Blog, Resources

More Resources To Help You Write A Book In A Year.

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. ~ Richard Bach Following the introductory session last Sunday, our 2nd session on this project was encouraging as Aaron Livingstone, one of the pioneer writers of our community rejoined after being away for other priorities. We also welcomed a new member Faith Oyadaran. Faith was introduced by Oluwaseun Osanyiro and he wants to follow in her footsteps to write his first book. It was an engaging one-hour of interesting contributions from most attendees and this is what we want to see. We broached areas like Outline per Emmanuel and I promised to share Daniel’s post from our writing retreat to illuminate the difference between plot and outline. You can read it here. Aaron mentioned the importance of Grammarly while Oluwaseun recommended texts like Crushing Procrastination by Deborah Funbunwhe and Miracle Morning for Writers by Hal Elrod et al. Finally, Aaron mooted AI and we delved into what it means for writers. I referenced Elon Musk’s recent interview where he said Google CEO Larry Page was seeking to build a digital super intelligence, a digital god. Well, that’s it. Now we have a job to do, and that is to write a book in a year. It could be bad, it could be good, hell it might even be great, who knows? But if it’s your first book then it is natural to expect that it will not be excellent. William S. Burroughs said, “You do an awful lot of bad writing in order to do any good writing. Incredibly bad. I think it would be very interesting to make a collection of some of the worst writing by good writers”.  I believe a writer’s first job is to write. The rest is a function of variable components like audience, platform, publishers, etc. But first, you have to fill those blank pages. In the past week, I scurried around the internet in search of resources that will aid us in the project and I can gladly proclaim that it was fruitful. What’s more, it is increasingly likely that I will be taking on more than one project before the end of 12 months. But I’ll whittle my optimism. One after the other is the overarching echo in my subconscious and I don’t want to overlook that principle. So in addition to a previous post on writing resources, I will share two findings and hope you find them useful as we make progress. 1. The First 10 Steps To Write Your Book: I found this article to be the most concise guide for anyone who seriously wants to write a book because it captured all the basics. Of particular importance to me is item 3, PREMISE: This is where you describe the fundamental elements of your story like “Who is your character? What is their goal? Who (or what!) is stopping them from accomplishing it, and what will happen when they reach it?” For example; Kobis wants to have Chinwe as his girl but Kunle, a police officer is dating her and Kobis thinks she’s being forced to remain in the relationship. He is determined to get her regardless of the consequences”. This is neither an outline nor a structure but just the simplest encapsulation of your story. In other words, your story is summarised in one sentence or paragraph. You can go ahead and read the entire piece and you will agree with me that it’s a solid prep to hit the ground running. 2. The 365-Day First Book Writing Challenge: This is a method that will blow your mind. It’s a system that defeats every writer’s biggest challenge which is filling those blank pages. I mean whoever came up with this ingenious idea deserves an award. Here you are required to write daily but you are not expected to write up to 500 words on any given day. The technique “leverages the fact there are 365 days in a year” by having a chart with each box containing the number of words to the corresponding day of the 365-day period. All you have to do each day is write between 1 and 365 words. Now check this out; “You want to shoot for writing the highest number of words you can to cross the highest number off the chart, but as long as you write any number of words which corresponds with a number that’s still available on the chart, you’re golden”. However, if you stick to the chart, the maximum word count you will do on the day you write the highest number of words in the entire year of writing is 365. But the ridiculous part is that you can have days when you write as little as 1 or 2 words. Can you beat that? Surely writing that first book can’t be simpler. There are many resources out there to help us achieve our target but the two links I shared above will surely get you started if you are determined to have your draft in 365 days. Remember the most important factors are your DESIRE and DETERMINATION. As I always say, we don’t need thousands or hundreds of people to achieve this goal. It may seem like 99% of people out there don’t know or care about what you are doing but the fact that you belong to the other 1% means you are leading the way. So roll up your sleeves and let’s get going!

Blog, Resources

The future is coding: 8 reasons why it is important.

Not long ago I posted about the breakthrough of Chinese scientists in developing the LiFi (Light Fidelity), a new technology that uses visible light from LED bulbs to transfer data much faster than radio wave-based WiFi. With this discovery, we could be waving goodbye to WiFi. It is therefore not far-fetched to say that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is already upon us. We are already witnessing new ways in which technology is embedded within our social life and even physically in the human body. Today, I came across a piece originally published by The Irish Times on why coding is the thing for the future and decided to share. Coding simply means the process of assigning a code to something for classification or identification. Technically it can be described as a type of programming that closely represents how a processor executes instructions. Coding made the creation of software, apps and websites possible. Your internet explorer or chrome, WhatsApp and Facebook wouldn’t be there without coding. So here are 8 reasons why you may want to consider learning to code. 1. Code rules everything around me, cream get the money All major tech companies, from Google to Facebook, aggressively compete to hire gifted young coders. In the Silicon Valley area, for example, some reports suggest engineering graduates from Stanford University expect their starting salary to be nothing less than $100,000-120,000. “It’s fair to say that for school-leavers looking to maximise their potential income, few other skills open the door to as many well-paying and varied careers,” says Prof Rory O’Connor, head of the school of computing at Dublin City University. 2. Make code, not war Coding bridges the universal divide. It is the one language that connects different nationalities and countries. “We live in trying times and are pummelled each day by the news of cultural divisiveness,” says Doreen Lorenzo, founding director of the centre for integrated design at the University of Texas in Austin and board member and adviser for several startups. “If we look for common ground to bring countries together, coding is one of the rare exceptions. Everyone speaks the same language. There are no prejudices and no boundaries. People are unified to create. 3. Machines cannot code While many more jobs will continue to be lost to automation, ultimately it is coders who control what is automated. “You will always be in demand despite the predictions of your demise,” says Lorenzo. “Machines are machines. As they become smarter the fear is that human jobs may be replaced by the machine. That is true, but someone will have to code those machines. As those machines learn and begin to “code” themselves, humans will create and programme the next evolution of artificial intelligence. After all, humans have the empathetic ability to see when something new should be created.” 4. Coding… the real Esperanto Coding is used in almost all aspects of life and work now, be it directly or indirectly. It’s not just for companies in the tech sector. “An increasing number of businesses rely on computer code, from accountants using complex spreadsheets, to artists and designers using graphics software,” says Prof O’Connor. “Tensions between engineers and business people can arise due to a misunderstanding or lack of appreciation for the engineer’s job. An understanding of coding, across business functions, can eliminate such disconnect.” 5. The language of maths Literature and maths are two disciplines frequently polarised – formally and academically but consequently by individuals also. Coding straddles the divide between the two. It is the language of maths and has the power to be used for both creative and technical pursuits. “Computational thinking is a vital skill for the future,” says O’Connor. “While not every job in the future will involve coding, by learning to code or at least to understand the basic language of computers, you will develop an appreciation of how software engineers use maths and algorithms in code and thereby learn how to problem solve and to think both logically and creatively.” 6. “We’ve only just begun [coding]” – Karen Carpenter Programming is still in its infancy. In fact, two of the very first programming languages ever invented are still being used today: Fortran (developed in 1957) and Cobol. “This does not mean that we are using old technology,” says Josue Balandrano Coronel from the Texas advanced computing centre at the University of Texas at Austin. “Those programming languages are being used in very narrow contexts. Even so, this shows us programming has barely started on its own evolutionary path. UNIX was developed in 1969 and TCP/IP (the protocol powering “the internet”) was introduced as the standard in 1982 while the first iPhone was introduced in 2007. So although it may appear as if technology is advancing rapidly, we are witnessing something that is growing exponentially with much room for improvement. Fifty years from now, programming will not be anything like we know it today.” 7. Bringing code to Newcastle – there will always be new problems to solve Some will remember the scenes from the 1980s as thousands of coal miners took to the streets in pointless protest against the inevitable demise of their industry. Industries rise and fall as new technologies emerge. But we’re not likely to see code miners losing their jobs anytime soon. “This is the beauty of being a software developer,” says Coronel. “Not a single piece of software is built in solitude. There’s a team behind it, meaning two projects can never be the same. This makes programming an art. There will always be problems to solve. Computers are and will continue to be the cornerstone to building great things.” 8. “The world is one big data problem” – Andrew McAfee Second only to AI, the talk of the town for techies is “big data”. Being able to analyse large sets of data has always been an important yet difficult task. However, while we may have far easier access to data, it is arguably harder than ever to make sense of. Regardless, answers to fundamental questions are literally all around us

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