#GrammarSeries – The purpose of parallelism

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Parallelism in grammar occurs when there is a similarity of structures used in sentence construction. The usage of parallelism in your writing makes the information you are presenting easier to process for your readers. 

Inappropriate parallelism, on the other hand, disturbs the flow of thoughts when reading a piece of writing.

When two or more parts of a sentence are similar in meaning but different in form, a faulty parallelism can be said to have occurred.

Let us take a look at the following examples;

Ali is swimming, driving, running and to dance.

The above sentence sounds odd, doesn’t it? Now check out the sentence below.

Ali is swimming, eating, running and dancing.

The above sentence sounds a whole lot better, doesn’t it? Now, here is what happened.

In the first sentence, the verbs are all in the present continuous form except the last one ‘to dance’ which is in the infinitive form while the verbs in the second sentence are all in the present continuous form.

Be mindful of this when you write.

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How to write when you don’t feel like

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Let’s be honest, there will be times you won’t feel like writing. You’ll be tempted to do every other thing except to write. Sometimes, you may not be in the mood for days or even weeks. You just can’t explain why don’t ‘feel like’ writing. Somehow, inspiration seems to have taken a long hike and you’re not sure when it’s going to return. 

Well, if you intend to be a good writer, one who is known to make impact, you need to know how to write whether you are in the mood or not. The best writers are those who are able to master how to write in ll seasons; whether they are in the mood or not. 

We want you to be one of the best writers the world has ever known. Here are some tips that will help you to write even if you are not in the mood. 

Allow Yourself to Write Crap

Yes, you read correctly! Allow yourself to write crap. Sometimes, the reason you don’t feel like writing is because you feel what you will produce will not be good enough. “So why write it,” you wonder. Other times, you don’t write because you over think things; How should I start? Will the story be interesting enough? Will people want to read it?

You need to stop over-analyzing and write. Ignore those voices that keep telling you that what you want to write will not be good enough. Who said so? You never know how good what you have to write is until you finish. And even if it is not as good as you want it, you can always edit and fix it! 

It is possible for you to start writing and the first few paragraphs won’t make sense to you. Instead of getting frustrated, just keep going on. The victory is in the process. Finish, review and learn where you need to review.

Motivate yourself 

If you say you are not in the mood and you know that you definitely need to write then do the needful and motivate yourself. What puts you in a good mood? What gets you excited? Note them and do those things.

You may need to take a walk, listen to music to motivate yourself. The best motivation however is thinking about the number of lives what you want to write will bless. Your message should motivate you. Your purpose should stir you to write.

Even if like this man you have to search for motivation;

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Don’t stop until you find it😌

Eliminate every form of distraction and time yourself

It is bad enough that you do not feel like writing, the last thing you should do is to allow distractions. Your children are running around the house, the TV is on and you’ve been surfing the internet for almost an hour. Why will you feel like writing?

Find someone to stay with your children, leave the house, go for a power walk and go back home to write or look for a park, co-working space where you can have some peace and quiet and write. Distractions are not good for anyone much less a writer.

What are some of the ways you get yourself to write when you are not in the mood. Do share!

#WriterSpotlight – ‘Writing is my most potent form of expressing myself.’ Blessing Okoro

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We just love it when we find writers who receive a vision to write a book and follow through with that vision despite that challenges that comes their way. Blessing Okoro is one of such writers. For two years, she nurtured a dream given to her by God to write a book. Several obstacles, including having to re-write her manuscript, tried to prevent her from achieving this dream, but she kept pushing. Not only is Blessing a published author, she is also proof that succeeding as a writer requires passion, grit and above all, following the purpose of God.

Enjoy our interview with her.

Hello Blessing, please introduce yourself.

My name is Blessing Ofure Okoro. I am an inspired writer, speaker, and blogger. I enjoy the soothing feel of words in form of quotes, poems, inspirational write-ups and Christian literature. Having written consistently since the day I started blogging in my hostel room while I was a student at Covenant University in 2013, I believe that the grace of God and the power of consistent writing have made me the refined writer I am today.

In terms of work experience, I have worked over the last three years as a Management Consultant and an Auditor in two international professional services firms. I am currently an IMBA student in France and I remain passionate about gleaning an international corporate experience.

When did you discover your love for writing?

It was at the age of 11, I had read a poetry book and developed the urge to write like that. This is the major storyline in Chapter 2 of my book. My love for poetry was very emotional, and it was more of an innate talent that needed to be awaken. Later on, I discovered my love for experiential write-ups which were inspired by the Scriptures, my daily experiences, the inspirational books I read and my understanding of the topics I remain passionate about (such as dream actualization, purpose, and Christian living). Looking back today, I would say that it has been an amazing journey and I look forward to greater years of discovery.

How has your writing improved over the years?

My writing has improved through prayers and the strength for consistency. When I started sharing my poems, write-ups and other pieces on my blog, blessingshares.com in 2013, that was a major milestone. Those steps of putting my written pieces out there continuously, getting comments and reviews, doing writing collaborations with other Bloggers, reading other write-ups to learn how to write better, and even writing on days I did not feel like it – all these and more have led to huge improvements from when I started out as a writer. For all these and more, I am certainly grateful.

Congratulations on the launch of your book ‘They told us to dream.’ How did you feel when you held the published copy?

Thank God for the miracle. When my book was released in November 2017, I said to myself, ‘The achievement of a dream is a miracle!’ It’s amazing what God did, I really cannot take the glory. I had almost given up on the dream, but God helped me. It was over two years of nurturing the dream of becoming an Author – through it all, it is a reality today and I give all the glory to Jesus Christ.

What inspired you to write this book?

It was more like, ‘Who?’ It was God because the nuggets shared in the book were extracted from the stages and lessons of my dream-filled life. Having to put all of those experiences into coherent words that flow properly and getting to inspire another dreamer to achieve greatly – it is definitely an inspiration only God could give. The reason I decided to encourage a fellow dreamer was that I was tired of seeing people give up on amazing dreams, just because they lacked the relevant knowledge and drive to achieve those dreams. In the words of one of the reviewers, “It is a powerful book of deliverance. I see it releasing people to dream big dreams and live fulfilling lives.” I see the book as this and more and I pray everyone that has read and will still read the book will be inspired to achieve their dreams in grand style.

You must be a dreamer yourself, what dreams of yours are you pursuing presently?

Currently, my MBA Degree. I had this dream since 2014. Thank God for its season of fulfillment.

Can you tell us what you hope to achieve with this book?

In a broad mission statement, I pray the book will get to every ‘dreamer’ out there to ensure they turn each dream they ever have into reality. In terms of a specific value proposition, I hope to ignite a dream experience among dreamers (particularly the youths) in various countries of the world – an experience that will make every dreamer realize that although living out a dream can be a real maze, you are not alone – let’s go on making an amazing maze and achieving our dreams per time. In terms of goal matrices, I aim to sell over one million copies of this Dreamer’s Digest worldwide by the grace of God.

 

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What do you love most about being a writer?

The freedom from writing your own words. The blessing of inspiring others to live their best lives. The calmness brought from written pieces. Writing is my most potent form of expressing myself – Yeah. I love that people appreciate the talent of writing. I found this out recently when my book got published, people were so amazed and happy for me – it was a major experience when I fully realized that I love being a writer, you know. Having the God-given gift of writing and inspiring others – that’s priceless and for that, I am truly grateful.

We know you enrolled with our writing coach. Can you tell us how this experience helped you, especially with achieving your writing goals?

I mainly enrolled for the timeline coaching. I had a one-hour session with Adedoyin Jaiyesimi to explain my self-publishing journey and to come up with a timeline towards the book release. It was a good coaching experience, I enjoyed her listening ability and the knowledge shared. More importantly, the timeline document Adedoyin came up with were value-adding, the timeliness of the service and also her flexibility to update the document when we needed that. I will say it helped me to have a date in mind and even when the lags came, I kept on pushing up until my final book release date on the 19th of November, 2017.

Tell us how the publishing process for your book went and the lessons learned.

Hmmmm. I can have another book on this. Matter of fact, I have to prepare a course to share my lessons and the pitfalls budding authors who are self-publishing need to avoid. It was a journey of literal highs and lows. The highs were the miracles each day: for the wisdom for each stage of self-publishing, for the five-star reviews on Amazon, for having the books printed in less than a week, after many years of having that dream and so on. The lows cut across: having to rewrite my first manuscript, experiencing time lags during the layout phase because of the rigor and so many disappointments that I have forgotten as at today. You see, God’s grace was sufficient for me. It was majorly two years of learning, unlearning and relearning. I will do a summary of the lessons at this stage.

My high-level lessons are: book cover going in for printing should not be in Photoshop, the manuscript going into print should be in A5 and sign your contracts with clauses that say, we are not done until the book is printed well. More subtle lessons but highly important are: pick a catchy title that will give people an epic reaction, tell everyone you are writing a book at every single stage of your journey and get a book budget projection plan.

Where can readers get a copy of your book?

Yes! Thank for this question. The book is available on Amazon worldwide. The paperback can be delivered nationwide in Nigeria when you order on the official website theytoldustodream.com

For inquiries on bulk orders and orders in general, you can follow my official Instagram page blessingshares_official or simply send a mail to ofure.okoro@gmail.com.

What’s your advice to writers who have been working on a writing project for so long and are getting tired?

Four potent points to run with:

  • Add your book writing dream to your prayer list daily- you need a miracle;
  • It’s possible you are knowledge drained – pay for relevant coaching and apply the knowledge gained;
  • It is a tiring journey – as long as you’ve started, just keep going – that’s a major cure for the exhaustion;
  • I will love to hear your story, you could send me a mail or contact me via my business page, BlessingShares on Facebook.

In conclusion pray, keep going and never give up.

 

#WordOfTheDay – This is what idyllic means

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Our word for today is…‘Idyllic’

It is pronounced as [ahy-dil-ik].

It is an adjective meaning extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque.

The synonyms of the word are wonderful, peaceful, perfect, ideal.

Examples:

The idyllic setting had a therapeutic effect on her health.

The ranch owned by Mr. Laser is idyllic.

 

#WritingQuote – “Read everything you can lay hands on.” Michael Moorcock

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“My first rule was given to me by TH White, author of ‘The Sword in the Stone’ and other Arthurian fantasies and was: Read. Read everything you can lay hands on. I always advise people who want to write a fantasy or science fiction or romance to stop reading everything in those genres and start reading everything else from Bunyan to Byatt.” — Michael Moorcock

This is one mind-blowing quote from an unusual author. Initially, this quote might not make a whole lot of sense until you take a deeper look at it. How do you get better at writing a science fiction by reading other books that are not science fiction-related?

The answer is you get infinitely better because ideas that come from reading books in genres that are way different from your genre of writing would be invaluable when infused into your writing.

For instance, if you are a fiction writer and you read non-fiction books or even fantasy books, you would be able to get both realistic experiences and ideas from non-fiction books to add to your fiction writing with a sprinkle of weirdness coming from fantasy books. Isn’t that dope? 

The main point of the quote is this: as a writer, you have to learn the art of diversity and versatility. Do not allow yourself to be stuck in one kind of writing. You have to be an adventurous reader to write adventurously.

#GrammarSeries – Learn the difference between compliment and complement

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Time to up your grammar game Sparkle Writers! Today we are learning the difference between compliment and complement because there is a difference!  

Funny enough, these almost similar words get some writers confused when they write too. Fortunately, we are here to help you the best way we can.

What exactly is the difference between ‘compliment’ and ‘complement’? It is simple.

Apart from the obvious ‘i’ and ‘e’ difference between both words, ‘compliment’ means to express praise or admiration for someone or an expression of praise while ‘complement’ means to enhance or complete something else. Pretty easy! Let’s see some examples. 

COMPLEMENT

Black complements white in this painting.

It is often said that the woman complements the man in most marriages.

COMPLIMENT

She falls in love with every guy that compliments her beauty.

Most women do not know how to compliment their husband’s strengths.

Now you know the difference. See you next time for another exciting grammar experience.

 

 

PickOfTheWeek – Hope when it seems impossible

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How do you feel when you have literally given up on something happening and in the midst of that dark cloud, a silver lining shows up?

How do you feel? Probably pure joy. 

That’s one of the feelings a writer described on today’s PickOfTheWeek . We hope you love this week’s articles. 

The first is by rockcalvary and we love this post because it captures the realities of our heart when people we term as important don’t see us the same way. Has this ever happened to you? 

farmto tableLove makes people say stuff though. When we saw this post we didn’t know what to make of it but then we understand that the promise of forever means a lot to people. What have you said or done in the name of love? 

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The next post is for those who usually wait for inspiration to do work that has to be done. It is easy to wait to feel like doing work but it is not ideal. We honestly have nothing else to add. Thank you Oluwadara for this. farmto table (2) The last piece for today struck a chord and if you read our introductory post, you’d understand what we mean. Sometimes all we need is a little light at the end of the tunnel. farmto table (1)

How to create custom WordPress designs without prior coding knowledge

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Hi there blogger!

We saw this superamazing post on  Wpbeginner and we know that it is going to be a great resource for bloggers who use WordPress sites. We may even try it on our WordPress site but note that Wpbeginner already tried the plugins.  Enjoy!

Do you want to customize your website? Or even create a completely custom design without writing any code? No need to pinch yourself, you’re not dreaming. It’s definitely possible!

There are two really useful WordPress plugins that makes it easy for beginners to customize their WordPress sites.

Beaver Builder

Funny name, I know. When these guys first contacted me to try their plugin, I didn’t take it very seriously. But then, I tried their free demo, and I was blown away – because I literally built a responsive, mobile-friendly, custom WordPress website in 20 minutes without touching a single line of code.

If you are struggling with customizing your website, then you need Beaver Builder.

See full tutorial on how to create custom layouts with Beaver Builder.

CSS Hero

CSS Hero allows you to easily customize your existing theme with a simple point-and-click interface. If you want to customize your existing site design rather than creating something from scratch, then check out CSS Hero.

See full video tutorial on how CSS Hero makes customization easy.

When you try out these plugins, do let us know. 

#WriterSpotlight – “I hope and pray for a moment where individuals will see me and say Ifeoma, your book changed my life.” Ifeoma Ugboma

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Hey Sparkle Writers! Are your ready to be inspired by another writer? Our guest on today’s Writer Spotlight published her first book after being inspired by a story she wrote when she was eleven years old!  Enjoy our interview with Ifeoma Ugboma.

Hello Ifeoma, please introduce yourself

Hello, I am Ifeoma Irene Ugboma, a beautiful (smirks) young woman from Bende L.G.A of Abia state. I am a Christian but of course I am open to any other religion around the globe. Ifeoma is a young writer, a student studying Radiography and Environmental Science & Resource Management at University of Uyo and National Open University respectively, certified health and safety supervisor, oil and gas document controller and first aid administrator although I am not yet practicing in these fields. My aim is to gather up these skills so that I can be eligible for any job in the labour market whenever I am ready.

I am a voracious reader but a reserved and lazy writer (laughs); literally lazy because most times when I want to write, something will just surface and I will postpone it. You know that kind of stuff but nonetheless writing is one of my hobbies. I love tourism and to top it all, Ifeoma loves singing.

You are a writer, girl child advocate, educator and peace advocate. How do you combine all these roles effortlessly?

Yes I am and I think I am doing well by God’s grace. I always tell friends and family members that there is no greater force that can drive one towards the path of success and accomplishment except passion.

I am passionate about the wellbeing of the girl child, writing, and peace advocacy and it’s something I see myself doing effortlessly because I love it and when you love something, doing it wouldn’t be a problem at all. I try to adjust my academic schedules so that my extra curricular activities can fit in and I thank God who has been giving me the strength and the support I need.

What do you love most about writing?

Writing makes me a psychologist and a creator. It is quite awesome for someone to create. So writing gives me the platform to be a psychologist and a creator. And the part I love most is how the characters you create in abstract exist in reality. This is the part where you read reviews from readers telling you, “This is/was my life story ” and sometimes, your readers merge their lives with that of your character and they live your book.

I love that writing gives you the ability to change something or someone with the writer’s abstract ideas

You published a book, ‘Echoes of Mercy.’ What inspired this story?

Echoes of Mercy is a story I wrote when I was 11 years old, being a lover of books and someone who loves to scribble stuff from a young age. There was this woman I knew back then, she came to the children department of Christ Ascension Church and cried to our head teacher to let the children pray for her because her marriage was at the verge of being destroyed. Our Sunday school teacher took some of us, the prayer warriors then to her house to pray for her. Even though I couldn’t understand every detail of her story, I knew that the husband wanted to leave her because she was too ‘churchy’. Her story struck my imagination. I wrote down moments with her in my diary then I grew with it. Even though I didn’t know what later happened in her life, that particular incident and my desire to let people out there know that God can still do wonders if you stick to Him was what inspired me and I tried to imagine how it all began in the life of that woman, the kind of man she was married to and how to deal with the husband if I was God and that was Echoes of Mercy.

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How long did it take to finish writing, editing and publishing and what setbacks did you encounter while working on your book?

Eleven years old back then and now I am 22, so you can imagine. I decided to make that story into a book last year September. I wake up every morning to write down ideas and the best way to develop the story and when I was done, my publisher recommended an editor who did a great job and the book was out on December 30th 2017. So, it took me four months to develop the story and get it out there for people to read. Setbacks?  Of course I had setbacks, from writing and trying to meet up with the deadline I had set for myself. There were times I had blocks. I ran out of words, the right words to express the emotions I needed the readers to feel. Then editing, I had to pay for that and he charged professionally regardless of the fact that this Ifeoma is a student. Then time was another setback. I wanted Echoes of Mercy to be out before December but fate is always a double edged sword. I thank God who made it a success

What three lessons did you learn about publishing in Nigeria while working on this project?

Honestly, I am super impressed. My publisher and the entire Words Rhymes and Rhythm team were awesome.

First is professionalism. He didn’t do any hasty work. He gave his professional advice on the cover page, on the about page and the rest. This will make every of their published work top-notch and that is absolutely fantastic. 

Then transparency, they are transparent enough to make sure you get the value of whatever amount you are investing in your publishing work.

Lastly, they are united. They are in the quest to help young and aspiring writers to achieve their goals. That is to say they have been motivating people like us and that is fabulous

Echoes of Mercy is free on the OkadaBooks platform, why is it so?

It is free on Okada books because I wanted it to be in every heart. And with the testimonies lately, I think I have achieved that and I am hoping to get the message across to as many people as possible.

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Who is your all-time favourite writer in Africa and why?

I love Chimamanda Adichie. That woman is an icon. I love her writing and lifestyle. I mean it is absolutely beautiful for one to remain true to her roots no matter the heights attained.

Since you have other roles, how do you fit writing into your schedule?

It is not always easy, especially when one has to manage two courses and other activities but writing is what I find myself doing even during lectures. I plan my days. When I know I am going to have a busy day, I write in the morning but other days with less activities, I write anytime of the day

Where can readers get a copy of your book?

It is available on Amazon and OkadaBooks. We are still working on getting the paperback available in book stores nationwide.

What’s your ultimate goal as a writer

My goal is to be able to solve real life problems with written words. I hope and pray for a moment where individuals out there see me and say “Ifeoma, your book changed my life,” “Ifeoma, your book made me who I am today” and so many other heart warming compliments. That will make me fulfilled as a writer

 

 

 

#PickOfTheWeek – The lies we tell ourselves

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Hey Sparkle Writers! Our #PickOfTheWeek is back! We’re excited about the writers we are featuring today. We hope you learn a thing or two from this week’s pick.

Temi is speaking the absolute truth and everyone needs to read it.  There is no point living in regret. We have to move on. 

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 Those ‘I am not enough’ ‘ I would do it tomorrow’ kinda lies. Be conscious of them, they are slow and silent killers. Gbolahan is one of our steady writers, there’s something about the way he writers.  farmto table (3)Oh if everyone could see the next post. Tomiwa hit the nail on the head Whether as writers or in our individual lives it is important that we remember this all the time. No forming, no pretense just be you. farmto table Desolape is one real writer! There are honestly some memories not worth remembering, the question is how do we erase them? Anyone with answers? farmto table (1)