WRITING HELPS ME EXPRESS MYSELF

Nelly has written three books...

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Have you ever read a book written by a 13-year-old? The story of Nelly sounds unreal until you learn that she was chosen alongside ten other child authors with great books from across the country. To date, Nelly has written three books, an achievement she reached with support from her mother. Ni Nyampinga caught up with this amazing writer, and she told us how it all started.

Nelly began writing at the age of nine. Just four years later, she participated in the “Gira Igitabo Aho Uri” competition. Her book, “Muhirwe”, was chosen among the top ten! Her book talks about the equality of children, boys, and girls. It’s a story about a girl who believes in gender equality for boys and girls, and how she encouraged her community to understand this.

Nelly says she wrote “Muhirwe” to communicate what she believes in. “It helped me express my inner self because when I look back to the past, girls and boys didn’t have the same rights, and it saddens me.” Nelly confided to Ni Nyampinga that she was inspired by the story of Ndabaga, and how she replaced her father on the battlefield, proving that girls can do what boys can - a belief she now holds dear. “I love writing because it helps you to learn, and as a writer, I have learned a lot.”

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Today Nelly is 14 years old and combines writing and school - with one complementing the other. “Writing does not affect my studies because I write on weekends and during holidays.” To manage school and writing, her mother always reminds her to use her time effectively.

Although she loves writing, it’s sometimes challenging for her to put pen to paper on topics like culture and history. “I sometimes struggle to get information on things I don’t know about, but I’m never discouraged because my mum gives me some advice,” she said.

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She adds that sometimes she can’t find an illustrator, so she does the drawings herself - though they are not exactly as she would like them to be.

Nelly says that she would never have been able to write and publish books alone: “The journey to publish is so long, but my mother helps me proofread the book and corrects any mistakes before we submit it for publication.”

Her mother added: “Supporting her didn’t come right away because when she told me she writes, I didn’t give it my time because I thought it would distract her. But later I realised writing helps her think quickly, and now she is more curious to learn new things.”

As we concluded, Nelly told other Ni Nyampingas: “It’s useful to approach your parents or guardians because if you don’t have their support, it’s hard to know the best way to reach your goals. They can also provide you with information and knowledge about what you want to do.”

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HOW TO WRITE A STORY

If you have ever wanted to write your own book, here are simple tips to follow:

  • 1. Search for the subject. It may come from seeing something you like, what you talk about with people. It may come from your imagination, and you can also write about what you know.
  • 2. Develop the characters and their names. Think about what they're like, what their strengths and weaknesses are. Focus on two or three main characters.
  • 3. Think of actions or events that will happen to your characters.
  • 4. Write your story and share with your friends and family to help with the editing. You can even invite your friends to write too and then edit each other’s.
  • 5. Create the title of the story.

Writing Tip: Thoughts pop up all the time, so you always need a pen to write them down so you don’t forget.

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