The Writer Files is an online interview I conduct with various writers about their books and their writing styles. It is a form of getting to know the writer, his/her writing style and to tell his/her story.
The Writer Files will be featured on my blog [rochemamabolo.wordpress.com] once a week featuring various writers.
The answers to the below questions should be taken in the context of writing [a book, blog or anything form of writing].
I have known Emilie for a while, over 5 years now. She is my home-girl, we both come from Mamelodi, northeast of Pretoria. She is an amazing activist and entrepreneur.
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Emilie E. Olifant and I’m an evolving soul that loves and embraces creativity. I love life and strive to live my life as best and free as I can. Since 2017 I’ve been exploring the entrepreneurial space and being an author.
I wrote and published my first book, my autobiography, My Life Climax, in 2017. I’ve been a disability activist since I sustained my car accident in 2003 and have actively participated in activities I found resonated with my mission which is, “to bridge the gap and integrate disability, either in society or business”.
As a writer, I’ve also been contributing inspirational and insightful articles to a bi-monthly magazine called “Rolling Inspiration” for over two years now. This year being 2019, I plan to establish a business I’ve been working on for a year.
2. What is your area of expertise as a writer or online publisher?
I write from the heart and from what I’ve lived already. I’ve been keeping a journal since I was a teenager and everything I’ve been and experienced, that which I deem necessary to be shared with world, I document. I only share what I know. I believe that if I write from the heart and my truth, if I remain authentic and transparent, this is the message I would like my readers to resonate with every time they buy my books. Truth don’t need to be schooled. You just live it.
3. Where can we find your writing?
Exclusive Books nationwide.
This year, 2019, God permitting, My Life Climax, will be made available in audio and on online book sales.
4. How much time, per day, do you spend reading or doing research your writings?
I read all the time. I don’t really count the hours. Once I start on a book or article or my research, I can’t put that down, unless I’m mentally fatigued, of course.
5. Before you begin to write, do you have any pre-game rituals or practices? [Do you get coffee, tea, chocolate etc. before you write]
Don’t laugh but honestly speaking, I’m more creative after a glass of wine or whiskey, because I’m then more relaxed and I get more energized and can write until the wee hours of the morning or when I’m exhausted. Information flows easily and I just can’t stop typing. If I stop, I may forget you see?! I also can’t work in a quiet environment so there will always be soft music playing in the background.
6. What’s your best advice for overcoming procrastination in writing?
This is most people’s weakness and has been mine too for the longest time. Unless you’re hungry, you will never go hunting. I always believe though that God’s time is always the best, and when I don’t feel ready to do anything at a particular time, I don’t force it out of me.
I have, however, with time learned to distinguish between my God’s time and procrastination. When I feel that now I’m procrastinating, I say my prayers and meditate for strength. And then, even when I may not feel like it, I do what needs be done and trust in the process.
7. What time of day is most productive for your writing or content production?
I’m not a morning person. However, my day starts while still in bed – going through emails etc. When I’m busy writing a book though, I can write throughout the day and night. I get this adrenaline rush and I’m guided by the information flowing through me. So, in three months, my book can actually be completed.
8. Do you generally adhere to a rigid or flexible writing system?
Before I start writing I must have a structure, otherwise I will write anything and not necessarily stick to the topic at hand. However, once that structure is in place and I go chapter by chapter, I write what I like – still sticking to the topic at hand.
9. How many hours a day do you spend actually writing? [excluding email, social media etc.]
I stopped counting. The whole day I guess. Anytime I feel the need I get to it.
10. Do you write every day?
I’m a firm believer and I practice ‘work-life’ balanced living. So, I plan my days accordingly. When I’m working on a book though, it can be every day. The articles I need to submit for Rolling Inspirations have deadlines. So, I find a balance there. Any other times, I’m able to find time to contribute towards my social media platforms.
11. Define creativity.
Umm… I guess for me is just letting the ‘juices flow’ and not conform to any particular way of doing things. Play with words or ideas and think outside the box.
12. Who are your favorite authors? [online or off]
I have plenty but for this exercise, please allow me to mention just a few: Paulo Coelho, Maya Angelou, WM Paul Young, David McNally, Deepak Chopra, Don Miguel Ruiz, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Herta von Stiegel, Iyanla Vanzant, and Musa E. Zulu.
13. Can you share a best-loved quote?
Today actually, after reading the book called, The Alchemist, I came up with this one: “Unless you are hungry, you will never go hunting” – Emilie E. Olifant.
14. Do you prefer a particular type of music [or silence] when you write?
I always have soft music playing in the background when I work. Depending on the mood, it can range from Old Skool, Love Songs, Soft Jazz to Instrumental.
15. How would you personally like to grow creatively as a writer?
Recently I’ve decided I needed to write with lots more wisdom. Play with words more and push myself to write what I never thought I would before. Having said that, I would like to remain true to truth and give my readers authentic insight into my topics.
16. Do you believe in “writer’s block”? If so, how do you avoid it?
I write as I think and talk. I’m not actually sure I quite understand what this ‘writer’s block’ is anyway, so I guess my answer is NO.
17. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment? [i.e. specific creative inspirations, like goddess of inspiration]
Umm… I’ve never actually thought about it this way. But if I must force it out of me I’d say, everything and anything around me. It can be a feeling or an ‘a-ha’ moment I get at a particular time. Nothing specific actually.
My autobiography was my first book and that was inspired by my own life’s actualization. My articles on the other hand are inspired by the reasons why I chose that particular topic in the first place. I hope I answered your question?!
18. Would you consider yourself someone who likes to “take risks?”
I’ve been taking risks ever since I knew what my name was I think. My whole life I’ve been taking calculative risks. I believe that the only way for me to grow as a person and spiritually, is if I let myself go to places my soul longs for.
19. What makes a writer great?
I think if you can meet the need of your reader, that for me, is your job done!
20. What hardware or typewriter model are you presently using?
Sony Viro laptop. Pretty old but still as good as new. I have a portable Samsung Notebook, which I intend using when I travel.
21. What software are you using for writing and general workflow?
22. Do you have any tricks for staying focused?
I didn’t know you needed a trick to stay focused. I just do.
23. Have you run into any serious challenges or obstacles to getting words onto the page?
Sometimes an idea will come and I’d think “that’s what I must write about” but then I get stuck because I guess that’s what I “think” and not what the universe “thinks” is appropriate for me to write at that particular time, I guess.
24. How do you stay organized? [Methods, systems, or “mad science”]
I plan my year ahead, then break it down to quarters, then months, then weeks and eventually days. I’m able to manage my time well, thanks to being a ‘mild’ perfectionist. I work well under pressure and I’m very organized.
25. How do you relax at the end of a hard day?
I close my laptop, pour myself a glass of wine or whiskey, then catch up on my choice of series or cook and host good company.
I’m a homely person but from time to time I enjoy dining out. Growing up I used to watch my dad arrive back from work and go sit on his favourite arm chair, with a glass of brandy next to him, listening to his collection of jazz music. I guess I got that one habit from him.
26. Who [or what] has been your greatest teacher?
I have to give this one to my late father, Jacob “Mashite” Olifant. He taught me everything I know about independence, financial literacy ‘the foundation thereof’, family bond, transparency, and mostly – quality. As I grew older and had encounters with many other influential people, and I can’t name them here because they are so many; I learned from their music, their writing, their acting, their parenting, their loving, and of course, their being who they are. I tend to resonate with people who are authentic, transparent and mostly – humble.
27. What’s your biggest aggravation or pet peeve at the moment [writing related or otherwise]?
Anything that is not authentic or transparent wears me out. A lot of things and people, especially in the media, are overrated and fake and vain, and if you are not focused and don’t know what direction you’re headed… you’ll fall prey. So, I try to remain present.
28. Choose one author, living or dead, that you would like to have dinner with.
At this moment… definitely Paelo Coelho and WM Paul Young. Paelo because his book ‘The Alchemist’, took me to a spiritual insightful level that I’ve never imagined. He ignited something within me that was waiting to be realized and coughed out. I admire his creative writing. He is full of wisdom. WM Paul on the other hand, wrote the book ‘The Shack’, which takes you on a journey to the very heart of God. It is transformational and with every page that I read, I realized the complicated do’s and don’t’s that distort a relationship into a religion, being washed away as I got to understand who the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, are for the first time in my life.
I grew up with a Christian background but it was for the first time when I was 44 years old, when I clearly understood the relationship I have with the Holy Spirit.
29. Do you have a motto, credo or general slogan that you live by?
Not really. I just choose to live in the present.
30. What do you see as your greatest success in life?
My passion is to empower youth with disabilities to be independent and not always rely on social security services to feed them. I appreciate the gesture but it cripples one inside when you can’t reach your full potential. So, I’d like to see this legacy I’m building, carry on even when I’m no more. Other than this, personally, I’d love to see me become whom the Bible speaks of – “co-heir with Christ”. When this is realized, I guess then I can say I’ve succeeded.
31. If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go? [cost or responsibilities are no object]
My itinerary will include the following destinations: Jamaica, Zambia (again and again), Cuba, Italy, Thailand, Singapore and the USA.
32. What would you like to do more of in this year coming year?
Can I tell you what I’d like to do less instead? I tell you why this; I have realized (and been told) that I intimidate many people, especially those I’d like to establish a romantic connection with. I appreciate that most people find me to be a ‘full package’, yet they don’t see themselves worthy to being in a relationship with me. So, if I can, I’d like to present my less-serious, less-perfectionist personality, and show people more of the child that’s within me. And hopefully, I will not be misunderstood to being ‘lost’ or ‘going astray’ LOL.
33. Can you offer any advice to writers and content producers that you might offer yourself, if you could go back in time and “do it all over?”
Just write from the heart. Remain authentic and stay true to truth about the message you want to deliver. I resonate with authenticity and I would like to believe that most people do.
34. Please tell our readers where they can connect with you online.
My online platforms are:
Facebook: Emilie E. Olifant / My Life Climax / Emilie Olifant Foundation.
Instagram: Emilie Olifant.
Twitter: @Emilie_Olifant [I’m not much active here though].
35. Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about your next book, the title, what is it about and when will it be released?
I’m hoping to release my second book this year, 2019, unless the universe says otherwise. I’m working on God’s process to realizing what it will be about. Remember I don’t write fiction.
36. Please send us a picture of your writing space, an office, room, desk with all your writing equipment.
Thank you so much for tuning in to The Writer Files …
If you are writer and would like to be profiled on The Writer Files or if you know any writer you think should be profiled here, please feel free to contact me on: firstname.lastname@example.org