by Samuel Osho | Feb 28, 2018 | Writing
A Writer’s Guide to Overcoming Rejection
Toyota is a popular brand but it’s not everyone’s favorite. Coca-Cola has stayed with us for more than a century but some consumers will choose Pepsi ahead of Coke. Does that imply that Coca-Cola is a terrible product? No! Simply because your cousin is a fan of Toyota has nothing to do with the market share of Nissan. If you will go far in your chosen field, you must know how to handle rejections and its sibling – criticisms.
As a writer, you may have the power to control many things but the choice of your readers is not one of them. Life will be with fewer worries once you know that you can’t write for everyone. Not everyone is going to like you or click a love button for your posts. Just the same way, Coke is not the favorite drink of everyone.
The stark disapproval of your work where you expect a resounding applause can be frustrating especially when your literary work is neglected like a weakened bridge set to become a pile of rubble. Or perhaps you have an inbox clogged with countless rejection letters from editors who felt your work is not good enough. If you have plans to make any phenomenal impact with writing, you must be ready to have your fair share of rejection spell.
From my interaction with writers, many quit writing because they could no longer bear the burden of rejection. The writing instinct could no longer breath under the blanket of obscurity; it undergoes suffocation until it became lifeless. The ability to write blossoms when it enjoys the rain of consistency.
The illustrious stories of some celebrated writers carried a faint shade of the scars they sustained during their period of rejection. This list contains brilliant writers that authored famous works. The world only got to read their inspiring stories because they had the courage to silence the voice of rejection.
- Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl was rejected 15 times before it was published.
- Carrie by American author, Stephen King, was rejected 30 times before it was published.
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by American philosopher, Robert M. Pirsig, was rejected 121 times before it was published.
- George Orwell’s classic allegory, Animal Farm, was rejected because “there is no market for animal stories in the USA.”
- Dune by American science fiction writer, Frank Hebert, was rejected 23 times before it was published.
- The famous writer of detective novels, Agatha Christie, had to wait four years before getting published.
- The popular work of J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was rejected 12 times before it got published.
- American novelist and poet, Gertrude Stein, submitted poems for 22 years before having one published.
- Gone with the Wind by American author and journalist, Margaret Mitchell was rejected 38 times before it was published.
- The Thomas Berryman Number by American author, James Patterson, was rejected by 31 publishers. It won an Edgar for Best First Novel.
Finally, you have no reason to doubt me when I say that you are not alone in the school of rejections. This parcel of inspiration should take away your worries when next you encounter any form of rejection. However, I’d like you to pay attention to some truths about rejection and criticism.
Practical Truths About Rejection
The ten authors listed above produced some of the best literary works that world has ever seen and received massive approval from readers from different parts of the world. But they had their own fair share of the sour grape – rejection topped with some scathing comments from editors. If you want to be a writer, you have to brace up knowing that this is just a phase of life that will soon be over. Expect it, prepare for it and overcome it.
Even if the world of letters is your oyster, a pinch of rejection hurts. It’s like the sting of a starved bee. I can imagine how it feels. After enduring hours of solitude before a blank screen, you weaved a beautiful fabric of letters and only for it to be thrown into a trash can.
3. Don’t take it personal
If you are facing rejection from an audience, it’s very important for you not to take it as a personal attack. It could be that your readers don’t have interest in your work and not necessarily your personality. Rejection of your work has nothing to do with who you are as a person. Learn to separate the approval of your work from the love for your personality; they are two different entities.
“We all learn from lessons in life. Some stick, some don’t. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success” – Henry Rollins
4. Be Objective and open-minded
In situations where readers or editors reach out to you with comments about your work, be objective in your approach and focus on comments that will improve your work. About two years ago, one of my frequent readers reached out to me on Facebook and pointed out how I usually confuse “being” with “been.”
It was a good call for me, I paid a visit to my grammar textbook and became more conscious when I use those words in my writing. This is just one of several instances where comments from my readers have helped improve my work. Approach criticisms with an open mind believing that you will find ways of getting better in your craft.
To navigate through the trenches of rejection without getting hurt, you may treat yourself to a short break. If you feel overwhelmed by the knocks, take a break from active writing for two weeks.
Travel to new places, hang out with friends and explore the literary works of your favorite writers. In this transient moment of recuperation, your wounds will heal and you will find the strength to write again.
In conclusion, rejection’s ploy is to stop you from writing but one of the profound ways to soar above rejection is to keep writing. Consistency in writing will break the spine of your rejection letters.
Rejection is the opinion of others about your work and it should not in anyway decide your fate in life. Push hard, press on and walk through the thickets of oblivion to embrace the glamour of the limelight. In the end, it’s difficult to silent or kill the writer in you if you write solely for the love of the art and not the cart of praises.
by Samuel Osho | Feb 19, 2018 | Writing
10 Must-Have Tools for Writers
A surgeon without a scalpel has no business in an operating theatre and a sailor without a compass will soon hit an iceberg. In today’s fast-paced world where we swim in a sea of distractions, a writer needs more than a pen and a paper to truly survive and stand out. Tools give leverage which translates to speed, accuracy, and efficiency in the execution of our daily projects.
There is a school of thought that believes that writing is effortless and a lazy man’s job. This is why you get a weird look anytime you tell someone that you are a full-time writer. Writing is not for the fainthearted but these tools bring ease and comfort while you do what you love – writing. In 2018, there is a bevy of online tools provided by the soothing womb of technology to assist writers. All you need is to take advantage of them.
I hope these tools make life easy for you as much as they have assisted me.
Writing and Editing Tools
If I was an affiliate marketer for Evernote
, I should have raked in hundreds of dollars by now. Ever since I fell in love with Evernote in 2013, I have introduced the writing app to almost every passionate writer that crossed my path. I just can’t stop talking about an app that has a variety of features such as work chat, photo editor, PDF viewer, MS Office viewer, voice recorder and many more. You can install the app both on your phone and personal computer; it syncs your work on both devices in seconds. You can create several notebooks depending on the number of projects you are presently working on.
is a must-have for spontaneous writers who would love to get their thoughts and ideas at the points of conception. In other words, I mean if a scene inspires you, take a photo or video using your Evernote, save it in a note and work on it later.
The most popular writing software is unarguably Microsoft Word but in some instances where you need to collaborate with a teammate on a project, Google Doc
is a lifesaver. In December 2017, while working on a project with a friend in the United Kingdom, we had to settle for Google Doc because it allowed us to work on the project at the same time. It’s beautiful and amazing! Another feature on Google Doc
which I find fascinating is its ability to incorporate Google Search especially when you are looking for external hyperlinks to support your arguments and facts.
Asides its growing popularity, it’s one of the world’s most accurate online grammar checker. After using your checklist for personal editing
can assist in adding finishing touches to your article. It does more than just detect spelling errors, it contains explanatory notes that support its suggested corrections. It’s a cool way to learn more about English grammar.
In addition to improving the quality of your text, the premium plan has advanced features such as plagiarism checker and vocabulary enhancement. However, the free plan will polish your writing.
If you want your writing to ride on the sophisticated wings of clarity and simplicity, then you need to run into the waiting arms of Hemingway Editor. Hemingway Writing App
makes your writing bold, clear and direct. It’s two in one; you can use it for writing and leverage its editing features. It calls your attention to overly long sentences, passive voices and needless adverbs. The primary goal of the web application is to make the readability of your text excellent.
“True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, as those who move easiest have learned to dance.” – Alexander Pope
If you have ever worked as a journalist, you will agree with me that it could be very challenging to transcribe recorded interviews. Transcribing is a formidable task; it saps your energy and could be nerve-racking. OTranscribe
makes life easy for you. The web application is a powerful tool because of its ability to process different audio formats. Let me show you the icing on the cake; it can create text from the YouTube videos and it’s all for free.
If you are a storyteller or a novelist, you will appreciate the artistic beauty of Hipstersound
. It creates the sounds that characterize a real-life environment such as coffee shop, restaurant, heavy rainfall and many other fascinating scenes. In the comfort of your room, you can feel the pulse of the clumsy coffee shop and allow the garments of your imagination to get wet in the rain.
Just like a thesaurus
; it is a library of synonyms and antonyms that can add variety to your writing. It’s an online web application and it’s free.
Time is one of the most democratically distributed resources in life but very expensive because it’s irretrievable. Now, to the scary part: time is running out, you don’t have any control over it, you don’t have all the time and you don’t even know how much you have left on this planet.
When you install RescueTime
on your phone and personal computer, it will create daily reports showing your productivity levels. The productivity chart is created using data generated from the time spent on different applications on these two devices. If you binge on Netflix or YouTube, it’s recorded as downtime. This can show you the lapses in your time management and hence initiate an improvement strategy.
Productivity comes at a price – discipline and effective management of distractions. Focus booster app
was designed based on the Pomodoro technique and it has a proven track record of increasing productivity amidst freelancers, employees, and writers. Focus on a task for 25 minutes and get a break of 5 minutes at the end of each session. When you are done with the fourth session, you can embark on a break of 20 minutes to restrategize and plan your schedule again. I always advise people to do one thing at a time, focus booster will assist in maximizing focus and getting amazing results in a short period of time.
In conclusion, I only recommend tools that I have used personally. These tools will help you in achieving your writing goals in 2018. Let me know in the comments which tools you use in your writing that were not mentioned here. I’d love to check them out!
by Samuel Osho | Feb 12, 2018 | Personal Development, Productivity, Quotes
15 Inspiring Quotes from John Maxwell on Success and Leadership
Leadership is often regarded as a mesh of complex theories and a web of mysteries until Maxwell came on the scene. American author, John C. Maxwell, demystifies the indispensable concept of leadership with simple words and inspiring stories. His riveting message is specially designed for anyone who aspires to be a courageous leader in his/her sphere.
Maxwell has published over 30 books and sold over 20 million copies. He is a leadership coach and expert with a wealth of experience spanning over two decades of attending to the needs of world leaders and employees of Fortune 500 companies.
Photo Credit: www.johnmaxwell.com
When the going gets tough and you are wearied by the heavy blow of failure, words of inspiration may be all you need to awaken the strength within. Words are powerful, words have power, and words can be your power. These quotes from Maxwell are motivating nuggets – amazing balls of energy that can propel you to the next stage in life.
The Fifteen balls of energy
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – John C. Maxwell.
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – John C. Maxwell.
“Everything rises and falls on leadership.” – John C. Maxwell.
“Live to learn and you will really learn to live.” – John C. Maxwell.
“People’s capacity to achieve is determined by their leader’s ability to empower.” – John C. Maxwell.
“Motivation gets you going, discipline keeps you growing.” – John C. Maxwell.
“You will never change until you change something you do daily.” – John C. Maxwell
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.” – John C. Maxwell.
“Goals may give focus, but dreams give power.” – John C. Maxwell.
“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” – John C. Maxwell.
“A minute of thought is greater than an hour of talk.” – John C. Maxwell.
“Leader become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John C. Maxwell.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” – John C. Maxwell.
“The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying.” – John C. Maxwell
It’s high time you focused on excellence and watch success chase you pants down. Steer your life in the direction of purpose and find the courage to smile in the midst of your worries. Fight through self-doubt and be a strong leader both for yourself and those who follow you.
It is your turn to share with me. I am curious! Which one of these quotes is your favorite?
by Samuel Osho | Feb 5, 2018 | Writing
The Ultimate Editing Checklist for Every Writer
Editing is the magic button that can make or mar your work; it can show the beauty of your research or reveal the ugly skeletons of your laxity. The choice is yours! How often do you return from the grocery store rebuking yourself for forgetting to get an item you have always craved for? Yes, it happens to everyone especially if you don’t fancy the idea of making a list of your needs. It takes about five minutes to create a checklist but we often trivialize its importance. A checklist is a lifesaver!
Are you ready to polish your work? All you need is a toolbox of tweaks and it’s embedded in this checklist. It’s a goldmine for all who care to learn.
Today, I have made an audacious attempt to give you an ultimate editing checklist that you can use for your writing projects. It’s simple to use and void of complex theories of semantics or mechanics. If you are a freelance writer or you write for fun, this checklist will come in handy. You need an editing checklist to save you from unnecessary embarrassment especially when you are in a rush to complete a project.
When you have a piece stained with errors and mistakes, your readers tag you either as unserious or unprofessional. A single error can make a reader lose interest in your writing. It’s in your interest to ensure that you present a written piece that reflects your professionalism and diligence. Writers fall into the trap of unpardonable errors because only a few consider editing as a job on its own.
Writing is beautiful and spending a lot of time on research is commendable. What justifies the number of resources you have invested in your writing is the output. However, the output is at the mercy of editing and therefore editing can’t be shoved aside. It’s the most crucial stage of your writing process.
The checklist will handle the basic things you should watch out for when editing; it will fine-tune the quality of your work. You can download a copy for your personal use in your future writing projects.
Before you use the checklist for the editing of your work, do these two things:
– Take a break – this helps you to check the written piece with fresh eyes.
– If possible, use the hard copy (printed on paper) for your editing.
- Avoided tricky subject and verb agreement traps, such as “One of the girls are (is) running” or “Neither of the tires are (is) good.” I have also done the same for other indefinite pronouns such as everybody, anybody, either, each and any.
- Chosen the right pronouns for my sentences. For example: “Sam and me (I) ate pizza” or “The boxer slapped he (him) and I (me).”
- Paid attention to the three-fold purpose of an apostrophe. (1)”The Obama’s lodge is for sale.” (shows possession) (2)”Don’t” (form contractions) and (3)”It’s high time you stopped using if’s, and’s, or but’s.” (to pluralize special words)
- Avoided pluralizing nouns that have only a singular form, such as furniture, feedback, cutlery, wheat, happiness, scenery, news, advice, lingerie, information, luggage, and bread.
- Deleted all unconventional or shorthand abbreviations, such as “Ped Xing (Pedestrian Crossing)” or “OK (okay).”
- Spelled out a recurring acronym at the first point of its introduction.
- Written out all numbers less than 10 in full, numbers 10 and above were represented numerically. For example: “There were eight balls on the pitch during the soccer game” and “The king has 20 wives in his palace.”
- Substituted “said” with powerful and acceptable verbs such as: replied, whispered, answered, asked, commented, shouted, murmured, demanded, and inquired.
- Crossed out unnecessary and extraneous words especially glaring redundancies. For example: “stand up,” “sit down,” “clap your hands,” “end result,” “basic fundamentals/essentials,” “false pretense,” “final outcome,” “unexpected surprise,” “unintended mistake,” and “repeat again“
- Removed unneeded sentences.
- Deleted “that” except when it is needed for coherence.
- Rewritten lengthy sentences to achieve more clarity.
- Improved my punctuation.
- Replaced long words with short ones, such as “Heidi is not smart (dull),” “Bill did not remember (forgot) the Super Bowl Sunday.” Another example of brevity is: “U.S. President Donald Trump …” instead of “Donald Trump, who is the president of the United States.”
- Deleted all the common metaphors and similes used in print. For example: “life is a journey,” “the apple of my eyes” and “ideas in motion.”
- Substituted all the passive sentences with active ones. For example: “The broken cup was replaced by Martin” should be “Martin replaced the broken cup.”
- Replaced all complex and ambiguous words with simple words.
- Used strong nouns and verbs instead of overusing adjectives and adverbs.
- Read it out loud; observe its flow and smoothness. (Let this be the last thing you do)
After attending to the checklist, you can use a grammar spell checker software such as Grammarly
or Microsoft Word Spellchecker. They detect some errors but I will advise you to be careful because they could be unreliable. For example, a spellchecker can’t distinguish between nights
, and fast
– provided each is spelled correctly.
Therefore, it’s advisable that you go through the text meticulously until you are satisfied with the flow and clarity of your words. You can use Hemingway
as an editing tool for removing complex and passive sentences from your manuscript before hitting the “publish” button.
For extensive studying on editing, I recommend The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. The book is my grammar bible and I think every serious writer should have a personal copy.
Click this link to get your free copy!