So You Think You Can Write?

So you think you can write? Wonderful. Now you’ve decided to post your stuff on TNC. Brilliant. And it is marvelous in our sight? Not really. You see, being part of the team behind an open publishing platform is a great thing. We get to hear from you, which is honestly pretty amazing. It’s great…

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So you think you can write? Wonderful. Now you’ve decided to post your stuff on TNC. Brilliant. And it is marvelous in our sight? Not really.

You see, being part of the team behind an open publishing platform is a great thing. We get to hear from you, which is honestly pretty amazing. It’s great to get such a wide range of opinions. It keeps the site lively and diverse. We also understand that seeing your work online can give you an unparalleled sense of validation. Someone out there read your piece and thought it was cool enough to share with their readers. That’s kinda awesome. On top of this, you get paid too – isn’t TNC just awesome? Still, we want to help you feel awesomer.

Sadly, we can’t do that if you commit what seem to be regularly recurring Nigerianisms. As one of the senior editors here, I read a lot of submissions and I honestly wonder if some contributors were sent by my village people to frustrate me. Here’s why:

  • they Decide to randomly Capitalise the wrong words for REASONS i will Never understand.
  • Simple punctuation including commas and full stops are totally absent in fact they appear to be such a huge problem that the article is little more than a barrage of endless sentences that become so difficult to read that they inspire many members of the TNC editorial team to take up alcoholism as a coping mechanism
  • They misquote popular sayings, phrases or proverbs so awfully that it is pretty clear they lack tension to details.
  • Their articls are litered with typos.
  • dey write like dia sendin TNC a whatsapp msg

This doesn’t even scratch the surface. Other infuriating traits I’ve observed among prospective TNC contributors include:

Rambling

You decide to write a letter to yourself, your unborn child, your mother, your father, your neighbour or your dog. That is totally fine. Try to ensure such streams of consciousness have a point – some kind of narrative progression or even a memorable ending.

If you’ve penned a whole piece about getting out of bed, walking down the road to buy bread and going back to bed – and nothing remotely interesting happened in between those moments, or there’s no mad twist at the end like revealing you’re Daniel and the bed was actually the lions’ den all along – it is highly unlikely your post will get published.

I appreciate this is a touchy subject because many contributors are clearly sensitive and introspective individuals so it’s easy to get lost in one’s thoughts. Nevertheless, unfortunately, many posts produced in this mood are, quite frankly, boring. They won’t generate any form of engagement, readers won’t be happy and you won’t get paid. It has to be said. Sorry.

Amnesia

This is the only word that comes to mind when I come across articles that appear to have been written by people who completely forget that they are writing for an external (predominantly young, i.e. 18-35, Nigerian) audience. Writing for an audience is not necessarily about changing who you are or how you express yourself, but simply being aware that your post has to be somewhat engaging.

This is related to the rambling point, but is more about seeking out relevant topics. If you’re going to write an article about the art of Japanese apple picking, this is probably not the right place to publish such a piece. Yes, it might tick all the editorial boxes and it might even get published but will it engage your audience? This is a lesson I personally remind myself of constantly since I tend to write for vastly different audiences. Some jokes fall flat with some groups and rock the crowd with others, just like one man’s hot topic bores the next guy to tears. Be mindful of your audience. It’ll save us having to write you a kindly worded note about why your post isn’t going up on the site.

Repetition

This might appear slightly contradictory, but just goes to show that human beings are very interesting creatures. While some contributors write about incredibly random topics that don’t resonate with their audience, others submit articles covering over-flogged subjects. What’s our top culprit? Love, of course! Feminism is a close second!

Yes, we post a lot of boy-meets-girl stories, but you have NO IDEA how many more we hold back. Don’t get me wrong, love and relationships will always be worth discussing, but when every post is asking what love is, or if love is bitter, or if true love will ever come, it makes the TNC team want to hunt Cupid down and shoot him for causing all this rubbish.

If you’re writing about a popular subject, at least seek out a unique angle. Try a different style, add a twist or think about it from another point of view. For instance, if you’re inclined towards penning man-bashing articles because Segun cheated on you, consider writing an article from the lothario’s perspective. Diary of a Demon, perhaps. See, that’s already more interesting than “Lord God Almighty, why did you create Yoruba men?”.

Not kissing the boss’ behind but I think Mr Toolsman is a good example of someone who does this well. That man has shown he can spin one topic in 10 million ways and he’ll still make you want to drop a comment or at least share with a colleague at work and end up starting an argument in the office.

Most importantly, ladies and gentlemen, please remember that there are MILLIONS of topics out there other than love, sex and relationships. Discover them. Write about them. And send them in. We cannot wait to read them.

Inconsistency

Ah, this is my pet peeve. Many writers either veer off point during a piece – which might have to do with the earlier point about rambling – or downright contradict themselves. See an illustration below:

Why Dogs Hate Cats – a piece by Funmi Ogunlusi 

If you’re like me, you’ll know about the enduring canine/feline beef that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, the cats have tied wrapper and staunchly refused to give in. The dogs sef are singing “We no go gree”. But who decided it was important to “gree” anyway? Why does the moon shine at night? Why is rocket science not taught in primary schools? When will Jesus return? 

You get my point, right? Good. If you’re guilty of this, please stop. At once.

*****

Please understand that this is not an attack. Actually, we have received so many mails from contributors asking us to constantly give pointers and I’m sure we’ll do more of that going forward. Many of these things are common mistakes, so don’t feel too bad if you’re wincing at the realisation that I’m talking to you. Absolutely no one on this earth is perfect, and that is even more true when it comes to writing. Typos, for instance, are far from unforgivable. We all make little errors, especially when we type fast. Similarly, it’s not always easy to tell when you’re rambling or repeating yourself.

This is where proofreading comes in. Brethren, please proofread. Read over your articles, and get someone else to read over them too. If it’s top secret and you don’t want anyone else to see it, read over the post twice. The simple act of double-checking your work can solve every single one of the problems I mentioned. Proofread and ask yourself if the post makes sense, if a reader other than yourself would care about it or if that is the correct spelling of “inadvatently”.

If the exposure and the money isn’t enough incentive for you, I can tell you now that we have something MAJOR planned for our top performing contributors every year. I’m talking something international so, if you haven’t started contributing, you might want to send us your first submission today.

God bless you as you comply.

Responses

  1. Lolly
    Lmaooo i love this! Now i know why i have to refresh your page thrice daily to see new posts! Even with your tough selection process, i still see a lot of “uhmmm okayyy? And sooo?” posts . so i only read from my favorite authors.

    I once sent in a post and the way the then editor (the alchemist)? murdered me, i just gave up and decided to remain a reader. It’s been 4 years now and I’m thinking maybe I’m ready and brave enough to try again 🙂

  2. Chukulee
    I assume TNC is run by a group of Twitter friends. Almost all the articles feel like a hurried jama-jama concoction of yesterday’s Twitter gbege.

    But it’s nice to know that you people pay contributors.

    I’ll write in . Please reply with your submissions mail box

    1. thetoolsman
      “TNC is run by a group of Twitter friends” – this made me laugh.
      From your comment on paying contributors I can tell you’ve not been here in a very long time so let me welcome you to Africa’s largest open publishing platform. To your point about Twitter, I think it’s the other way round. TNC actually drives a lot of the conversations on “Nigerian Twitter”.. To contribute, all you have to do is register and click on the “write a post” icon at the top of the site or just read this – http://thenakedconvos.com/tnc-guide-submit-post/
  3. Fola
    This was a funny yet serious read.
    To think that I was about sending a lovey dovey love lorn article inspired by the ‘mood’ you referred to. *shoves article back into archive*
  4. Nosa
    Is it weird that certain names come to mind as i read this post. I could almost pick one article that had the flaws Funmi stated😭😭😭😭

    YOU PEOPLE PAY YOUR WRITERS?!!!!!😳😳😳
    I wont mind a post or newsletter explaining just how the process is done and the method used. I know it’s not simply a cass of write and get paid

  5. Morris
    This article put a smile on my face. I am sure you all are yet to see anything. The bigger the platform gets, the more of ‘the articles’ you will recieve.
  6. The Only Ebira Man Funmi Knows
    Ehe! So Funmi!? You’re giving people ‘owo’ for writing Africa Magic but you didn’t tell me!? Haaaaa and I kept jollof rice for you o from my birthday. No wahala, at least I know what I’m eating tonight.
  7. D.K
    I love this. Funny and serious. I was so excited when i saw Funmi O as the author. Why did y’all stop writing here? To be honest, I’ve been feeling ‘abandoned’ 😀. Don’t get me wrong, some posts are good but others have been somewhat boring and not so engaging.
    Toolsman, kindly write often. I understand the new tnc and I totally love it but I miss the ‘old’ columnists. Please let us get posts from you sometimes. Thank you 🙏💑
  8. Rolayo
    Lol! 🌴🌴🌴
    BTW, I have an idea for one article I want to write for you guys- if you will consider it worthy enough. Still doing some research though.
    BTW, Alchemist is awesome!
  9. Buchi
    Aside the old columnists, I think what I miss most are the ‘commenters’ I always got more from comments than the article itself I miss Od, Ray, Larz, Jade, etc. @butterflymind is like a butterfly. Here today, MIA tomorrow. Same with the resident loverboy. miss those moments when I’d actually just keep scrolling with a bemused smile on my face.
    1. thetoolsman
      With platforms like this, its very common for major members to come and go and sometimes evolve into other people (*cough).. I know for sure that the people mentioned here actually still read daily, maybe not just commenting as much.
      1. Buchi
        This evolving, is it a changeling something? I do get what you mean Sha Tula. And new additional are awesome. Means content remains fresh. But I miss Od. Maybe not as much as I miss rolling my eyes at him, but there you go.
    2. Butterflymind
      Oh yes. I miss the old writers and the old look of the site. I dunno, maybe change isn’t so easy for everyone, and I kinda enjoyed reading from others plus the engaging comments section, rather than all these writing wahala today.
      I’m also not familiar with most of the writers I see on the site now, so even reading through can be a bit tasking.
      Then there’s the love stories that can be summed in The Scripts “Six degrees of separation” (great song btw)

      It is well sha. At least you’re not MIA yet, there’s hope when you decide to write something again.

      I’ll be a once-a-week visitor when my inbox shows something really interesting, like why shouldn’t people be allowed to choose when to end their lives. And if birthing children with handicaps isn’t selfish parenting. Or why people become different under the cover of anonymity. Even why women shouldn’t gladly refuse to date a broke guy 😒 and all that stuff.

      I’m babbling. Fluttering off now:)

      P.S. Someday, Buchi, I’d love to meet you.

  10. Tam
    Two things you need to be a good writer.

    1. Have information: This can only come from reading books. If a book is too large, subscribe to the columns or blogs of those that write on topics that are of interest to you

    2. Read a book on”How to write” or attend workshops on how to write. Even if these workshops are not free, pay the fee and attend. What you learn would stay with you for a lifetime.

    This book – http://www.brynmawr.edu/math/people/anmyers/ESem/on-writing-well.pdf – truly helped my writing. Maybe it could help yours.

    I also think TNC can organise a writing workshop, maybe sometime in December. Great article Fumni.

    Regards

  11. Hephie Brown
    errrmmmm… I didnt even know writers get paid!! yea..i know..

    I know @thetoolsman said he wants new stars to shine but the original stars should still blink once in a while.. I was actually saying to myself days back how I miss the old TNC but this new one isn’t so bad either.. But it doesnt make me miss it any less..

    1. thetoolsman
      Change can be difficult sometimes but we’ll get there. And you should be pinched for not knowing we pay – you of all people. We will work on communicating this better and you need to pay attention because beyond payment we have some other major major benefits for our best contributors coming up.
      1. Hephie Brown
        I deserve it yes, but don’t pinch me..You sound like someone who’s hand will be very hard and i will feel the echo of the pinch years to come -_-. I am so pressing control P on this *clears throat* *cracks 10 Knuckles* *opens laptop*
  12. OddMrB
    Oh wow! I am part of the new school TNC family. Hope we can help all out there who miss the old TNC and the old guys. The sentimentality of the past is a good thing to hold on to, but some new guys are worth keeping an eye on too.
    1. thetoolsman
      Hi there.. Payment is not done per post. Im going to put up a more detailed post explaining how it works soon but in a nutshell, we built an algorithm into the site which pays contributors based on the number of views and number of comments their post gets over a 25-day period (the average lifespan of a post). The cost per view and cost per comment are dynamic and it changes daily based on the traffic to the site (e.g cost yesterday can be N1 per view and cost today can be N0.50 probably because there’s mad traffic on the site today).

      Once you login you can check and monitor your balance through your payment dashboard. At the end of each month, our contributor relationship manager contacts each contributor to also remind them of their balance. We have a payment threshold, once your balance meets that threshold, you can request a payout – we usually payout once a month (at the end of the month). Thats about it.

  13. CHUCKZ
    Hello Everyone,
    This is my first time commenting on TNC. I always visit here, matter of fact, I’d subscribed years back, but I only do ‘P-S-S’ (Pick an article’, ‘Scan’ and then Skip) to the next interesting one. I chose to break the jinx today by simply commenting. Now, I feel relieved and eased. *Phew*.
    Bye for now. Thanks.
  14. McDonald
    The first article I posted to TNC wasn’t published but someone’s article was published with reference to my unpublished piece, pained me deep down. My second piece was published though but since then I’ve been in the wilderness due to a minute problem, my laptop. I’m hereby soliciting for help, if only someone can lend me his or her laptop, I’ll be so grateful.

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