WORKS FROM GIRD WRITING CAMP 2016: CREATIVE NON-FICTION FROM PORTIA OPARE

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Today we’re featuring work from the Gird Writing Camp 2016. This Creative Non-fiction piece was written by Portia Opare, who attended the Creative Non-fiction workshop with Prof. Esi Sutherland-Addy and Mr. Kobby Graham.

 

 

JOURNALISTIC PIECE

On Thursday some women of the University of Ghana reported getting harassed by residents of the Commonwealth Hall. The Commonwealth Hall held its homecoming ceremony at the forecourt of the hall. The ceremony was massively attended by the old boys of the Hall, most of who were now politicians, business men and respectable professionals. During the ceremony, the passage through the forecourt of the Hall was blocked to women. Current members of the Hall stood at vantage points and directed women through an alternative entrance. Some women who entered through the blocked forecourt, which lacked a sign to show that there was a blockade, were heckled by some students of the Hall.

 

CREATIVE NON-FICTION PIECE

 The Akan name for vagina is a hard thing to say. If I could say it out loud, I’d do it. That’s what the boys called me.

Boys younger than me; boys who could have been my brothers.

That’s the name they screamed at me when the tips of my feet touched the paved forecourt of the Commonwealth Hall. I had been reduced to a body part; all of me- my ambitions, my fears, my dreams, my hopes; my mind. I was a body part; a part unworthy of honour from the way they spat out the name. And my crime?  I had trampled on their manly shrine, entered their holy ground with all of my femininity.

Normally, I’d pause and question; I’d be curious enough to want to question what gave them the authority to block off a piece of this communal earth with the virtual barricade of jeers and vulgarity.  But that Thursday evening I had little energy left in me to be incensed. I wasn’t intimidated by them or their cat-calls. I blamed our society for their actions. Why blame those boys? They were only victims of a system that insisted on drawing sharp divisions between superior and inferior, between man and woman. I was especially not surprised that the dignified alumnus looked on as filthy name after filthy name was thrown at me. They were big men, these politicians, lawyers, educators; yet they needed the balm of my shame to stroke their manhood.

So I ignored them, and kept on walking. Call me names, reduces me to whatever suits you. I will just keep on walking, and keep on moving.

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About: Portia Dede Opare is a part time student and a full time thinker of all things sane and insane. Sometimes she puts some of her thoughts on paper. When she writes,  she makes sense of the world.

5 Things Every Business Proposal Should Have

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A business proposal is one of the most important documents you need to learn how to write. An effective business proposal does not get ignored.  After spending hours to put together a business proposal, why do some people get no results after submitting to potential clients while others seem to get a positive response? Successful business proposals include these five things:

 

A hook

First of all, your proposal must be able to catch the reader’s attention. To be effective, you must explain what your idea is and what it will mean for the reader. The reader will quickly lose interest if they don’t see how your proposal will benefit them. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and imagine what they would want to hear. Be careful not to exaggerate as this may undermine the trust you are trying to build with your reader.

 

A problem

Here, you tell your reader why they need your services. You identify issues or flaws with their business or a niche in the market that could be exploited. You’ll need to show that you completely understand the nature of the problem for your reader to trust you.

 

A plan

Your plan will show the reader just how you will solve the problem with your product or service. There’s a balance here to be found though. If you’re too specific and detailed, your idea may be taken and copied. If you’re too vague, you may not be taken seriously.

 

Your qualifications

It’s important that your reader knows what makes you qualified to solve a problem or help his or her business. Perhaps you may have academic qualifications in that area or you may have had years of experience working in that field. You must communicate this clearly to the reader so they can be convinced that you are the right person for the job.

 

Cost

Include all the costs involved in implementing your proposal. This will help the reader determine if they will be able to afford your services. It also helps the reader to determine how much they would benefit from doing business with you. The more ambiguous the costs involved, the less likely they are to accept your proposal.

 

 

WORKS FROM GIRD WRITING CAMP 2016: “ODDINARY INDIFFERENCE” BY DANIEL KOJO APPIAH

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We bring you more featured work from participants of Gird Writing Camp 2016. Today, we have a poem from Daniel Kojo Appiah, also known as O’Zionn. This poem was written at the Poetry Workshop with Prof. Kofi Anyidoho and Nana Nyarko Boateng.

 

Oddinary Indifference

There are those who do not realize

That being extraordinary

Isn’t for everyone

 

For there are those

Who choose

Not to have anything to do

With their potential

 

Being ordinary is

What we are by default

And I have met those that

Choose to stay that way

 

 

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Bio: Daniel Kojo Appiah is a literary enthusiast, poet and lexivist. He enjoys interacting with literary works and sharing his thoughts on them as much as possible. He spends much of his time promoting literary arts in the motherland. He is known on the literary scene by his stage name O’Zionn.

Do These 3 Things Anytime You Have To Send a Business Email

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So you’ve typed out an email to a client and you’re about to send the message on its merry way. Not so fast though, make sure you’ve done these three things before you click send. Email mistakes are difficult to correct and can be costly or damaging to your reputation.

 

  • Proofread every lineEmails with typos are not taken seriously so have you done a spell check? Are you using proper sentence structure? Are the first letters of the first words in a sentence capitalised? Are all names spelt correctly? Refrain from using multiple exclamation or question marks. Also make sure all links in the email are working. And make sure the subject of the email matches the content. Don’t misrepresent the content of your email — it will annoy the recipient.

 

  • Read your email aloudMake sure you get the tone of your email right by reading your email aloud. Try to avoid using formatting to emphasise words. Instead, use words that reflect exactly what you want to say. Did you address the email receiver by name? Did you open the email with a courteous sentence? Did you conclude the email with at least one pleasantry sentence (e.g., have a great weekend, or best regards)? “Please” and “thank you” also give your email a nice tone. If you’re emotionally charged, give yourself some time to cool down so your emotions don’t creep into your work.

 

  • Check the recipients – Make sure you have all email addresses spelt correctly. Also refrain from using the “reply to all feature” or “CYA.” Reply directly to the sender as others may not be interested. If all recipients of the email do not know each other, use BCc instead of Cc.

 

You can now confidently send that email to your boss or a client.

Interview with Harry Dzomeku– Ghanaian Author and Entrepreneur

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Harry is a Ghanaian entrepreneur who has authored six books namely, Integrated Science for Schools and Colleges, Tilapia Farming Made Easy, The Entrepreneur: Timeless Principles for Business Success, Navigating Minefields: Laws of Possibilities, Navigating Minefields: To Be or Not to Be and Navigating Minefields: Great Expectations. He shares with the Girdblog a little bit about his journey as an author.  

Girdblog: Who is Harry Dzomeku?

Harry: I am an entrepreneur, teacher, author and business strategist. I am the Executive President of LifeLine Holdings, a thriving holding company in Tema, Ghana.

Girdblog: You are launching three books on February 4, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Harry: Yes. I am launching two books in the “Navigating Minefield Series” and the main book, titled “The Entrepreneur: Timeless Principles for Business Success”. The Venue is ICGC-Zoe Temple Community 5, Tema. Adjacent to Chopticks Restaurant. And the time is 3pm. This is my second book launch party.

Girdblog: What was the first book you wrote and why did you write it?

Harry: My first book is titled, “Tilapia Farming Made Easy”. I am currently working on the revised edition. I wrote that book out of a need to educate people, both aquapreneurs and farmers on what to expect on the venture of Tilapia farming. I was consulted by a company to design and promote a business development plan for a tilapia farming project for them. As a business development consultant, with no prior knowledge of tilapia farming, I had to research extensively on the venture. I visited almost all the farms along the Volta Lake. After a successful project, I decided to turn my research into a manual to help others.

Girdblog: How many books have you authored so far?

Harry: Only six.

Girdblog: Haha! Only six, impressive. Who would you say you write for?

Harry: It depends on the subject matter. But mostly adults; young and old. Students, entrepreneurs, Christians, non-Christians. Everyone; adults, practically.

Girdblog: What is the goal of your writing?

Harry: I write to impact on lives for many generations. I hope that the books I’ve written will bless those who read. I am very passionate about the issues I write on. I want to write more, cos there’re a lot of false knowledge out there.

Girdblog: What is the hardest part about writing?

Harry: The introduction or preface. For me, that’s where everything is contextualized. Once that’s done, the manuscript is ready because, the content just flows naturally.

Girdblog: Who is invited to your book launch and why should they come?

Harry: Everyone is invited. But call me first. We plan for what we expect.

Girdblog: Are you working on any new writing projects?

Harry: Yes, currently three. I am revising “Tilapia farming Made Easy” and starting two new manuscripts.  I hope to complete them before February ends. My target book production period is 100 hours. No excuse whatsoever.

Girdblog: Your “target book production period is 100 hours. No excuse whatsoever.” What does that mean?

Harry: When I start a new book writing project, my target is that, it shouldn’t take me more than 100 hours to finish the first draft.

Girdblog: Wow. That’s quite specific and amazing. Now, taking a favourite quote, line or experience from any of your books what would you say to that ONE person out there who needs that single burst of wisdom/inspiration to achieve her/his goal?

Harry: When you find an excuse, don’t pick it up. It’ll rob you of your full potential, and make you a systemic failure.

5 ARCHAIC PHRASES TO AVOID IN BUSINESS WRITING

 

Take a look at the following phrases.

  • Please find enclosed …
  • Please be advised that…
  • Trusting this will meet with your approval…
  • This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of…
  • Pursuant to your letter of…

Do these phrases remind you of old Victorian novels? If so, you’re not alone. Writing like this was once widely accepted and is still frequently used. However, current business writing has taken on a more relaxed tone. Let us look at ways the above phrases can be rewritten.

  • Instead of saying, “Please find enclosed …”

You can say, “I’m sending you a scanned copy of the certificate.”

  • Instead of saying, “Please be advised that…”

You can say “Please send me your payment details within 10 days if you would like to be booked for the conference.”

  • Instead of saying, “Trusting this will meet with your approval…”

You can say, “I hope you approve of the changes made to the document.”

  • Instead of saying, “This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of…”

You can say, “I received your December 15 memo and will plan to attend the ceremony.”

  • Instead of saying, “Pursuant to your letter of May 1…”

You can say, “I received your May 1 letter about the closing of the school.”

10 Ghanaian Writers Who Write For Children

If you have ever lost yourself in the magical world of children’s literature, you will admit, first of all, that children’s literature is a special kind of literary work. You will also wish that there were more Ghanaian writers who write dreams into realities for children and young adults.

It is tempting to think that children’s literature is easy work. After all, who couldn’t come up with stories to entertain impressionable little minds? However, the reality is that writing for children is real work that requires a lot of creativity and skill. We’ve put together a list of ten Ghanaian writers who have put their creativity and skill to work to create beautiful stories for children.

 

 

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1.       Meshack Asare– Meshack Asare was born in Ghana; he taught in Ghana for a while and currently resides in Germany. Meshack Asare’s works as a writer of children’s literature has received international acclaim.  On 24th October, 2014, Meshack won the prestigious Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature becoming the first African to receive the award. Some of his works include The Brassman’s Secret, Noma’s Sand: A Tale from Lesotho, Meliga’s Day Nana’s Son, Sosu’s Call and The Magic Goat.

 

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2.       Ruby Yayra Goka – Ruby is a dentist and a multiple award-winning Ghanaian writer. In the 2010 and 2011 competitions of the Burt Award for African Literature, two of her works The Mystery of the Haunted House, and The Lost Royal Treasure won the third and second prizes, respectively. Some of her books for children include The Step Monster, When The Shackles Fell, and A Gift for Fafa. Ruby doesn’t only write for children, but also for an adult readership. Her books, In the Middle of Nowhere and Disfigured, have been published by Kwadwoan Publishing in Accra.

 

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3.       Sami Gyekye – Is a United States based writer who was born in Ghana to a Muslim mother and a Christian father. His works reflect his exposure to different religious and cultural values. The premise for his first book, South: Halo’s Journey was drawn from having spent half his life in Africa and the other half in his current residence in the United States. Since then, he has published six other books including, Whatzis and the Beyond series. He tweets often using the handle, @RecklessWeasel.

 

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4.       Malaka Grant– Malaka Grant is a Ghanaian-American writer. She not only writes children’s literature, she writes fiction for adults as well as non-fiction. Some of Malaka’s works for children are Yaa Traps Death in a Basket, which was published in 2015 and Sally and The Butterfly. Sally and The Butterfly is a ‘choose your own adventure book’ where readers go on adventures through lands unknown, and are invited to be partners in saving their world.

           

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5.       Franka Maria Andoh – Franka was born in Accra in 1968. Her first short story was published in the Caine African Writers Anthology ‘Work in Progress and Other Stories’. In 2011 she published two children’s stories Koku the Cockerel and Dokono the Donkey. She was recently awarded a grant by the Ghana Denmark Cultural Fund to publish her collection of short stories I Have Time and Other Short Stories. Franka is the founder and Editor in Chief of an annual magazine for women entrepreneurs called AWE.

 

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6.       Elizabeth Irene Baitie – Elizabeth is Ghanaian and an acclaimed writer of literature for young adults. Elizabeth writes for preteens as well as older teenagers. She visits schools and has worked with organisations like the Young Educators Foundation to promote reading. Two of Elizabeth’s works has won the Burt Award twice; The Twelfth Heart in 2009 and The Dorm Challenge in 2012.

 

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7.       Roberta Turkson – Roberta Turkson writes under the pen name Robbie Ajjuah Fantini. Robbie released her debut collection of poems titled Talking Robbish in 2014. Her second book, The Children of Abuta Village is a folktale styled children’s reader.  She has just completed another book for children, The Forbidden Fruit, which will be available on her website; robertaturkson.com in a few weeks. Robbie can be found on facebook and twitter at @talkingrobbish

 

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8.       Ama Ata Aidoo – With a writing career spanning over five decades, Ama Ata Aidoo is no new name to readers. What isn’t so well known is that aside her plays, novels and poetry, Ama Ata Aidoo has written stories for children. Her collection of stories for children, The Eagle and the Chickens and Other Stories, was originally published in 1986 by Tana Press. More recently Smartline Publishers released her children’s title, The Days, inspired by her poem which bears the same name.

 

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9.       Adwoa Badoe – Adwoa Badoe is a Ghanaian writer and storyteller, based in Guelph, Ontario. Adwoa writes children’s literature and literature for young adults. Some of her works include Crabs for Dinner which was published in 1995, The Queen’s New Shoes, The Pot of Wisdom and Aluta, a novel for young adults.

 

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10.   Mamle Wolo – Mamle Wolo is the pen name of Martina Odonkor, a writer of Ghanaian and German ancestry. She has also written stories for adults under the name Mamle Kabu. Mamle’s work for young adults, The Kaya Girl, won the Burt Award in 2011. The Burt Award recognises excellence in fiction for children and young adults.

5 Key Business Writing Tips

Communication is mutual understanding. This is especially important in the business world where poor business writing skills can cost you a contract, a promotion, or a new business opportunity. The better your business writing skills, the better your chances of creating the impact you desire. Here are five ways to make sure your writing is as good as it can be.

 

1. Be brief – Less is more in the business world. Stressed and overworked clients have little enthusiasm to read page after page of flowery and meandering text. Cut out the extraneous material and get straight to the point. This will not only save time, but make your writing easier to understand.

 

2. Avoid Jargons – Sometimes jargons are unavoidable, especially in more technical documents, but in most cases jargons only succeed in making your reader want to roll their eyes. Examples of these are “moving forward” and “game changer”. Also avoid academic language like “ergo” or “henceforth.”

 

3. Use an active voice – “The meeting agenda could be discussed further” is passive. “Let’s discuss the meeting agenda” is active. Active voice conveys confidence and decisiveness. Passive voice is weak and impersonal, sapping the power from your writing.

 

4. Pay attention to names, titles, and genders – How embarrassing is it to write to Mrs. Mensah only to later discover that Mrs. Mensah is actually Mr. Mensah? Such mistakes can be avoided by paying careful attention to names, titles and genders. If one is in doubt about the name or title of a client, check with someone who likely knows, for example their assistant.

 

5. Hire a professional – Okay, so this isn’t a writing tip but it’s often necessary. If you’re working on an important document or have little time to devote to improving your writing, it’s always a good idea to hire someone who specializes in business writing to assist. The quality of your business documents says a lot about your professionalism. 

 

Amazing writing may require talent that not all of us have, but effective writing is a skill that can be acquired. If your business writing isn’t up to snuff, we at the Gird Center are always ready to help.

THIS WEEK ON WATCH YOUR GRAMMAR- “FROM THIS DAY GOING? CHILDISH, CHILDISH”

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Hello, you’re welcome to the summary of the previous week’s WatchYourGrammar lessons. WatchYourGrammar is brought to you by GirdCenter, your guide to correct grammar in English. There were only two lessons for last week; we could not bring you a lesson on Monday, we apologize. We will begin with Wednesday’s discussion. Wednesday’s lesson was a discussion on the actual meaning of the word “CHILDISH.”

“CHILDISH” is an adjective; it means “indicating a lack of maturity”; it does not mean “in the manner of a child.”

When I say “Kofi’s language is childish”, I do not mean that he talks like a little child; I mean his language lacks depth and maturity.

From our discussion, which of these sentences is correct:

“Amma has an adorable CHILDISH giggle”

OR

“Amma has an adorable CHILD-LIKE giggle?”

On Friday, we spoke about the phrase “From this day going.” Let’s look at an example of how this Ghanaian phrase is often used:

“From this day GOING, I’ll put on the lights before I jump onto my bed”, Esi said to Semekor.

In official conversations, what should Esi say in place of “from this day GOING?” Esi can say “from this day FORWARD”, “from now ONWARDS” or “from now ON.”

This is what you should remember: in formal conversations, “from this day FORWARD” is much more appropriate than “from this day GOING.”

This Saturday, 12th November 2016, Gird Center will host Dr. Ọbádélé Kambon and Ms. Ama Akwaa Bernice Akuamoah for our Academic Writing Workshop. The Academic writing workshop is targeted at students and academic professionals. Thinking about how to write that exceptional thesis or statement of purpose? 12th November’s Academic Writing Workshop is your go-to place. Click on this link to register for the Academic writing workshop. http://www.girdcenter.org/gird-writing-camp/register-now/

THIS WEEK ON WATCH YOUR GRAMMAR- “SUPER HOT CANVAS”

Hello there, GirdCenter welcomes you to WatchYourGrammar, your guide to correct grammar in English. We will begin today’s summary of last week’s lessons by drawing a distinction between the nouns “GUIDE” and “GUARD.” “GUIDE” and “GUARD” are different in meaning; they also have a marked difference in pronunciation.

Let’s remember that “GUARDS” and “GUIDES” can be people or inanimate objects. Monday’s lesson focused on people who are referred to as “GUARDS”/ “GUIDES.”

A “GUIDE” is a person whose job is to show people around a place or an institution. A “GUIDE” offers information and explanation to people on a tour. A “GUARD”, on the other hand, is a person who protects or watches over people or property.

Here’s a hint: A “GUIDE” directs, while a “GUARD” protects or defends. Always remember that “GUARD” and “GUIDE” have different meanings.

On Wednesday, we discussed the actual meaning of the noun “CANVAS.”A “CANVAS” is a heavy, closely woven fabric used for clothing, chairs, sails and tents.

We can form this sentence with “CANVAS”: “Afi’s camping tent was made of strong, blue “CANVAS.”

At the end of the lesson we concluded that “CANVAS” is not another name for sneakers; sneakers are shoes made from “CANVAS.”

Friday’s lesson, our final lesson for the week, was an analysis of the word “COMPARISM.”Esi says to Adjo: “You’re making an unfair ‘COMPARISM’ of Kofi’s writing and mine.”

What does Esi really intend to say when she says “COMPARISM?”  The word Esi is looking for is “COMPARISON”, not “COMPARISM.”

Sometimes some Ghanaian speakers of English use “COMPARISM” in place of “COMPARISON.”

It is wrong to say COMPARISM because COMPARISM is not a word in the English dictionary. The right word is COMPARISON, and that is what should be used in formal settings.That’s all for the summary of the previous weeks’s lessons.

This Saturday, November 5, join us for the Business Writing Workshop with Samuel Ameyaw Ntiamoah and Kate Addo. Read more about them here: http://www.girdcenter.org/gird-writing-c…/2016-facilitators/
Young entrepreneurs and corporate professionals who want to add a competitive value to their business communication. Register now: http://www.girdcenter.org/gird-writing-camp/register-now/#GirdWritingCamp2016