This is what successful writers have in common

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Have you ever wondered how the famous writers you admire made it to the limelight? Even more so, have you ever thought about what they had to grapple with before their names and works ever saw the light of the day? The thing is, these writers might be domiciled in different corners of the world but these three qualities bring them together—Discipline, Persistence and Patience.

Discipline

Discipline is the art of writing one word at a time until you are done with the article, book or novel you had in mind when you began. This is easier written than done but successful writers write and get the job done even when they do not feel like it. In this thing called writing, feelings do not matter. What matters most is doing what must be done. Mystery writer Janet Evanovich pulled in $33 million in the year 2012 but wrote for ten years before getting published. Only a disciplined writer would keep on writing for ten years with a name and story unheard by the entire world. Keep on writing even when you do not feel like it. Even when you feel like you are writing crap, keep writing.

Persistence

This is the art of digging the ground until you find gold. When it comes to writing, discouragement always lurks around the corner, waiting for you to throw in the towel and surrender to negativity. Successful writers do not stop digging for gold even if there are slim chances of finding it. Do not stop digging; do not stop writing. No matter how many books you sell, no matter how many people visit your blog and no matter how many rejections you get, do yourself a favour and keep on digging. You will surely find gold, depending on what you see gold as. Judy Blume, who has sold 80 million books, got nothing but rejections for two straight years. Judy found gold after two years of digging. Never say never!

Patience

This is the art of waiting for the seeds you have planted to bloom and grow. A beautiful garden takes time to bloom. It has to be cultivated, nurtured and fertilized to flourish. It is the same with writing. Whenever you write, you are planting seeds and nurturing them. Successful writers understand this principle. Give your writing time to bloom and flourish. The only way to do that is to keep on writing. Do not be in a hurry to “hammer.” Great writers are patient enough to hone their talents and skills to perfection or near perfection. Always remember, patience has the ability to bring out the best in any writer.

 

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#PickOfTheWeek – Four Amazing Poems You Need To Read

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Hey Sparkle Writers, if you’ve been following us for a while, you’d know we had this segment on the blog before. We are bringing it back with a little twist and we think you’d love it. 

Every day, our followers tag us when they post their work on social media and we are always excited to see the talented work they put out. That is why we have decided to feature some of these poems and short stories as our #PickOfTheWeek.

This week, we have four amazing poems written by some very talented writers and we know you’ll love them.

1. Conformity by Oche Viktoh

We love how this poem speaks about the need to silence the noise and do you. 

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2. Time by Okuwoga Temitope

Temitope tells us something instructive about time being a tool to create meaningful memories and we love it. 

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3. Andrew Osas Igbineweka talks to us about love from the angle of sowing and reaping. Really different. What are your thoughts?

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4. The power of Love by Ogundele Sherif

Love is powerful, it is sacrificial and Ogundele Sherif explains just how much in his poem. 

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If you are a writer and you post your work on Instagram, don’t forget to forget to tag @thesparklewritershub for a chance to be featured on our Pick of the Week.

#WordOfTheDay- This is the meaning of Onerous

 

Hey Sparkle Writers! Did you know that developing a great vocabulary is one of the most overlooked ways to improve your life personally and professionally? This is another reason why you need to take this section of the blog seriously. 

Let’s get to today’s word. 

Onerous is an adjective pronounced /əʊn(ə)rəs,/ or /ˈɒn(ə)rəs/.

Onerous could mean that something or someone is involving, imposing, or constituting a burden or being troublesome. It can also mean having legal obligations that outweigh the advantages

Look at a few words that have the same meaning with onerous; Awkward, back breaking, burdensome, crushing,  heavy, inconvenient, oppressive. 
 
We’d use this word in a few sentences and wait to read yours in the comments box. 
 
 These are our own examples. 

Taking care of my puppy is an onerous task.

When I agreed to help my father cut the grass, I did not realize the chore would be so onerous.

See you next week when we bring another word!

#GrammarSeries – All you need to know about non continuous verbs

It is #GrammarSeries on the Sparkle Writer’s Hub blog today and we want to learn about non-continuous verbs. 

Non-continuous verbs are verbs that we do not normally use with continuous tenses. These “stative” verbs are about state, not action, and they cannot express the continuous or progressive aspect. Here are some of the most common non-continuous verbs:

Here are some of the most common non-continuous verbs:

  • Feelinghate, like, love, prefer, want, wish
  • Sensesappear, feel, hear, see, seem, smell, sound, taste
  • Communicationagree, deny, disagree, mean, promise, satisfy, surprise
  • Thinkingbelieve, imagine, know, mean, realize, recognize, remember, understand
  • Other statesbe, belong, concern, depend, involve, matter, need, owe, own, possess

If you’ve been using any of these verbs in the continuous tense you have to stop. 

Look at these examples

I am wanting cake (Wrong)

I want cake (Right)

I am not hearing anything (Wrong)

I can’t hear anything (Right)

Until next week when we bring another series your way, keep your grammar in check. 

What’s the big deal about building your platform?

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Hello Sparkle Writers. It’s a great week and we hope you are pumped and ready to do amazing things this week. 

Let’s go into the topic for this week. 

Have you ever been told or asked about your writing platform? Do you have one? If you do, are you maximizing it? 

A platform is something like a stage, that gives you the opportunity to pass across your message. 

If you don’t already know, let us tell you that it will not be easy to get someone else to give you a platform so you have to create one for yourself.  

Whatever you want to do, your influence and authenticity is what makes your voice matter. Your authority comes from your platform.. So let’s say it this way, your platform is your right to speak to a particular group of people. 

According to Jeff Goins, a platform amplifies and legitimizes your message. It gives you authority to influence.

In ancient times, a platform for a musician was a record deal and for writers it was a publishing contract. But now things are way different. 

You don’t need to have a publishing contract before you build yourself a platform.

Your blog, Twitter or Instagram page can be your platform. So what are you waiting for? 

Start building yours today. 

 

3 writing myths you must get rid of today

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There are a few things you hear about writing and you are like really? Is that actually true? Or is somebody just saying it because they feel like?

Today we are going to debunk some writing myths. We know you’ve probably heard a lot.

Myth 1 – Writing is a solitary activity.

Don’t you just get annoyed when you say you are a writer and people just expect you to be one sad, lonely person who is just in love with books, computer and journals?  We may sit in front of the computer a lot but that doesn’t mean we are isolated. Don’t let anyone label you just because you are a writer. If you are the solitary person, it’s fine. However, you don’t have to be.

Myth 2 – You need to be a perfect writer before you write professionally

Does this make so much sense to you because it doesn’t make so much sense to us. If you don’t start writing you will never be a good writer. Don’t wait till you become ‘professional’ before you start writing. How would you even become a professional if you don’t write? All you must do to become a good writer is to write, write, write, study the craft, practice the craft, then write some more.

Besides, even the most successful writers you admire had no clue what they were doing until they did it.

Myth 3 – Writing is a compulsion

We bet you have heard this before:  “I just have to write, otherwise I’ll go crazy!”

But is this true though? Do you actually feel like you’d go crazy or in fact do you really go crazy when you don’t write? Maybe not. We think some people say it because it sounds fresh. This however is not true.  If writers were so driven to write, why doesn’t a lot more writing get done? Feeling a desire to claim you’re writing but not actually writing much has nothing to do with compulsive, irresistible talent.

Over to you, what other writing myths do you think we should get rid of?

#WriterSpotlight – “There’s peace, calm, happiness and fulfillment with every piece I write.” Kanyinsola Okafor

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There’s something fresh about each #WriterSpotlight feature. Each writer brings in a new perspective to writing and we love it. Today we interviewed Kanyinsola Okafor. She became a published writer when she was 9 and her advice to other writers is simply beautiful!

Enjoy.

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

My name is Kanyinsola Okafor, I’m Yoruba-Igbo. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, grew up in Surulere and I graduated from the Federal College of Education (Technical) Akoka, Lagos State, with a Distinction; studying Integrated Science/Biology Education. I am a full time beauty consultant and professional makeup artist. 

How did your journey as a writer begin?  

My journey as a writer began a long time ago as a child. When I was much younger I used to think that I would travel the world gathering and reporting news; become a journalist. I loved reading (still do). Because I started reading at a young age I developed my creative and imaginative ability. My goal was to write my own stories and become a published writer at the age of 9.

What do you love most about writing?

That’s a deep one, I love everything about writing. But what I love the most is the “freedom of expression” that it gives. The ability to unleash my innermost thoughts without restrictions. When I write, there’s this peace and calm and happiness, fulfillment, that comes with every piece I write. Knowing that I have expressed words in emotions deep that others can’t help but feel.

You are very talented when it comes to writing short stories. How were you able to master this talent?

Hmmmn, I think I mastered it without realization. I write mostly poetry; poems & prose, but frequently I have tried to develop myself in writing long stories (novels). In the process of this development, I think I mastered the talent of writing short stories.

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

I get inspiration from anything and everything. It’s really random for me. It might just be a word, a character, a scene or sound that sparks my interest…and thus a story is developed!

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There are people who believe that writing can never be financially rewarding. What are your thoughts about this?

I think that in everything you do, “What you give, is What you get.” Most people are not willing to give all it takes to establish themselves in the field, yet they want to make money from it. I believe one can be very much rewarded financially if they consistently and strategically work towards it. 

What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

My ultimate goal as a writer is to be recognized globally for my talents. To write mind blowing stories (novels) that get adapted as movies. To be categorized with the of likes Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Wole Soyinka.

Do you think you will ever retire from writing?

No, never. ‘Writing is a part of my Soul’. I could never let go of it. I’m very much addicted to writing, and sincerely, it’s an addiction I never want to be freed from.

Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies?

Asides from writing, I love to sing, act, dance, read, cook, draw, etc.

Any advice for other writers out there?

Yes. “Don’t Stop Writing“. Don’t be discouraged because the stories you wish to tell have already been told by someone else. There is only ONE YOU, and no one else can be YOU, or express your thoughts the way YOU can. So stop doubting yourself, “Write in a way ONLY YOU can, learn the rules and then create your own rules”. It’s not a competition with anyone else. You might not be so good at it right now, but if you continue to be consistent in it, you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll become.

This is how to handle criticism like a pro

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We’ve all been there, some of us have terrible editors who would always find a reason to correct your work and almost make you feel inept while others have gotten a fair share of bashing from readers on the content of our work.

But how we handle such criticism shows a lot about our maturity as writers.

Today we will give you three guaranteed tips on how to handle criticism like a pro.

Trust your self and your work 

You must understand that your work will never be perfect in the eyes of some people, so you should not let the opinion of some people ruin your self esteem. Trust yourself. You are still a good writer. These comments come majorly because your work can be better.

There will however be times when the comments on your work will not necessarily be correct

You can politely explain to the reader, editor or who ever made the comment why you wrote what you did. But if you’ve lost your esteem already, you may not even notice that there was a mistake in the correction.

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Learn from your mistakes

There is nothing more annoying than repeating the same mistake over and over.

When your editor corrects a mistake please make sure you do all you can to avoid repeating the same mistakes. This will ultimately reduce the number of times your work will be corrected.

When people correct the same error repeatedly they tend to get angry and the tone in which they’d speak or write the correction may become a little bit harsh.

Don’t even allow this to happen by learning from your mistakes.

Move on 

So your work wasn’t good and you got quite a number of criticism. It’s time to move on. Instead of wallowing in self-defeat, salvage what you can, and use the experience as a lesson to fail forward.

Wondering if you’ve got what it takes, blaming your editor, and suffering from a martyr complex won’t help you write a better article next time.

 

#WriterSpotlight – “Don’t give up on your dream of becoming a published author.” Jokotade Adeniyi

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Hello Sparkle Writers, are you ready for another mind blowing session on today’s #WriterSpotlight? We have the uber inspiring Jokotade, author, speaker and founder of the Jokotade Network. Her story is truly unique. After giving up on her dreams to become a published author for years, Jokotade decided to give herself a fresh start. If you’ve been having problems making your writing dreams come true, Jokotade’s story is what you need!

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

My name is Vivian “Jokotade” Adeniyi and my audience fondly knows me as “Jokotade”. I am a Nigerian-American author, speaker, and thought leader on topics relating to women, business and leadership. I am also the founder of The Jokotade Network, which hosts a variety of talk shows with audiences in over 100 countries. Behind the scenes, I am a wife, mother and an entrepreneur.

Have you always known that you would be a writer and a speaker.

From my childhood, I loved to write and tell stories to impact people’s lives. I was also placed in several leadership roles that gave me opportunities to speak. So, I think it’s safe to say yes that I have been on the path of making something of those childhood experiences.

What inspired you to write your book, ‘Fresh Start’?

Well, the simple answer to that question is this – My Struggles. After facing and overcoming several challenges and setbacks at different points in my life, I felt inspired to share my story in my own way and in my own voice. People often see you at the end of a tunnel but never really hear of the dark side of the journey through that tunnel. Writing my book ‘Fresh Start’ was a way for me to warmly and sincerely share how I overcame the many challenges life has brought my way. I had somehow lost myself to life and quickly became a woman who stopped investing in her dreams. Life had happened, and I lost all maps providing any form of direction and plan for my future. I desired the opportunity to simply start over and leave my struggles behind. This book is a result of my personal journey to find my way, rebuild my life, get back on track, and move forward. It is a book about dreams coming to pass. It is a book about reaching for your potential.

Writing a book had been a dream for you for a long time. How did you feel when ‘Fresh Start’ was finally published?

I felt so much joy, fulfilment, relief, and freedom…all at the same time. My faith to reach for the impossible grew even more once ‘Fresh Start’ was published. I’ve always felt nothing is impossible but now I know nothing is really impossible. I still pinch myself and ask “Did I really write this book?” (giggles)

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Can you take us through the journey of writing the book; what challenges did you face and how were you able to overcome them?

Oh my goodness, the process of writing a book is like being pregnant…from conception to delivery…it is a process that must take its due course if you want to be successful as an author. I must confess that it was a lot of hard work as I penned each chapter all by myself with no ghost writing. I learned that I have more inside of me than I actually realize.

As I mentioned earlier, from my childhood I loved to write and tell stories to inspire people. I dreamt of becoming an author “someday”. Now, you and I know that when it comes to writing there is no such thing as “someday” so that “someday” never came to pass. I began the journey of pursuing that dream of becoming an author, but somewhere along the way…life happened. I never actually followed through on that dream.  I cannot begin to tell you how many book ideas I have had over the years. I would start, stop, start over again, and eventually give up. When I observed that I had somehow lost sight of my dreams of becoming an author and the fulfillment of that dream was lacking, I desired a fresh start and chose to look in a different direction.

I sought counsel by studying other experienced authors I could relate to. I learned that I wasn’t alone in my struggle to follow through on great ideas. I also learned the single most important lesson every aspiring author needs to know and it’s this: choose one book title, and then focus and commit to that book title every day until the book is complete and published. It seemed very difficult and unattainable at first, but the moment I made that choice and committed to writing something every day and at a specific, dedicated time, I began to see remarkable progress. As I write in the book, I am so glad I discovered what I needed to do and I did it…and now…it’s history. I learned from my struggles that focus and commitment will lead you to completion if you don’t give up.

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‘Fresh Start’ is available in major book stores in the US. How were you able to achieve such a great feat?

HARD and PERSISTENT work! Let’s just say I asked my way out of zero with this book. I dreamt of producing a bestseller quality with this book. I worked hard on every detail of the book from the cover to the layout to its distribution. I personally researched how the book could be listed on some of the world’s largest distribution channels and applied to be listed. This made it easier for booksellers to find, source and list my book.

In your journey as a writer, can you share some of your most rewarding moments with us?

One major highlight for me was when I received and held the printed proof copy of the paperback book in my hands for the very first time. Another moment was when my eight-year-old son took a copy of the book to school to show his teachers and friends.  A third and very special moment for me was when I arrived at the live book launch event.  It really did feel like a dream. I also will never forget when the hardcover copy finally arrived, I remember driving with the book holding it so close to my heart…hoping it won’t slip away.

You are committed to helping women to win in life, love and business. Why did you decide to focus on women?

…Because I am a woman (chuckles). More than ever before I am better able to articulate my life purpose or let’s just say my life calling. Along with my past experiences, I have paid attention to my path in life and discovered that I was born to lead and inspire women first. Fulfilling this role comes naturally and very passionately for me. It only made sense that I raise my hands and answer the call.

In my journey, I observed that there are not enough written or spoken resources that specifically address or support the struggles women face and in the language women understand and desperately seek.

I hope to harness the power of technology using my written and spoken voice to help women bridge the gap of where they are and where they want to be in life, love and business – I haven’t met any woman that doesn’t want to thrive in any of these areas.

You also have an app; can you tell us all about it?

In 2014, I felt inspired to start a podcast with my name. I titled it ‘The Jokotade Show’. I had no idea what it would evolve into. The Jokotade Show became an avenue for me to cover a diverse set of topics to meet the many different needs of my audience. I have since seen the need to breakup The Jokotade Show into specialized segments – resulting in The Jokotade Network of Shows. Each show is true to my personality, the many hats I wear and the many roles I juggle every day. I also developed an App for the convenience of my audience. The App is called ‘Jokotade’ and it helps my audience access their favourite shows from The Jokotade Network on their mobile devices.  It’s like having your own success coach everywhere you go (laugh out loud).

 

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Aside from becoming a published writer, what other writing goals do you have?

It’s no secret that I am passionate about writing nonfiction. I dream of writing over 50 nonfiction titles, however, I do also have a dream of writing romance titles for television one day. Let’s just say I am a hopeful romantic and I hope to spread the goodness of love to the next generation – laughing out loud.

What advice do you have for an upcoming writer who wants to publish a book some day?

Let me begin by saying – Please don’t give up on your dream of becoming a published author. If there is one advice I can shout from the roof top its this – Schedule time for your book-writing dream. I often say:

Let your schedule reflect your destination.

If you dream of becoming an author like me, then go ahead and schedule time for that dream destination. You see…Dreams just don’t happen. Dreams are scheduled. Choose a date for your “someday” so your “someday” will become your “launch day”. I wrote this book with what some have labeled an almost impossible schedule as a wife, mother of two young children, entrepreneur, community leader and mentor to thousands. In the last quarter of 2015, I adjusted my personal schedule to reflect my priorities and destination for 2016. This adjustment helped me fulfill my dream of becoming a published author in April of 2016. Now, I am on to my next books…take note of the plural…books and I believe you reading this interview can too!

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Jokotade continues to pursue her dreams. Discover her network of shows including The Jokotade Show, The Before I Do Show and The Idea to Influence Show helping her audiences win in life, love and business. Her shows are available on her mobile App “Jokotade” available for free on the PLAY store and on iTunes. For more of her inspiring story, wisdom and practical insight visit her home online. For a complete list of where to find her book “Fresh Start” visit the official page for the book online at FreshStartJourney.com. Be sure to also follow her on social media @jokotadeshow.

 

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?