6 Tips that will change the way you write

What is your Best Unconventional Writing Advice?

It has nothing to do with grammar, or the English language, or what sells or doesn’t sell. I follow a few simple rules.

  1. I think I read this in Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott) “You have to stop writing as if your mother is reading over your shoulder!” I paraphrased, but you get the idea. Tell it like you see it and feel it. Be true to your thoughts, heart, and feelings.
  2. Develop a thick skin—armor. You’re going to need it. Bite your tongue at the critics. Remember if everyone loved the same things, there’d be no fashion industry or book genres, or millions of songs on the market. We are all different. Your readers will be from different walks of life and you will get reviews that hurt. Forget about them. Focus on the ones that think your work is great.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up about your writing. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a writer, but after agonizing over a novel you can’t seem to get it finished. It’s three years and still, it’s incomplete. It’s not from lack of time, writing might not be for you. If it’s not, let it go. When I was younger I took ballet. I loved it, but I couldn’t follow the line. I’m a good actress, I love to perform. But I can’t memorize a sentence! Hah, I could never make a career of acting! Let the dream go and enjoy reading instead.
  4. Editors and first readers will want you to write a certain way. One of my best friends enjoys giving me plot ideas. Recently I went crazy for about 6 weeks, trying to work with a plot idea that wasn’t right for me. You have to let that stuff go. It’s your story, book, novel, blog, whatever. It’s yours to write any way you want. I struggled to read my first Bukowski book last summer—Women. It was horrendous. Yes, he’s brilliant. But the plot was about an alcoholic loser writer and all the women he used and threw away. Really? And yet he’s considered a great author. I finished the book… I don’t know if I bothered to review it.
  5. Sometimes you have to turn off Grammerly or whatever editing program you are using. You will have a style. Not everyone will like it. Get over yourself. Think about it this way: Some will, some won’t. Next reader coming right up.
  6. Last, as an author if you are looking for someone to motivate you, forget it. Writing is a solitary career. You literally turn off the outside world and go into the one you have created in your mind. You’re the only one who sees the pictures you have created. And you are the only one who can pull those ideas away from the invisible muse and get them down on paper. You are unique. And you have to find that voice inside of you and believe that you can do this. You have to become your very own cheerleader.

Now stop hanging out on Quora (Lynda) and get working on book 7 in the Code Raven Series!

Reprinted from Author Lynda Filler on Quora

BY THE WAY, I almost forgot!! Book 2 in the Code Raven Series, ABDUCTED IS FREE TODAY AND TOMORROW!

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


Dangerous and/or taboo topics…

repost from Quora

How do you research dangerous or taboo topics for your stories? Do you ever worry that people will get the wrong impression?Lynda Filler, Winner of Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 BTRC at Writers and Authors (2009-present)

That’s a great question!

I think of that when I start going deeper into things like the “dark web” or “how to hack… “ and even anything about weaponry!

The good news is, I’m sure being an older female is a plus. I certainly don’t look or act like I’m involved in anything nefarious. But these are a few things that you might find interesting.

  1. I live in Turkey right now. Although I’m a Canadian and have been living in Mexico for the last 17 years.
  2. That means that since 2016 coup attempt things like this routinely occur when I am researching for my Code Raven Series:

At first, I thought it was my internet connection. I also discovered they block porn sites (research, remember!!) But when it happened day after day, I did some research. Wiki was blocked in April of 2018. These were some facts and conclusions I came to:

  1. Turkey coup: Court hands 17 top generals 141 life terms The accused were charged with crimes against the state, attempting to kill the President and the deaths of 249 people.
  2. Last year 251 journalists languished in jails as a result of doing their jobs, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based NGO. It marked the third year in which at least 250 journalists were imprisoned around the world, though it was also the first decline since 2015. (Jan 16, 2019)
  3. Turkey Leads the World in Jailed Journalists
  4. It’s probably a great idea to stop telling people that I’m a writer/author/novelist. And if this is being read by anyone in Turkey, I write fun thrilling, mystery suspense action books that have nothing to do with any kind of political affiliation or government hate!! I LOVE Turkey! That’s why I decided to get a visa and stay awhile!!
  5. And then I remembered Kashoggi. Hmm.

The solution to the issue as all techies will tell you is using a VPN. If you have any concerns whatsoever, I suggest you get a techie to help you set up your computer for your projects.

CODE RAVEN SERIES https://amzn.to/2YSQAst

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

What is something that needs to be written?

QUORA: What is something that needs to be written?

Winner of Best in Contemporary Fiction 2018 Readers Favorite at Writers and Authors (2009-present)

My best friend J. was a showgirl in Vegas, married a famous Hollywood photographer, made a trip to the Far East to smuggle drugs, and brought up three grandchildren because her daughter is addicted to meth! J. has a story to tell.

A fourteen-year-old Muslim boy in Istanbul is learning English in Sultanahmet Square. He comes to the Blue Mosque every day and makes friends with tourists from all over the world. He wants to know everything about their lives and gets to practice the language. He also speaks French, German and Turkish. He’s outgoing and absolutely delightful. He has a story to tell.

A friend of mine has been confined in a hospital for years. He was working for a group he can’t talk about, doing things in countries that don’t show up on his passport, and he is a patriot. He can never tell his stories. But I immortalized him as Luke Raven in my Code Raven Series. His story would be too dangerous for anyone to know, never mind tell.

My friend’s son was the most popular kid in school in Whistler, a ski resort in Canada. He was a star snowboarder and taught kids younger than him just because he loves little kids. He thought he could handle smoking pot, hanging out on peoples’ couches, and dabbling in heroin. He’s 35 now and been jailed twice, or more—I’ve lost track. The last I heard he lives on the streets in Vancouver. My friend cries herself to sleep at night because she knows no one can save her son but himself. They both have stories to tell.

I was approached recently to help a woman tell her story. Her ‘daughter’ is actually not hers by blood but belonged to a drug-addicted boyfriend. He abandoned them when the child was very young, and my friend loved and cared for the child as if she was the birth mother. Throughout the years, the authorities tried to take her daughter away from her because she not only had no legal right to the child, but they were both from different cultures and different countries. My friend fought the system and by some miracle, she managed to hold onto her daughter. Her daughter graduated high school this year. Momma is very proud! And Momma wants to share her story.

When I wrote my first memoir, LOVE the Beat Goes On, I came across a quote that I’ve never forgotten. “When you write a memoir there is nowhere to hide.” I wrote my first memoir. But I too, have life stories that need to be told. And I will continue to write them.

There isn’t a human being alive that doesn’t have a story to tell. Including you. And your story needs to be written because there will always be someone who needs to read it.

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!

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

I’ve finally accepted that I’m addicted to LOVE

I’ve finally accepted that I’m addicted to LOVE. I write about it, I’m either in-or-out of it, and I live my life and make choices around it.

I’m still a work-in-progress. At this stage of life, you’d think I’d have it all figured out, but that’s never going to be the case. I’ve chosen to love in unconventional ways and without the restrictions of conditions.

I’ve recently made a decision to change the course of my life. After living in Mexico for many years, I’ve liquidated my life and hopped on a jet plane. I’m currently in Paris and in two days, I’ll be in Frankfurt, then New Delhi, and will continue going to the Middle East, Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Here’s what runs through my mind:

all my bags are packed and i’m ready to go

i’m standin here outside your door, i hate to wake you up to say goodbye, but the dawn is breakin it’s early morn

the taxi’s waitin, he’s blowin his horn

already i’m so lonesome i could die

so kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you’ll wait for me, hold me like you’ll never let me go

cause i’m leavin on a jet plane, don’t know if i’ll be back again

“Leaving On A Jet Plane” Lyrics

Yes, with self-knowledge comes self-acceptance. The choices I’ve made give me tremendous highs, and not-so-lovely lows. But this is who I am. And my life has been significantly improved because I learned to love unconditionally.

 

To learn more about Lynda Filler read LOVE The Beat Goes On A Memoir

Is it really that simple?

What is your best advice for staying youthful and healthy as long as you can?

It’s really simple to me. So enjoy the wisdom I shared on Quora tonight. Here’s my list.

  1. Be happy. There is nothing that ages us more than bitterness, and recriminations.
  2. Don’t live in the past. Embrace the present. Refuse to worry about the future because the future never comes.
  3. Laugh a lot, smile often. If you’re a woman, it hides the wrinkles. Life will try to take you down, throw curve balls that will bring you to your knees. Stand tall, be strong, never look back.
  4. LOVE, love yourself, love your life, love the planet, love your family, love your partner(s). Don’t be stingy with your love.
  5. Have no regrets. Never apologize about your life choices and decisions. You can’t change them, even if they were wrong in hindsight… let that stuff go.
  6. Don’t worry about the one that got away. If you’re too busy worrying about a bad relationship or marriage, you’re too bitter to notice the one ahead of you that might be that elusive soul-mate.
  7. Always lead with your heart. Yes, you will screw up, whether it’s in friendships, or with a child, or a mate. Forgive yourself often. You’re only human.
Lynda Filler Author 2019