Monday, 17 September 2018

Keeping up...with me

Photo Hannah Olinger on Unsplash
How hard can it be to be an adult? Apparently harder than I sometimes tell myself. Read about that life lesson here.

Writing, studying, working, exercising, and a change of diet all together tends to keep me pretty busy. I took a leaf out of my current writing project, Take Your Journal to the Next Level, and restarted using a Bullet Journal. I have used it before, but I made a simple mistake which I now fixed: I am using a separate notebook.

In the past I used my normal journal to add the bujo activities, but it wasn't effective. Two weeks ago I dug out a blank journal out of my cupboard and have been using it with much greater success. I changed the format slightly to suit me, but that is just one of the benefits of the simple planner style-it is adaptable.

All the things I need to do are now in one place, and I can better see what I will have time for - yes, priorities. It helps to prioritise my study hours for the week, and when to work on my assignments so I can hand in early, leaving me more time to work on the book mentioned above. With better planning, I can make better progress, while studying. As it stands the first draft is now 75% complete, and I am back on schedule.
Go bujo!
If you are a journal writer stuck in a rut, or want to start a keeping journal, or just want to experiment with different styles of journal writing, then I want your input.
If you live in Pretoria, South Africa, and would like to learn more about journal writing, contact me to get your name on a mailing list for a course that will start in October.
If you are not living in my home city and still want to learn more about journal writing, you too can pop me an email to be a beta reader for Take Your Journal to the Next Level.

And since I have now committed myself to finishing the book by October, I better get back to it.

Wishing you a terrific week!
💜 Linzé

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Interview with... Dan Weatherer

The Dead Stage by Dan Weatherer, non-fiction book cover
Linzé: This week I am privileged to have a playwright on the Broomstick and he is telling us about his upcoming book.
The Dead Stage – the period of time between completing the working draft of a stage play and placing it with an interested party.”- Dan Weatherer

Dan Weatherer, an author turned playwright, learned quickly that there are practices playwrights can implement to dramatically increase the appeal of their work.
Inside, you’ll find advice that will enable you to better tailor your work to the needs of the theatre industry, without having to compromise on style, content or subject matter. Dan discusses his early mistakes, and presents the advice of notable theatre professionals including the award-winning playwright, Deborah McAndrew, noted actor Matthew Spence, and London Horror Festival producer, Kate Danbury (along with many, many more!).

You’ll also be able to read several of Dan’s completed stage plays, which are presented in a preferred industry format, and often contain side-notes detailing the success (and failures) of said pieces.
From budgets to set design, run-time to cast size, if you ever felt the desire to write for the stage, following the advice presented in this book will help improve your chances of pairing your script with an interested party, hopefully making The Dead Stage pass almost unnoticed.

Brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from The Darkest Depths.

Dan Weatherer
Interview with the author:

What makes this non-fiction book so special?
“Placing a stage play with a theatre company is (in my experience) more difficult than placing a book with a publisher. Open theatre calls are highly competitive, seeing hundreds of entries for a call that can possibly stage only three or four pieces. Quality of work is no longer enough to guarantee consideration for performance.
The tips and advice contained in The Dead Stage allowed me to build an impressive portfolio of theatre work in a relatively short space of time. I believe it is important to share experiences if they may be able to help others achieve success.”

Tell us more about why you wanted to write this guide.
“Throughout my career, I have worked to create opportunities for others, believing it is better to be a small fish in a thriving ocean, rather than a big fish in a stagnant pond.
This book is about sharing my experiences and mistakes, in the hope that I can help others avoid the pitfalls that I fell into.
Theatre, more than any other medium, is a tough industry to break into. Every piece a playwright will write will always be in competition with work from the greatest playwrights of all time. Theatre is a business: seats need to be sold in order to keep theatres running, and so often established pieces are booked instead of the work of what many might term the ‘New Writing’. This is because they are considered safe bookings, and the theatre will, in most instances, not lose money. New writing is considered a risk. Usually, theatres set aside a budget for new writing, but this is often small and tightly contested.
But theatre needs new voices and there are theatre companies willing to give new writing a chance. This book is my way of saying that yes, it is possible to see your work performed on stage, no matter your previous experience in the theatre industry.”
If you have a passing interest in the theatre industry, either as a playwright, director, producer, actor or working behind the scenes, then this book is for you. It includes insights and advice from an array of professionals working at all levels of the industry today. Their advice helped me see my work performed on stage, now it’s their turn to help you.”

The book is due for release in October 2018. We will update you closer to the date for a pre-order link.

Thank you, Dan. We are looking forward to another excellent book from the Crystal Lake stable.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Coursework, writing, blogging and life

Photo by Emily Rudolph on Unsplash
I was a bit quiet this week, and not entirely of my own doing. I am doing an online course in Training and Development Management and the homework this past week was a bit more challenging and required more of my time. It is one of those things that you cannot just email the lecturer and tell him: "Sorry, I need more time because my blogs required my attention."
But I have a sneak preview of a new book for you on Tuesday, an interview with author and playwright Dan Weatherer where he reveals the story behind his upcoming book, The Dead Stage.
If you are an author or working on your first book, make sure you bookmark the post, because I will give you a pre-order link very soon.
Speaking of books, I have not only been studying, and the first draft of my next book, Take Your Journal to the Next Level is now at 69% complete. If you are a journal writer, and you live in Pretoria keep a lookout for the Facebook invitation to take part in a special project involving this book. But I am not going to reveal all the details yet.
Another exciting thing that is in the making is the republication of Negotiating the Maze - from self-published writer to successful authorpreneur. The ebook was withdrawn after Pronoun went under, but I have found a new publisher and hope to tell you the good news on where to find the ebook again very soon.
The paperback book is still available for South Africans if you want a signed copy.
The library indie book fair will take place again in November, and my place is secured. But more on that closer to the date.
Enough of all the exciting things going on right now. I have a book to write and more coursework coming in the week ahead.
Until next time!

PS: I have another blog about life, wellness and life coaching. Take a look here.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Books, and all things life...of sorts

I had a run in with my garage door opener on Friday. It wasn't pretty. When I was ready to go to work, the door didn't open. Stuck, I decided to take leave for the day and do other stuff. Several hours later, I got that incredibly jittery feeling of being trapped. Not literally, but not being able to just get in the car and go somewhere, makes me feel that way.
So there I was trying to figure out how to do this. Of course, I knew what to do, but the problem was getting it done. Disengaging the motor drive was a challenge (because I refuse to get on a ladder) but I finally managed to stretch at just the right angle to reach it.
Here comes the not so pretty part. I had to lift the wooden door by hand. Given the angle and space, I had to work with, I was glad I was alone in that garage. I managed to lift it just enough so I could go outside (via Francois' garage door), stick my fingers underneath and then haul that load up.
The door is still damn heavy, but I was sure grateful for all those weights my personal trainer had me lifting these past eight months.
Door open I had now to try and get it closed again; otherwise I couldn't leave. Back to the same problem, the car was now outside, but the door now had to be closed again. But luckily the empty space was sufficient to get the door in the right position. I tried again to engage the motor drive, and thank goodness it locked the gear and closed by itself.
If any of my neighbours saw my efforts, they would probably have been laughing their butts off or popped over in a second to come and help. Since I managed, I went off to refuel the car and get a few things for home.
And the new book, Take Your Journal to the Next Level, is making good progress too. According to my project plan, the first draft is now 64% complete.
Something that makes me motivated to keep going, that's for sure.

Until next time!
💜  Linzé
PS: There are more book features coming soon!

Monday, 13 August 2018

Follow Me: A long weekend - Part 2

Friday, 10 August 2018

The fog was the consistency of milk soup this morning. I would say denser than yesterday's even.
Driving in the fog
We went to the Wheelbarrow for breakfast this morning. Amazingly enough, I remembered this place from way before. It has a lovely nursery, and the gardens give you a tropical forest feel when you walk through the gardens. They have all these nooks and crannies which are lovely, and secretive(?), to explore.
Do you know what these blue flowers are called? Please leave your answer in the comments, since I have never seen anything like it before and am curious to know.
At least the waiter knew what an Americano was. If memory serves, we still had to explain that style of coffee the last time we were here. But the breakfast was nice, and the coffee good too.
Now we are off to our next adventure, and I am grateful that the sun came out to burn away the fog. We saw too many drivers being irresponsible in the almost zero visibility conditions on the road.
It is 12h27, and we are having lunch at the Eatery in Haenertsburg.
After breakfast, we went into the forest looking for old trees. As in more 100 years old, but we didn't find them. Somewhat tricky to spot very tall trees amongst a lot of other tall trees. Maybe next time.
The entrance to the
"secret nook"
@ The Wheelbarrow
We did see lots of pine trees, masses of them. Okay, they were planted for their wood, so the truck filled with huge logs that drove past should have been my cue. And we also saw blue gum trees. They were huge. When I stood next to one looking up and up towards its crown, I felt slightly sick when I did. Motion sickness kicking in perhaps?
All the off-road driving brought some beautiful scenery too, and real motion sickness for me. That was rather yuck. I told Francois to stop so I could get out and interact with the ground on my own feet. While I sipped a little water, he turned the car around, and by then I felt marginally better.
Spotting the time, we went food hunting in some other parts of the forest area. A wedding venue looked promising, but they only provided the venue for day visitors for picnics and such, so no food in sight.
The "secret nook" @ The Wheelbarrow
Then we went back to the access road to the organic cheese farm we saw on the way in. Missing the turn-off, we went down the access road for busses. Which was funny. To accommodate a bus the road didn't have sharp turns and was a bit longer, but we reasoned that it was going to get us there. It did, right behind the butt of a big bus. My first thought, how on earth? Francois' reply: he is going to get out using the same struggle to get in.
The funny part? The bus access road ran past the homes of the staff working on the farm. There were these small steel rods planted across the road (Francois almost didn't see them in time) with string spun between them. It was a holding pin, if you want, to keep the pigs and a shed full of piglets from running all over I suppose. One of the men saw us, removed a pin for us to cross, and then he chased the pigs. The adults walked off by themselves, but the babies probably thought it was a game and came running towards the car. The man chased them again and boy can they run! If was funny to see those short legs move those round little bodies out of our way.
Amazing blue flowers
@ The Wheelbarrow
Then we got to the parking space and the bus mentioned above. Off to the bathroom it was for me while Francois walked around to spot a picture or two.
Side note: I have been to facilities on this trip that will give most people nightmares. And that is all I am going to say on that subject.
The cheese farm was a short visit. Their food offering looked uninteresting, and their set up not really geared for casual visitors. So we decided to go back to Haenertsburg. And here we are at the Eatery.
The food was delicious, and I liked the interior of the place too. The staff was lovely and knowledgeable about the food on the menu (dairy allergies can make for an exciting test of the waitress' knowledge).
We are now back at the cottage taking stock of the morning's excursions and thinking about what we are going to do after we finish our coffee.
17h19 settled in to wait for our dinner (pizza on both counts) to be served.
After we finished our coffee, we went damming. First off the Ebenezer Dam. To get there, we had to drive on what is known as Blue Gum Lane. It is not the official name of the road (gravel again, but not as bad as this morning's) because of the giant blue gum trees that line it on both sides. I collected a few blue gum leaves from the ground and took a few more pictures. I don't know if you have ever been close to such big trees, not only tall mind you, but they do give one a sense of timelessness. I also felt in awe that such living entities exist and are not cut down when the pine forest is harvested. The people of this country are not known for their environmental awareness, so seeing these beautiful big trees, almost made me cry.
Yes, we have all those national parks, but their existence is no longer because people feel the need for preservation of our fauna and flora, it is money that ensures their survival. These trees, however, have no monetary value, and yet there they stand. Doesn't say a lot about the new South Africa, does it?
Magoebaskloof Dam, photographer taking a picture, Limpopo province
Francois taking a photograph of Magoebaskloof Dam
Our next stop, down the mountain, was the Magoebaskloof Dam. Neither of us had been there, and it is a sight for sure. Especially with all those trees on the opposite shore. The water was mirror calm, and I am sure Francois' photographs (I will steal one with his permission) will tell the story. The angle of the sun made mobile phone pictures challenging, that is why I want one of is.
Back up the mountain, the sun is about to leave us for the day, and we are awaiting our pizzas with hungry anticipation.
Tomorrow morning we take the road back home to Pretoria. One the one hand the break was nice, but I like being home too. Since it is a long weekend, there is still a weekend ahead for doing things like drawing and shopping for supplies for next week. I have laundry to do, and the rest of the house to clean. Long weekends also go by faster than we want them to, don't they?
So this has been a short Follow Me, but I trust that you enjoyed my stories and our pictures documenting yet another beautiful part of my country, South Africa.

Until next time!

💜 Linzé