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!

ALMOST EVERYTHING by Anne Lamott

I want to share this with you. I received an invite to listen to a Podcast, an interview with Anne Lamott. If you’re unfamiliar with her work, she’s predominantly and non-fiction author of the most memorable Bird By Bird, a must read if you have ever thought of writing a book or doing anything creative at all. 

By Stacey Camp on Goodreads

5 Stars:

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

“Haters want us to hate them because hate is incapacitating. When we hate, we can’t operate from our real selves, which is our strength.”

Oh Anne Lamott, how do you manage to rip my heart into pieces and then mend it ever so carefully back together? This is what Lamott calls a paradox or conundrum, that life brings both immense joy and heart-wrenching pain, pain that, at times, is unbearable. Take her discussion of having children:

“We are consumed by the most intense love for one another and the joy of living, along with the grief and terror that we and our babies will know unbelievable hurt: broken bones, bad boyfriends, old age…Every day we’re in the grip of the impossible conundrum: the truth that it’s over in a blink, and we may be near the end, and that we have to live as if it’s going to be okay, no matter what.”

Lamott’s Almost Everything: Notes on Hope is meandering and rambling in the most poignant way, a method of writing only Lamott can get away with. It is structured around themes that she wants to share with her grandchild, stories she wants to pass on that she deems critical for one’s survival in a brutal world.

As with Lamott’s other books, I highlighted nearly everything. So many beautiful passages, so much wisdom that has come from the pain that Lamott has known well. This is not a pain she monopolizes. Rather, this book is about how pain is part of the human condition. And because it can happen to any one of us, Lamott believes that we must find peace and happiness every single day. That joy cannot come from a number on a scale or your paystub, though:

“Could you say this about yourself right now, that you have immense and intrinsic value, at your current weight and income level, while waiting to hear if you got the job or didn’t, or sold your book or didn’t? This idea that I had all the value I’d ever needed was concealed from me my whole life. I want a refund.”

“The opposite of love is the bathroom scale.”

Lamott argues that happiness is not found in materiality but something that is omnipresent, waiting to be found in the most mundane places. There is also beauty in grief and beauty in tragedy, though she certainly does not argue that there is a rhyme or reason as to who gets saddled with grief in this universe. Grief is not a lesson to learn, forced upon those who have sinned.

“We do get a taste of the spheres in birdsong, eclipses, the surf, tangerines. In the dark, we see the stars. In the aftermath of a devastating fire, the sun rose red. To pay close attention to and mostly accept your life, inside and out and around your body, is to be halfway home.”

How do we cultivate this love of the quotidian? Through play, observing the world around you, through helping others, and, of course, through reading:

“Books! To fling myself into a book, to be carried away to another world while being at my most grounded, on my butt or in my bed or favorite chair, is literally how I have survived to be here at all. Someone else is doing the living for me, and all I have to do is let their stories, humor, knowledge, and images – some of which I’ll never forget – flow through me, even as I forget to turn off the car when I arrive at my destination.”

As always, Lamott also has some brilliant things to say about writing:

“Write because you have to, because the process brings great satisfaction. Write because you have a story to tell, not because you think publishing will make you the person you always wanted to be. There is approximately zero chance of that happening.”

“We have to cultivate the habits of curiosity and paying attention, which are essential to living rich lives and writing. You raise your eyes out of the pit, which is so miserable and stifling to be in and which tried to grab you and keep you there, until something sneaky hauled you out and changed you.”

Lamott won’t give you easy answers about life in this book, but she will give you a lot to chew on. She challenges you to be reflexive, to examine what’s holding you back in life and what you need to move forward – that these things are not a one size fits all sort of solution. We need to dig deep and find that with which we struggle: confront it and learn to live with it the best we can.

Above all else, she asks her reader to sit with the world: watch it, learn from it, listen to it, breathe it in. For “God is often in solitude and quiet, through the still, small voice – in the breeze, not the thunder.”

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I loved this book. I love nearly everything Lamott writes ( Bird by Bird is one of my all-time favorite books!). Thank you to Edelweiss, Anne Lamott, and Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House for an advanced reader copy of Almost Everything.


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And let me add this NUMBER 1 Best Selling book by Anne Lamott. This is every author all time favorite handbook. It’s been described by many as a book with advice on writing and on life in general!

 

BIRD BY BIRD

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My 10 All-time favorite books

 

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You know I’m right in the middle of the action in a great plot for novella #5 in my JET Kindle World series, but I can’t resist answering this Quora question. But it’s not going to be what you expect at all. Each book has affected me on an emotional level or given me “ah ha” moments that stayed with me forever.

  1. Outliers: The Story of Success – Kindle edition by Malcolm Gladwell. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. (Ah ha) He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? Brilliant. As a Canadian, the explanation about hockey players and their success stays with me.
  2. LOVE The Beat Goes On – Kindle edition by Lynda Filler. Self-Help Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. A journey from incurable to healed. “What would you do if the doctors gave you six months to live?” Everything in this memoir has changed my life and is changing the lives of others.
  3. Dreaming the Soul Back Home: Shamanic Dreaming for Healing and Becoming Whole – Kindle edition by Robert Moss. Health, Fitness & Dieting Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. In 2017 I published the above book—a memoir of a healing journey. In desperation for a cure for an ‘incurable’ diagnosis, I traveled to Sedona Arizona and worked with a Shaman named Akal. He introduced me to Robert Moss. I’ve been analyzing my dreams as a way of healing my soul ever since. This book has a special spot on my shelves.
  4. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – Kindle edition by Anne Lamott. Reference Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. (Emotional-for me) An authors’ handbook with all the encouragement and acknowledgment of what it takes to continue on a path that seems impossible at times.
  5. https://www.amazon.com/Lone-Wolf-Novel-Jodi-Picoult-ebook/dp/B005JSV0ZW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= (totally gut-wrenching reaction to an incredible story) The reviews are very mixed for this book, but there was something in the story of wolves that rocked my world.
  6. You Can Heal Your Life – Kindle edition by Louise L. Hay. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. I bought my first copy at a psychic convention in 1985 with my sister. Then I bought the 25th year anniversary copy. I lived with this book for most of my adult life. I’ve since written my own book on healing from incurable LOVE The Beat Goes ON.
  7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Kindle edition by Stephen R. Covey. Self-Help Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. Yes, you can learn from books that are perennial best-sellers.
  8. Eat Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia: Elizabeth Gilbert: 9780670034710: Amazon.com: Books I remember where I was sitting on the beach in Puerto Vallarta when a 26 year-old-woman who had recently graduated in Marketing told me about this book. The recent graduate had landed a job with a PR firm to work with this relatively unknown writer who’d penned a ‘travel’ book. A few months later I began a journey, a drive from PV, Mexico to Canada, that would change my life forever. On that trip, I stopped in a bookstore in a mall in Arizona and saw stacks of Eat Pray Love and bought it. Yes, LIz Gilbert affected so many women including myself with this amazing ‘travel’ memoir.
  9. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Series) – Kindle edition by Stieg Larsson. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. It was so incredibly different than anything I’d ever read.
  10. The Kill Artist (Gabriel Allon Series Book 1) – Kindle edition by Daniel Silva. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. I have several authors I read in the thriller/suspense/spy genre. I don’t care what any critics have to say. I don’t bother with reviews. These authors are my constant companions. And Daniel Silva is #1. I LOVE Gabriel Allon. How could you not fall in love with an Israel spy who’s also an art restorer and lives in Venice, restores works for the Vatican, and chases bad guys?

So there you have it.

I’d love to add my own books to the mix but if you’re interested you can check out what I’ve written. I published 3 this year and should be working right this minute on a 4th to add to my JET series.

Happy Holidays!

And don’t forget to check out my books on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Lynda-Filler/e/B00JNP2CS6

 

 

 

On how to improve your writing skills

 

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I’ve been asked on Quora how I improve my writing skills. A good question don’t you think?

 

  1. Writing is learned by reading—and writing. So the first thing to do would be to read more. This month I will produce a 25000-word novella—I’m at 8000 words today, and I will probably have read 6 novels or more before year-end.
  2. I have over 650,000 views on my Quora answers. I started writing on here a few months ago, I think in the summer. I always write my answer on this page, then copy/paste to Word to check grammar and spelling. As an author I have certain mistakes I make over and over again—a stubborn slow learner. Then I correct the essay and copy/paste back. In these last few months, my organizational skills have improved, my sentence structure and grammar have advanced. Now I can write an answer and if I’m in a hurry, I post. Quora has definitely helped me work on my writing skills.
  3. If you have a style like I do, or your writing has been compared to certain authors, hone your style and do so by reading everything the other mentor/authors have written. For example, with the release of my first novel I was compared to Lee Childs, David Baldacci, and Clive Cussler. Not too shabby. I read the latest Childs and Baldacci books over the past two weeks. So find your style and get better and better at it.
  4. If you are published as I am on Amazon.com: Lynda Filler: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle read your reviews. And not just the good ones. I struggled with an aspect of one of my books, the readers picked up on the same challenge. So although my reviews are high 4.4/5 I recognized an issue and I eliminated it in the next book. So fans may love your message but are quick to let you know where you can improve. They will let you know what you do right and what you do wrong. They offer invaluable feedback.

# 1 I’ll Take That Anytime

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LOVE The Beat Goes On  Kindle and Paperback.

“amazing, inspiring, and thought provoking about more than just illness. Anyone facing a major obstacle, a fork in the road, or looking to reinvent their lives would benefit from a journey through Lynda’s heart and soul story.”

“I finished your book and loved it. It was not preachy and you were humble in how you arrived to this point in your life. You had purpose in wanting to live and that’s good.  I was surprised about the bit about being …*no spoilers* I couldn’t say that to the whole world. You are a free spirit.”

I keep telling myself it’s not a competition. But being #1 in Hot New Releases means AMAZON will take notice and send out promos to readers who traditionally read in this genre. And THAT means everything.
The biggest challenge an Indie Author has is time management. I love interacting with fans/readers. I had a thread going on Face Book the other night that went on for hours! It was fun. But the question is, will it produce sales or is it simply a black hole?
I want to write more and more. But time… I finally bought a great Life/Day Planner from Danielle LaPorte. It arrived this morning! I’m so excited I can’t stand myself. And as soon as I finish at my favorite haunt, Starbucks in Nuevo Vallarta, Mex, I’m getting right to it!
 WHAT WILL I DO TO FEEL THE WAY I WANT TO FEEL
Isn’t that perfect?
Thanks for buying my newest book LOVE  The Beat Goes On. It’s very personal and a life mission of mine to help those suffering from incurable or debilitating life events. Yes, there is a shocker in there, probably more than one. I debated putting it in or leaving it out. Then I remembered great advice in Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott on writing: “stop writing as if your mother is reading over your shoulder!” So I went for it.
Live each day as if it is your last. LIVE and LOVE my friends with passion and commitment.