How can I become a better writer in 2019?

How can I become a better writer in 2019? Lynda Filler, Winner of Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 BTRC at Writers and Authors (2009-present) Quora

I love this!!!

Elizabeth Gilbert—Everyone has read Eat, Pray, Love, right—posted this on Instagram today and I just had to share!

elizabeth_gilbert_writer repost from Instagram

A friend told me yesterday that she was thinking of taking a writing class. I told her that was fine, but that I might be able to save her money, by telling her everything I know about HOW TO WRITE. So here it is!

My free 10-step Writing Academy:

1) Tell your story TO someone. Pick one person you love or admire or want to connect with and write the whole thing directly to them —like you’re writing a letter. This will bring forth your natural voice. Whatever you do, do NOT write to a demographic. Ugh. ❤️

2) Start at the beginning of the story, write what happened, and keep going until you get to the end. ❤️

3) Use radically simple sentences. ❤️

4) Don’t worry if it’s good; just finish it. Whether or not your project is good, you’ll be a different person at the end of it, and that’s always worth doing. ❤️

5) Don’t write with the aim of changing anybody’s life. That will lead to heavy, irritating prose. Just share what delights or enrages or fascinates you. If somebody’s life is changed by it, that’s a bonus. ❤️

6) Whenever you can, tell stories instead of explaining stuff. Humans love stories, and we hate having stuff explained to us. Use Jesus as an example: He spoke almost exclusively in parables and allowed everybody to draw their own lessons from his great storytelling. And he did very well. ❤️

7) Your work doesn’t have to be any particular length or written for any particular market. It doesn’t have to even be seen by another human being. How and if to publish your work is a problem for another day. For today, just write. ❤️

8) Remember that you’ve been doing research your whole life merely by existing. You are the only expert in your own experience. Embrace this as your supreme qualification. ❤️

9) Every writer starts in the same place on Day One: Super excited, and ready for greatness. On Day Two, every writer looks at what she wrote on Day One and hates herself. What separates working writers from non-working writers is that working writers return to their task on Day Three. What gets you there is not pride but mercy. Show yourself forgiveness, for not being good enough. Then keep going❤️

10) Be willing to let it be easy. You might be surprised. ❤️LG

I’m highlighting this and reading as a mantra every day until I know it off by heart! It was Eat Pray Love that inspired me to write my own memoir, LOVE The Beat Goes On, Thanks, Liz!

Reasons why Istanbul should be #1 on your Bucket List

How I ended up in this city is pure serendipity. But here I am and I LOVE it.

  • Everyday I learn more and more. 17M people live here, but it feels like any other city in the world, only more historical and beautiful. Let me tell you why I love it.You walk amongst historical sites like it’s part of everyday life. Take a look at this view. The Blue Mosque is in the foreground and the Hagia Sophia in the background. If you make an arrow straight from the left of this photo over the Bosphorus Strait, that’s where I live. It’s a 15 minute tram ride to the Blue Mosque.
The Blue Mosque at night
  • The Old City Walls are intact and can be seen in various forms all around the city. Imagine driving on ultra modern bridges and highways, with a view of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople that saved the city many a time during its wars against the Avars, the Tartars, the Russians, and the Bulgarians.

Photo Bob Phillips thank you! Fine Art America

  • The food is fun, delicious, nutritious, and colorful! And I LOVE the chocolates!!
Fish Sandwiches under the Galata Bridge
  • The mix of old and new is felt in both the architecture, the culture, and the Islam religion. The unique ability for a 96.4% Muslim country to live side by side with all religions and cultures is felt in the welcoming nature of the people. As a secular woman I dress in my comfortable secular attire, and walk side by side with fully robed and casually attired Muslim women. There is no criticism, nor evil eyes, only nods of recognition that we are all one.
  • I LOVE the Call to Prayer, the Muslim tradition of the Quran prayer that reminds the devout five times a day, to stop what he/she is doing and say a prayer. Most of us have a belief in a Higher Power. It’s expressed by a variety of religions and ideologies, but the tenets are the same: We are all one and God is Love.

I was given a second chance at life in 2008 and I am determined to make the most of it! LOVE the Beat Goes On

Thank you for following my blog and I hope I gave you a small taste of life in Istanbul, Turkey.

Why did it hurt so much?

What was the most difficult thing you had to deal with after writing and publishing your personal story or memoir?

To understand what I’m about to reveal, let me explain that in 2008 I was given 6 months to live! I was diagnosed with a heart condition that I didn’t know I had but the symptoms had been with me for at least a year. After months of treatment and absolutely no improvement, the doctors told me to “get my affairs in order”—and they weren’t referring to my love life!

Writing LOVE The Beat Goes On was the most amazing experience for me, and yet, so highly personal and revealing. I cried a lot and laughed too. There’s a great quote I read after I published it: When you write a memoir, there’s no place to hide. I also read a comment about memoirs that said there is rarely truth in a memoir. Two very differing points of view and both equally correct.

The book won medals, and was chosen as a Book of the Month club selection, and read by groups, and sits at 4.5 Stars in the top 25 of Amazon Health, Fitness books. BUT, I got one super hurtful nasty review. The writer compared me to Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat Pray Love which I loved, but the review said basically that I (and Liz) was a woman of passion and privilege. I can’t argue the passion, but what hurt so much was the “privilege.”

My immediate thoughts went to my upbringing. My Dad was a military guy with all the challenges of returning from war. He drank, he smoked and I only recall bad times that ended in arguments between my mom and him. I also remember bearing the brunt of his anger and leaving the supper table daily in tears. But those times helped me become independent and self-sufficient.

We moved every three years—I still have difficulty staying in one place and forming attachments—including marriages. I found out I divorce very well. I had my first job at the age of 11, washing hair in a beauty salon on the weekends. And I worked my butt off my entire life—built businesses, lost them, and kept on going. Hardly a privileged life.

I don’t say these things for pity. I don’t believe in self-pity or blame. I mention them as facts. The same way I might smile when I buy a new pair of shoes. When I was a kid, I got a new pair of shoes when there was a hole in the sole and the cardboard that blocked the hole didn’t work anymore.

This was the only life I knew. And I learned from it. I came away strong and independent and determined to make a place for myself in the world. I brought up my boys, I supported my family, and when fate gave me 6 months to live, I never ever gave up my belief that I could and would heal myself.

It’s okay to dislike my personal story or not feel hope and inspiration for the way I fought through those challenges and defied the doctors’ diagnoses. But the personal attack, that was so painful. It brought back a ton of memories, you know, those deeply buried bad things that you never tell anyone!

When you write about your life, you will always be scrutinized. And let me tell you, it’s really hard not to take it personally. But the good news is, I get emails almost daily from people that have been inspired or are suffering from the same condition as I was, and I know I’ve made a difference in their lives. And for that, I would tell my story over and over again.

Thanks for asking.

Answered in Quora


How to be unforgettable

How did Toni Morrison influence your life?

At this time in my life as I’ve allowed myself to fall in love againI would say her words on love touch my soul in profound ways.

Every great author and some who never achieve world-wide acclaim has affected our lives in a multitude of ways. Toni Morrison’s work is in a class by itself. Maybe right up there with Maya Angelou.

I will let her words speak to you in honor of her memory.

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”

“Something that is loved is never lost.”

“To get to a place where you could love anything you chose, not to need permission for desire, well now that was freedom.”

“Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind.”

It is the courage of authors like Toni that have opened their hearts and bared their souls, that gave me the guts to write the stories that I write. My memoir LOVE The Beat Goes On is so personal and revealing it took me years before I would publish it.

“Make up a story. For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.” Toni Morrison

So I went on and wrote about a 50 year-old-woman and her 20-year-old lover in Target in the Sun. And then I exposed the lives of several male prostitutes in Mexico writing in the first person as Layla, in Lie To Me, again opening myself to major criticism, but also an award for Contemporary Fiction Social Issues.

It’s not easy to reveal yourself because that’s what I do when I write. Yes, my books are “fiction” but as in the current Daniel Silva book The New Girl, our stories are often based on fact. Some hide it better than others.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  Toni Morrison

This sums it up for me:

Lynda Filler photographer

Answered on Quora

Warning: This will blow your mind.

You know I love to write for Quora. Yes, it could very well be my guilty pleasure. But seriously speaking, today is a very sad day for America. In the last 24 hours there have been two mass shootings reported. My heart hurts for those whose lives were cut short, and the loved ones whose hearts are breaking in this very moment.

But the sad part is, it will all be simply a news bite, a politician’s rant, and a forgotten by the end of the week.

The following is the piece I posted in Quora. I’ve been living in Istanbul for almost five months now, and this question comes up all the time. I won’t say enjoy this piece, rather it’s time to wake up to the reality of the way the world is changing.

Is it safe to travel in Istanbul?

Lynda Filler, lives in Istanbul (2019-present)Answered 4m ago

The El Paso Shooting Is The 249th Mass Shooting Of 2019

There’s a tweet that will trend on Twitter today about Mass Shootings around the world.

I googled mass shootings and the above is what showed up. Imagine if the USA reported every single mass shooting that occurs throughout the USA? What are the chances that you will be close to/a victim of/know someone who/or are friends with a friend who is a victim of Domestic Terrorism?

I lived in Mexico, in a lovely town called Puerto Vallarta. From 2002 until 2019 when I decided to sell everything and travel the world. I used to get asked this question all the time about Mexico. I never had nor witnessed any violence all my time living in Mexico. Not that it didn’t happen. I would answer people in this way: If you’re doing something illegal, or looking for drugs, then you are opening yourself up to unsavory individuals in any country. But shootings? In Mexico, the killing is between rival cartels. And even that I’ve not witnessed.

I’ve been living in Istanbul, a city of 17 million people, for five months now. I’ve never even seen a fight or argument on the streets. I walk the hills and come home from late-night dinner through the city neighborhoods and feel safe.

I will tell you what the biggest danger in Istanbul is for a woman: falling in love with a Turkish man!!

My Istanbul and my life today

The good news is, I’m pretty much who I say I am.

The Real Me ~ Ecrits Blogophilia Wk 18.12DORIS EMMETT·SUNDAY, JULY 14,

2019 reprinted (with permission) because it’s so awesome!!

Something happens to my brain when I hear the line “tell me about the real you”. That (not so little at times) voice inside me whispers …”yes yes go ahead and tell them”–but then the louder voice (OMG so many voices inside my head) shouts “NO! Don’t you dare!” So the question remains…which voice do I listen to?When I was younger, the idea that someone really wanted to take the time to hear about the “real me” always felt rather flattering. But seriously–it’s such a loaded statement and coming up with a good answer? Well–more than a bit of a challenge. For example–what happens if the “real you” is the body suit you have been wearing all along? Is this person who is asking–implying that I am an impostor in my own skin? Some sort of pretender trying to fool him (and others) with my fake facade? OR–has the assumption been made that–like most of us–I keep many parts of my real personality hidden from public view?What does “real” actually mean? I googled it (of course) and here the results:

  1. actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed.
  2. (of a substance or thing) not imitation or artificial; genuine.

As children we are “real” in that we have not yet discovered how to be anything else. We are genuine and spontaneous in our behaviors and reactions to stimuli outside ourselves. We laugh loud when we are amused or happy and we cry (even louder) when we are hurt or in pain. Although the reasons may be a bit cloudy–there is not doubt of what we are feeling…no need to guess at our emotional responses. No child when asked “does it hurt” will say “no” –if indeed it hurts. A joyful child (to me) is akin to the 8th wonder of the world–in that it is a wonder to behold. Where would You-Tube be without all those home videos of children clapping their hands and laughing uproariously (over seemingly) nothing? How infectious that joy can be–we keep replaying those videos over and over again and laughing along…it makes us FEEL so good–because it’s…you guessed it…REAL!

We grow older and we learn to disguise our (sometimes favorable or unfavorable) reactions behind poker faces that cannot be accurately read by those trying to figure us out. Why? Why do we do that? What’s the benefit? Well–somewhere between child and growing up we discovered that letting others know how we REALLY feel–isn’t always a good thing. We figured out that keeping a leash and collar on our emotions and responses–can help us to feel less vulnerable to others. In fact–telling people we feel the opposite of how we actually do–is sometimes a valuable tool called “reverse psychology”–and can get us things we want much faster–than if we told the truth.The danger of bottling up the “real”– inside a body suit of “fake”– is that a time may come when we (ourselves) may no longer know how we actually feel in a given situation. We can lose track of who we really are– when we don’t let our real feelings manifest. We can start to feel misunderstood by those around us (indeed by the world at large) and crawl inside a little black hole that seems to keep getting bigger–each time we swallow a truth and replace it with words that mask and hide what we truly are thinking and feeling.

The “real me” had been held captive for a while now in a suit of armor that is very restricting. True I have little “breathing holes” I call them–where real feelings slipped out occasionally– but for the most part–I kept myself bottled up. The funny part is that lots of people never noticed. I am by nature a caring person and I believe myself to be a kind person as well. But after too much heartbreak– I had learned to zip my mouth and allow my brain the time sift through countless options before I spoke. The “real me” sometimes suffered by my own censorship of what was dying to burst out of me–but kept being told (by a brain that had been put in charge)–”NO! Don’t say it that way–someone might misunderstand and you’ll find yourself in yet another pickle. You’ll just have to extricate your foot from your mouth again and do–way too much damage control and explaining–much better to just “tell them what they want to hear”.

And so I did. I used to tell people what they wanted to hear and they were happy (for that moment)–until they found out (much later on) that I had not expressed my true feelings at all. I had not lied to them–but had certainly been guilty of the “crime” (?) of omission. I omitted telling them what I felt would surely be unpleasant and upsetting to them. But that was then and this is now.

As I write this I am smiling…simply because I have found my own definition of “real”. “Real” feels good…it feels right…it doesn’t make you queasy or uneasy. “Real” is what you feel without “fine-tuning” it to something more “acceptable” or “appropriate”. “Real” is honest and speaks truth. Sometimes “real” isn’t popular in a discussion –especially if others are practicing and engaging in (all too common) “fake” repertoire. Other times “real” can also make or break a relationship–but I’ve learned that any relationship broken by truth and honesty–is not one I want to be in. “Real” is also trust. Trusting what your heart and mind are telling you is right and true.

In this world of ours –where false advertising prides itself on fooling the better part of a population and where people appear almost eager to be duped in ways that are truly unimaginable– I believe knowing when (and who) to trust is nothing less than a God given gift and blessing.I have learned to “trust” me. It took so many years of trusting everyone else–thinking they all knew stuff about me that I could not myself comprehend–before I finally looked in the mirror and smiled at what I saw. I didn’t cringe at the white hair (although that little voice whispered gently–you can put a blonde rinse in it anytime). I didn’t try to stretch the skin around my eyes (or mouth) to make the wrinkles less noticeable–I now accepted them as the laugh lines they truly are (they are–right??). I’ve learned to laugh a myself (and not at my own expense). I see my long nose–patrician nose they call it? Yeah it’s still large–my face never really grew big enough to make my nose look small–but it’s mine and I own it. Hey–a large nose was good enough for Barbra Streisand never to want to tamper with–so why should I regret my own? My eyes stare back at me–the color (sometimes) of a clear blue sky –and other times resembling a stormy ocean–are they placed too close together? Who cares? I can see myself and others clearly with them now–so my vision seems to be improving (not deteriorating).

“So people now you know my story”…don’t judge me harshly as I humbly suggest that life can be filled with so much artificial bullshit! Sometimes the only “real” you will find is when you close your eyes and see with your heart. If thinking is required–sometimes it is better to shut off the louder voices in your brain and listen to the softer sounds of your soul instead. You may only hear a whisper at time–but if it feels real–listen to it and follow what it is telling you. My best decisions have been a direct result of what I saw in my heart and felt in my soul –rather than what my overworked and over-thinking brain sometimes pumped out trying to convince me to accept as “real”.

Tomorrow I will be at Jones Beach on Long Island. It’s one of my favorite places to get in touch with the “real me”! There’s just something about the sound of the waves and the seagulls–the wide open sky and the endless expanse of the ocean that allows me to breathe easier. This setting helps me believe in a reality that is bigger than just me. A reality in which I am but a tiny grain of sand on an enormous beach–or a tiny drop of water in an infinite sea. But just like the sand and water–I too was created by skillful hands and I am very–very “real”. What you see is what you get…my motto to live by. Ask and I will tell you –so be prepared.

I’ve learned to face the unpopularity of truth in certain circles–but it will never keep me from speaking it. I AM that friend who will tell you the there’s a piece of spinach stuck in your teeth–that your zipper is at half mast (guys) or that you are being an “asshole” (if you are) and though you may hate me now–you might actually thank me later (lol). Reality…what a concept! I pray for everyone to just learn to accept themselves as the perfectly imperfect– but totally “real” people they can be. I think we need to stand up (and stand together) against forces trying to convince us that we are not “good enough” just as we are. Indeed, voices that preach of a need to embellish our God given assets to such a degree– that we no longer recognize ourselves when we look in the mirror. Maybe it’s time to accept that “real” face we see staring back at us (without judgement) and to love it–just the way it is?



I reprinted because I LOVE THIS! Doris is a member of Lyndas Raven Army and a FB friend, a fan of my work, and a trusted member of my creative circle for so many years. Follow the link above to enjoy more of her musings.

I refused to die!

If you were writing a memoir about your life, what story would be the most important to tell? Lynda Filler, Writer, Novelist, Top QUORA Writer 2018 at Lynda Filler Author (2009-present)

I published my first memoir, LOVE The Beat Goes On, in 2017 because I wanted to save lives. No, I’m not a medical doctor, nor do I have any kind of certification. But in 2007/8 I had a series of events that turned out to be Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

So let me take a moment to give you some back story so you will understand why ‘saving lives’ became a mission in my life. Women tend to neglect their health. It’s not unusual to self-diagnose and keep on going. Unfortunately for me, I was having attacks/gasping for breath and assumed that I was allergic to allergy meds. With what I know today, it’s possible that the allergy meds triggered the attacks. But I never went to the doctor! This went on for almost a year until I sat on a bench in a ski resort in Whistler, BC unable to breathe and suddenly it dawned on me I was having a heart attack.

There were so many lessons to share about my fight to survive, my determination, and my unorthodox methods of healing. People often ask me what I did—I have to respond, get the book! The information is there.

AND it’s on S A L E for $.99 cents.

LOVE The Beat Goes On $.99 AMAZON DEAL https://amzn.to/2Fol8eG

What followed my diagnosis was a series of events, my emotional reactions, my body’s resistance to medication, a cardiologist who advised me I had six months to live, and an amazing Irish GP who reminded me: “You know you can heal yourself.”

I wanted to tell my story, shout it out to the world, because if my body could heal from an “incurable” situation, maybe yours can too. You might not have a heart issue, it might be cancer, or it could be depression or any other ‘dis-ease’.

I began writing my book in 2009, but someone said to me: “What if your healing doesn’t work? What if you die?” So I stopped writing, and put the manuscript away, for several years. Then I had a Dr. Wayne Dyer experience that thrilled me and let me know that it was time to get my story out there. And from the emails, texts on FB, Twitter, or responses to my website and YouTube videos, I know I did the right thing putting my personal life on display. But I must tell you, writing a memoir is super scary: when you write a memoir, there’s nowhere to hide.

Now it’s 2019, I’m traveling the world. Currently in Istanbul, Turkey. I know I’m going to die someday. And it might yet be heart-related. My life has always been heart-centered so I expect that’s how I will exit this particular realm. But while I’m here, my desire is to share my story, my beliefs, and to live life to the fullest. I want to inspire others to do that too!

I’m Alive!

 

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It’s that time of year, again! Happy Mother’s Day! I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy in early 2008! After many months at 28% EF, there was no improvement although the shortness of breath and what felt like heart attack seemed under control with meds.

The doctors told me at best I’d need a transplant but basically the last words were “get your affairs in order.” This photo was taken a few days ago in Istanbul Turkey. This year I sold everything and decided to travel and visit all the places I write about in my books! I’m now in my fourth month!! I’ve written my personal story it’s available on Amazon LOVE the Beat Goes On, and has inspired many! But I’m writing this to let you know not to give up hope!!!

I went to work with a shaman in Arizona in 2008. I never had a transplant nor any operations. The last thing I did before I started this trip was to visit my cardiologist in Puerto Vallarta where I lived. He said “you will always have some left bundle blockage but your heart is functioning at 86% normal! And it’s been that way for several years! Live and enjoy your life!”

This is what I wish for all of you!

 

We live today tomorrow we die. What’s the meaning of life?

When my younger son was a teenager, he said something to me that has stayed in my mind: We’re here for a good time, not a long time. I think none of us know how many years or days we have to wander this planet, so we should live each day as if it’s our last.

I recently liquidated my life in order to travel. I’ve lived in Mexico for many years and since I started writing professionally, I’ve met people from all over the world. It opened my mind to opportunities to see a world that I’ve only ever read about or observed in film. Nothing prepares you for the real culture of another country, nor the kindness of a countries’ people. You must experience this.

I have a mantra that’s been running through my mind for the last couple of years: We are all one. If the Universe is to survive, it’s not about climate change but about a definite shift in how we see each other and the tolerance we have for each nation and culture around the world.

The birth of the www. gave us an opportunity that no prior generation ever had. It opened the door to the possibility of friendships from all over the world. These friendships forge the way for us to understand that regardless of the color of our skin, the languages we speak, we have a common thread running through our lives: love. We all wake up in the morning, study, grow, form family, have children—or not—worry about our families, careers, putting food on the table, our health and our love. We are all one.

At the end of my life, I know that all that will matter is how much I loved.

https://www.quora.com/We-live-today-tomorrow-we-die-Whats-the-meaning-of-life/answer/Lynda-FillerMy answer on Quora