She impressed the world with her bellydancing skills as a semi-finalist on Britain’s Got Talent but behind the sparkly facade Sophie Mei Lan was hiding a secret life of addiction, binge-eating and bulimia that nearly killed her.
Sophie began documenting her rollercoaster journey to recovery, which included her struggles with mental illness, self-harming and her addictive behaviours, through vlogging, blogging and making documentaries. She danced in order to express herself when she felt unable to communicate her feelings.
Towards the end of her journey, she was approached by a publisher to tell her story, in a bid to show others that no matter how bad things can get, there’s always hope. The ambitious mum-of-two and self-proclaimed workaholic describes how she found true success and recovery through her journey from self-harm to self-love in her new book ‘Eat. Sleep.Control. Repeat.’
Her book received high praise from ITV’s This Morning presenter, Eamonn Holmes, who penned the foreword for the book. He said, ‘Eat. Sleep. Control. Repeat.’ is an amazingly insightful, gripping read. It just goes to show that we never know what is happening behind someone else’s closed doors.’
Today she answers 10 questions. Over to Sophie!
1.What’s your name and where do you come from?
I’m Sophie Mei Lan (aka Mama Mei), from Sheffield, lived in Manchester and Italy and now living in Wakefield (and in Harrogate half the week).
2. Do you write fact or fiction and in what genre?
I am a trained journalist and blogger by trade so I mainly write fact-based articles, stories and books unless I am writing a children’s book but even then they are based on true stories. I enjoy writing about mental health and wellbeing and self-help.
3. Are you traditionally or self-published and which route do you consider best?
My first book which is my memoir Eat. Sleep. Control. Repeat from ‘Self harm to self-love, to be truly successful,” is published by The Writing Hall and I have self-published a children’s book called Mama Milk! And for my published book I have self-published merchandise, so I design positive affirmation cards and feel good memorabilia which I sell through my blog mamamei.co.uk
4. What’s your work schedule like when you are writing?
I stick to a rigid morning routine which is: exercise, hot lemon water and writing my to-do list and checking my goals. Then if I have the kids, I get them ready and off to school. Then when I run home after school run, I can finally sit down to have breakfast and start writing because I get lost in writing, I almost have to make sure I get everything else done first so I can relax into it. I use yoga and dance practice to break up my day too and I also do life and social media coaching as well as making vlogs for YouTube. If I am having writer’s block, I try go on a jog or do a chore and then get back to my computer or I go somewhere to hot desk because I love coffee and a change of scenery when working from home.
5. What advice would you give to budding writers?
Don’t let doubts stop you. I am dyslexic and dyspraxic so I write, read and process information in my own way and with the help of assistive technology and patient people in my close circle who support me. Writing can be lonely so make sure those you spend time with are cheerleaders who motivate you not vampires who suck your energy. Also, make sure you have a number of revenue streams and think about your audience and promotional strategy as well as the fun creative side of the writing process.
6.Who/what are YOUR favourite authors/ books?
I love personal development and self-help books like The Miracle Morning and The Recovery Bible. I also like feel-good books such as All Along You Were Blooming by Morgan Harper Nichols and The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy. I tend to read blogs and a lot on social media so I love authors such as Man Vs Baby, The Unmumsy Mum, Cash Carraway and fellow independent authors at The Writing Hall. I often listen to business books too on-the-go via Audible.
7. Are you a plotter or a pantster? (i.e do you plan out your work or fly by the seat of your pants?!)
I am a hybrid. I have a rough plan to help organise my thoughts and direction but I go with the flow a lot and then have to rewrite a lot so it makes some logical sense! Some of my best creative writing is unplanned but when I am writing a book or article there is a rough plan so that I am delivering what is promised to the audience and I try not to be too self-indulgent with my words and get to the point.
8. What helps you focus?
I start my day with a workout which always gets my brain going and curbs some of the anxiety I feel on a morning. I also drink a lot of coffee. But I would say that breaking my day up with yoga, walks and dancing helps me to have some clarity on what I am writing. I am training to be a personal trainer too so I can help people online feel strong in mind and body, so I try to practice what I preach as I am more productive after some exercise.
9. How long did it take you to write your book/books?
Eat. Sleep. Control. Repeat. took three years from when I signed the contract because it is so personal and documents my journey from ‘self-harm to self-love’ as well as my struggle with eating disorders and addictive behaviours, so I went on a journey writing it as I wanted to be my strongest self when I finished it. My next book for adults is more of a self-help book for self-love and self-care and as that’s less of a memoir which should take me well under a year. I am also in the process of making a feel-good journal because I am a big advocate of training our mind, body and soul to be as strong as possible and enjoy life.
10. Where can we find your book/s?
My first published book (and memoir) Eat. Sleep. Control. Repeat, is available to buy now via https://www.hallgoodbooks.com/product-page/eat-sleep-control-repeat or on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZCVDR7
You can sign up to Sophie’s mailing list for all things positive quotes, affirmations and to share your inspiring life story: http://eepurl.com/g39Qx9
Follow Sophie on social media: @mamameiblog #perfectlyimperfect
She also has a holistic health club group on Facebook Squats and Sparkles – Women’s Health Club.
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