Vocab1 helps people learn the words they need so that they can become better and more efficient readers, something that helps them succeed in their educational goals, and also contributes to their success in their chosen profession. For people who choose to make writing their career, vocabulary is even more important. To find out what a professional writer thinks about vocabulary improvement and the writer’s job, read this interview with Bamidele Onibalusi.
UV: You were born in Nigeria, where the official language is English, and that is the language you use to write for your blog and for your business. However, Nigeria is a large country with a long history, and there are over 500 other languages spoken there, including Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo. What other language(s) do you speak?
Thank you. Yes, Nigeria indeed has a long history and hundreds of languages, with Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo being the major ones.
Besides English, I only speak the Yoruba language at the moment.
UV: Have you ever focused specifically on improving your own English vocabulary, or have you learned your skill through your many years of reading and writing?
Yes, I constantly work on improving my English vocabulary; I make intentional effort to improve my vocabulary by reading books from international authors, and I work on improving my use of the English language by reading books that teach the English language like The Elements of Style and following the recommendations in it.
Writing constantly has also been very instrumental in helping with improving my vocabulary and use of the English language; for example, when writing, I’m sometimes confused about what words to use or where to punctuate, so I use Google to find resources to help me.
Reading has also been very helpful, and I’ve learnt thousands of new words by reading; I always have a dictionary with me when reading, so I look for the meaning of new words, often more than once, when I come across them in a book I’m reading.
UV: Your website offers a lot of practical advice for new writers, including the importance of learning the rules of English grammar, spelling, and punctuation. What are some of your suggestions for developing a better English vocabulary? How will a good vocabulary help a new writer stand out from all of the other people who are looking to make money by blogging and writing on line?
Here are my top suggestions for writers who want to improve their use of the English language:
1) Write a lot; practice makes perfect, and the more you write and use the new words and lessons you learn, the better you’ll be. If possible, write every day.
2) Read a lot; by reading a lot you can absorb the structure of the works you’re reading, notice patterns, learn lots of new words and even directly learn lessons that will make you a better writer.
3) Constantly study materials on how to improve your use of the English language; you can purchase books like The Elements of Style, On Writing by Stephen King, etc., use Google to research ways to be a better writer and regularly study top writing blogs and writing forums.
4) Actively solicit feedback; don’t frown at criticism of your work. Instead, ask people who are better writers than you for feedback and suggestions on how you can be better when it comes to writing in the English language.
UV: What is “guest blogging,” and why should writers do it?
Guest blogging is the act of writing for another blog, with the hope of getting traffic, backlink exposure, or building relationships.
Writers should guest blog because it serves as a testament to their writing prowess to others, especially potential clients; when you show potential clients your guest posts as samples of your work, especially if the guest post is published on a reputable blog, they see that other people find your work valuable enough to publish it on their site. This establishes credibility for you.
UV: Many of our readers are interested in making writing their career, but they often have concerns about whether or not they can simply quit their day jobs to start writing full time. Have you always been a professional writer? If not, how did you make the transition from working for someone else to running your own writing business?
I started freelance writing a few years ago, as a student; up to that point, I have never worked full-time under anybody. To date, thanks to income from my writing career, I don’t have the need to work under others.
I won’t recommend quitting your job to start writing until you are making money; there’s a lot involved. Even if you start making money early on, there’s what is called the “feast of famine cycle”; this means you’ll make a lot of money some months, and you will struggle to make ends meet at other months. Unless you’ve experienced this yourself, and you’ve taken measures to combat it, it can be a very harsh reality to face if you suddenly quit your job to be a freelance writer.
I’ll recommend starting freelance writing part-time; build up your writing income until you are sure that the only thing preventing you from earning more is lack of time. This way, quitting your job will ensure you have a lot of available time, thereby making it easy to thrive once you become a freelance writer.
I wrote about this in more details on my blog, for people who are contemplating quitting their jobs to be a freelance writer.
Vocab1 guarantees to help you increase your vocabulary knowledge! Learn more words and apply them in your writings.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments