social media when you write. We know it sounds impossible but it will help you write better.

9. Constantly improve yourself. Make your craft your priority.

10. Have fun as you write. Writing should not be a chore. It should be way of life.