Tag Archive | writers life

I Love Music: The Mary J. Blige Edition.

 

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Image: wikipedia.com

 

Mary J. Blige is an American RnB singer whose first albulm, ‘What’s The 411?’ was released in 1992.

 

5 Reasons Why I’m A Mary J. Blige Fan:

  1. Her vocals are top-notch and could put you in either an upbeat mood or a melancholy state of mind (which are quintisential effects of RnB music).
  2. The video for her song, ‘Family Affair’ featured Dr. Dre (the hardcore and generally angry-looking Rapper) dancing…and even smiling. Miracles do happen.

 

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Dr. Dre. Image: Pinterest.

 

3. She was the queen of blonde and red wigs long before Beyonce made her presence known on the music scene.

4. I remember watching a very candid interview of hers years ago where she said that she’d had to make a deliberate effort to change her circle of friends and acquiantances because they were toxic and encouraged negativity in her life. This has resonated deeply with me up till this day.

5. Even though I generally enjoy her music from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, Mary J. Blige’s music from any era embodies the core of rhythm and blues which shape classic RnB songs.

 

My favourite Mary J. Blige songs are:

Real Love.

Everything.

-I’m going Down.

-Not Gonna Cry.

-No More Drama.

-Family Affair.

One (with U2).

-As (with George Michael).

911 (with Wyclef Jean).

-Be Without You.

-Just Fine.

-All That I Can Say.

 

Are there any Mary J. Blige fans out there? Let me know in the comments!

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Ivie.

 

***All videos are from Youtube***

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Have Any Questions For Me?

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Hey, Everyone!

I was casually scheduling posts on WordPress when I noticed that I have 148 subscribers to this blog.

 

I blinked several times and looked again. Yes, I have gone from having only a handful of subscribers when I started this blog in October 2015 to having 148 subscribers!

 

That, to me, is simply amazing.

 

I know a lot of you subscribed for specific reasons: to read poetry, or stories, or any of the other things which I write on this blog.

 

Do you have any questions for me? The questions don’t even have to be about writing, they could vary from where I live (Abuja, Nigeria) to my favourite fruits (mangoes. Always mangoes).

 

Please leave your questions in the comments section, and I will answer them in a post next week.

 

Right now, I am working on my third book, which will be a novel. I also have some short stories lined up to be published on this blog, so please look out for those as well!

 

I’m really looking forward to your questions.

 

Thanks and all the best,

 

Ivie.

Believe Me.

 

Believe me,

You must believe me when I say,

That I have loved you for so long before I ever met you.

That blood flows through my veins-a consequence of being human.

That my hips are as wide as my love for you is deep.

 

Believe me,

You must believe me when I say,

That my intentions for you are noble,

That my moods are fleeting, sprinkling over the love which I have for you,

That my hands are outstretched only for you.

 

Believe me,

You must believe me when I say,

That yours are the only words which I want floating around in my head,

That my smile will welcome yours with excitement,

That my eyes will see the good man that you are,

And the better one that you wish to become.

 

Believe me,

You must believe me.

Written by
Β©Ivie M. Eke 2017. 

A Little Survey Which Would Be A Big Help!

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Hey, Everyone!

 

I have been writing on this blog for almost a year and a half: amazing!

 

What started as a hobby has become a full-time passion project that I use to express myself positively.

 

I am always working to improve the quality of posts on this blog. I would appreciate it if you took this 5-minute survey about your user experience with this blog and your suggestions for improvement.

 

You can find the short questionnaire here.

 

Thank you so much for your support!

 

Ivie.

Self-Publishing A Book: 3 Things To Keep In Mind.

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Writing a book is a tough activity, but self-publishing a book is an even tougher one.

I chose to self-publish my book because getting the attention of established publishing houses has not been easy but I didn’t want this fact to get in the way of achieving my dream of becoming a published author.

If you are a writer who is thinking about self-publishing a book-congratulations! You are about to embark on a rewarding journey where you set the writing pace, create your own deadlines and promote your own work.

Here are three things I want you to keep in mind when you decide to self-publish your book:

 

You will never be truly satisfied with your work.


I am pretty sure that this fact applies to writers who self-publish and those who publish through agents and publishing houses. When I self-published my first book, ‘Looking for myself and my phone charger’, I struggled with deciding what number of poems I wanted to include in the collection. I didn’t want the book to be too lengthy and so I found myself removing poems from the collection at the last minute. However, I now wish I had included those poems in the collection!

 

When you are your own agent/publisher, you will find yourself making decisions which are separate from the content of the written work itself. I agonized over the little details until I finally decided to give myself a break and enjoy the process as a whole.

 

You will do a lot of research.

When I say a lot of research, I mean A WHOLE LOT.

Aside from the research which I did for my short story collection, I also did research on what self-publishing platforms would work for me (I used Amazon’s Createspace and OkadaBooks). In addition, I did research on how to promote self-published books. The amount of information which I gathered about social media utilization for book promotions was very mind-blowing.

Since I do not have the backing or budget of a publishing house and I am working with a limited budget, it was nice to know that I could make little adjustments to what I was already doing to get positive results. For instance, promoting your book on Facebook gives you the opportunity to clearly segment your target market based on their hobbies, gender, age, location and so on.

 

You will face self-doubt head on.

Ah, self-doubt! The lingering, unwelcome visitor that hovers over every self-published author. If you were apprehensive about sharing your writing posts on Facebook or on your blog, just imagine how you will feel when you write a book and you have to convince people to pay to read your work!

This is something which I struggle with from time to time but which I overcome with self-affirming words and looking at the big picture. Writing has made me a happier, more creative, more determined and more disciplined person. When I remember these facts, it makes me see self-publishing my books as a happy journey and not a stress-filled destination.

 

Support anyone you know who has decided to self-publish a book, for they are brave and wonderful people!

 

Ivie.

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‘Walking On Eggshells’ is available on Amazon (print and ebook) and Okada Books (ebook).

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‘Looking For Myself And My Phone Charger’ is available on Amazon (print and ebook) and Okada Books (ebook).

 

 

 

5 Brief Writing Lessons From My Favourite Authors.

 

I read a lot of books and I have become accustomed to different styles of writing and different ways of telling a story.

There are books which I have read which I promptly forgot about once I closed them, and others written by my favourite authors whose words still linger in my mind long after I read the final words.

Here are a few writing lessons which I have learned from my favourite authors:

 

Lesson 1: Get to the point.

Author: Chinua Achebe:

Book:Things Fall Apart’.

From the first page of this book, you learn so much about Okonkwo, the protagonist and this really appeals to me. I don’t mind detailed descriptions in books, but sometimes I just want to get on with things and have the story begin immediately.

 

 

Lesson 2: Your protagonist may not be likable, but she should be interesting.

Author: Chimamamda Ngozi Adichie.

Book:Americanah’.

Adichie is, in my opinion, a master of creating a protagonist who you really should not like, but you feel some empathy for because of the manner in which she has been described. Some are of the opinion that the main character in a book should be a likable hero, but I feel writing characters who are very flawed and are trying to find their purpose in life make for more interesting reading.

 

Lesson 3: Short paragraphs and short chapters can enhance the pace of a story.

Author: James Patterson.

Book: ‘The Quickie’ (all of his books, really).

I guess this lesson really works if you already have a talent for creating tense, sitting-at-the-edge-of-your-seat thrillers, which Patterson is great at doing. His books tend to have very short chapters, usually one to three pages, which often end with mini-cliffhangers.

 

Lesson 4: Humour makes the mundane relatable.

Author: Sophie Kinsella.

Book: The ‘Shopaholic’ series of books.

Even if you’re the type to turn down your nose at books in the ‘romantic’ genre, these books are in their own league because they are laugh-out-loud funny. Kinsella was able to create a character dealing with situations that really aren’t funny (being in debt and having a shopping addiction) and write about her escapades in a way that would make you chuckle.

 

Lesson 5: Cliffhangers and twists at the end of a story are always welcome.

Authors: Jefferey Archer & James Hadley Chase.

Books: The ‘Clifton Chronicles’ (Archer), ‘The Vulture Is A Patient Bird’ (Chase).

 

I love a good cliffhanger in a book. Who says that a book needs to end in a wholly satisfactory manner? Certainly not these two guys! Jefferey Archer’s 7-part ‘Clifton Chronicles’ weaves tales of families intertwined through marriage and deceit, with each part ending in a compelling cliffhanger that will make you rush out to buy the next book.

As far as detailed (and sometimes absurd) crime capers go, James Hadley Chase will take you on a wild ride, and just when you think the story has ended, a random situation pops up on the very last page, which will leave you full of either joy or frustration.

 

These are only a few of the authors whose books I have read, but these are the major writing lessons which I have learned.

 

Has reading any books by your favourite authors inspired your writing? Please let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading.

 

Ivie.

 

 

Why Did I Start Writing?

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Hey, Everyone!

 

I recently thought about the pressures we sometimes put on ourselves as writers to meet up with imagined expectations.

 

Aside from heralding the countdown to the Christmas holidays, November is known in writing circles as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). Aside from the cumbersome acronyms, there has been a lot of debate on whether the writing process is helped or hindered by writing under such strict timelines.

 

Last November, I took part in NaBloPoMo and published a new post every day that month. I had just started this blog the previous month and it was an opportunity for me to see how serious I was about my writing and to build up my reader base.

 

Even though I enjoyed NaBloPoMo, I knew that I was not likely to take part in it again. I have since created a consistent writing schedule that is convenient for me and which does not compromise my quality of writing.

 

I thought about taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, but I decided against it. The thought of producing well over a thousand words a day was too daunting, not because I couldn’t do it, but I just didn’t feel like I would produce my best work (I applaud everyone who has taken it on!). I have spent November doing a course on writing and storytelling, and I’ve been steadily building up the structure for my novel. I feel very pleased with what I have done so far, and even though I am unlikely to reach the 50,000-word count proposed by NaNoWriMo, I would have made much more progress than where I was this time last month.

 

I count that as a small victory.

 

Also, every few weeks, I take some time to do an audit of all that I have written during that period. I assess the quality of what I have written and think about how to improve my work. I also think about how successful I have been with promoting my work on Social Media, through my Email Newsletter and in my personal interactions. I have found that I have made some progress, especially with telling people that I am a writer.

 

I try to follow-up on the writing competitions which I have entered and the article pitches which I have sent out for consideration. I used to feel very stressed out when competition deadlines pass without any feedback, or when I don’t get any responses to my emails with article pitches. These days, I just shrug, cross those things of a list, and continue the process.

 

I know the above might sound tedious to some people, but I must say that focusing on the processes above really makes me happy!

After all, what’s the point of writing if it stresses me out instead of lifting my spirits?

 

Writing has become very important to me this year, mainly because it has given my life a whole new sense of purpose. However, it is a sense of purpose that is cushioned by my own contentment, not by what others might assume I should be doing as a writer.

 

Writing has made my life extraordinary, with ideas flowing through my mind faster than I can write them down. If I think about all the stress which has left me, the contentment I feel when I get positive feedback and the slight confusion I experience when I stumble on a poem which I wrote on a piece of paper months ago which actually looks very good, I know that I am on the right track.

 

Perhaps with time, I will be able to make a full-time career from writing. Until then, I will enjoy the smile which writing puts on my face and all the adventures and experiences which come along with it.

 

Thanks for reading.

Ivie.

Classically Ivy.

 

Β©Ivie M. Eke 2016.

 

P.S I’m also working on another short story series, so watch this space!

Please Vote For My Short Story!


Hey, everyone!

 
I got a very pleasant surprise this evening. My short story, ‘Chika’s pain’ was selected as part of the entries for the Etisalat Flash Fiction competition, an annual writing contest with a 300-word limit.

 
Please read and vote for my storyΒ here!

 
It’s quite exciting when you actually get some form of feedback about something you have written.

 
Please vote and share with your followers, it would make my day.

 
Thank you!

 
Ivie.