On Writing

To think that I can write would be laughable a few years ago. And here I am, typing away on my laptop. This is from someone whose mother tongue is not English. I learned English in school and I learned my Engineering trade in university.

Of course, I am no Stephen King who wrote the authoritative memoir and teaching book On Writing. I learned a lot from that book. Stephen said to be able to write well we have to read more. How true. That’s why I am certain anyone can write. If you have a story to tell, you can find ways to put the words on (digital) paper. But what can you write about?

I am going to write about life choices and happiness.

If you choose to be happy, no one can make you sad unless you let it. I read an interview by Charlie Munger (the right-hand man of famous investor Warren Buffett) and he said happiness is having a low expectation. “The first rule of a happy life is low expectations. If you have unrealistic expectations, you’re going to be miserable all your life. Also, when you get reverses, if you just suck it up and cope, that helps more than if you just fretfully stew yourself into a lot of misery.” He also argued that most people wouldn’t be significantly happier if they were richer or much more miserable if they were poorer.

I choose to be happy. I am grateful for the air that I breathe, the provisions God Almighty blesses me with, freedom to write what I am comfortable with expressing. I have published two erotic novels – An Immoral Erotic Parable of American Eve and African Adam, and then Lust2Love. The debut book AIEP had gone to #1 Best Sellers chart and #1 New Releases in its first month of publication.

The books have new covers now.

What is the purpose of publishing the books? Money is nice but not my ulterior motive. I am retired and have enough to enjoy. I want to share my thoughts, however racy and dirty they are, with people. I don’t force people to read my work. It will be their choice to pick my books. Loved them or hated them, I enjoyed their feedback. They help me grow.

Charlie also talked about Lifelong Learning. “When people gave me a good idea, I quickly mastered it and started using it and just used it for the rest of my life. It’s such a simple idea. Without the method of learning, you’re like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.”

So what have I learned from self-publishing?

Well, it is not free. Incidental costs are like investing in apps and software to help with the mechanics of polishing a novel, such as Grammarly for proofing, hiring an HTML formatting helper from Fiverr, paying for a domain name for the author’s website (to be hosted free on Google Cloud platform), and buying an appropriate template for WordPress. Not all of these are essential but I find them helpful.

I use Microsoft Word for all my writing. I search for synonyms and replacement words to add variety to my work. It has “Rewrite Suggestions” and “search” the web for your word(s). These are handy tools for writers.

Then, rewrite and rewrite, over and over. Some ideas for editing came while resting, or reading self-help guides. Usually, it is cutting away the fluff, trimming not adding. Less is more. I had also revised my book titles and sub-titles many times, too numerous to count. It boils down to clarity. The simple idea made plain.

So, I have written some 600 words, in one sitting. Not too bad, is it?

What is your experience? Have you done any writing lately? Share your thoughts.