How to become a writer

The title of this post is misleading. I haven’t a clue on how to become a writer. I read writing blogs regularly for advice and tips and the only advice I really follow is to write often. I can see over time how my writing has evolved and progressed.

I am studying creative writing and recently completed my first writing portfolio. Today I received my marked portfolio back from the university and below are my lectuters comments:
On my book reviews: “Fine critical writing”
On my poems: “Good metaphors, effective ambiguity”
On my original young adult short story: “Very entertaining, intriguing fantasy with a good ending”
On my play: “Very good drama with interesting plot, good dialogue and conflict depiction and a good ending”
On top of all this I will be writing for the newly created travel section of a South African website. I am very excited about what the future may hold for me and I feel extremely blessed. None of this would have been possible if I didn’t actively pursue my dreams.


Playing it safe is dangerous

When I finished high school I did not have a clear idea of what it is that I wanted to do or study. So instead of doing nothing I decided to join the workforce which was not necessarily a good idea but it beat being bored at home. For the 4 years that followed high school I worked all the while trying to figure out it is that I want out of life.

I remembered that I always enjoyed drawing and fashion design but I eventually decided on studying fashion buying and merchandise management part-time because it seemed like a safer choice with better job security in the long run. Once my studies were completed I started applying for jobs at the large fashion retailers (there are only 3 big retailers here in Cape Town anyway). My choice to work for a large corporation was me playing it safe again because these companies offered benefits such as pension and medical aid. Things were however not all glamorous as the media would have one believe, I mean I wouldn’t say it was all Devil wears Prada, but it wasn’t easy either. Over the past 6 years I have worked for 2 of South Africa’s biggest retailers first in the sourcing and imports department and then in the buying department before making my way back to sourcing and imports.

I started to realise that playing it safe has not worked out for me at all. In my pursuit for job security in a country that so often reminds you of its high unemployment rate I have lost sight of my passions. I was told that I must count my blessings and still be grateful that I have a job. Too many people cling onto their permanent jobs and after giving 40 years to the company take their pension payout and retire. That is not the life I want for myself. In all this I still studied, I completed my garment construction course and started studying towards a business management degree which I did not complete because it was of no interest to me.

Then a year ago I started blogging and for the first time in a really long time I felt excited about something. This was also my first eye opener and I started visualising a future that was not in fashion retail.  I’ve always wanted to write but fears of turning into a starving artist always deterred me. We are always warned that pursuing anything related to the arts is bound to bring you a life of poverty. Society has a wonderful way of dictating our decisions but this time I did not feel scared to do something new or out of the ordinary. My second eye opener came on my overseas trip to Europe, coming into contact with young people from all over the world I realised how conservative I am and how small my world view was. Things needed to change but I wasn’t sure what to do next all I knew was that I wanted to travel and write. This is a big change from what I have studied and worked towards all these years but by playing it safe I have moved too far away from the things that brings me joy.

After months of researching all my options I decided that teaching English in Thailand will be a big step for me towards achieving this goal. I also registered for my Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and I will have completed my first year by end of this year. Deciding to pack up everything you own is not a decision that was made lightly or overnight for that matter. I am starting to prepare myself financially, emotionally and mentally to leave behind my family, friends and country. I am not sure what the future holds but in a few short months I will embark on an adventure I am sure I will not regret. All that I do know is that I am no longer playing it safe.


The waiting game – may the odds be ever in my favour

The month of May was kinda hectic, what with turning 30 and all that. There was also the stress of my exams, finding out I grind my teeth during my sleep causing pain and sensitivity. Sprained an ankle from a fall and then sprained the other one from doing a 10km big walk. To top it all off I was in be whole weekend recovering from the flu. On the plus side I finally booked my ticket to Bangkok, Thailand.

I’m sure the next 6 months are going to drag its feet just to spite me but then I came across this sentence in The Alchemist which I am reading (again) which resonated with me: “Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man” This is hard for me to do because I am a thinker (who tends to dwell on the past) and a daydreamer (always looking ahead to the future). So I forget to focus on all the things that still happens in between.

I am going to try to focus on the present and live in the ‘now’ and maybe do all those things I’ve been putting off like working on my book, taking my photography to the next level and finally mastering downward facing dog. The possibilities are limitless.

Photography, Writing

I sooooo wanna be freshly pressed

and if you think this is a blatant and shameless attempt for WordPress to find me well then you are most likely correct. So for those not in-the-know getting freshly pressed is like winning the blogger lottery. Todays stats at this point in time is: The best of 454,352 bloggers, 912,843 new posts, 1,420,249 comments, & 198,873,981 words posted today on WordPress.com and on average only 10 posts are selected daily to be featured on the WordPress home page. I mean what blogger doesn’t love more traffic or subscribers?

I love reading the freshly pressed posts everyday and I usually have the following responses upon reading them:

1) OMG! This blog is so awesome, this blogger has managed to move me with an image or a few words. I wanna be just like them. I’ll subscribe immediately so that I can get a daily dose of this awesomeness. This is way better than getting piggyback ride up a mountain by Edward Cullen to see him sparkle.

2) Why didn’t I think about this first? In fact I did think of this first but I just never got around to publishing my draft. I wonder if I can sue? Intellectual property theft is really not cool people. Unless maybe this is my twin and we’ve been seperated at birth.

3) Seriously? This gets to be freshly pressed? A monkey with a typewriter could have written a better post. My stuff is way better than this so why don’t I ever get freshly pressed. What exactly is the criteria here?

Oh let me throw in some photos to seal the deal. Only 3 types of pictures makes it onto Freshly Pressed anyway: Food pics, nature pics and travel pics.

Home made sushi

La sagrada familia - passion facade




10 Things learnt this week

Today’s list is from one of my faithful readers and my awesome Italian teacher. Read more about her school here. Her travel blog will be up and running soon and I will share the link in due time. Please visit my Contact Me page if you would like to share your list of 10 things learnt.

I love your posts on the 10 things you have learnt every week. It is not easy to do it.

Here is mine ( It may just be what I have learnt in MY LIFE, never mind this WEEK)

1) matching colours makes me really happier
2) I was born as a future teacher
3) I can multitask and I love it
4) creativity is something you either have or don’t
5) writing is as therapeutic as doing yoga
6) I definitely don’t like working with music in the background at all!
7) to find excuses to exercise for me is a daily habit
8) I really like white food, white furniture and white objects
9) I have too many lovely people around to waste my attention on uber sensitive people
10) clumsy people make me laugh a lot