Four Fantastic Writing Tips

You all know the ritual; every year, about this time, I post up stuff about how my writing journey is going. 2014 makes it four awesome years since I dared to call myself a writer…and it has paid off.This year, for the benefit of upcoming writers, I came up with four things I’ve learned in four years about writing. Here we go:

It doesn’t matter if you think your idea sucks…write
I didn’t think, I knew my ideas sucked when I first started out with this writing thing. But I realized that if you don’t pen down those pieces that make you nervous, you won’t pen down anything at all. Plus, most times those ideas you think suck…people will love them.

Don’t be afraid to take a break
No, you’re not being lazy, you’re resting your mind. During a period like this, you could come up with some of your best ideas. Warning though; just keep on reading.

Writing gives you a confidence boost. (People naturally like writers)
Don’t know why, but people seemed to like me better when I became a writer. Still trying to understand it.

You never get used to starting a new project
No matter your experience, it seems like all new write-ups feel like you’re re-learning. I think it is more of a “re-discovery”. With every new project, as you write, you learn more about yourself.

@chosenmich


Why Change is Scary

Yeah, I’m still fascinated by the concept of change. And mulling over the topic in my mind, I realized something else about change; it can be scary. I asked myself why people do not want change a lot of the time, and other than the inconvenience that change drags with it wherever it goes, there is uncertainty. And if there is a truth, it is that uncertainty can be pretty scary. Here’s why:

Uncertainty is, well, uncertain.
Human beings love security. It’s why we always have the question “so, what’s the plan?”, asked in heists, coz we always want to know the plan. Taking it further, we always want to know the future. I talked about how we as humans are fascinated by the technology of cloning because we inherently wish we could duplicate ourselves in a previous post, but now I’m saying that this need to be secure, this need to know the plan, this need to know the future, culminates in a wish to be clairvoyant. If I were to ask if you had ever wished you could see into your future, what would your answer be? Mhm, I thought as much.

Change means new experiences, and new experiences means learning.
New experiences can be fun…until we have to learn again how to adjust to that new experience. And it goes without saying that learning is the ultimate position of humility, where you convince yourself that you are really just an ignorant, newbie void of the requisite knowledge in the area of life change has hauled you mercilessly into.

These are just two reasons why change is frightening. Two reasons why we always try to grab pain by the nape of its neck to squeeze the life out of it, before we realize that even that is futile; Change has another attribute we humans wish we had — immortality. Change lives forever. And life is nothing but constant change.

@chosenmich


You can’t Change People…so, What Can?

I think one of the technologies that have fascinated the human race the most is Cloning. Not the kind of cloning we have in top-notch labs around the world today where they use simple DNA to create a baby version of whatever animal they are trying to clone, but the sort of cloning that plagued Sci-Fi movies of the 80s and 90s where they place the star of the movie in a tube filled with water, and out comes a carbon copy of the star.

S1e7_clones_lined_up

 

 

 

Judging from my last post Chameleon Nature, you probably know that I am fascinated by the concept of change right now. The first thing anyone learns about change is, of course, its inevitability. As they say, “the only constant thing in this world is change.” But one of the other things I’ve learned about change is that you can’t change people. I think this is a hard reality many do not want to admit. We all want to see our friends dress like us, speak like us, love the kinds of movies we love, and so on. So, when we hear that we can’t change people, we get disappointed.

If we can’t change people, then what can? ‘Coz we all want those around us to change so we can finally stop trying to convince them that black coffee is more savory than milked. Or that the PS4 is a better game console than the X-box One. Here are two things I know that change people:

Environment

This is a primary factor especially when we are in our formative years. We are influenced by the people who are around us, the kind of schools we attend, and even the kind of programs we watch on TV. If we are raised among gorillas (like Tarzan), chances are we tree surf as a means of transportation (thank you, Disney, for selling us that impossible concept), and beat our chests like an ape, screaming “ah-ah-ah-ahhhh!” But if you are reading this blog, chances are you aren’t in your “formative years,” and that’s where the next change factor comes in…

Experiences

I normally disagree with this concept that the grass is greener at the other side of the fence (I’ll blog on that soon), but for contextual purposes I’m gonna use it here. Let’s assume that the saying is true. We know how comfortable we get in our comfort zones…until we have a brand new experience outside our comfort zone that proves our comfort zone was nothing but a boring zone. Personal testimony; I hated readers because they always buried their noses in those boring, text-filled pages, and found it difficult to speak a word to me when they were reading. As a result, I promised myself I would NEVER read…that was, of course, before I read Ted Dekker’s THR3E. And now I write.

You can’t people. But environments and experiences will. You have no control over these factors, but it’s good to know that under the right condition, that loved one—or hated one, depending—can, and will change.

@chosenmich


Chameleon Nature

Photo by: Chiswick Chap under Creative Commons License Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Photo by: Chiswick Chap under Creative Commons License Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

 

The chameleon, to me, is one of the most fascinating creatures in existence. And while my lady followers do not think there can be anything fascinating about a scaly reptilian creature with weird eyes that could see all the way to its back or look in opposite directions (yikes), even they can’t help but be amazed, or at least intrigued, by the chameleon’s ability to change color, and or texture.

But hold on, ladies, before you leave, this blog post isn’t about Chameleons; it’s about CHANGE. I spent the better part of Sunday evening trying to figure out reasons why we change, and here’s what I found out; most people change because of another person.

So is there really anything wrong with wanting to change for another person? Well that would depend on a few things. You see, I’m up for change, but only if you are changing into the person that you really want to be. Spruce up your wardrobe, get a new hairdo after all these years, grow some muscles, grow a moustache, change your accent if you want to. There’s nothing wrong with Change as long as, at the end of the day, you are becoming the person you dream of being.

Where the problem is, is in changing because we want another person’s approval. Am I saying you won’t get the person’s approval even after you change because, as Economists put it, “Human wants are insatiable”? No…though that could happen, but that’s a blog post for another day. What I am saying is, changing the way you speak, eat, live, and, most popularly, talk misleads not only the person you wanna impress, but everyone that comes in contact with you. Not only would your friends (colleagues and acquaintances inclusive) think you’re faking coz they already know the real you, it greatly misleads the people that meet you for the first time. You will attract people who are attracted to the person you are becoming (or have already become if it’s too late), and when you get tired of faking (coz faking is as exhausting as driving from one end of the country to the other with manual transmission), the real you will come out, and the approval will fade away…and so will the friends you thought you made. Meanwhile, the friends that loved the original you are now in your past.

To change, or not to change? That is the question.

Change if and only if you are changing into the you of your dreams, or a better you. But stay the same if you are only looking for approval. The best approval is self approval, and if you approve of yourself, pretty soon someone who approves of you will come along.

@chosenmich


4 Ways to Spice Up your Writing

I have had an acoustic guitar for some four or five years now, but I never quite tried to learn playing it passed a few must-know chords. So this year, I got an electric, and decided to put my all into becoming a pro…somewhat.

I soon discovered something, however; there comes a point when you are learning to play the guitar, for most people, that you feel you aren’t growing anymore. You know there’s still so much to learn (coz you can’t play all your favourite songs yet), but you just aren’t learning anything. You’re essentially stuck.

It’s the same with most creative endeavours. Music, drawing, and of course, writing. I’ve been there one too many times with my writing, and every time I google “how to improve your writing”, the points ‘read’, and ‘write’, keep coming up—as if you didn’t know that already. With that mind, I have come up with 4 ways to spice up your writing if you’re in that boat.

1 Get used to using Idioms

Most wet-behind-the-ears writers do not use these. I am still trying to get used to using them. Idioms, in my definition, are creative ways of expressing simple ideas. For example, “wet behind the ears”, is nothing but a fanciful way of saying, ‘inexperienced.’ So get an idioms app, and get your idioms on.

2 Use Figures of Speech

Whether writing with alliterations, metaphors, or hyperbole, figures of speech prevent your writing from tasting like an unsalted meal. See what I did there? *wink wink* The King of Horror, Stephen King, is king in this aspect. So, pick up your primary (or elementary) school English notes, and relearn those speech figures.

3 Practice Perfecting your Poetry

I’m so not claiming to be good at this, but I have noticed that writers who are good at writing poetry write a mean fiction. Read a bit of Dean Koontz, and you’ll know what I’m saying. Having poetry in your arsenal helps your narration, and your description of scenes, weather etc. I should start a bit of poetry this year, but don’t quote me on that.

4 Play on Puns

I can’t talk about adding spice to our writing, without mentioning the use of puns; puns add an intelligent kind of flavor to your tone…pun most definitely intended. A pun is simply an intelligent play on words. The point of spice is to add flavor to your cooking, which is why I chose the expression, ‘flavor to your tone.’ Puns are great for adding humor and intelligence to your writing.

I particularly like this pun I found on Pun of the Day: “I’m glad I learned sign language; it’s pretty handy.” LOL.

Hope you spice up your writing with these four points.

@chosenmich


3 Boring but Effective Ways to Improve Your Writing

Sometime last year, I wrote a blog post titled “Weird and Unorthodox Ways to Improve Your Writing”, and, based on the feedback I got from you guys, it’s almost safe to say that was the best received blog post of mine last year. In an attempt to resurrect this epileptic blog of mine (other than changing designs), I’ve come up with a similar article to the 2013 favorite, this time highlighting some boring, but effective, ways to improve your writing. So, if you can get passed the critically boring activities, dive in to the following points and improve your writing:

  1. Watch the News: Need I say more? It’s fricking journalism. The main credential for studying journalism is a good English grade. Plus they probably know the news is boring, so they always come up with cool lines to sell it. I remember I first heard the term ‘skyrocket’ on the news, and even though that is a dated and abused term now, credit goes to the news companies for teaching me that.
  2. Read Academic Books/Journals: So, this one is pretty simple. Most writers are comfortable with reading as a way to improve their writing. However, we often settle in a comfort zone-like place, reading mainly fictions. The thing about Academic writings is, the author often drowns her readers with boring facts and information—this is what makes it boring. However, Academic books are written by intellectuals. Thus, the use of English in such text is almost unparalleled—this is what makes it so effective as a tool to improve one’s writing.
  3. Read the Mother of all Books: In this book, there are no characters, there are no stories, and there are certainly no plots. I’m talking about the Dictionary. Back in school, I must admit, reading the dictionary used to be one of my weird hobbies. Back then, there were no effective mobile dictionaries, so I didn’t have an app that could give me “word of the day.” Now, however, we do. But don’t stop at just assimilating the words you read in the dictionary, practise using them. And, really, every word used on the news, or in academic writings is in the dictionary, right? I guess this makes reading the dictionary the most boring, yet the most effective, way to improve your writing.

So, is it time to get bored? Getting bored might just mean getting better. ;)

 

MiCH OLORUNFEMi

@chosenmich


F.E.A.R

Check out Christ Infinity’s blog post on fear. Really insightful;

F.E.A.R.


To Fear or Not to Fear

That is the question. We’ve heard all sorts of bad things about fear; it’s crippling, it hinders, it halts progress etc. And all these things are true. Very true, at that. My question, though, is; if we know that fear cripples, hinders, halts progress etc, then why do we fear?

Here’s what I think about fear.

#1 Fear Gives Us Security

In itself, fear is insecurity. But in our insecurity, we often find security. Don’t be confused. What I’m saying is, take someone who is afraid of heights for example. Such person would most likely be afraid to stand at the balcony of the third floor of a building, or fly in an airplane. The solution? Remain on the ground. As long as the person stays away from high platforms, they are safe. Now take my fear of elevators for example. Because of this fear, I am compelled to find security (and fatigue) on the staircase.

#2 Fear Breeds Caution

In essence, there will be no “thinking twice” if it wasn’t for fear. Most times, I find that to think twice is to have a fear of failure. Without a healthy dose of fear, there would be no caution. We would take on challenges head on, without even foresight or anticipation. Chaos will ensue, and failure will abound. In order to prevent this, we fear.

But there’s a flipside.

#1 Fear Gives Us Insecurity

As mentioned above, fear is insecurity, and insecurity often affects anything from boldness to self esteem. Fear makes our endeavours arduous and laborious tasks. Instead of standing on a spot and ascending the floors of a multi storey building, we take the stairs and get a good muscle-hardening job on our legs—trust me, I know. A journey that should take 40 minutes by air, takes almost a day by road. It slows us down, if ever allowing us reach our goal or destination.

#2 Fear Breeds Paranoia

It’s more than caution, really. It’s an acute distrust. One so bad, that it doesn’t just make us “think twice” as I pointed out above, but think thrice, and keep on thinking, without ever acting. We keep on mulling, wishing, hoping we could achieve this impossible goal of ours, which frankly speaking, are only impossible because of fear.

Fear is a battle. Fear is a dilemma. One the one hand, it could feel like we are keeping safe, and being cautious by giving in to fear. But on the other hand, it could be that we are insecure and paranoid because we gave in to fear. So, which is it?

To fear, or not to fear? That is the question.

@chosenmich


Get Real?

Have you ever been told that in the past? When you have a varying opinion from another’s, and the person wants you to see things the way they do, they say, “get real.”

But have you ever thought about what this means? I just did, and then I got inspired to write my first post since the release of my latest novella, Eyes (see the Free Books page).

In a world where everyone has their own interpretation of reality, what is “real”? One man’s reality is nothing but fiction to his neighbor, and the neighbor’s reality is nothing but fiction to one man. This suggests to me that the statement, “get real”, seeks to make one unreal just so they could be won over to our own thoughts, our own reality. But if they first of all have to be made unreal, can we truly say they are “getting real?”

Let’s face it. Each person’s life is their own reality. And everyone’s reality differs from the other.

So if everyone’s reality differs, how can there ever be common ground?

That’s where the only force that overrides reality comes in; Truth.

You see, to any given situation there can only be one truth. It doesn’t matter if the truth is not visible; it remains truth. It doesn’t matter if the stubborn try to reject it; truth is truth, and will always be truth.

Hate it. But it’s true.

Dispute it. But it’s still true.

Even deny it. It yet remains true.

If this is true (pun most definitely intended), how about this; instead of trying to make others to, ‘get real’, how about we make them, ‘get true’?

@chosenmich


It Begins…EYES

Today marks history for Mich Olorunfemi fiction with the release of Eyes across various platforms as a free ebook. With the little hype I was able to generate on my own, I’m sure a few of us are eager to get a copy, but first, a little history about the book:

Eyes (the captivating and enthralling story of a detective named Ricky Platt) is actually the first story I came up with, but was not the first I released. Three years ago when I decided to try my hands on this craft called writing, this was the only story concept in my head. I began penning it down, and hit the sixth chapter. However, not being satisfied with it (it was my first, after all), I scrapped it totally and began working on another title Feral (which will make a comeback this year), and others that can be seen in the “Free Books” section of this blog. The book, though short it might seem, took me a whole year to rewrite. Now, I’m more than delighted to share this thrilling story with you.

Where to download a copy:

You can download various formats (including KINDLE and PDF) on Smashwords:

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/401992

You can also snag a free copy off of the Apple iBookstore (not available in the Nigerian store, sadly):

(Available in 48 other countries)

If you have the Barnes and Noble nook, or nook app, you can get it at Barnes and Noble:

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eyes-mich-olorunfemi/1118114506?ean=9781304763709

Sign in, or Sign up to Lulu to get it from the Lulu Bookstore:

Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/eyes/14345104

The wait is over! Click, download, take the plunge, be thrilled. And be redeemed!

Ricky Platt has never lost case, now he’s about to lose his life.

EYES Covermediumsmall(blog)


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