Thursday, November 1, 2012

Writing in Cape Town, South Africa by Melanie Chisnall

I am delighted to welcome a writer/blogger from way far away to my blog. As soon as I found out where Melanie Chisnall calls home, I wanted to know more.

Melanie is a freelance writer based in Cape Town, South Africa. She lives in the beautiful winelands district with her husband, Geoffrey. She has just begun work on her first novel – a romance story set in her home city. She is passionate about animals, cooking, desserts, and traveling. In her spare time she reads, goes hiking, and explores the culinary delights that her city and the surrounds have to offer.

Somewhere along the way I also discovered Melanie is a chocolate brownie addict. I knew for sure we had connected across the universe for a reason...I'm hoping she has an amazing brownie recipe somewhere on her blog.


Writing in Cape Town, South Africa by Melanie Chisnall

It's taken me 10 years to realize that I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing for a living.

They say that all good things come to those who wait, well – I think ten years was long enough.

I couldn't be happier though.

I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Right on the southern tip of Africa, a city that I didn't appreciate ten - or even three years ago. It was only after taking a trip up the Garden Route earlier this year on holiday, that I realized what it meant to truly be happy. What it meant to live, and how to create happiness instead of waiting around for it to happen.

That's my goal when I write. I try and inspire people to reach for the impossible, to take those risks, to follow those dreams. Life is simply too short not to.

My Risks 

I started my own small gift business from home a few years ago. It had a good run – 2 years, but in the end it didn't work out. Times were tough, and so was the economy. I was sad to see it go – but it pushed me out of my shell, and it made me realize what I was capable of.

Earlier this year, I quit my job in accounts to become a full-time freelance writer. It was a “now or never” situation, and I knew that I had to follow my heart career-wise one last time.

My Writing

From a young age I've always enjoyed writing poems, and I still do. I'm most happy when writing on my blog, or writing creative articles for clients. I have just started working on my first novel, which I hope to be completed with by March 2013. After that, I'm going to carry on pursing my dream to become a published author here in South Africa, and hopefully even overseas!

Finding Inspiration

I find inspiration to write every day in Cape Town.

Thank goodness my cellphone has an excellent pixel count for taking pictures – it goes everywhere with me.

We don't go out to eat without my phone being hauled out to snap up a few pictures of the food, the restaurant and the surroundings.

Even a quiet walk on the beach turns into a mini photography session. I think that if I didn't enjoy writing so much, I'd probably have considered a career in photography.

Favourite Writing Spots in Cape Town

Cape Town has a rich, cultural vibe and is full of breathtaking scenery. I find inspiration everywhere.

I find it by watching families playing soccer together on the beach, or while eating a delicious piece of chocolate cake at a coffee shop.

I could walk through the busy city centre, or around the V and A Waterfront that's flocked by tourists every day to find inspiration.

Cape Town offers hundreds of beautiful settings and is every writer's dream.

Of course Table Mountain, the Kirstenbosch Gardens, and Robben Island are famous landmarks that provide writers with ample writing material.

I am privileged to live between the beach and the winelands, and as a nature lover, I find that I get most of my writing inspiration from simply sitting quietly and overlooking the vineyards, or taking a stroll next to the ocean.


Melanie, thanks so much for the tour of Cape Town and its surroundings. I can see it might be very hard to do any writing at home when you could be writing by the ocean.

For more information about Melanie and her work, visit her website and her blog (Scribbles and Smiles). She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I could write in any of those places!

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for introducing Melanie!

Melanie - What a lovely set of 'photos - thanks! And it sounds as though you've got a beautiful place for writing. I've only been in Cape Town once and then not long enough to really appreciate it. I can see how one could really flourish as a writer there.

Anonymous said...

Oh this gets my favorite interview vote. My soul sighed as I read Melanie's story. I too recently quit a career to take this leap into writing full-time. At 47, with grown kiddos it was time to taste my dream. You inspire me.

Your setting is gorgeous. I love my mountains and find a respite in them, but oh, the ocean.

Monti said...

What a wonderful interview! This gives me a view of Cape Town I hadn't thought of before. Lovely photos. Thanks, Pat, for sharing this and for introducing Melanie.

Mary Montague Sikes

Melanie Chisnall said...

Thank you all, what a quick response of comments! Pat, you have a fantastic blog going on here.

Alex - Absolutely! I know that we are truly spoilt here!
Margot - You should definitely try and make a visit here again soon so that you can take in all the sights and sounds.

Julie - It's comforting to know that there are others out there who have done the same thing! It just goes to show that it really is better late than never. You are inspiring also! :)

Monti - I'm glad I could show you a few different pieces of Cape Town in one place!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Everyone...Melanie, you beat me to the computer on this one. Of course, it's morning here and I have to have about a gallon of robust dark roast coffee before I can type. :D

Thanks so much for being here. I'll head over to Facebook and Twitter and help spread the word.

Dean K Miller said...

Lovely settings for "work"...if you could call it that...and I thought Sylvan Dale Ranch was nice!

It's great to see writers being able to plunge in full time...someday, maybe someday here, too.

Thanks Melanie and Pat for a great start to the morning.

Lynn Proctor said...

i can see how this beautiful landscape could inspire you---great interview!!

Trisha said...

I have never visited Cape Town, or anywhere on the African continent, but would love to someday. Thank you for sharing these pictures! They make me want to visit Cape Town sometime soon!

I live in a beautiful place too, but I do need to get away from it rather regularly in order to continue to appreciate it. ;)

Jemi Fraser said...

Gorgeous! I love the stairs going down the hill especially! :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Cape Town looks really beautiful. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia and Melanie - yeah .. took me back a few years ... I always head to Kirstenbosch when I visit - such a beautiful part of the world ... well the whole of the Cape is.

Good luck with the writing scenario - now you're in Spring time - excellent days out writing ...

Cheers Hilary