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Viewing Blog: STORYPOT, Most Recent at Top
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Throw an African folktale/legend into a pot, put in an interesting setting, pour some real-life events and characters, sprinkle a dash of modern twists and turns, cook over a smoking laptop and then serve I'm a journalist & author based in Johannesburg, South Africa. My first children's book "The Doll That Grew" was published in 1993.
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1. Sometimes The Writing Process Involves Getting Things Wrong & What I Do About It

I'd forgotten that sometimes, writing work means getting things wrong. Your editor, client or whoever has final approval on the piece may have so many queries the hurt from looking at the red-inked tracked changes is almost physical. That was how I felt yesterday. The PR company I write for sent back an article I wrote for them, and they had at least 10 queries, and when  I read what they

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2. National Library Week Starts Next Week. How Are You Commemorating It?

 Photography by Otshepeng Buckwalter (Baby) The South African National Library Week starts next week, taking place from the 11 - 21 March 2016. According to the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA), the national launch is to be held on Friday 11 March 2016 in Mandeni, Kwa-Zulu Natal. "LIASA through its diverse membership is driving the process to make SA Library Week

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3. Meet LolanKiki

Kiki is made from light-brown fabric and Lolais fabric is darker For years my friend Neo Motshumi has dreamt of making and selling LolanKiki, a range of ethnic cloth dolls she designed. Drawn from all nationalities in South Africa, the dolls are a snapshot of SA tribes, including Zulu, Xhosa, Batswana, Bapedi, Basotho, Ndebele, Venda and Shangaan. And because Black tribes are not the

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4. Meet Roundafire, My New Digital Publisher & Join Nal’ibali On Their Read Aloud Day Celebration. There Is A Free Children's Book Involved

When blogging as a way to procrastinate. I'm supposed to be getting ready to attend an extended family gathering happening this afternoon. Basically, the Senne-Pitsoe families, descendants from multiple great grandfathers Keledi and Ramodutwana, who we can track from waay way back, gather regularly so that we can get to know each other. I want to go because it's interesting to meet all these

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5. Being A Multilingual Writer In The Digital Age

I've been meaning to write this post for a while, but I had a hard time crystallizing what it is I wanted to say. Then several things happened at the beginning of this year: A publisher I've been meaning to work with but couldn't reach agreeable terms asked me again to submit work. He especially wanted African language children's stories.  I read Lori Widmer's post about The Multilingual

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6. Some Lessons Learnt From A Friend's Book Launch

Buy the book: Email tirelomakgaledisa@gmail.com A book launch is a delicate thing.  Once the book is ready, you book a venue, do a heavy load of marketing and promotion for the event, get some good reviews lined up, organise snacks and drinks and then you hope that people who are influential in the book world and some of the author's fans actually show up on the day. And when the work is by a

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7. Creating A Blended Office Space For A Productive 2016

As a way to kick-start 2016 on a fresh slate, I spent the past week cleaning my home office and rearranging the furniture to create a comfortable work environment. View of my office from the door I'm very pleased with the result - it has the tools I need to brainstorm, write and track projects. It also provides me with the space to organise my life and hobby projects. So when Sarah from

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8. A Blessed 2016 To You

A blessed 2016 to you. I hope the year brings you good health, peace and prosperity. The past year was good to me. It had its big wobbly moments, of course, but it started and ended very well for me. Health and wellness My body feels the best it has in decades. In September I finally got back into jogging/running after abandoning it decades ago, and do around 7km every other day or so.

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9. A Writer's Worth To Your Business

May is Writers Worth Month and a lot of the online discussion  has been centred around writers understanding their own worth and running their businesses in a manner that reflects this appreciation. However, I've also been thinking about the worth of a good writer to an organisation. One idea that keeps bouncing in my head is that a writer is not a typist. Put like that, I know it sounds very

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10. News From My Home Office

A big thank you to Lori Widmer over at Words on the Page for initiating the annual Writers' Worth Month. Lori's posts constantly remind me to ask more from myself and my business. My take away from her post is, don't listen to people try to tell you your worth as a writer. You determine that. Sometimes they'll even tell you that the  economy is bad that we writers should  settle for what we

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11. Small Does Not Mean Powerless & Other Lessons I Learnt As A Person & As a Writer This February

On Monday my Kitty reminded me small can be very deadly  I'm a flawed human being. No, no, no, don't laugh! I know that's not news. It's just....it's always interesting when I see myself through someone else's eyes. Sometimes it's scary because they see this glowing, fabulous person on a day when I'd swear I look like Gollum. Other days, I'm Sauron to them and have to remind myself that

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12. Dreams, Priorities and Money

Brainstorming on my chalkboard wall One of the scariest aspects of my decision to focus on fiction for 2015 and to take on less client work is where the money for paying bills is going to come from. On the surface, I have a good framework set up to achieve this goal - a stable home with enough room for a home office, a freezer full of  a variety of vegetables from my summer garden, an Autumn

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13. The Minutiae Of A Writing Life In Phokeng

The words came today. Lots and lots of words. It wasn't the story that I had been working on, that I wanted to write. It wasn't part of a client project either. Still, when the words are begging me to write them, I'm not going to argue :) I wish I had a good quality camera to capture the charm of this room There is a lot stuff happening in my home office- there's a PC, a laptop, printer,

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14. A Room Of My Own

A happy 2015 to you. I hope you  had a great festive season.. that you enjoyed your time with family and friends and that you are now ready to tackle 2015. I've had a good start to 2015. I took time to rest in December (actually, I was a sloth, doing absolutely nothing for days on end) and to plan for 2015. As I sit in my home office right now, I feel very fortunate that I have a room of my own

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15. Learning To Relax

By Christelle Du Toit In all the years that I’ve known Damaria, I know that when she gets stressed I need to chase her to the garden and/or outside for a walk. It calms her down and she’ll come back saying damn, why didn’t I think of that? Me? I’m not so good at relaxing, even when she tries to get me to. I stress and then stress about stressing. So when I had an opportunity to go

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16. Taking A Long-Term View Of Your Writing Career

Today I was emailing back and forth with someone and they laughed a bit, commenting that I seem to be "taking a long-term view on things," meaning my writing career. At first I was startled because it was so natural for me to consider the fate of my work once I'm dead. I wasn't being morbid. It's just that for me, when we talk about the rights that we authors grant publishers, my mind

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17. Sometimes Being A Writer Involves A Million Little Tasks That Add Up To Something Great

A flattering view my food garden this week It's been a productive couple of days. I submitted a children's story I wrote to a mainstream publisher. I really really hope they like it. I'm making the distinction (in italics) because I also submitted 6 children's stories written by someone else to an indie publisher. I hope admitting to forwarding someone else's manuscript is not going to come

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18. On Editorial Guidelines, Implementation Plans, Spreadsheets & The Craft Of Writing For Children

One of the toughest things I've tried to articulate to my non-writer friends about the writing process is the craft required to ensure that a children's story meets editorial guidelines. Or maybe they just don't get it because it doesn't sound very creative.. it sounds like a trade... maybe like laying the story out brick by brick, or panelbeating what's already there? LOL! I think the "

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19. Mma Has Passed Away

Mma passed way last week. We buried her this past Saturday. We held the funeral service at home in Phokeng; attended by hundreds of mourners including former students in a career spanning 43 years, her friends, neighbours, former colleagues, members of her professional associations and relatives. Mma & my younger bro on her 75th birthday this April Her passing was unexpected for me,

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20. Re-Grouping

More than two weeks after Mma has passed away, I'm slowly pulling the threads of my new life together. Traditionally in Phokeng, we pack up the deceased's stuff (clothing, shoes, linen, personal knicknacks etc) immediately after they pass away, even before the funeral. So all Mma's personal things are in storage to later go to the relevant people and the house, which is very big, feels even

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21. Getting Used To The New Normal

In the past couple of years, I've fallen in love with Mondays because no matter how wrong things may go in any given week, Monday will come around again and psychologically, it means a new opportunity to try again. It's like having a reset button, but you get to keep the benefits of the last go-round. Mostly. I didn't sleep well at all on Thursday and Friday nights and spent a lot of Saturday

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22. The Ideal Writing Moment

I found it today. Location: my home office, at my desk. Time of day: after 8pm, when supper was done. The device: my laptop In the background: Blitzen Trapper, playing Furr, followed by The Lumineers (the whole album). On my desk:  a big mug of cold coffee, a notebook and pen, a buge mess of  files, receipts, a glass, two more mugs (empty), a hard copy of a draft manuscript, sleeping pills,

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23. Why You Should Write All Those Stories Cluttering Your Head

For years I've written some stories just so the noise the characters made would stop. I didn't have a potential market for them. I even planned to self-publish some of them. So, the other day when an indie publisher got in touch with me about some work I might end up doing for them, my first thought was, "do I even have the time to look at the work?" I'm still trying to establish a new rhythm

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24. Connecting To The World

For the past three years, I've been using this old Nokia 3500 to keep in touch with my family and a handful of friends. Assuming I remembered to charge it and was carrying it at the time of the call.    I know, I know. It's a disgrace for a former telecoms journo to be using this old clunker, right? Thing is, it really suited me. I could make and receive calls and texts. And most days, I

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25. Do One Main Task Each Day

That has been my mantra for the past couple of days. On Tuesday I focussed on writing a children's story (early reader). It's finished and I sent it to a writer friend to read through and comment. She likes it. Yesterday was the day of completing a concept proposal for a possible funder for a project. We've already met and they suggested the proposal, so I had some guidance on what their Key

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