As a creative writer, what is your day like?

Major procrastination.

Like right now! I should be working on a new Memoir. But, I’m checking out Quora, eating breakfast, trying to make sense out of World Politics and man’s determination to kill. Sometimes I wonder if as a society we’ve progressed at all.

I retired from a full-time career a year ago. And traveled for months to all parts of the world. So I haven’t quite fallen into a routine workday. I love this newfound freedom and the 10 extra pounds that go with it. And the decision to live in Istanbul for the foreseeable future.

I’ve given myself permission to LOVE my current lack of schedule. However, I have a new release The Istanbul Conspiracy, that came online at Amazon Christmas Day. I purposely gave myself a deadline and the pressure of making sure I was ready.

Now I have fallen into a schedule that looks like this. I have 3 distinct projects every day.

  1. Yoga for 30 minutes the moment I wake up.
  2. Coffee, Breakfast, World news, Q, FB and I limit that fun to 1 hour
  3. Write. I have 2 Code Ravens to publish this year. And another memoir. I’ve already published 16 books on Amazon. I’m doing the memoir first. But if I need a break, I will work on the two plots for the CRaven series books 8 and 9.
  4. I take breaks for WordWars—I admit I’m addicted to the game even with the new site full of advertisements that drive me crazy!
  5. I allow myself the indulgence of Prime Video or Netflix but more than likely this pastime is saved for late evening.
  6. I have a boyfriend who is low maintenance so every couple of days he shows up in my world which is great. I get a break. Plus he loves food and takes me to all his favorite Turkish restaurants.

My body refuses to adjust to Istanbul time or a work schedule like I might have maintained when I lived in Mexico. That means my body believes bedtime is around 2–3 am and wakeup somewhere between 10:45-11:30 am.

It’s not unusual for me to write or do marketing in the evening and I will work sometimes up until midnight. (I’m self-published and marketing is a large part of my job.)

I LOVE my life! I’m living the dream.

My New Years’ resolution is to have more DISCIPLINE! Hah!

How many times can you reinvent yourself?

I knew I liked to shake up my life, but this year has been amazing!

It’s almost 2020, so I’m taking a moment to look back and do the proverbial: how did Lynda do in 2019? But today I’m going one step further, I’m going ALL the way back. How many times can I re-invent myself?

I was a good girl, a Canadian army brat. We moved every three years. You packed up your things, said goodbye to your friends, and moved on with your life. Didn’t everyone live like that?

In my teens, I thought I’d be a Catholic nun. I entered a convent of missionary sisters straight from high school. I was religious. I wanted to save the world, look after orphans, feed the poor. Instead, I recall days of washing floors and stealing cookies from the kitchen after lights out! Less than a year later, I left the convent, returned to Ottawa, and married my high school sweetheart. A year later, I was divorced.

I look back on my life and see the characteristics and events that define the woman I’ve become. At the time, I couldn’t see it, but as Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “I can see clearly now.”

First, I’m a loner. It turns out that’s a good thing because change is easy, maybe too easy for me. I don’t form the kind of attachments others form. As a result of my upbringing, I don’t have childhood friends. When people ask me where I come from, I never know what to say. I lived in Petawawa, Toronto, Lindsay, Edmonton, Montreal, Whistler—all in Canada. Then Puerto Vallarta Mexico for the last 17 years. What do I say Canada or Mexico? And now I’m in Istanbul, Turkey!

I could live anywhere in the world because “wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”

I did the same thing with my various careers and in my own businesses.

I started in sales part-time over the summer in Ottawa when I was 18. Then I taught myself how to type and assisted the GM of a stock brokerage firm. I moved to Toronto and began a short-lived modeling career that led me into fashion. I opened a store and sold ladies’ clothing. I built that into a chain of stores. Unfortunately, husband number 2 was a gambler, and he stole money from the business. And “the rest is history!” 

The next stop was Montreal, where I began a career as a women’s clothing buyer for retail businesses, importing, designing, and creating. I woke up one morning and said to myself, “If you can make money for someone else, why not do it for yourself.” I opened a manufacturing plant. 

Several years later, I now had two young boys. Quebec was in a recession. So I moved from Montreal to western Canada and began a career in resort sales that lasted 25 years! “Why invest money for inventory, rent, retail, and wholesale, when you can make just as much money using your sales skills without the financial risk?”

Witness the evolution of a woman:

“I can see clearly now.” 

“Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”

“The rest is history!” 

“If you can make money for someone else, why not do it for yourself.”

“Why invest the money for inventory, rent, retail, and wholesale, when you can make just as much money using your sales skills without the financial risk?”

And this brings us to the year 2019. After 54 years of working, 9-5, 8-midnight, and 3, or 4-hour days, I retired! Well, my version of retirement. I sold everything and bought an airline ticket with multiple destinations—precisely the way I’ve lived my life! I celebrated my 72nd birthday in Tel Aviv to the sound of air raid sirens. And from there, I traveled to Europe, India, Thailand. And along the way, I found Istanbul.

The one constant in my life is my love of books. I think my first memory of a book is Little Women. I will reread it someday. In my teens, I started to write poetry and journal. And in my 20’s I wrote my first novel. I never published it and lost the manuscript in one of my moves. But that’s fine with me. It was never meant to be published. I never even tried. But in 2008, I was diagnosed with incurable heart disease and told I had 6 months to live.”  

This time I not only had to re-invent myself but re-create myself. “And that has made all the difference.”

Now the promises to self kicked in, and I began to write in earnest. I published three books of poetry and wrote several books of fiction. I waited for years to write and publish my journey to healing because I wanted to be sure that I actually survived what I call my miracle. And now I’m almost on the eve of publishing my 16th book on Amazon, The Istanbul Conspiracy! The 7th in my Code Raven Series.

THE ISTANBUL CONSPIRACY https://amzn.to/34Hzh0z

So far, it’s been and wild and wondrous journey. I’ve managed to stay retired all of 2019 and finally returned to writing to gather my plots for this new release. Yes, I call this retirement even though I am super busy with writing novels, blogs, Quora, FB, IG, Twitter, yoga, traveling, and living my beautiful creative life. I love Istanbul and I think I will stay for a while. It’s been 8 months so far. I’m researching for my books, learning to cook Turkish food, wandering the streets, doing photography, and now I’m back to full-time writing. I finally have time to keep in touch with friends I’ve made along the way in Mexico and in Turkey and all over the world. 

So, tell me something. How many times can you reinvent yourself? I say, as many times as it takes!

“6 months to live.” LOVE The Beat Goes On 

I believe in miracles because I am one!

Do you have any thoughts on Loneliness and Aging?

I believe that loneliness is a direct relation to self-love and self-worth. Let’s face the fact that aging is a subject that’s on every woman’s mind once she reaches the age of 30. Why is that? Why do we worry so much about getting older and being alone? I think it has to do with self-love. We just don’t love our selves enough.

We can blame it on the society we live in as aging is a first-world-obsession. All we have to do is look at the media to see that once a woman hits 50 she begins to become invisible. But mostly, this same woman is allowing society to create the fiction that there is something wrong with aging.

I know this might be a rambling comment, but it hurts my heart to hear talk of loneliness when I believe that within ourselves we are whole and complete. I’ve always been a loner—I’m a poet, a memoirist—LOVE The Beat Goes On—a novelist, a whole new career that began in the last decade.

I remember a time when I wouldn’t go to a restaurant and dine alone. I didn’t always have the confidence I have today. I had to work at it.

This photo was taken on my 70th birthday. I spent it at a high-end restaurant on the beach in Puerto Vallarta—a sunset dinner ALL BY MYSELF! It was a first. And it was amazing.

It took me until I was 72 to begin an amazing journey to many countries in the world, not on a tour, not with a group—all alone. And it’s been life-changing.

WE create a situation called loneliness. It doesn’t have to be that way.

I’ve always believed that happiness, contentment, love, health, all these things are related to how much we not only like our self but LOVE ourselves.

I love to say I live in my own little world, they know me there. I could also add, they—all the different aspects that make up the person I have become—LOVE me there. I don’t need other people in my life and yet, I meet new people everywhere. I met my current boyfriend at a touristy spot in Istanbul seven months ago. He was studying English and wanted to practice with someone. It was cold and rather rainy so I accepted the offer of Turkish tea. I took a chance and said yes to dinner later that evening. And here I am, living in Istanbul—for now.

Loneliness is a decision and a choice. You can meet people in a coffee shop, at an art gallery, at the museum, standing in line at the grocery store. I met a woman who has become a friend in a restaurant in Istanbul. She was dining alone and asked me to join her. I had a cold and didn’t want the company. But she asked again when her dessert came and you can always bribe me with “this is too much for me, please share my baklava!” She’s from the Philippines, lives in Florida with her sister, and is currently doing some freelance writing in Rome! She fell in love with Turkey at the same time as I did. Now she’s organizing a religious tour around Turkey next year!!

In today’s world, it’s easy to make friends if you want to. But you need to have the strength inside your own heart—self-love and personal happiness—to make it through the ups and downs of navigating the world.

It all comes back to self-love. And it’s never too late to learn to love yourself.

Survival tips:

  1. learn something new every day
  2. Read, voraciously. Choose new genres, expand the mind
  3. Travel, even if it’s to a new neighborhood—take risks, step outside your comfort zone
  4. Take up a new hobby—everyone has a cell phone—take photos, have fun with them, join Instagram, connect with old friends.
  5. And if you’re my age, do something crazy, like color your hair—okay, not this bright (I manipulated the brightness for the fun of it!)
  6. And take care of your health, take your meds, do some yoga—you don’t have to leave home to find a great yoga video online
  7. And try writing. I know you already love reading or you wouldn’t be here.
  8. And most of all, take risks.
  9. The Best Things in life begin with YES!

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!

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!

 

How do you do that thing you do so well?

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It’s a common question asked by those who want to write a novel. I hear this all the time on Quora. Where do you begin? How? Where do you get your ideas? Do you plot? Do you ‘wing-it?’ How do you do that thing you do–so well?

Let’s talk about my latest release, SILK ROAD Code Raven 6. It’s a great example of my personal writing process and may help you to get started on yours!

It starts with a word. I asked a friend, fellow author, to give me a country. In this case, it was Kyrgyzstan–a country that had no meaning to me. If you’re familiar with the Code Raven Series, you would know that not only do I love my characters and develop them further with each story, but I also love to take them to different countries around the globe to get into–and out of–trouble!

In my research about Kyrgyzstan, I came across the history of how this country was once a part of the Soviet Union. I already had a rough idea of the Russia/Asia part of the world but didn’t know much about the terrain. If you are anything like me, once you go on the world-wide-web, one search turns into another, and another, and before you know it, you’re off on a tangent for no particular reason. In my case, my interest was piqued by the crime lords who moved in to fill the void of a legitimate government. Corruption of all types runs rampant in this predominately Muslim country.

At this point, I became intrigued by the historical implications of this centuries-old area and the original Silk Road–the trading route moving through Asia from the East to the West.

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Without giving away the plot, let’s just say that I became intrigued by the human condition and in particular how turmoil and greed affect women and children around the globe.

HERE’S MY PROCESS:

  1. Out comes the excel spreadsheet. 
  2. Usually, I reprint the Characters names across the top of the sheet so I don’t mix up attributes, history, or activities, timelines, etc. This is important when writing a series. You would work the same way as you introduce new characters in your novel even if it’s a stand-alone book. I also used this process on my memoir LOVE The Beat Goes On
  3. Chapters numbers down the left side column.
  4. Next column a key phrase to summarize what will happen in that chapter.
  5. The next column will give more detail, possibly a paragraph of key events.
  6. In the planning stages, I might color code the chapters. If it’s fiction and action, I might color code an action event RED, something that moves the plot along in YELLOW, and a relatively soft aspect, emotional, resting chapter might be soft green. This way you can make sure you don’t lose your reader by dropping the pace. Inevitably all my reviewers say this series is ‘fast-paced.’ You want that when writing a mystery. Otherwise, your fans will get bored and put your book down! We want them to read it in “one sitting!”
  7. The chapters continue down the page until the end.

Why a spreadsheet?

I use this concept if I’m writing Action/Adventure/Mystery or Contemporary Romance or Non-fiction like my memoir. Why?

  1. It’s easy to cut-and-paste therefore changing the sequence of events, or slotting in a new chapter!
  2. You can see the entire story in one place. 
  3. The spreadsheet allows you to edit the events along the way inserting, expanding where you find your plot to be weak.

My process is always fluid. I never set a rigid plot.

Sometimes I start with one idea and watch the following events move down the page. The thoughts, ideas I have may never make it to the final story. But here’s the key: one idea leads to another, and another, and another. And my story starts to take shape from that original one word. Example:

Silk Road. Trade. Smuggling. The new Rail service from the coast of China all the way to London, England! Think about the potential here. Imagine all the events that could happen along the way! And that’s how the story moved along. And then I found activities in the Maldives that I decided to connect. And one of my main characters, Zach was summoned to Washington DC by the frightening pleas from a SEAL friend he served with in his Afghanistan/Bin Laden days.

Here’s a couple of teasers so you get a feel for the final story:

A former Navy SEAL gets a terrifying message from his estranged daughter. “I’m desperate! I need your help, Dad. Bring your friends!”

“They stole my baby Daddy! They’ve got my boy!” Will a team of ex-SEALs break US law to exact revenge?

A teenager is abducted in Kyrgyzstan. Has she become one of many kidnapped brides? Or is something far more frightening going on? The corrupt authorities ignore the parents’ pleas for help.

A new Silk Road train stretches from the eastern shores of Yiwu China to London, England. Its precious cargo is not what’s written on the manifest.

When two young children are abducted in the middle of the night from Raven’s sanctuary in the Maldives, Luci, Luke, and the Raven Group will stop at nothing to get them back.

Are all these horrific events linked?

If I’ve peaked your interest and you want a great read, written in the style of Lee Childs, David Baldacci, or Clive Cussler, get your copy on Amazon: Silk Road

 

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How did your marriage end?

 

Which one?

I’m the eternal optimist. I tried 3 times to get it right. All I got right was that happiness is more important than success, prestige, or money.

The first time I married because my very first boyfriend waited for me while I ran off to become a missionary nun—stop laughing, read my memoir LOVE The Beat Goes On . Yes, I felt guilty. When I returned a year later, I married him—I do remember a fight in the parking lot where I threw my engagement ring across the pavement. That was probably a big clue that I chose to ignore.

Six months later, we were having one of our frequent arguments. He tried to smother me with a pillow. I was 20 years old. I left with my suitcase the next day. Divorced at 21.

My second brilliant choice was a man 15 years older than me, suave, handsome, a traveler, sophisticated…and a gambler, and a control freak. Yes. I didn’t throw that diamond ring anywhere—he stole it and pawned it presumably because he needed the money to gamble. I left him several times, but he kept finding me. He got me fired from a job, evicted from an apartment, actually broke into my apartment telling the landlord I was a drug addict and not answering my phone! I’ve never even smoked a joint although my friends tell me I don’t know what I’m missing.

I left him in the middle of the night, with a suitcase, and my Old English Sheepdog. I definitely loved the dog more than the man. He’d threatened to kill the dog if I left him.I had to leave the city and the province to hide from him. My mother called me one day a few years later and said I better divorce the guy. He’d just been arrested for bank fraud and probably forged my name somewhere along the way.

The third one lasted a long time. He’s the father of my children and we are still friends. But one night at the end of a very unhappy relationship where we kept trying to make it work, I fell in love. I packed a suitcase and got on an airplane and moved to a new country. I’d like to say I lived happily ever after. But that’s not the way life is. That journey called life/living/ is filled with ups and downs. Some of us get lucky and find Mr. Right and others only ever find Mr. Right Now.

And then, when you think that part of your life might be passing you by, someone comes into your life, a totally inappropriate relationship, not from a different city, or a different province, or a different country but a totally different continent and reminds you that life is short. We have to take our happiness where we can find it.

The moral of my story is I still believe in LOVE.

What things should one be good at in order to become a good writer?

Lynda Filler
Lynda Filler, Top Quora Writer 2018 Winner of Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 BTRC at Writers and Authors (2009-present)

Be Brave. You have to be able to open your heart and pour out your feelings. It doesn’t matter what genre you’re in. Let it flow. Be Brave.

Be Bulletproof. Some people choose not to read their reviews. I read them and on Goodreads thank the writers. But I still remember words used to describe my first JET, an action ex-Mossad female assassin. A reader said I’d turned her into a “horny slut.” Today I laugh, then, it wasn’t funny. I thought I “humanized” her. Don’t let the haters get inside your head.

Be Curious. It doesn’t matter what. It’s curiosity that has kept me traveling the world in my stories. I LOVE taking my characters to different places in my work whether it’s action or contemporary romance. They live in my mind and I live in their worlds. It’s great fun and takes me to places I didn’t know exist. My current WIP starts off in Kyrgyzstan, moves to Paris, then the Maldives… and on and on. Research, photos, travel, it’s all part of my curiosity about people, places, and issues.

Be Passionate. Don’t write it if you aren’t enjoying the words and the process. A friend recently told me he trashed 87 chapters. Now for me, that would be 100k but for him, it could be 250–300k words. That’s a lot of work and love to decide it’s not worthy of finishing.

Be Gentle. Writing is not for the faint of heart. Believe in yourself. Love what you do. Let no one be a bully to your talent or your belief in you. Self-talk is key in any work/game/sport/job.

And most of all, remember the Little Engine That Could, if you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t…you’re probably right.

Enjoy the journey

is the destination

Inspired by Vashti Q

I think sometimes we are in such a hurry to get “there” that we forget to enjoy the journey.

This past 8 months I set goals for myself. Not only writing goals, projects to accomplish and books to publish, but I attached quantitative unit/financial goals to my writing. I’m enjoying watching the sales growth in all aspects of my business. But also I’m satisfying that business-woman part of me that likes to learn the “why” and the “how” of blogging, newsletters, marketing, FBooking, Twittering…haha, yes, I also have my own creative language that goes with my stats.

I’ve made so many new friends, authors, trainers, teachers, gurus and PA and even VA. If I have to explain those last two terms, you need to email me! And I will give you the pep talk you deserve!! I’ve learned that FB is not just for posting sexy, raunchy photos, witty notes and stunning photos of sunrises…oh, and meeting “interesting” young men. It’s a great place to network and study the habits of highly successful authors who understand and have developed their business to the point where they run financially viable enterprises.

As some of you know, with the introduction of Lie To Me an exposé on sex for money I’ve officially come out of the closet. Yes, I’ve accepted the fact that I might be a romance writer. I thought I was writing suspense, sometimes mystery/suspense and then TARGET in the Sun won Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017– I had to look up the definition of “Contemporary Fiction.” I was about to release Lie to Me and found myself blushing as I described its contents. I’m now able to admit out loud, it’s “steamy.” I’m over myself. I accept the raunchy romantic side of me and gleefully throw my thoughts down on paper and just go for it.

So, after struggling with my internal demands to make my authoring business financially viable, I decided to continue learning, growing and maturing as both a writer and an authorpreneur. And yes, I am truly enjoying the journey. I hope you are too!