The Importance of Being a Reader

The American inventor, Thomas Edison, is probably well known for his invention of the first commercially viable light bulb. Another common knowledge about him is that it took him about a thousand failed patent experiments to invent the light bulb successfully. This is as basic as most people know about the inventor.

Growing up as a child, Thomas had quite several challenges that made him stay away from school. He was home-schooled by his mother and subsequently self-educated himself by reading extensively on various and wide range of disciplines. In a couple of years to come, the ideas that gave birth to his invention would come from his reading and studies.

A lot of people nowadays want to become the best thing that has happened to writing after James Joyce but are unwilling to bear the sacrifice it requires. Being a reader is as equally important as identifying as a writer. To become a good writer, you have to read well and read always. Virginia Woolf had a massive library at her disposal while growing up as a child. It should not come as a surprise then that she turned out to be one of the best writers of the 20th century.

No writer ever turned out great without been an avid reader, and most of these writers are products of what they read. One of Nigeria’s finest poets, Christopher Okigbo, had read the French poet, Stéphane Mallarmé, so much that Okigbo’s poetry took the obscurantist form of Mallarmé’s. Read and read until writing becomes an effortless means of expression for you, but before then, here are some essential tips you need to know on how to become a great reader.

Not every reader will become a writer

This is a truth that a lot of aspiring writers do not want to hear – we all cannot become writers and not all writings are fully formed as quickly as you might expect. Whenever you read, therefore, you should do so with intent to grow your wealth of knowledge and expand your mind. It might take a longer time than you imagine to become the writer you want to be, but do not stop reading. Millard Kaufman was 90 years old when he published his first novel,  Bowl of Cherries.

Read the right stuff

Be intentional and strategic about your reading because what and who you read will pile up into a reservoir of knowledge, and they will influence what you will write, eventually. Desist from reading everything that comes your way. While this might be a bit difficult to adhere to, you should look out for authors you aspire to become and whose works you admire. Read them religiously. The aim is not to become like them, but to be influenced by them. Create a reading timetable for yourself; read around selected topics, themes, periods and authors. This strategic reading habit will help you carve a voice of your own when and if you begin to write.

Develop yourself

Language is more than a medium of communication; it is a signifier of culture, a mirror of thoughts and life. Most 17th century writers were able to speak at least two languages, from Latin to Greek, French and English. Their works were rich because their thought processes were formed from different linguistic roots. Every language is a corpus of the historical and cultural nuances of its speakers. Whatever language you speak, read and might decide to write with, master it very well. Understand the nitty-gritty of the language. In the books that you read, make sure you pay attention to how the authors make use of grammar, syntax and figurative expressions.

As a reader and writer, understanding two or more languages gives you access to alternative universes of thoughts. You would never be restricted by the limitations of thought and expression. If you find it difficult to form a thought or an idea in one language, you can easily seek refuge in another.

Read without ceasing

We cannot overemphasize the importance of reading. Keep reading to increase your wealth of knowledge and flourish your universe of imagination. When the time is right for you to write, there will be an unlimited reservoir of knowledge at your disposal. No one grows out of reading, so keep at it because there is no end to reading.

How To Write A Compelling Story

Storytelling is one pastime almost—if not—everybody engages in. We all have stories to tell; we recount events to our friends, family, and colleagues. These stories birth emotions that cause tears or laughter.

Now that you have seen how natural storytelling is, you don’t have to stiffen up next time you try to put those words to paper. It’s not so hard. Let’s look at a few tips that will help guide you:

  • Figure out what your audience needs: Both fiction and non-fiction storytelling have this in common. At the end of the story, what do they expect to gain? Or what do you want them to learn? With this in mind, constructing a story will be a lot easier.
  • Set the story: Every story is set in a place or time. Some settings are more specific than some others, which are more descriptive and expansive. For instance, December 25, 2011—Ikeja, Lagos—11 p.m. or more descriptive like The hut stood crooked, as if leaning in the direction of the wind, cracks running from top to bottom like veins protruding from an old man’s hand, giving it character.
  • Characters: Especially in fiction storytelling, it is easy to get hung up on making your protagonist perfect and your antagonist, well, the devil. Your protagonist is the center of the story with a clear goal that they plan to achieve at the end of the story, and the antagonist is the one person or thing standing between them and their goals. There are other central characters that the plot revolves around who are important to the story too.
  • Plot: The sequence of events that cause a connection between audience and protagonist.
  • Cause and effect: A bulk of your story should be told in a way that everything that goes on in the story is caused by the event preceding it. Though there are other instances where it would be better to go the other way, this format helps with the flow and understanding.

Cause: They have a big fight.

Effect: She takes a walk.

Instead of telling it as She takes a walk because they had a big fight, tell it as, There was palpable tension between them after the confrontation, so she grabbed her jacket and went for a walk.

  • Conflict: The only reason a reader stays hooked to your story is that they can’t wait to see how you resolve the conflict that the characters, especially the protagonist, have been thrown into. It is the conflict that builds the suspense, one of the main elements of an exciting story.

I hope these tips help you tell your story. But if you can’t find the time to write that story, Sabi Writers can do it for you!

What NOT to Do as a Writer

There will be times as a writer you will start doubting your talent, especially as a fresh face in the industry.

Starting out, your work may not get as much recognition as you may have hoped and you’ll begin to think deeply about whether or not you have enough talent to get ahead. You’ll start criticizing your art, throwing it out in the trash because you figured, if I do it exactly the way my idol does it, I’ll get the attention I deserve.

This not only makes writing difficult for you, but it also takes away your authenticity, and you lose the sense of fun and satisfaction you derive from putting words together.

While trying to find or create a niche for yourself, here are a few things you should NOT do:

  1. DON’T feel demoralized: Not everything you write will be loved in the first instant. Sometimes, your clients or audience might express their displeasure or harshly critique your work. Don’t take it to mean you are a terrible writer; instead, embrace it. Let it serve as a guide in the future, and that way, you become better.
  1. DON’T ignore the details: Don’t gloss over specifics, hoping that your audience will miss it. Even if they do, you do not want to associate yourself with a mediocre piece of art in the future just because you were too lazy. Do your best and give your best, every time.
  1. DON’T give up: It is healthy to take a break when you feel overwhelmed. But don’t stop writing, especially if that’s what makes you happy. Give it a minute, take a breath of fresh air, and dive right back into it. Don’t let anything, not even yourself, steal your voice from you.
  1. DON’T stop learning: You can’t pour from an empty jar. If you are not careful, a few seconds of fame and a couple of commendations later, your head will begin to swell. Then you start feeling like you know it all and you don’t have any need for new information. Keep consuming content that keeps you knowledgeable and abreast of times—it shines through your work.
  1. DON’T worry too much: Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by what someone else is doing. Appreciate their art but don’t dwell on it or use it as a yardstick to measure your creativity. Focus on your craft and hone your skills.

Very importantly, don’t forget that SABI WRITERS is here to help you with all of your writing needs. Contact us today.

The Writer And His Audience

One of the lessons you learn early as a writer is the fact that your writing will not resonate with every reader who comes across your work. Not everyone will be thrilled at the thought you express or be impressed with the creativity that flows out of your pen. And this is not because there is something wrong with your work or that you are somehow inferior as a writer. No, that is as far from the truth as you can get.

No matter how famous and well renowned an author or writer is, not everyone will gravitate towards his/her literary piece. Back in school, for instance, while people oohed and aahed over the romantic scribblings of Danielle Steele, there were those who declared her work tedious and overhyped. In the same vein, while some course mates and fellow readers thrilled to the suspense of John Grisham, others opted for a lighter-hearted and fun read. Despite the reputation ChimamandaAdichie has crafted on the African and international literary scene, her work is not accepted by all and sundry.

The truth is that like everything else in life, every work of art and piece of writing has a purpose for which it is intended and a specific audience to which it is addressed. This is one of the beauties of diversity, and it’s a fact that no matter the amount of written works that flood the literary space, there is always a reader available to read it. Even when several books on similar subject matter have been written, the tone with which one writer puts forth the information may appeal to one reader over that of another writer.

Therefore, rather than bemoan the fact that the people you desire to impress and impact do not gravitate towards your writing, it is important instead to identify who your target audience is as a writer and deploy your gifts to their benefit.

How, then, do you do this? Well, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Identify your core message and writing genre: Your core message simply refers to the central theme of your work and the overall aim and purpose of your writing. This could be business, spiritual, romance, suspense, motivation, among others. As a writer, first identify the message you wish to pass across and get to work on writing it.
  1. Identify your specific reader: Once you have identified your core message, the next step is to seek out the category of persons who need the specific piece of written work you wish to produce. A book on breastfeeding, for instance, would be mainly targeted at pregnant and nursing mothers as they are the ones more in need of the information than their unmarried counterparts. Therefore, look for people in the particular demography, whether of age, occupation, career, etc., that you wish to write to.
  1. Map out where your audience is likely to hang out: Whether it is online or in a physical space, knowing the places your target audience is likely to hang out makes it easier to connect with them and get your work in their faces. With the world gone largely digital, there is no doubt that most of your readers can be found online. While searching for them on the online sphere, however, ensure you identify the spots they are likely to be found. For example, it is not enough that you know your readers inhabit Facebook, Instagram or Twitter; it is also advised to map out the likely groups and networks formed on these spaces as these intimate places are where people of like minds and passions are sure to converge.
  1. Discover the influencers in that space: Now, when you identify the groups and hangouts your likely audience is sure to frequent, the next step is to identify the influencers in that space. Take note of the persons to whom others go to for advice and who have more engagements and impact. Study what books and topics are greatly debated and issues of concern relating to your subject matter that is being discussed. As you gain insight on this, it becomes easier to steer your writings in the direction that appeals to your target audience.
  1. Build and leverage on relationships with these influencers: Finally, having identified the influencers in the places where your target audience converge, build a relationship with them and then leverage on this relationship to promote your writing and gain influence. This can be done through mentoring and partnerships.

So, there! You have it. Now that you’ve got these few tips, do not worry anymore about those who do not gravitate towards you as a writer; instead, take time seeking those who need your message.

You were not sent to everyone after all.

Are there more ways you believe can be used to find your target reader audience?Do let us know in the comments section.

How To Know A Good Writer

Once upon a time, writers were believed to be those who had a flair for writing and could articulate words that dazzle and bamboozle people to the extent that they gradually earned respect and ranks.

In recent times, there has been a dramatic shift. With the evolution of the social media, everyone who possesses a smartphone or laptop and has access to the internet has suddenly become a writer. This is because many of them feel that they can put down whatever comes to their mind on their device and go public with it. After all, there are people on the streets of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms to feed with any type of content irrespective of how shallow or poorly written it is. Not minding that what they have written may not be genuine, confirmed or meeting the needs of their readers. All that matters to them is seeing the works of their hands online and sharing their thoughts on public space, so yes, they are writers. That’s all!

How wrong they are! Posting anything that comes to your mind does not make you a writer in the first place not to talk of being a good writer.

First, a writer is a person who uses written words to creatively communicate ideas and pass information through various styles and techniques.

Now here are a few tips to enable you to spot a good writer:

  1. A good writer is a reader:

Judge it a cliché, but you cannot fault the validity of this statement anytime—a reader is a leader. There is no arguing about how true this is. How possible is it for you to write if you have not adequately gathered the right information? Quite impossible! Reading helps you to get information, stay in the know, enlarge your vocabulary, and builds your word bank as well. After all, words are the most crucial work tools for a writer; without words, a writer is unable to execute or function.

  1. A good writer is disciplined:

Discipline is vital when it comes to the writing role. It is one thing to start writing an article, a story, or a book, and another thing to bring it to completion. Only disciplined writers finish what they start. Indiscipline has deprived many of achieving their goal of becoming a writer.

  1. A good writer is passionate about writing:

Writing is not just about putting pen to paper or typing away on the keypad; it is much more than that. It involves an inner desire and passion for passing message across through words that spew from the heart. If you do not have a passion for writing, you cannot be a good writer.

  1. A good writer is creative:

Creativity is all about producing something new, different, unusual, or unique that can stand the test of time. A good writer’s watchword is originality, and this inspires him/her to be innovative rather than depend wholly on what others have done.

  1. A good writer pays attention to details:

Paying attention to details entails being observant, taking note and ensuring that no statistical/factual uncertainty or grammatical error goes without correction. Every work of a good writer is not only properly written but thoroughly scrutinized and polished to perfection.

Now, here is the real gist: the first step to becoming a good writer is to start writing. Put those thoughts down in the most suitable words and get started.

If you need an award-winning writing company to take off your writing burden, Sabi Writers has got you covered.