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!

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


Who could forget this woman? She changed the world!

Elizabeth Gilbert and her new LOVE

published this morning: Elizabeth Gilbert on FaceBook

Dear Ones: It’s a beautiful spring day in my corner of the world, life is everywhere bursting forth with a sense of rebirth and renewal, and this seems like as good a moment as any to tell you that I am in love. Please meet my sweetheart, Mr. Simon MacArthur. He’s a photographer from the U.K. — a beautiful man who has been a friend of mine for years. (Even more touchingly, Simon was a beloved friend of Rayya’s for decades. They lived together in London over 30 years ago, and they adored each other forever like siblings. This, as you can imagine, means the world to me.) Of late, Simon and I have found our way to each other’s arms. And now here we are, and his heart has been such a warm place for me to land. I share this news publicly, despite the fact that our love story is so new and young and tender, for a few reasons. For one thing, I just wanted to say: If you see me walking around with a tall handsome man on my arm, don’t be buggin’. Just know that your girl is happy, and following her heart. But also this: I will always share anything personal about my life, if it could help someone else feel more normal about their life. SO…if you have lost a loved one to death, and you thought you’d never love again, but you are feeling a pull of attraction toward someone new, and you’re not sure if that’s OK? Let me normalize it for you. Let me say: It’s Ok. Your heart is a giant cathedral. Let it open. Let it love. Do not let your beautiful loyalty to the deceased stop you from experiencing the marvels and terrors of your short, mortal, precious life. It’s OK to live, and to love. Or…if you are falling in love in middle age and it’s terrifying, because you feel just as dumb and crazy and excited and insecure as you did at 16? Well, let me normalize this for you. It’s OK. You will always feel 16 when you are falling in love. Or…if you once loved a man and then you loved a woman, and then you loved a man, and you’re wondering if that’s ok? Well, darling. Let me normalize that for you. It’s OK. Love who you love. It’s all OK, and it’s all impossible to control, and it’s all an adventure that I will not miss. That’s all I wanted to say. Onward, and I love you all.

Why does everything Elizabeth Gilbert says and does make me cry? She’s truly a woman of our times.
Her life has crossed paths with mine in truly memorable ways. Jeanne Proteau I don’t know if you will remember before I left Mexico in 2007 to drive back to Canada, I met and spoke to a young woman from the US who had recently graduated from University. Her first job was working as a publicist for then-unknown author, Elizabeth Gilbert. I remember the conversation vividly because I was about to embark on a life-changing journey that would introduce me to a man with whom I would fall deeply in love. In my memoir, I refer to him as my cowboy.

While driving into the US through the Arizona border, I stopped at a mall for food. In front of me was a huge display of the book Eat Pray Love. I can picture the stand of books in front of me at this very moment. That’s when I bought my first copy of her treasured memoir.
This past year a reviewer compared my LOVE The Beat Goes On to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love memoir. I was honored, and reminded that we can be stuck in our lives or take action. It will always be our choice. And today, as many of you know, I have again pulled up roots and embarked on a journey of a lifetime. I created my own EPL journey that started in Dallas, then Paris, New Delhi, Agra–for the amazing Taj Mahal–then Goa India, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and now I’m in Thailand.

I think about how her book had such a tremendous effect on generations of women who felt trapped in their lives and needed permission to break free.
It doesn’t surprise me that her best friend and lover Rayya–who died last year– sent Liz an old friend to help heal her broken heart and show her love again.

I’ve often been told I overshare (in not so many words) but I guess it’s a writer thing. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

LOVE IS LOVE and we love who we love.

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