writing

To Write or Not to Write – What a Question (writer’s tips, life)

Indeed, what a question. If you’re a writer, you just write. It comes naturally, it flows out of you, and the pen in your hand (or the keyboard under your fingers) feels like an extension of you.

To write or not to write is not such a simple question to all. Some writers are struggling, cursing at the blank paper or at the computer screen in front of them, and drinking lots of coffee or tea (it’s a writer’s life 😉 ) The words are not coming, and if they come, they do not flow. They come stumbling out, tripping over commas, repeated words, or sentence structure. The struggle is real 😉

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Some believe that true writers are born and that it is not something you can just take up at one point in your life. At the same time, others claim that writing can be learned and you improve as you go.

So, Which One Are You?

Whichever type of writer you are shouldn’t matter. All that matters is that you write and you have a story to tell.

I have been writing stories since the age of six. I started writing to escape from my world, because I wasn’t happy with the home I was living in. I felt exposed and I was often scared. I was insecure and I thought that I always had to watch my words. I wanted to escape the fights between my parents, the yelling, the accusations, the threats, and so I wrote, and wrote, and wrote, hiding in the worlds I created. I remained in those worlds for hours, writing all the time.

During my childhood and my adolescence writing had always been an escape route from my small world. There was a lot of verbal and psychological abuse, and my writing transported me far away from it. I basically wrote for myself.

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In my twenties I started thinking of publishing my stories, but I didn’t have the courage for it. Many of my manuscripts contained much personal material, even if they were not auto-biographical. I also thought that my work was not good enough. In my late twenties and early thirties, I finally started to get serious about publishing, and I tried to contact publishers, but I did not know where and how. I searched for their addresses, but whenever I found one, I either didn’t get any contact info for authors or they were not accepting any work at the moment.

To be truthful, I could have made more of an effort, but I didn’t. Perhaps, deep down, I still believed that my work wasn’t good enough, and I also still enjoyed just writing for myself and escaping from the world.

Get My Act Together

My writing journey is very much connected to my own spiritual journey. It took me decades to get over the abuse I suffered in my adolescence and even after I left home (I married a man to escape my abusive home, only to end up with an abusive husband … I left him a year later).

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In Mexico, I learned the important lesson of finding myself and learning Who I truly am. It is the most important lesson I have learned in my life. Once I knew who I was, when I understood that I deserved to be happy, that I deserved people’s kindness, and that life could truly be beautiful, I went on a deep voyage into my soul, and although I have already discovered so much about myself, I still have not ended that journey. Perhaps it is an ongoing journey, one that has no end.

It is like I wrote in one of my books – a story about witches and werewolves, hence the below reference to being a witch 😉

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Get the Word Out

When I was forty, I finally published my first book and discovered that the world of publishing had changed dramatically. No longer did writers contact traditional publishing houses, although some lucky ones still got in. Now writers used vanity publishers, or they ventured into self-publishing. I used two different vanity publishers, which cost me an arm and a leg. I wasn’t happy with the first one, but the second I signed with was great. It was still expensive to get my work published, but they were very professional and nice.

Self-publishing was a road I chose when I spent more than two thousand dollars on publishing my hard work and I ended up earning only a few dollars in sales … I tried self-publishing, read about it, learned, watched videos, and published the rest of my books like that. I’ve even made some money with it, not enough to make a living – I made $1.07US in this quarter 😉 – but the fact that my books are getting sold, even in small amounts, makes me happy.

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Back to You

People can tell you a lot of things. Even I can. This is my blog, I could tell you whatever I want, right? I do, however, have over forty years of writing experience and I have eight published books (seven of them under a different name). I can’t give you great tips about book marketing yet (still working on that, lol), but I can certainly write about writing.

There are so many questions and opinions … I agree with some and with others I don’t.

  • “You need to have a degree in writing or literature.”

I strongly disagree. I published some of my stories in a local newspaper when I was only eight years old and at that time my writing was not at my best yet. When the story is in you, it simply is in you and it has to come out. Your characters are not going to take a break and wait until you graduate from some writing course. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

  • “Writers are born, not made.”

I used to believe that too. No, don’t get mad at me. I changed that opinion some time ago, but I will explain why I used to think like that.

First, as soon as I learned to write sentences at the age of six, I started writing stories. It came naturally as if it was part of me, and it was, and still is. I cannot imagine my life without writing. Writing is a huge part of who I am.

Second (and I think that many writers will agree with me), there are some self-published books on the market that should not be out there. They either have bad covers, are poorly edited, or the formatting is just terrible. Some stories are confusing and make no sense. On some occasions I just stopped reading, (self-published, but also traditionally published books) because I could not take it any longer, I simply gave up on the story. I usually finish a book, even if I do not like it much. For me not to do that … well …

What I mean by this is that there are so many talented writers out there (many of them indie-authors) who are already marked by the bad examples that are out on the market.

I have read some indie books that were simply amazing, unforgettable, books that were in fact much better than some traditionally published ones. Ever since I joined Twitter and connected with so many writers, I learned so much about them and also myself. Those people made me realize that although some are born with the passion to write, writing can be learned. I learned that some people are writers, but they do not realize it until they’re in their twenties or thirties, or even later.

The most important lesson of this is that I changed my point of view and I realized how writers can indeed be made and improve over the years. Claiming the opposite would be mere arrogance.

So, I apologize for having been of that belief system that “writers are born”. I believe that writers are both, born and made. Do not let anyone tell you what makes a writer. If you think that you’re a writer, then you are a writer.

Go For It

Do you want to write a book? Do you have a story in you that is dying to come out? Then, write. Sit down and type away.

Do you want to publish, share your words with the rest of the world? Go for it. Do it. Let no one stop you. Just make sure you hire a good editor. If you choose to edit your work yourself, be meticulous about it. Hire a professional to design your book cover. If formatting seems too complicated, you can hire someone to do it for you, at a reasonable price.

Do not ever believe that you’re not good enough. You are!

Nothing is impossible. If you feel you can, then you can. Let no one tell you otherwise.

If you’d like to know more about my work, you can find me on Amazon.

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Comments

  1. Well done on getting your book published and selling it 🙂 $1000 is a good start just keep doing more and eventually you will hit the jackpot.

    My book is still on the backburner but I will get it done eventually.

  2. It’s so cool to be passionate in writing. All I wrote so far is cook book about Filipino recipes 🙂 Maybe you convinced me to try a real book – with a story. Let’s see 🙂
    Thanks!
    George

  3. Thank you for this excellent post. I see myself as a struggling writer staring at the screen, a thousand thoughts crossing my mind yet unable to put anything on paper.
    You’ve published eight books! Well-done!
    You’re an inspiration. And I hope to learn more as I read your posts.

    1. We all have those moments when we’re staring at the screen, trying to find the right words.
      A writer once told me “write what you know”. I never forgot this 🙂 Maybe this advice can help when you find yourself staring at the screen.

  4. Hi Lila, i’m glad to have a read on this post. You are writing well and easy to follow. For me, it is just like reading a story. Most of the time, i’m a struggling writer. I have many ideas hovering in my head when drawing up an article, but it is just difficult for me to assemble them well and write them well. Sometimes i just tangle with myself to think about choose which words to make the article more graceful.. But after reading your post. I realize writing is not really that difficult. Just write down what you want to say and make the article easy to read. Thanks for sharing your writing experience!

    1. Hello Shaun! Thank you for your comment. I’m so happy that my article was of any help.
      Yes, write what you have to say, what comes to you. Write as if you’re talking to someone. Spell and grammar checks can come after 😉

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