The world doesn’t need another Shakespeare or J.K Rowling, it needs you!

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Shakespeare, J.K Rowling, Stephen King, Jeff Goins, Ernest Hemingway – we admire their work, we marvel at their creativity and definitely want to read more from them. What we don’t want is to read another person who is failing at trying to sound or write like they do! Nope we are not interested. 

Writing is simple; it is about looking at the world and saying what you see. If you are trying to say what someone else sees you will struggle for the most part of it. 

One sure way to ruin all your chances of becoming a good writer is by trying to be someone you’re not. The reason that you’re intimidated by other writers is probably because you think you need to become like them to be a good writer. Absolutely not. 

You might be thinking that the best way to get to the top of the writing ladder is to read about the daily routines of Dickens and the like and to follow their every step. You might be thinking that you need to read all the classical literature you can find and follow every single element of their writing styles. At best that will only get you to a wear a mask. No matter how accurately you can copy the writing styles of the great wordsmiths, you still won’t be as good as the original. People will see through the fraud that you’ll become. You won’t become a trendsetting phenomenon in the writing world.

The world doesn’t need another Shakespeare. The world needs something new, original, and authentic. And the only way you can bring in something new into the world is if you show the unique way in which you see your world.

The world is waiting for the manifestation of your talent! 

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How to use polls to engage your blog readers

Hey blogger!

Have you ever used a poll before? If you’ve not, today’s post is perfect for you. 

Polls are a good way for bloggers to find answers to questions, try out new things or just feel the pulse of the online tribe.

Here are a few ways you can use polls for your blog.

To try out a new blog segment

Are you thinking of introducing a fresh segment on your blog but you are not sure how your audience will take it? Try taking a  poll. You can do a pilot post on your blog and create a simple poll asking your readers to vote for or against the new segment. This is a bit better than asking them to leave a comment because it gives you the results without you having to count manually who is for or against the addition. 

Top notch ideas on how to improve the blog

Tired of second guessing or doing it on your own? Ask for help. Ain’t nothing wrong with that! If you need ideas on how to improve your delivery, design or approach you can create a poll to ask your followers. Most of them would gladly chip in a thing or two. Besides your audience’s advice is priceless especially the honest and sincere ones.

What you should remove from your blog

This may be a bit painful especially if you do not agree with some of the suggestions but honest and sincere answers never hurt anyone right? The worst that could happen is that you’d reject the suggestions and move on. On the other hand, you may be getting valuable feedback on how to make your blog more likeable. 

Either way, polls are a great way to engage your audience in a fresh way.

#GrammarSeries – The difference between burnt and burned

Hey, Sparkle Writers.

Have you ever burned/ burnt a meal before? How did you relay the information? Most people still do not know which is correct. Burned or burnt?

If you read this post till the end, you will find out. 

Burned and burnt are both acceptable past-tense forms of the verb to burn.

While ‘burned’ is more acceptable in the United States, ‘burnt’ is more acceptable in the United Kingdom. 

So for example, you’d say  

Mom burned the cakes (if you are using the American standard)

Mum burnt the cakes (if you are using the British standard)

In addition, the dictionary of Modern English Usage says that the two forms can have slightly different meanings. For example, if you say a house burnt down, that implies it happened quickly, but people are more likely to use burned for something that took a long time like ‘the fire burned for days’. But this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule.

We hope this helps! 

 

Culled from GrammarGirl

 

How responsive is your blog design?

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Hey Sparkle Writers, did you know that mobile users spend more than 63 percent of their time on their phones accessing mobile websites and apps? 

So what do you think this means to you as a blogger? Your blog design must be responsive enough to accommodate all kind of users. 

Mobiles and tablets are now a primary source of web traffic all over the world.

If your theme doesn’t respond well to the smaller mobile screens there is a good chance you will be losing valuable traffic as people click away to find something easier to navigate

If you want to keep these people there’s only one way to do it, make your blog design responsive. 

You can use this to test to find out if it is responsive or not.

We’ve checked ours and its very responsive! 

 

 

 

 

When your blog content is pirated, this is what you should do.

This is how to handle criticism like a pro

Piracy is a problem no content creator prays to encounter. It has a way of making you so angry and almost discouraged because what you spent a considerable amount of time working on, another person will just copy and paste like its theirs.

But we can’t deny that it is a serious problem.So what should a blogger do when his content is pirated?

1.  Speak Up. 

Never keep quiet hoping that whoever is stealing your content will stop. Send a message to them, talk about it on your blog at least let your readers and the entire cyber space know who is giving out the real stuff. Most times these people offer your e-books at lower prices than you are offering it and if you are  not careful you can loose some of the benefits accrued to you.

2. Don’t stop blogging

As much as possible do not let the mistakes of somebody else stop you from doing what you love. You started blogging for a reason, you have grown a great followership. Why do you want to stop now? Keep writing the good stuff you have been writing over time.

3. Report to relevant authorities.

If you think the piracy is so bad that you cannot take it anymore you can forward your complaints to google, wordpress or whatever institution is meant to handle the case. Piracy is not tolerated by any respectable organization  and  you can be sure they will do the right thing.

#WriterSpotlight – “Writing allows me immerse myself in a world I have created.” Kayode Adegunloye

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Hello Sparkle Writers! Our guest on today’s #WriterSpotlight series is Adegunloye Kayode, writer, blog consultant and  actor. Enjoy his interview with us.

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

My name is Adegunloye Kayode, I am a graduate of English and Literary Studies from one of the renowned Universities in the South Western part of the country. I am the first of three children and of course the only male child in my family…That makes me the small daddy. *funny*

Coming to terms with what I do could be really deep but then I currently have a whole lot on my hands no thanks to the fact that I am yet to get a full time job that I can proudly call my profession. So for now I serve as a Blog Consultant, Writer and I do a little bit of screen acting too.

How did your journey as a writer begin?

My journey as a writer began a few years back when I finished from the University. It took a long time before I got called up for the compulsory youth service and as luck would have it I was privileged to meet up with someone who was about starting up a full fledged weblog. Thereafter I told him I could just come in as one of the blog’s creative and technical writers which he obliged me without much ado. From there I wrote series of mind-blowing articles (without marking my own scripts though). I can proudly say I got several compliments from top personnel solely because of some of my write ups. After a few months I got the nod to open up my own personal space on the blog which I personally made ‘Edoyak’s Diary’ the moniker. I only had to spell my name ‘Kayode’ from the rear to get the space name. From that point I started cooking up fictional stories, title them and post on the page for all and sundry to read for their enjoyment and to educate themselves. Notably among those fiction were ‘Love Thrills’, ‘Princess of Gaza’ and so on.

What do you love most about writing?

Well, I tend to see writing as an art and personally I think what most arts do is to free the mind and allow you feel the world from a perspective that is quite different from others. But one other sweet thing I love about writing is that it allows me immerse myself in the world that I have created through my own little piece or one created by any other creative writer.

You are very talented when it comes to writing fiction and fantasy. How were you able to master this talent?

Yes, maybe it’s a talent and on the contrary maybe it’s really not. Whichever way it goes I want to accept that I do a whole lot of thinking most times and possibly because I do take part in stage dramas and corporate acting. I could always carve out my own piece of script writing even though I have not been privileged to write any film script at the moment, but I believe this has really helped me in being able to sit, think and think again and come up with an amazing fictional write up.

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

Inspiration for me is more like a quick flash, I do get my inspiration from loads of things that I can’t even imagine. Sometimes from musicals (The soul ones mostly) and at times from the happenings in my environment. For me inspiration could come forth in any form and all I need do at that point is to pen something down as soon the flash comes.

How did you feel when one of your stories was published online for the first time?

I won’t even deny the fact that I felt really good to get my story published for the first time, I could vividly remember ‘So What happens Now?’ was my first story to be published and I was even more enthused when delightful reviews about the story started gracing my timeline. I must confess  it was a great feeling. Yes, it was.

What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

Everyone who is into one creative thing or the other wants to get accolades or at least get noticed for whatever it is they are doing. I think my dream is to be recognized among the top notch writers of this dispensation, especially as a decent fictional writer. Some awards would do too. Laughs.

Do you think you will ever retire from writing?

I don’t think so, It is something that is already a part of me. it gives me so much pleasure, I equally see writing as one of the few means through which I can widen my horizon and commune with the outside world. Of course I might end up as a thespian or even a lecturer someday but I am afraid no one would be strong enough to take writing away from me.

Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies?

Hmm…asides putting pen to paper I love watching football a great deal. It’s one of the few sports I love to watch and I play too sometimes to keep fit. I’ll like to quickly add that I love travels too and most times I do my trips with a witty book that I can learn a thing or two from. I wouldn’t know if it classifies as a hobby but those are the few things that keeps me grinding.

Any advice for other writers out there?

My stout advice to other writers both budding and established ones is to keep writing, It’s not something anybody can dabble into for the fun of it which makes it a bit distinct from all other facets. Therefore just keep writing something for people to read and learn…So It’s either you’re writing or you’re thinking about writing something. Thanks

 

This is the difference between good and bad writers

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What do you think makes a writer good or bad? His writing style? The number of words he writes in every blog post or the number of books he has written or even sold?

You are about to find out!

A good writer is first identified by his perseverance and dedication to the craft not his skill. Good writers don’t quit. Let’s explain what we mean.

An amateur writer who decides to write everyday and keeps to this will eventually become better than a writer who had gained some skill but stopped writing at a point. Bad writers quit. Good writers keep going.

You must be writing to be a writer. Some people see ‘Writer’ as some kind of title but it’s not.

If you want to be a good writer then keep writing, through the rejection, writing block and frustration. That’s how we know you love what you’re doing.

Good writers know there’s nothing like an overnight success

There’s no how this will happen. There’s a process and you must respect it. It’s that simple.

A good writer knows his audience. 

How will you write well if you don’t even know who your audience is, what they want and what language they understand? A good writer focuses on who he is presenting his piece to and makes the piece appealing to that audience.

 A good writer knows that there’s always room for improvement 

No matter how fantastic your work is there is always something better you can do. The point is that no one is perfect. A good writer realizes this, but doesn’t give up there. A good writer continues learning, and he brings in knowledge about everything from appealing to his audience to learning about different writing styles and everything in between.

There are other things that make a good writer, can you tell us some of them?

 

Enough of those drab headlines. This is how to write a power headline

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Writing is awesome but the feeling you have when you get the perfect headline is nothing short of fulfilling.

Proper headlines serve as the cherry on top of the delicious article you have written but not every writer has the rare privilege of experiencing this. Some writers have probably never written any headline worthy of note.

This is about to change. All you have to do is follow our tips to a T. No matter how beautiful your article is, your headline will determine who reads it and who does not.

Here are a few tips on how you can write the power headline that grabs your readers attention and ensures multiple clicks (if you are writing online);

Your headline should contain a sense of urgency

Your headline should never be laid back. Your readers should desire to read your article ‘now’, not later. One thing that can make them do that is your headline.

Use numbers, facts in your headlines

Numbers and facts serve as irrefutable proof to your readers that you know what you are talking about. Several research studies have shown that headlines with numbers tend to generate 73% more social shares and engagement.

Make an audacious promise

What is your article supposed to fulfill? Tell your readers what they stand to gain by reading the article. If your article is about how to clear dark spots on the skin, tell your readers. Make sure your article can fulfill this promise, though. It will be too bad to make a promise your article cannot fulfill.

Look at this example;

‘Get 30% increase in customers with these tips’

Readers who have been looking for more customers will have more reason to read your work.

Use interesting adjectives

They help to add life to your headlines.

Here are some examples:

  • Effortless
  • Painstaking
  • Fun
  • Free
  • Incredible
  • Strange

You no longer have any excuse for writing boring headlines 🙂 

#WordOfTheDay – Every editor should know what peruse means

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Hey Sparkle Writers! Before we talk about today’s word we want to remind you of the reason why this segment of the blog is so important.

As writers, our words are the vehicles we use to pour our hearts on paper or whatever medium we choose to use. We can’t afford to keep using the same expressions every time we have to write else we run a risk of sounding like broken records.

This is why you shouldn’t just gloss over this segment but actually use the words you learn in sentences whenever you get the chance. If you don’t get a chance to do so, you may as well just create one!

Now back to the #WordOfTheDay,

Peruse /pəˈruːz/

Pe·ruse can mean two things, the first one is, to read something carefully: to read or examine something, usually in a careful and thorough way or taking time to do it.

it can also mean to read or scan through something quickly . 

You’re probably wondering why it has outright different meanings, well that’s English language for you.

Look at these examples;

I perused your application closely and found a few grammatical errors. 

Atta didn’t remember details, she only perused the book. 

If you want to know more about this word look it up in a dictionary.

Turn your writing from drab to fab using these three steps

 

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Writing without editing is like putting on makeup without looking at the mirror and leaving for work. Some writers are so in love with their work that they believe it is too perfect for a second edit.

Most times you write your article but you are too lazy to edit it so you just decide to publish or send it anyway. This is not right. A first draft is just that – a draft. It shouldn’t be used as your final work.

After you have poured out your heart in your first draft, it’s time for you to edit in order to turn your writing from drab to fab. You can achieve that by using these three steps;

  1. Edit the spelling and pronunciation errors. No one is above mistakes. In a rush to get your ideas out on paper, you may have missed some words or made spelling mistakes. Looks out for these errors and make corrections.

2. Align your thoughts properly. Most times when you write your first draft, you just type the ideas/ words as they come to you. They do not necessary flow. Once you are done, what you need to do is to re-arrange them so that your words will flow in a way that it will be easy for your readers to follow and understand what you have written. 

3. Look for someone with a fresh eye to edit your work. A fresh eye looking over your work is more likely to pick up on points you may have missed. 

Remember, no one is perfect. You can however put in your best effort to ensure that your words come out perfectly.