Posted by on April 29, 2014 | 9 comments

How To Make Friends With Uncertainty

Last week I was invited to speak at a girls’ high school in Stellenbosch near Cape Town as part of this year’s World Book Day celebrations. I was excited when I arrived at the school. On my way there I imagined I would meet a group of enthusiastic young women, all with hopes and dreams as bright as their futures. I’d been briefed by my publisher to focus my talk on my journey to becoming an award-winning author, and I prepared my speech accordingly. I wanted to share my story with the girls and to inspire them to reach for their dreams. When I delivered my talk I made sure to emphasise phrases like “follow your dreams”, “dream big” and “live a life you love”. They listened attentively; looking at the expectant faces of the more than 140 learners I was certain that I was having an impact on at least some of them. So I was taken aback when the question & answer session began. They were clearly...

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Posted by on April 22, 2014 | 2 comments

What If I Fail?

Have you ever been really excited about a project, dedicated your time and energy to making it happen, and then found yourself wondering whether the whole thing will just blow up in your face? With just days to go before my memoir hits the bookshelves, I must admit thoughts of failure do cross my mind from time to time. “What if it’s a big flop?” “How will it be received?” “Will I get good reviews?”… and so the thoughts go. At times I’ve wanted to call my publisher to stop the whole process, though I know it’s now out of my hands. I suspect every writer goes through this type of anxiety in the run-up to the launch of their book. We invest so much of ourselves in our writing projects, it’s inevitable that we would be nervous about how others will view them. This isn’t only confined to writing, though. I remember feeling this way when I was pregnant with my first child. I’d had a fantastic, trouble-free...

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Posted by on April 8, 2014 | 6 comments

It All Starts With Trying

The first copies of my memoir arrived today. Of course I knew they were coming, but I still felt a little awestruck when I first held a copy in my hands. It began two years ago as merely a possibility. A little voice inside me told me to try, so I did. At the time I wasn’t even thinking about the finished product; just the possibility of trying. Now, two years on, I have a book in my hands that I poured my heart and soul into. Thousands of other copies are on their way to bookstores around the country, and soon my story will be read, reviewed and discussed. It may even inspire others to take the kind of monumental leap I did in my career. I imagined that when this moment came I’d be air-punching and shouting my joy from the rooftops. Instead I feel humbled and in awe of what I’ve created. All because I dared to try. Dreams do come true. If we only dare...

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Posted by on April 1, 2014 | 2 comments

Getting Over Camping Shame

My daughter and husband went away on her school’s annual Dads and Kids Camp this past weekend. They’d been looking forward to it for weeks, and by the morning of the camp the mood at school had reached fever pitch. There were squeals of excitement as she and her friends excitedly planned their activities for their time away. I gather from the report back that the weekend lived up to its promise. The children went swimming, milked cows, sat around the fire telling stories, and generally ran around in packs having the time of their lives. The dads seemed to have a great time too – they came together as a community and bonded as men. I must confess: I don’t like camping. There is nothing about sleeping on the floor, cooking on an open fire or relieving myself in the woods that appeals to me. For a long time I thought maybe there was something about it I wasn’t getting, and I was sure that if I could...

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