Blog entries from: Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile

Writings and thoughts from Motswana writer, Lauri Kubuitsile

1 to 10 of 12

November 26 2014

From Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile Wed Nov 26 2014, 06:26:00

I'm looking for a few bloggers maybe about ten who would like to help me with an experiment. I'd especially like bloggers from around Africa (especially from Botswana), but will also consider bloggers living other places.

I have a novel, The Vanishings, that has been accepted for publication by two publishing houses, but for reasons I'd not like to get into, I've had to take it back from both of them. The Vanishings and I are feeling slightly battle worn and don't feel like taking any more walks toward publishers together. I thought, instead, I would serialise it on my blog. I thought, starting maybe next year February, I'd put a chapter on my blog every Thursday for folks to read. Then I thought what might be even nicer was if other bloggers agreed to do the serialisation too. And then I ...

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November 19 2014

From Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile Wed Nov 19 2014, 05:40:00

No matter if you are a freelance magazine article writer or a short story writer, at some point you will need to negotiate a deal. If you're a freelance article writer you will need to turn your query into an article that will be bought and paid for in a reasonable time. The problem is that most writers are not business savvy. At some point negotiating will mean talking about money, which many of us have been taught is rude. It's a very fine line one must walk to appear assertive and willing to protect your own interests, as opposed to being too hard and rigid. You must keep in mind at all times- this is a business arrangement. The editor has the parameters that she must work inside of, but so do you. Here are some tips to help make the process less painful. 

1. Assist a busy editor

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November 17 2014

From Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile Mon Nov 17 2014, 07:50:00

I'm currently taking an online writing course at the University of Iowa. Each week we watch a video and are given an assignment around the issues brought up in the video. The week before last we were learning about ways constraints on your writing can force you to look closer at it, particularly at individual sentences. Constraints might include the number of words in each sentence, for example writing a piece where each sentence is only seven words.

In my case, I chose writing a piece where each sentence must have a number in it. I've realised that doing this does indeed improve the quality of the sentences. It was a great exercise and I'm planning to use this when I begin my next longer work of fiction, mostly because in longer works the space actually removes constraint and, at least for ...

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November 10 2014

From Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile Mon Nov 10 2014, 10:54:00

I have a quote from Wendell Mayes on my office wall- "You're only willing to succeed to the same degree you're willing to fail." I read it often. I read it when I'm about to send a short story out to a  new magazine and I'm hesitating because I'm afraid of them saying no. I read it when I think that the new novel I've started is far too ambitious for my writing skills and it might never find a publisher. I read it when I'm preparing for a speech or panel discussion where I know people in the audience are far more accomplished than I am.

I remind myself when I read that quote, that if I want to accomplish anything, I have to accept that if it is tough, if it is new to me, if it is intimidating- that's a good thing. That means I'm stretching myself. That means I'm at that wonderful edge ...

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November 6 2014

From Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile Thu Nov 6 2014, 05:06:00

I'm back home from the Maun International Arts Festival. It's our only literary festival in Botswana with any staying power, so I'm always keen to be there to support the organisers, Poetavango, a performance poetry group based in Maun.

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October 17 2014

October 15 2014

From Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile Wed Oct 15 2014, 06:44:00

Last weekend the Twitter world erupted after tweets appeared written by  Binyavanga Wainaina about The Caine Prize. I think Binyavanga is fabulous. I think nearly everything he writes is exciting and inventive, and makes you stop and re-think what you thought you knew. In person, he is warm and inclusive, and awe-inspiringly brilliant. But when I read those tweets, I felt very sad.  I felt like we were shooting ourselves in the feet once again and wondering why we keep falling down.

Fine, yes, questions can be asked about why the prize for short story that Africans most respect originates in UK. We know the answer to that question. Africans don't care enough about literature. There have been, rightly or wrongly, other things higher on the list that needed to be attended to. But ...

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October 6 2014

From Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile Mon Oct 6 2014, 12:06:00

I earn quite a bit of my income from South African publishers. The South African government is attempting to institute a policy where one textbook in each subject is prescribed for the entire country.  The petition explains why this is a bad idea for students and teachers, but it is also a disastrous idea for writers and publishers.

In Southern Africa, South Africa is the only place where a trade market for fiction is viable. But often this is only because the publisher can make good income from the educational market. If the SA government's policy is implemented it will mean only a few publishers (most likely big internationals) will have a part of that pie. Without the educational publishing money, many publishers will be forced to close up shop. This will mean that even fewer ...

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September 26 2014

From Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile Fri Sep 26 2014, 06:18:00

I hear about writers getting writer's block. If I'm in the middle of a project, that usually doesn't happen to me. I might have a crap writing day, where nothing I write works, but then I either keep writing until the crap sorts itself out, or I leave that project and work on something else in an attempt to get the juices flowing again. But there is a thing I fear, I call it the blank zone.

The blank zone is when your big project you've been working on for a year or more is finished, and nothing else has popped up to take its place. For me, I always have small projects running. I have my weekly column, or a short story I'm working on. I might have other writing projects going on , for example right now I'm working on books for an early reader series. But even with these small projects ...

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September 9 2014

From Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile Tue Sep 9 2014, 05:53:00

Everything was set for me to take off for Nairobi next week to attend the Storymoja Festival, but then the air ticket had a problem that couldn't be sorted. So- sadly- I am no longer attending. I was looking forward to it, especially the master class on writing for teens and the panel discussion on romance writing- but oh well, things happen.

Coincidentally, on the same day I learn I won't be attending a literary festival, my piece I wrote many months ago on litfests goes up on Kalahari Review: The Best of Times- The Worst of Times. Here's a bit of it:

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