“Write when you have a lot emotion in you. It can be good or bad emotions,” my cousin Lynn D. Nel advised me when I told her my idea for a novel. Lynn recently finished her book and is busy doing research on self-publishing.
#WritersTip: Write when you have a lot emotion in you. It can be good or bad emotions. - Lynn D Nel
This year I want to complete my novel, but eisj, it’s so hard to start. I started writing, but paused… I realised that I don’t know some of my characters. And do I want these characters in my book?
For those of you who are aspiring authors (like myself), I made a list of three authors sharing their journeys. Listening to their stories, I found that I could identify with them in many ways. Yes, it’s okay to have fear; you just have to continue with your execution.
It’s like Maya Angelou says: “There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” That story needs to get out!
There's no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you. - Maya Angelou
Let’s hear what the three authors have to say about the lessons they learned during their writing process.
Maya Elious Maya is a personal branding specialist who helps online entrepreneurs to become successful in their businesses. She is currently on her journey to write a book. In the video below, she talks about a workshop she attended.
Maya says this writing workshop made her ask herself the following questions: “What is the overall purpose (of this book)? Also, what do I want it to do for my business?
“Thirdly, what does the end of this look like – where is the book going to end?”
Watch Maya Elious talk about her journey, here:
Lynn D Nel
The first thing Lynn told me when I said I’m planning a book, is: “Just start. The story is already in you.” Woah! That is so prophetic!
It took her about 10 months to finish her book, she says. “That book at times took so much emotion out of me; I did not write for weeks on end!
“Plus, my work required my full attention. It (her full time job) keeps a roof over my head and my child in school after all,” she explained. Her son is in matric this year.
Lynn said she wrote her biography to get healing. “Overnight that book has changed me a lot. I have never been as bold as I find myself to be now.”
She hopes that those who have gone through abuse will find motivation in her story. Lynn also aims to reunite her family through this book.
I came across BronzeGoddess01’s YouTube channel while I was doing research on authors and their journeys. This young lady gives mainly women relationship advice on her channel.
She self-published her book “The Dating Game. How to Find Yourself while You are Looking for Mr. Right.”
She says that publishing this book is a huge accomplishment for her. “I knew I was a charismatic speaker, but I wasn’t sure I had what it took to write my thoughts down… There has always been a fear that I couldn’t write this book.”
Her tips for aspiring writers include:
#1. Use every free available resource, app or website you can get. For example, Skrawl is an online platform to submit bits of information of your book. You can submit the first chapter of your book read and get feedback on it.
#2. Just start writing; start with the title and your name. It’s also good to write a sub-title for your book – this gives your reader insight to what the book might be about.
#3. Don’t force it; be inspired. “People write books for different reasons,” she added.
For more gems from BronzeGoddess01, watch the video below:
Which of the ladies’ advice do you find motivating? If you are writing a book or are an author, share some of your thoughts below please. Thank you for reading!
My cousin, Lynn D. Nel recently finished her book and is in the process of getting it self-published. The book tells the story of her life – her childhood, abuse she endured, relationships, et cetera.
I’m really proud of her – finishing a book is a HUGE achievement.
“Have you started reading my book yet?” She had asked me two weeks ago. It had probably been the third time she had asked me. I told her yes, I was at page four then. “I feel so naked now,” she told me. Lynn says she feels naked, because she revealed so much of herself in this book.
More about the book another time…
Lynn agreed to be a guest writer for Mel’s Postbox. Within time, we will share her journey as a first time author. Here are her thoughts on Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!
Before I get right into it, let me just tell you a little bit about myself. I am a very opinionated person and, to say the least, very analytical too. I don’t know if the latter is a good thing or a bad thing. The truth is, I have an artist and a writer’s soul.
I don’t know about other writers but I am an introvert and quiet by nature. I choose to observe people and life in general. And once the observation is done, the extrovert will come out on paper.
Ask any writer or “wannabe” writer, our heads are always spinning about what we would like to position on paper.
I live in either my own little world of what I perceive as realistic (and I am very stubborn about it) or, I live in an ideal world (in my head of course).
What can I say, I’m a romantic at heart and it is an excellent coping mechanism. This brings me to 14 February. How I perceive the day, is somewhat more realistic than idealistic.
HEARTS ON OUR SLEEVES?
So Valentine’s Day 2017 has come and gone. And what I observed were two kinds of people that are, dare I say, more obvious on Valentine’s Day than any other day of the year.
I think you can guess where I am going with this. The one group is the happy-go-lucky ones who totally buys into the day! These are the people that are not scared to admit how important love, and for that matter, their loved one(s) in their lives are.
We dress ourselves and our children in the colour that ‘speaks Valentine’. Everywhere you look, are couples that do not show any shame, nor embarrassment in dressing alike or, true to the colour that warrants this day.
Yeah to those people for their honesty because we were in essence designed to “mate” and to love. Love as it is, “the greatest of them all”, do make everything seem alright with this world, whether we want to admit it or not.
‘IT AWAKENS THE SOUL’
A quote out of the movie “The Notebook” portrays it so eloquently: “The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.”
The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our…
The best thing is that we do learn from love and what we learn is power at its best. Nobody for me can say it better than Leo Tolsky when he said: “All, everything that I understand, I only understand because I love.”
As a dedicated Christian, the best for me is out of the movie Les Miserables, “And remember, as it was written, to love another person is to see the face of God”.
Love makes us vulnerable and most people hate being vulnerable. We think it makes us weak and not human as we are.
We prefer the masks and not the real when in fact the real stands a better chance at love in its best form.
In the words of Angelita Lim: “I saw that you were perfect, and so I loved you. Then I saw that you were not perfect and I loved you even more. We don’t choose love, love chooses us! We should really just marvel in it! To teach love is to live love.”
The second, and my least favourite group, is the cynical-about-love people. Cynical though is such a harsh word, so I would rather like to call them “confused?”
They make me think about the 7%-38%-55% rule that resulted from Prof Albert Mehrabian’s research on communication. This rule does not portray all forms of communication.
These totals primarily relate to a situation where we are forming an attitude of like or dislike of someone, as concluded by his other peers. It states that 7% is made out of content (our words), 38% refers to the tone of our voice and 55% portrays our body language and facial expressions.
I’m single, and a mother of an eighteen year old who totally adores his girlfriend. I was very excited with him when I took him shopping for the perfect gift for his girlfriend.
So there we stood, in the pay point queue, right behind two young women who were wearing sexy black dresses. They were talking about, yes, men, why they hate the day and that they cannot believe that people are so gullible to stand in line with all these valentine’s gifts.
DRESSING THE PART
The rule came to mind and with that, the saying: “Action speaks louder than words”. Is it just my thinking or were they really very transparent? There they were, on this ‘gloomy’ day, dressed in sexy black dresses. Why?
At places that I have been during the day, I witnessed the same sexy black ‘numbers’ and the same cynicism. Everyone knows that black is a winner on any occasion and any day. Why would you want to be a winner on such a “doomed” day?
So what if people buy into the commercial side of it? We…. people…have evolved and we … people…have commercialised the world. It happens on any other significant days.
Heaven knows, with all the negativity around us, the world needs days like these.
We get so caught up in the rat race that pressurises us to live past each other. My head is always full of quotes and it really cannot escape my soul. This one, by Mitch Albom, I have no doubt, is designed for the sceptical at heart.
“Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.”
YOU ATTRACT WHAT YOU ARE
So Mr or Miss Doubtful, please change your attitude, unless you want to end up with someone equally doubtful.
Mr or Miss Doubtful, please change your attitude; unless you want to end up with someone equally…
“Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo!” Most of us are familiar with this famous Shakespearian play. What Juliet meant to ask was: Why are you from the Montague family and not from the Capulets she stems from? Why are you not what I want you to be?
We, humans, tend to go for Mr or Miss Wrong and then we wonder why things did not work out. We choose with the eyes, and not with the heart and it is the heart that speaks to the soul and the soul is what really matters!
Looks attract a person but its character and mutual compatibility that keep two people in love and yes, together!
So let’s make a toast, not to love, but to hope!
We should celebrate love more often and permits the wonder that Valentine’s Day brings. It brings hope! This idealist is signing out for now. I hope I reach at least one heart, just one!
[The above opinion piece was written by Lynn D. Nel.]
Do you agree or disagree with Lynn? Did you celebrate Valentine’s or not? Tell me what you think.
What is the number one reason someone hates her job?
I feel the reason for hating your job is that you do not have a goal in mind. Hear me out…
A year after I got my diploma in journalism, I worked at a call centre and I hated it. One, my goal was to be a journalist, to go out and write stories. Two, I was sad that I wasn’t living my dream – being a journalist.
I didn’t really look for a job in the media industry, because while I was studying journalism, everybody in the industry (even my then lecturers) told me that I had to get my driver’s licence if I wanted a job as a journalist.
The reason for hating your job is that you do not have a goal in mind.
Imagine this: The news editor says someone has to immediately go report on an important event. Your job as a journalist is to grab your tools (car keys, notebook, pens, camera) and rush off to the story. If you don’t have a driver’s licence and there’s no driver or photographer around that you can go along with, you’re stuck at the office.
So, during that year of working in the call centre, my goal was to pass a driver’s test and get my licence. It was not easy.
I started freelance writing for a community newspaper on the Cape Flats as a side hustle. I would sometimes work during my lunch break, even go interview people. At night I would work on writing my story. I loved it.
The problem was that I started hating my call centre job. I became sad about the situation.
Anyway, at the end of that year (in 2010) I got my driver’s licence and I also got a full time job at the community newspaper that I did freelance work for. Obviously I was over the moon when this happened.
LOSING MY GOAL
Recently, I was reminded during a master class with Lexi D’Angelo that goals are important. Yes, currently I am not happy with my financial situation. I am trying to find a side hustle so that I can make more money.
Why? Well, end of January came and I got my salary but realised I don’t even have money for groceries. So I have to change my situation.
I love my job as a journalist, but I don’t like that I’m not making enough money to sustain my family.
I realise now that my mind-set was not right when I was working at the call centre. I was sad about not living my dream, just like I am sad at the moment that I cannot buy the things I want.
While working at the call centre, for a short while I forgot the goal I had in mind. This is what made me sad.
However, when I have my goal in mind and I am working towards it, I remind myself that the situation I don’t like being in is only temporary.
When I have my goal in mind and I am working towards it, I remind myself that the situation I…
YOUR VISION KEEPS YOU SANE
Lexi D’Angelo was one of the speakers for the online “Go for It” Summit, which was hosted by Hollie Tkac. This is one of the things D’Angelo said that stuck with me: “Your vision, your mission and your why is your driving force that’s going to keep you when things are not going hot.”
She asked: “What is you mission, and how are you going to carry out actions so that you can make your vision a reality? What is your WHY? Why are you doing this in the first place?”
Your vision and your why is your driving force that's going to keep you when things are not going…
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” – Maya Angelou
I’ve had this story inside of me for less than a year. This year my goal is to pen it down. I am sure the characters cannot wait to get out of my head.
One of my goals this year is to start with my fiction book. Another goal is to at least read five books this year.
I am reading more things aligned to what I want to achieve. On Monday 16 January 2017, I came across Karthik Pasupathy’s article “5 Things That Prevent Young Aspirants from Becoming Writers”.
THE REASONS WE DON’T BECOME WRITERS
Pasupathy wrote on The Writing Cooperative that writers do not interact. “Aspirants (aspiring authors) don’t discuss about writing. They keep things to themselves. They’re too afraid to step forward and discuss ideas.
“Brainstorming plays an important role when comes to writing. When people with contrasting opinions discuss about a topic, it creates new connections in our brain,” he explains. “This allows a writer to look at an issue from several perspectives.”
Other mistakes that aspiring authors do “they don’t read” nor “they do not write,” says Pasupathy.
I should talk to fellow writers about my process, I thought. I decided to act on this. After emailing someone close to me my story idea, I got a few gems from this fellow writer.
I needed to hear the following and she said it: “You know you can do this; the story is already in you.”
The challenging part of writing a story is actually starting. Although I have small parts of the story in my head, I think: what if I don’t have more meat for my story?
Meaning: what if the story doesn’t get interesting as the first part?
“You know you can do this; the story is already in you.”
I am certain this means: Just start, the rest will come.
Lastly, I will share with the one other gem I got from this person: “Try to write when you have lots of emotion in you, whether good or bad.”
It’s not like I haven’t written a story before – I am a journalist by profession and I have also had fiction short stories published.
Let’s not agonise I tell myself; just start with it.
If you are an author or have struggled to start with something you’re passionate about, let me know what motivated you to do the next step.
“Connect your passion with your story so that you can connect with your audience.” – Quote by entrepreneur Maya Elious
I took a break from my blogging.
This forced me to think about my vision for the blog and what I would like to change. As a creator and leader of a platform (my blog), you constantly have to think of ways to improve your platform – you have to be innovative.
I realised that I have been kind of fearful of a lot of things and I have not set many goals. This year will be a little different.
My word for the year 2017 will be EXPLORE. I have never chosen a word to describe how I want my year to be. In fact, for the past few years I have not had any new year’s resolutions.
I want to study something, but at the moment I don’t have the money to pay for the course. Money (or the lack thereof) could be a good excuse to sit and sulk, thinking that I won’t get what I want.
TO EXPLORE means that I will look into other ways of doing things.
SO FAR SO GOOD
During the past few days I have been part of free online courses to help with my writing. This year I want to explore more free courses that are in line with what I want to do.
The entrepreneur Maya Elious is one of the people who gave me some gems about telling my story and using my passion to help people. “Connect your story with your expertise,” is one of the favorite things I heard her say.
Also: “Connect your passion with your story.”
Another achievement: I have finished reading the first book for 2017. I have not finished a book in years!
After realising last year that I read so many blog posts daily that I could probably finish a book too, I have decided to challenge myself.
I know I won’t be able to read one book per week. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. Rather, I will try to finish at least five books this year.
Even if a book does not start the way I want – it might start boring, or slow in the beginning, I will continue reading it.
[That’s what basically happened in the book I read recently – later, during the middle of the book, I read so many interesting things that I didn’t want the book to end. The book had a great ending too.]
EXPLORING SOUTH AFRICA
I went to the Northern Cape for the holidays. I got the opportunity to visit good friends that I have not seen in years. Thank you Miena Jacobs and Megan Du Plessis!
Megan reminded me of something: I should explore my love for food more. Remember the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”?
Well, in the movie Julia Roberts’ character goes to Italy and learns how to enjoy food.
Megan is the Italian teacher in my life. She loves good food and we have always gone to taste a new dish or different restaurant whenever we saw each other.
One of the most memorable meet ups we had was a cookie share event that Megan took me to. Each person who attended the event had to bake cookies – whether sweet or savoury. We all then shared and got a chance to connect with other food lovers.
Megan and I always had a long distance friendship.
Years ago when we met, she worked in Botswana and I lived in Cape Town. She returned to Cape Town and then I moved to Port Elizabeth. We would always meet in Cape Town.
At the moment I live in Johannesburg and she lives in Aggeneys, Northern Cape. My parents live in the Northern Cape, so we met this year on my way back from my parents.
We clicked instantly. I think it’s because one: she is very friendly and two, we both have curly hair [we both seem to love the wet hair look].
On the same day I told her about my miscarriage and Eleanor revealed she lost a baby too. She was really open about it. It helps if we are open about things even if it is really heart-breaking to talk about it.
You make your own kids’ clothes like scarves. How did that happen?
I have since closed this side of my freelancing business – I mostly write and organise events things now
How has your journey been?
Some days I want to cry and some days my heart is so full of happiness, it could burst. I have learnt so much about the media industry and about business in the last year. This makes me extremely grateful for that moment I decided that “I needed more”.
Do you make money from your blog?
Off and on, I do sponsored post and do ghost writing for other sites. It’s enough to plow back into the blog like pay for the site but it’s certainly not rated as a steady income at the moment.
Anything else you would like to say, you’re welcome to.
Find like-minded people. I have business besties and blogging besties (outside of my usual friendship circle). It makes the world of a difference when you can vent to someone who gets it. For someone who has had to wait for payment from clients or had their whole blog post disappear, it will keep you grounded, trust me 🙂
Thank you Eleanor for your time. We enjoyed getting to know you!
The first poem Melissa Rambally wrote was when she was 12 years old. The writing-bug got hold of her heavily, because at the age of 14, she finished her first short story. Years later, she is now a part-time author known as Melissa Kate.
The Durbanite says this long, hard journey to get her first fiction book published taught her to take rejection like a champ. “It’s a tough journey,” she explains. “When you write your story, it’s your baby and you cannot quite understand why others don’t love it (your work) as much as you do.
“But you must pick yourself up and persevere. Keep at it,” she advises.
This year she debut her first romance novel, Waiting For You. Rambally recently released her second novel, Love in the Fast Lane.
When Cassarica Nadas of the Amazeblog asked her what she enjoyed about writing, Rambally said: “I just love the thrill of a new love story. I often watch movies or music videos and get so disappointed with a cliff-hanger or a negative ending, and I always think ‘I could have done that so much better!’ Who doesn’t love a happy ending?”
She also told Amazeblog that it helps that writing goals are set. “I try 5000 words per day and for now I only have Sundays to sit down and get the words on the page – the earlier the better.”
The toughest thing about writing is the dialogue, Rambally confesses.
We spoke to her about what it takes to finish your story and get it published. Is it a walk in the park or do you have to hustle?
Here is the question- and answer session we did with her:
Why the pseudonym ‘Melissa Kate’?
Melissa Rambally (MR): There was no special reason for it. I just like the way the name sounds – it’s classy and elegant.
What is your profession?
MR: I’m a Human Resources Business Partner for a Food Service Company.
What steps did you take to become an author?
MR: The biggest step is to get the words on the page. I am a compulsive planner so I keep a notebook with me at all times. Before I even sit down to start Chapter One, I research elements of my story, and I jot down ideas and possible scenes. It then all comes together once the fingers het tapping on the keyboard.
After that, it’s a matter of having people around you who will read your manuscript and give you honest feedback.
Then it’s the editing; ensure your formatting and spelling is a 100% and submit to potential publishers.
How did you get a publisher?
MR: I did A LOT of research.
Each publisher has their own guidelines for manuscript submissions which are kind of painful because you can’t send them all a generic mail with your story.
I got MANY rejections, so very much and because I am human, I started to get despondent and feel like “What’s the point?”
By chance I sent my book to one last publisher and I assure you, the day I got the email to say they wanted to offer me a contract, I thought for sure it was a big hoax. I didn’t tell anyone I got a publishing contract till I saw my author profile on their website. Lame I know!
What do you enjoy about being an author?
MR: The achievement of knowing you have your name in print – it’s every writer’s dream. Oh and definitely when people love your books, nothing quite like it.
What would you say are small achievements in your author journey, especially those you have achieved this year?
MR: I’m still a fairly new author – I have only been published this year so I’m still green in the game. It was quite a proud moment when my local newspaper printed an article about me.
Are there misconceptions about what you do?
MR: I don’t think so. I am a pretty open person, what you see is what you get. I tend to also share a lot about myself on my personal blog and my social sites, so there’s always clarity about what I am about and what I write about.
Before you tell us about what your books are about, share some tips for aspiring writers.
Write from the heart and write, because you have a passion to give your characters life.
Don’t give up when you get knocked down. It’s a tough road to get published, but it is achievable and it’s the greatest accomplishment. You got this!
Please share what your two books are about.
Waiting For You was my debut novel. The blurb reads:
Audrey Kelly finds her way back home to Crystal Valley with her bruised pride and a shattered dangerous past mocking her rear view mirror. What she didn’t expect was to be face-to-face with Adam Parker, resident bad boy, sexy Navy SEAL and one of the reasons that Audrey ran all those years ago.
Audrey was the last person Adam had ever expected to see back in Crystal Valley. Over a decade ago, they shared a sizzling night together before he received the worst news of his life and he hasn’t seen her since…until she moved back unexpectedly. She was no longer the sweet innocent girl he once remembered, but Adam has his own problems without having to deal with Audrey’s ice princess recital, no matter how tempting the auburn haired seductress may be.
Sparks begin to ignite between them but can they accept Audrey’s past when it threatens to engage them in a dangerous twist? Can they save each other from themselves and stop running once and for all?
Love in the Fast Lane was released in November 2016 and its blurb reads:
Race car driver, Nathan Wolf, is primed to win his first championship. A thriving career and sexy holiday fling have Nathan riding the high life. But the past haunts him and could ruin it all.
After six long years, Brielle Woods has finally put the past behind her. Or so she thought, until she bumps into the hotshot who turned her world upside down and left her…to raise their son…alone.
Can they overcome baggage from their past and give into the passion that still burns between them? Or will they lose the chance at true happiness and the family they both long for?
Thank you Melissa for sharing. We wish you all the best for the future!