Important writing lessons you need to be reminded of

Hey Sparkle Writers!

We stumbled on this insightful article on Bryan Hutchinson’s website and we just had to share it. It’s about the 17 lessons The Magic Violinist has learnt from writing. 

Most of these lessons resonated well with us and we think you would relate too. There’s so much to glean from it. 

  1. Write for you.

This was the first thing I wrote about for “Positive Writer.” Don’t try to please everybody else. You’ll just make yourself crazy. Write what you love and write for you.

  1. Write every day.

On days with more free time, write pages and pages. On busier days, a few paragraphs. On the extraordinarily busy days, a sentence. That’s all it takes. Just a few taps of a keyboard or scribbles of a pencil every day to stay in the habit.

  1. Don’t compare yourself with others.

Your personal goals are different from the goals of others. Your capabilities, circumstances, habits, all of those things will be different. If you’re over the moon because you finally filled a page but somebody else wrote fifty in that same amount of time, don’t let that get you down. If your accomplishment makes you happy, you did something great.

  1. Try writing in different genres.

You never know what’ll spark your interest. Maybe poetry was never something you thought to try. Write a few stanzas. Who knows? You might have an affinity for it.

  1. If you’re going to procrastinate, use that time wisely.

We all procrastinate. Don’t try to deny it. Some of us may do it more than others (I certainly procrastinate more than I should), but it happens to all of us. When you do procrastinate, though, do something else that’s productive. That means closing Facebook and Twitter and picking up a book or taking the dog for a walk.

  1. Reach out to writers and authors online and in your community.

Find a critique group at a local library or coffee shop. Say hi to that blogger you admire. Writing can be a solitary or even lonely activity, but it definitely doesn’t need to be. The writing community is alive and thriving. Make yourself a part of it.

  1. A critique of your writing is not a critique of you.

Once in a while, a critique of your work can sting a little. Or a lot. Especially if it paints something you thought was amazing in a negative light. The important thing to remember is that just because someone didn’t like something you created doesn’t mean they don’t like you. It also doesn’t necessarily mean you did anything wrong. And it certainly doesn’t mean everything you write will be horrible and you should give up now. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on.

  1. It’s okay to be in a writing slump.

You can’t always write the next bestseller. Sometimes for weeks at a time, everything I put on paper is garbage. I might hate my current work in progress. Nothing I do keeps my interest. All of that is perfectly fine. Just put something on paper. Hate every minute of it, if you must. The only way to get out of the slump is to claw your way out, word by word.

  1. Read, read, read.

Read widely and read often. Read good work and terrible work. Read classics and poetry, but also read children’s books and whatever’s popular. Read something short and something long. Read articles and fan-fiction. Re-read your favourite book. Read something in your genre. Read, read, read, and learn from it.

  1. Your writing will not be loved by everyone.

Don’t send yourself into a never-ending spiral of negativity by trying to please everyone. You won’t. Some people will hate what you write. That’s okay. Don’t some people hate your favourite book? Of course they do, but their dislike of the book doesn’t diminish your love for it. Your writing will be loved by those who need to read it most.

  1. Good work takes time, energy, and multiple drafts.

My best writing has come out of the projects that have been hardest for me to finish. It could take years of effort to complete something work sending out into the world. It won’t always be enjoyable trying to polish something up, but it’s always satisfying to make progress. It’s worth it in the end.

  1. There’s nothing like a little music to get the creative juices flowing.

It doesn’t matter what kind of music so long as it inspires you. The lyrics tell a story. The composition tells a story. Sometimes those stories are the hidden, not-so-obvious ones. Tell those stories.

  1. The best ideas come to you when you’re supposed to be doing something else.

Don’t necessarily take this advice, but reassurance. If you feel like your work is stale and repetitive, don’t worry. A new and interesting idea will come to you eventually. It just might happen while you’re doing the dishes or homework. Make sure you always have pen and paper nearby for those situations.

  1. You will make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them.

I won’t even try to list possible mistakes because there are so many, but you’ll make at least of one those. It won’t be fun, and it might take a while to stop obsessing over it, but you’ll move on and learn how to avoid making that mistake again.

  1. Be on the lookout for opportunities and go after them, even if you think you don’t have a shot.

I got my first regular writing position at twelve. When I applied for the job, I didn’t believe my age would be an issue, because no one had ever told me it could be. Now, I was lucky to have supportive parents who never tried to discourage me, even if they might have thought I was a little young to do what I was trying to do.

If you do have those doubts, whether they stem from yourself or others, try your best to block them out. Apply for internships and enter writing contests. Sometimes your greatest achievements come from those you thought were least likely to happen.

  1. Have other creative outlets besides writing.

It’s important to stay creative and keep thinking like an artist, even if writing is going so well for you in the moment. Have something else you can turn to during those times. Sing, dance, act, draw, knit, sculpt, sew, paint, cook. What interests you?

  1. Your writing is better than you think it is.

We are our own worst critics. Our writing might bore us sometimes because we’ve been working on it for such a long time. The plot twists seem predictable because we came up with them. Our characters aren’t interesting because we have to spend time with them day after day after day. As scary as it can be, sometimes showing your writing to a trusted friend is the best thing you can do for yourself.

You have people in your corner cheering you on, and those people love nothing more than to read what you’ve written and shout from the rooftops about how talented you are. Your work is not as bad as it seems. Take a step back and really look. You created that, and there are so many great things about it.

‘Keep an honest, unpublishable journal’ – Madeleine L’Engle’s advice to writers is epic!

We’ve seen a lot of advice to writers so you can trust us when we say Madeleine’s advice is epic. It is in three folds and we’d just highlight them properly. 

On keeping an honest journal. 

‘If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair.’

We totally agree. One of the reasons why we are lacking original content is because everyone is churning out what they think people want to read people or are copying what they see from other writers and as a result, there’s just a bunch of duplicated copies of art, content and truth. It is time writers wrote out their true feelings, the deepest, and most vulnerable. Keeping this journal will help to keep that truth alive.

On why reading is and will always be important

‘You need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write.’ 

As a writer, you must be someone who loves to read. There’s nothing more to add to this. 

On why writing every day is still relevant 

‘The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.’

Because in the end that’s why you are a writer, to write.

Dear Writer, you can do more

Medieval (1)

‘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. 

 

This is what it means to write from the heart

Your ideas are valuable

”Write from the heart.”

You must have heard this line before. You are probably still wondering what it means and why people insist that you must write from the heart. The answer is not far fetched. It is the best place to write from! 

There is a difference between writing because you have to or because your job demands that you write and writing a piece from your heart – something that resonates with you and literally brings fire to your bones.  That’s the reason they say: ”No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” When you write, write from a place of understanding, passion and if possible experience. It reflects and ultimately affects how your readers will respond to your piece.

We are not saying you must always write about something you went through. We are asking that you write about topics you are passionate about; talk about what makes you tick and hey, make us love it too.

It makes your work easier and your readers will also have a good read!  

#GrammarSeries- What you need to know about sentence length

the rules of comparison

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.

Why writers need some form of training.

top-office-table-picture-id516014202

We know writing is known to flow organically and naturally. Most writers don’t admit to getting any form of writing training.

They just tell you that the words come naturally so they write. But we can’t all be like that. A number of writers need training to fine tune their writing skill, others need training on how to identify their writing niche and develop a voice.

Some stubborn writers need a form of training because they have been stuck for years and don’t know what to do.

Here are a few other categories of people who need training. 

 

If you are a new writer, you’ve never written anything before but you believe strongly that you know how to write and want to do something about it. It would be advisable to you take a course. Preferably a basic writing course so you can have a feel of what is expected of writers.

Just write, they tell us.

Fair enough. Write just like  J.K Rowling if you can. But it helps to know what J.K Rowling knows. How can you do that? By going for training. 

If you have been writing for a long time and you suddenly don’t feel excited anymore, you may need some training. Wondering why? You are probably stuck, nothing new seems to be happening and you are now disinterested. 

A writing course can help infuse new life, get you all excited, fired up and ready to write again. 

Wouldn’t you love that? 

15875694_1901808533386166_7419764339818627072_n

We bet you will. 

You can try any of our writing courses or coaching consultations to help improve your writing. 

To register for any of the courses, send a mail to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com

We are waiting.

 

 

You’re not weird…you’re a writer!

Do you ever see writing as a burden? Why couldn’t you have been given any other gift; something simpler perhaps? You see, it’s not as if being a writer is not exciting. It is. It’s just that it comes with certain peculiarities that may make you seem weird among the so called ‘normal’ people.

Here’s what we mean. A typical writer tends to be deep; introspective more often than not. We think a lot and are often stuck in our heads. It’s not that we are anti-social (it can be argued that some of us are), we just tend to reflect a lot. This is what allows our creative juices to flow. How can we come up with those though-provoking articles, if we lack the ability to step back and reflect?

Depending on the social circle, a writer may be perceived as being boring. Can you blame people? When they want to engage in light-headed conversations, the writer wants to go on the deep path. If they are in the mood, they can be the life of the party. If they are not, you might as well have not invited them out because they may just sit still and observe.

The thing is, when a writer does this, he doesn’t consider himself as being anti-social. He’s observing what going on and might as well be formulating the basis for his next though-provoking piece. 

For a writer, inspiration can come from anywhere. While walking down the street or having a conversation with your favourite cab driver. You never know what will cause that light bulb in your head to go on so you have to be open to everything.

Unfortunately, unlike music artists, writers don’t have the privilege of making two-syllable words to become the trend of the day. You know how musicians sing things like ‘doro’, ‘mama eh’ and the like and it’s ok? Well we can’t do that; at least serious writers can’t. We need to engage our readers and even help some escape reality. If you don’t have inspired words, you won’t be able to achieve this.

No one ever understands what you are doing as a writer. Asides from calling you weird, only very few people consider it to be an actual job. The conversation is usually weird;

What do you do?
I’m a writer.
Oh ok. So what do you do to earn money?
*confused look*

Have you ever had this kind of conversation> Many writers have. Again, we don’t blame such people. Being a writer in Nigeria doesn’t pay as much as it does abroad. Saying that you are a writer alone makes you look jobless and will definitely earn you a long speech from parents who are wondering whether this is what they actually sent you to school for. To become a jobless writer. Isn’t that exciting?

Nonetheless, being a writer sis such a priceless gift. Nothing compares to it. If writing is what you are passionate about please, don’t be ashamed of it. People may not understand your gift; that’s not your problem. Just stick to what you do best and you will the reap fruits. The people who look at you funny will be the same people who will want a share of your success when it comes – when your bestseller can be found on bookshelves across the nation. 

Don’t abandon your dream for anybody. It’s never worth it.

3 mistakes you must avoid when setting your writing goals

this-is-how-to-handle-criticism-like-a-pro

You have been told that you need to set writing goals and now you are pumped and can’t wait to start writing. So you pick up your pen and paper (or journal), and write away.

By the time you are done, if those goals have any of the following errors we are about to mention, you need to correct them immediately.

Copied goals.

If you are setting writing goals just because somebody else is, there is a problem. The reasons why you write your goals will go a long way in determining if you will achieve them or not. Write your goals because you want to, not just because somebody else is writing.

Another thing you should not do is copy someone else’s goal. That is just wrong. Your friend’s writing goal might be to finish writing her book in one month but your love for her does not give you enough reason to copy her goal. Write your own.

Set your goals based on what you want to achieve, not what somebody else wrote.

Small goals

This is a no no. Never ever set small goals just because you don’t believe in yourself. You are shooting yourself in the leg.

As much as we don’t encourage setting unrealistic goals like writing 100 books in a year, we do not approve setting small, or lazy goals either.

34800a769e443295bc1b802bc7c4317d

Timeless goals

If you do not add timelines to your goals there is a high possibility that you will not achieve them. You want to publish your first book, when?

Set a deadline for yourself and start working on it immediately. A goal without a deadline is  a dream.

If you have missed any of our posts on setting your writing goals,  you need to check them out.

This is the difference between good and bad writers

the-secret-of-getting-ahead-is-getting-started-1

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?

 

Want to be a phenomenal writer? Here are some qualities you need to have

breakfastbuffet

Hello Sparkle Writers. Have you ever wondered if you’ve got what it takes to become the writer of your dreams? We are starting this week with tips on qualities every writer must imbibe to become a phenomenal writer .

Patience

A writer needs lots and lots of patience. Different things will test you; clients, writers block or even your readers.

Completing a manuscript also takes time, you can’t afford to rush the project and discover errors later. There will be days you will have to research, other days you may need to observe. There are even times you’d have absolutely nothing to add to your script but that’s not good enough reason to dump the work and move on.

Keep writing. Although it is not always easy, your patience will ultimately pay off.

Attention to detail

A good writer cannot afford to be careless. Sometimes little grammatical errors and omissions can mar a beautiful piece. Learn to pay attention to detail. It would be terrible to write a scene that was set in the morning and along the line you say the event happened around 6 pm. When forming your characters details are necessary. This helps your readers connect more to your story. Good writers can vividly describe their characters, while allowing their readers to see in detail the scene (including locations) they are describing.

A people watcher

14280657_969181693210255_89042759_n

You must have heard or read this quote by Judy Blume; “a good writer is always a people watcher.”

This is absolutely true. Writers must be able to observe people, their nuances, cultures and preferences. This does not only give you ideas of what to write but observing people helps you develop your stories properly. Some writers complain of never having the ‘inspiration’ to write, when they are just not paying attention to their environment.

Self motivation

This is extremely necessary. If you want your writing career to last long, you must be self motivated. There will be times when you don’t ‘feel’ like writing but when there is a deadline. You’ve got to deliver and on time.

We want you to be a phenomenal writer and we hope you will begin to exhibit these important qualities.