So my book has finally been launched. And what a lovely success it was. I feel so blessed and loved. So many people turned up to support me and this new, exciting venture of mine. Posting now a Q and A done with me. The first time that I’m on the other side of an article in a newspaper. Not my byline on the page, but a feature on me and the book. Hope you enjoy it!!!
‘Changing your thoughts to change your life.’
This simple sentence encompasses part of the message contained within the pages of Yasheera Rampersadh’s newly-published book, Get Out Of Your Own Way.
A former Newcastillian, Yasheera launched the book on Wednesday in Johannesburg.
Shortly before this, the Newcastle Advertiser enjoyed a question and answer session with this proud ambassador for the town:
Tell me about your life in Newcastle, where you went to school and what activities you participated in.
I schooled at Suryaville Primary School, St Oswald’s Secondary School and then I completed my schooling at Lincoln Heights. I was always a good student. I didn’t always
participate in extra-curricular activities, but I always took part in school concerts and plays.
I realised I wanted to become a journalist when, in Matric, I won a writing competition and was chosen to experience the life of a journalist at Rhodes University for a
week. At the time, the principal didn’t want to let me go because the trip was to take place during first term exams, but my dad made sure the opportunity did not go to waste and told him it’s OK if I don’t get any marks in the first term exams.
I went to Rhodes, loved what I saw and learnt there, and then returned home and started applying for journalism spots at tertiary institutions. I also then worked very hard to make up the lost marks in the rest of the Matric year and finally got accepted to study in Durban.
Your career path as a journalist, how did this influence your decision to write a book?
I studied Journalism at the Durban Institute of Technology. I went on to do my internship at OFM in Bloemfontein and then moved to Johannesburg to work at SAPA (South African Press Association). There I worked in various roles: I worked as a reporter in the field and then worked as morning news editor. In my seven years at SAPA, I was also seconded to Sydney to the Australian Associated Press for a while. I also worked as a Parliamentary reporter in Cape Town and then returned to Johannesburg to start up SAPA’s multimedia operations.
After seven years, I felt the need to move on and joined eNCA – eTV’s 24-hour news channel. I am currently an output editor there. I put news bulletins together, decide
what goes into the bulletin, what order, headlines, interviews etc. I decided to write the book last year.
It’s always been a dream of mine to write a book. But I decided to write a motivational book after I realised the importance positive thinking and self-belief has in achieving your goals and dreams and creating a life that you want, the way you want it. Journalism paved the way for me to be able to write the book confidently. My experience as a journalist helped me create something I knew will be readable and accessible to the public. It provided a platform for me to make my dream a reality.
Publishing is a daunting part of the process for many writers – how did you go about ensuring the book went to print?
I self-published the book. I did some research and found in this information age we’re living in, you can basically do anything yourself – using the internet. I first published the book late last year on Kindle. I submitted a copy to them, which they checked and then okayed and published. I then contacted a printing press in Cape Town. They helped me put the book together and design the cover. I’m still busy talking to distributors about getting the book in stores, but it is being launched in the meantime.
I was lucky enough to have Skoobs Theatre of Books at Monte Casino agree to host my launch. The book should also be in libraries around the country soon.
What was your biggest challenge of the entire process?
The biggest challenge in the whole process is distribution. Your distributor is very important – more important than your publisher. Finding the right distributor is important if you want to get the book on the right shelves. This takes a bit of time – a couple of months even.
Have you other book ideas planned and will they be of the same genre?
I do have other books planned; I want to make this a series. So the second book will be of the same genre, but a sub-topic. I won’t be revealing all of the details just yet. I actually started off with the intention of writing children’s books and somehow ended up with this one.
Why would you recommend a person purchase your book?
The book is about positive thinking and self-belief. It tells you how your thoughts and words impact your life. We sometimes don’t realise how the things we say about ourselves or how the thoughts we think keep us from achieving what we want.
People tend to blame bad luck, karma and even God for all that goes wrong or doesn’t work out. But the truth is you are what you think. You are what you believe you are. So for example, if you cry poverty, you will remain in poverty; if you think you always get the bad end of the stick, then nothing will ever work out for you.
The book was initially intended for students and people starting their lives. I believed the information was important for them to know and understand so they could ‘create’ the life they wanted. I think they should definitely read it because it will help change their thinking, and in turn attract all things good to their lives right from the start. But it’s actually a book anybody can read. If you want to achieve a dream or goal, turn your life around or just start living a more positive life, then it’s a book you should read.
Explain briefly how your experiences helped shape the content of the book, and how it felt to pen something from quite a personal standpoint?
I’ve always been very spiritual. Being a part of the Sai Organisation, I was taught, just like most spiritual organisations, that positivity is important. But it’s not easy to understand this until you’re faced with a situation where you’re forced to look within and introspect. So I started doing this about two years ago. I also started meditation and through that whole process I stumbled upon several philosophical works on the subject. I began to put all these teachings to practice and found amazing results.
I found you can create something as simple as a parking spot for yourself or you can literally define how much you earn. I also found in the whole process of effecting good change in your life, it is important for there to be balance. In other words your spiritual, mental and physical beings need to be well fed. So you must eat right, exercise and meditate.
Self-belief also plays a very important role in it all. Basically we’re not here to find ourselves, we’re here to create ourselves. And the lesson here is you can create anything you want, nothing is impossible. It was quite a difficult task writing something from a personal standpoint because I was not sure what people who knew me would think after reading it. But I put all that aside and decided this information needed to be shared with people. It may already be out there by various writers but this is packaged in a short, precise and simple-to-read book. A few quick pointers and you’re on your way to creating magic!
I’d also like to say it was not just journalism or spirituality that’s helped me in this process. It was also my parents, Satish and Shirlini Rampersadh and my granny, Mrs Beni. Their love and support over the years played a big role in it all. They are broad-minded and extremely supportive and have helped me grow so very much. They’ve allowed me to always choose the paths I was most comfortable with, even if went against what society thinks or believes. For that, I will always be very grateful. They are encouraging and helpful and I think that gave me the courage to write exactly what I felt and then get it published.