Friday, December 30, 2016

Year in Review: 2016

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a lovely Christmas break, spending time with family and friends, eating, drinking, celebrating! Did you get a visit from Santa?

As the year 2016 draws to a close, it's normal for us to look back and reflect on how the past 12 months have been. Did we make progress with our goals? Did we achieve anything significant? Did we grow in our personal lives? Did we learn some important lessons? And are we grateful for everything we received, and hopeful for the coming year? I hope you can draw up a list of things that you are grateful for, and things that you're definitely looking forward to in the new year.

My 2016 has definitely been eventful. Apart from world events (Brexit, US Elections, high profile celebrity deaths, economic uncertainties, etc), there has been a lot going on in my personal life and in my work. I have grown and evolved, and so has my business. My family and I took the risk of relocating to Lagos, and that meant I had to embrace some changes, and I'm glad I did. It meant that I had to be flexible, I had to be adaptable, and I had to be open to new opportunities that I couldn't have expected before. But that's a good thing. Like my mentors say, nothing good happens by staying in your comfort zone. You have to jump!

So, here's a quick summary of what I've been up to this year:

1) At the beginning of 2016, I wanted to write and publish a new collection of Flash Fiction. I have actually been working on that, but it's taken a slightly different turn. I submitted some of the stories to Brittle Paper, and we have decided to wait until January to release them.

It's going to be an eight-week flash fiction series, titled 
"Memoirs of a Lagos Wedding Planner" and it's going to be awesome! So stay tuned for that - the posts will be published on every Friday, and then when the series is finished, there'll be an ebook with more of the stories. I'll definitely keep you posted.

2) I launched a set of Creative Writing Courses in 2016, targeted at different groups. There's my 6-Week Creative Writing Course for beginners (both classroom based and self-study) with a new session starting in February 2017, there's a Creative Writing Course for Teenagers which I will be taking to secondary schools as an After-School Club activity, and there's a Creative Writing Club for Kids that I started running on Saturdays, the sessions will resume on the 14th of January. There are plans for a virtual club as well, for kids who are outside Lagos. 

Here's a testimonial that I received from one of the attendees of my Creative Writing Course: "Tolu is very knowledgeable about the creative writing process. If you do not know where and how to start your writing. I recommend you pass to through her program."


3) In March, I set up the free 100-Day Novel Writing Challenge which was great fun, and it helped many of the participants to get into the habit of committed writing for 100 days! Many people were able to make progress with their works-in-progress, and one author has even published the book she wrote during the challenge! I'm going to run the challenge again in March 2017, so if you're interested, sign up and get ready!

4) I have tweaked all my Coaching Programmes for Aspiring Authors based on the feedback I've received, and made them more impactful. Check out 12 Weeks to Your First Draft if you want to write a novel, Aspiring to Actual Author if you want to write non-fiction, and Idea to Published Book if you want to get your book written and published within six months.

5) I made some changes to my Publishing Services too. This year, I created and launched The Self-Publishing Course, and I've streamlined the Accomplish Press Self-Publishing Packages, I removed some of the services that were expensive and unnecessary, so that I could focus on the things that actually help and bring value to my clients during the publishing process.

6) I've put my Self-Study courses on Teachable. You can access the Creative Writing Course and Self-Publishing Course on my Teachable site here.

7) I created my Facebook writing community and we now have over 500 members! You're of course welcome to join us, if you haven't already.
8) I was recently notified that I have been named as one of 100 Most Influential Nigerian Writers under 40 by the Nigerian Writers Awards for the year 2016.  I'm so humbled and excited! You can read about the award here, as well as discover who the other writers are.

That's a wrap! Now, looking forward to 2017, no New Year Resolutions here, but I have lots of goals and things lined up to achieve.

I know it may sound like a cliche, but I'm grateful for all of you in my community. I'm grateful that you found me, and you've stuck with me for this long. I'm thankful for you allowing me to write to you, and communicate with you. I'm glad to be of service to you, helping you to accomplish your writing and publishing dreams. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to make an impact in your lives, no matter how little. And I'm looking forward to celebrating more of your successes in 2017!

Thank you and Happy New Year in advance!

Thursday, November 03, 2016

The Subconscious is Awesome

Did you know? Apparently, your subconscious mind is 30,000 times more powerful than your conscious mind.

I've been doing a lot of non-fiction reading in the past few months. I wanted to read more personal development books, books on successful entrepreneurship, books on living a life of purpose, books on growth, positive mindset and so on. In my reading, I stumbled upon some concepts around harnessing the power of the subconscious mind. These concepts are not new, in fact they've existed since the beginning of time, but I was reading them this time, with the intention to apply these principles to my life, especially when it comes to setting my big goals and putting things in place to achieve them. I've also learned about the power of my thoughts. Thoughts create things. What you think about will determine your actions, and your actions will bring you the results you've created.

There is no special technique to activate your subconscious mind if you have a clear goal and a burning desire to achieve the goal. The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.

I was reminded of this phenomenon just this morning. A few days ago, I was chatting with a friend who wants to write a novel. We've worked together in the past, and we enjoyed writing our blog series together, so she was thinking about taking the character (Funmi) and writing her complete story. Whilst we were chatting, I mentioned that I needed to start writing Temmy's story too. I decided that I will finish working on the Creative Writing Course in December, and I'll restart my 100-Day Novel Writing Challenge in January, which is the time-frame I'll use to complete the novel, at least the first or second draft. She said it was a good idea, and she would think about joining me in the 100 day challenge so that we can motivate each other.

After the discussion with my friend, I made a note of my schedule for the next few months, and moved on to do other things. And then something interesting happened. Last night, I had a dream about Temmy's story, specifically her love interest, and the first chapter of their story. A very detailed, vivid dream. It was like wow! While I was doing other things during the day, my subconscious mind had gone to work, putting some ideas together, and while I was sleeping, the ideas just came to me, almost ready to go.

I'm sure a lot of writers can relate to this. Sometimes, ideas just "come" to you when you're least expecting them; perhaps when you're in the shower, when you're about to fall asleep, when you're doing the dishes. Sometimes, you've been sweating over a particularly knotty bit of your story for days or weeks with no success, but when you step away from it and take a break to focus on something else, suddenly you see a way out. I think that's your subconscious doing its work in the background, solving your dilemma and giving you a solution.

Well, for me, this is great! I'm excited about writing this next book now, and I can't wait to start putting my ideas together. I'm also going to continue working on harnessing the power of my subconscious mind, so that I can have more exciting breakthroughs like this. That would be awesome, wouldn't it?

Have you ever had a similar experience? Do you engage your subconscious mind to help you with making decisions or tackling a problem? Let me know!

As always, stay blessed and favoured!

Tolulope Popoola

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Welcome to Lagos

Hi friends! I know I mentioned earlier in the year that I was leaving the UK, and relocating to Nigeria with my family. Which we did, and we gradually began to settle down into our new life. We were in Port Harcourt, for a while. I got to make friends with other parents in my daughter's school, I was invited to join a book club, which was great fun, and we eventually found a church that we liked, and stuck with. Knowing me, this was a big deal :)

But somehow, I still felt like I was in transition. I was neither here nor there. Like I was in Nigeria, but not really home. I guess that was because I was born in Lagos, and that's where I grew up until I was 17. Whenever we had a reason to visit Lagos, I always felt like, "okay, this is the Nigeria I'm still missing." because all my previous connections to Nigeria are in Lagos! My parents, my extended family, my childhood friends, school mates, etc.

In June, our time in Port Harcourt was coming to an end, and we had two choices: return to the UK, or move to Lagos if we want to continue with the Nigerian experiment. I have to say, I was really torn. I considered returning to the UK. At least, I knew what to expect, not just for myself but also for the children. But then I considered moving to Lagos too. I sort of guessed that I would have a different feeling about staying in Nigeria if I moved to Lagos. So hubby and I decided to give it a try.

So, long story short, we are now in Lagos! We did go to the UK for a holiday in the summer (where I had an interesting and annoying episode of chicken pox, among other fun things). But we're back now and it seems we're going to be here for a while.

We've spent the first couple of months (September and October) adjusting to our new abode. I hate all the packing, unpacking, resettling and mess that goes on with a house move, but... oh well. I still have boxes around the house that I haven't unpacked yet, and I'm not even looking forward to it. We still need some furniture and other things around the house, so it will be a while before we're fully settled. At least we've got the major things out of the way: hubby has started his new job and the children have been enrolled in school, so we're good! :)

However, I have to say that in spite of the upheavals, I'm actually feeling positive about moving to Lagos. I'm already enjoying a more interesting social life, and seeing more work opportunities coming my way. I'm able to hang out with friends, and visit my family often. There are also lots of great cultural, literary and arts events that take place in Lagos so I'll definitely be taking advantage of those. The children also have a lot more options for leisure and play so... win-win for everyone.

I hope I'll be able to connect with some online friends too. If you're based in Lagos, say hi! Maybe I'll come out of my cyber-shell a bit more and show up in a few places. I'm already excited about being in Lagos over the Christmas and New Year period. It's going to be so much fun. 

With regards to my coaching and publishing work, that's also going well. In fact, I'm hosting a Creative Writing Class in November for writers who want to write a novel. This will be my first in-person training event. I'm excited and a bit nervous! But I'm confident that I know my stuff, and I'm going to give a lot of great information to the participants and maybe even learn a new thing or two.

I'm also working on a new series of flash fiction stories that will be published soon, so stay tuned!

Till next time, remain blessed and favoured!

Tolulope Popoola

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

100-Day Novel Writing Challenge!

Hi everyone!

Introducing my new project:

Calling all writers, aspiring authors and future novelists! If you've been thinking about writing a novel "someday", that's never going to happen! (Hint: There is no "someday" in the calendar)

You have to decide that the time to do it is NOW!

I've created a challenge for you (and me) to get us writing a novel in a short time. It's called the 100-Day Novel Writing Challenge and it's starting on the 15th of March.

I set up this challenge because I get a lot of emails from writers who want to write a novel, but they feel like they don't have the time or the structure or the accountability and support systems in place. So this challenge will give you exactly that.

It will also give you a kick up the behind, when you see that it is possible to start and commit to a project when you have a deadline fast approaching.

So come on! What are you waiting for? If you are serious about writing a novel (and not just saying it because it makes you sound cool), then join us!

Sign up right away and have your novel come alive by the end of June! Click here:

I can't wait to start, it's going to be so much fun!

Oh, and by the way it's totally FREE!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Podcast Interview on The Creative Penn

Hi everyone!

I know I disappeared for a while, but I'm so excited to share this news so I came back :)

Last year, I approached Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn to ask her if I could be featured on her podcast. I was very nervous to ask, because I know she features really awesome authors who are well established in their writing careers and have achieved both celebrity and best-seller status. But I decided to pluck up the courage - after all, what are the likely outcomes? She might say "No" and I will move on and nobody will know, or she might say "Yes" and I will actually get featured!

Well, to cut the long story short, she said yes! We had the interview a couple of weeks ago and it has now been published! Click over here to read/listen to it on her blog, or watch the YouTube video below. 

Feel free to comment and share!

There's a lesson here, somewhere. Oh, here it is - don't let fear or doubts stop you from trying something. You never know if the outcome will be positive until you try!

Have a lovely week.