Your words have power, and your story is unique. But truth be told. You are the best person to share your untold story with because you are the only person who truly understands what you’ve been through.
You may think you live a boring life. But you know what, there’s nobody else on this planet that has the same story as yours. Of course, similarities between our stories are inevitable. However, your story is unique.
Unless you’re willing to give your all and be brave enough to tell your story, nothing will change in your life right now. For me, there’s no doubt about the effectiveness of storytelling to leverage a writer’s authority.
Storytelling will undeniably gain people’s attention. When done correctly, the storyteller can build a strong community and inspire people to take action. It may require you to do simple things like sharing what you’ve done to survive, overcome, and win as a writer.
These reasons alone may give you the drive to keep you going until you finish the first draft. But that’s not all. Writing a book gives you the chance to show the world that you can write content in the English language well, even if you’re not a native English speaker.
How The Pandemic Led Me To Write A Book
Keeping yourself driven to live the kind of life albeit the pandemic has been a struggle for you in the past couple of months, if not, more than a year.
This unprecedented event has left you scarred, as you take a different route to achieve your goals within the shortest period faster than any unfolding war, leaving you unprepared for everything that is going on around you.
At this moment, you’re in the darkest tunnel that seems unending and narrowing in a way that you could barely see the light in your writing career and breathe. For more than a year, you struggle to survive while hoping that a better tomorrow will come after the storm.
Indeed, the pandemic made so much impact on your life. As a writer, you realize how unprepared you are that you overlook the need for alternatives in handy and fail to exercise your supposed plan Bs.
While this is going on (and in the next few years), I realized that even if this event is not uncommon in our history, we are still left unprepared and confused about how and where we want our future to look.
The Brutal Truth: Planners, Journals, Or Diaries Aren’t Helpful Without This.
As a planner nerd myself, I understand the urge to collect many attractive notebooks, planners, journals, and other journaling accessories. But I’ll tell you what.
No matter how much you obsess with planning or try to organize your life as much as you can through collecting attractive notebooks, planners, journals, or diaries, bullet journaling, or writing diaries, you will never be prepared for anything that would or could happen to you in the end.
Despite that, it should not be a reason for the disbelief of your capability to overcome the dire circumstances, specifically the temptations to quit the life you have in the content writing industry.
For instance, in my case, the willingness to write a book has never crossed my mind in three years, though I managed to finish three fiction books on Wattpad within a year in 2018. But it has already been years since I tried to finish a few.
Apparently, at that time, I did it with the wrong approach to writing. Back then, I only saw book writing for selfish reasons. For me, it was the best way to earn respect for myself as an aspiring author—a dream I had when I was only fifteen years old.
The Unknown Danger Of Writer’s “Never Good Enough” Mindset
To watch me undergo such extreme stress and exert much effort for something in a longer period surprises me until now. I never thought that I could actually gather much of my inner strength that I believed I lost.
The willingness to test my writing muscles to that extent has never been one of my options at all. Over the years, I have done many ways to ignore the call, the special call, and stay as realistic as I can by focusing on what was possible.
I tried to maximize my writing skills in the English language, although the grades I had in school were not promising.
Equipped with the seemingly limited English words, I have been trying so hard to prove my worth and to deserve more financial stability to sustain my needs, as well as my family, who relies on my income to put food on the table.
For three years, I have been ignoring the signs, dismissing the need to explore the depths of my mind once again. As you may know, a nonfiction book typically has around 50,000 words on average.
Therefore, we’re not only talking about writing a few thousand words but tens of thousands, if not, hundreds of thousands within a specific time. Nothing more, nothing less.
At least, within the limited time that I have, I have done something that would give me reasons, concrete and valid reasons, to be proud of. In that way, I think I could define the entirety of my existence as positive and not the other way around.
The Never-Ending Challenges While Writing A Book In English As A Non-Native English Speaker
Writing a book has never been an easy thing to do, not even for those who have written bestsellers under their belts. Let alone in the English language, given that I am not a native speaker.
As far as my research and personal experiences are concerned, there’s nothing wrong with working my butts off to reach my dreams. Since I was fifteen years old, I have been aspiring to become an author.
All these years, I have been committed to working hard to make it into a reality while exerting the best efforts to hold on to it.
As young as I was, I knew that it could take me to a profound and life-changing experience even for someone like me—an unrecognized writer from a developing country, a writer without a title and bestsellers under my belt, and, above all, a non-native speaker who barely earns a decent income from writing different pieces of content for others.
My over-the-top optimism may appall you, but I know it is possible for anyone to write a book, including you. For many weeks since I started doing it, I learned the following strategies and applied them to my writing routines, such as:
- Strategy 1: Not Setting High Expectations From The Very Beginning
- Strategy 2: Challenging The Existing “Never Good Enough” Mindset
- Strategy 3: Avoid Rationalizing Writing Goals While Dismissing The Writer’s Affective Needs
- Strategy 4: Increasing Accountability Through Social Media
- Strategy 5: Learning To Step Back & Look At The Progress
- Strategy 6: Surrounding Myself With Positivity Amidst Paralyzing Self-Doubts
- Strategy 7: Finding A Bigger Purpose Than Money & Fame
- Strategy 8: Talking With My Alter-Ego Fearlessly Without Being Self-Critical
Strategy 1: Not Setting High Expectations From The Very Beginning
While the stakes are high, I am not doing this to try to become a Jane Austen or an Agathe Christie of some sort.
I am not up for trying to accomplish something for the sake of acknowledgments and receive accolades like The New York Times seller or something like that, though they are big titles both for a beginner or an established author.
All I wanted from writing this book is to see how much optimism is left inside me after years of living in utter misery and in the abyss. As an individual, I want to believe that hope isn’t limited to fairy tales.
I am pushing this with a conscious mind. However, I am not denying the fact that I am struggling to keep myself motivated until I see the first draft of the book printed and real.
Until that time comes, I have been doing this without setting high expectations while trying to structure the book too much. I don’t want to indulge in disappointments because I know they could hurt me a lot and bring detrimental outcomes later on.
As much as I can, my fingers remain crossed without putting myself under so much pressure because writing a book alone is a tremendous task. As an INFJ writer, it is better to stay away from reliving a collection of distractions that could potentially affect my ongoing progress.
Strategy 2: Challenging The Existing “Never Good Enough” Mindset
As a non-native English speaker (NNS), I have endured countless times of rejections and failures for almost a decade as an NNS content writer.
Though I have years of professional writing experience and earned thousands of dollars from writing different types of content, it doesn’t exempt me from the agonizing symptoms of the Imposter Syndrome.
In fact, my husband already told me a few times that I am way too young to write a memoir, though I am not closing my doors for it—only if the right opportunity comes. Considering his perspective on this issue, do you think I am way too young to write a book to share my story with you?
Unless I am unwilling to have the balls and give this project a shot, the struggle among writers like me will continue and repeat the never-ending cycle. If not, the worst. Thus, the obligation I have for writing this book has more weight than my personal desire to publish it.
Strategy 3: Avoid Rationalizing Writing Goals While Dismissing The Writer’s Affective Needs
Although the logical side of me tries to rationalize and evaluate my year-long list of experiences as a content writer, a modern-day writer as others call it, my gut tells me that writing a book about content writing for non-native speakers is the right thing to do.
Strategy 4: Increasing Accountability Through Social Media
While at it, I am overwhelmed with the positive responses from people whom I don’t know personally and from different parts of the world.
The pain-staking months of building a stellar LinkedIn profile have been helpful in reaching out to as many people as possible. As a result, many writers, especially those who could relate to my story, praised this entire journey.
Even if the book is far from finished, many of them have already expressed how proud they are for what I do, and until this day, they have been waiting for its official public release.
Honestly, the words I see from various writers on different platforms, such as LinkedIn groups, emails, and website comments, overwhelmed me to such an extent that it forced me to step away from my desk and do nothing a couple of days ago.
Sporadic anxiety attacks make me sick, almost entirely exhausted from the early morning when I get up from bed until I lay down to sleep at night. It is one of the biggest reasons for having a hard time catching up with social media, though I know it’s necessary.
Strategy 5: Learning To Step Back & Look At The Progress
Earlier, I talked about the onset of the never-ending writing paralysis. My mistake? I failed to notice the signs to stop writing and step back from everything. I was too hyped up while consolidating different book writing lessons from various authors.
From early September of this year until a few days ago, I was so preoccupied with the book that I slowly began to feel a bit of an obsession with finishing it. For weeks, I was trying to be an AI, thinking that I could process every single thing I learned within the shortest time possible like a computer.
However, the events that happened, later on, left me unprepared to face them. If I were truly honest with myself, I discourage this habit, given that I have an undiagnosed persistent depressive disorder (PDD) and an eating disorder—bulimia, to be specific.
Fortunately, I have someone to lean on to remind me of the superpowers that I have. My husband has always been there to tell me the same words over and over again.
“Don’t worry. You’re doing good, Schatz,” he replies when he’s asked about my writing progress and whenever my anxiety levels rise at times.
Strategy 6: Surrounding Myself With Positivity Amidst Paralyzing Self-Doubts
Writing this book means a lot to me, as well as to the NNS writers who have shown their support early on. My husband is among the first persons who committed to supporting my goal, my big dream.
On the other hand, the family that I left behind in the Philippines has been with me on this rollercoaster ride from the very beginning of my journey. I couldn’t forget the faces of my father, my mother, and my younger sister, as their lips stride wide and express meaningful thoughts of victory, though it is yet far from over.
When my mother disclosed the big goal with my closest relatives, shock permeated through their faces. It only showed that my decision to become an indie author and independent self-publisher is a big deal and probably, the last thing they would expect from me to do.
My mother’s youngest sister, whom I call Mama Del, didn’t take long before she was convinced that I was that dead serious about doing this that none of my family has ever tried achieving for generations.
Strategy 7: Finding A Bigger Purpose Than Money & Fame
While most of the NNS writers and my loved ones showed a hundred percent of their support, I could feel the weight of the unprecedented responsibility and a weird sense of obligation more than anything else.
Despite that, my intention is to help them see the vast possibilities available out there for non-native speakers, without the need to compromise personal beliefs and values they adhere to.
At the same time, I think I have let myself down countless times in my life. For once and for all, I want to give myself a chance to show what I am truly capable of because I am already fed up with the grey life I bestowed upon myself for a long time.
As a child, I have always believed that, though my oddities had put me into trouble countless times, I know that I was never born to follow the crowd but to stand out and do something special. Life has never been easy for me. But it doesn’t mean I am not capable of doing something great.
Strategy 8: Talking With My Alter-Ego Fearlessly Without Being Self-Critical
Earlier, I said that I have not set expectations for this project. While I am writing this, I am trying to keep in touch with my alter-ego to understand the two sides: the rationale of working so hard relentlessly and the urge to quench the emotional thirst deep within.
With my family, my husband, and the writers all over the world, their unwavering support helped me tremendously to continually look ahead with positivity. They are the same group of people who convinced me that there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, way too big and ambitious, for nobody like me.
My Final Thoughts About Writing A Book As A Non-Native English Speaker
My reality may suck right now, but there’s no way I could change that, except for one thing. It is something that I can control.
Instead of striving for perfection as I used to, I rather celebrate small and big progress through writing as many words as I can every single day.
Although it is easy to give in to worries because of people’s expectations, I also have to keep in mind that finishing the first draft of the book could take a toll on me.
Given the unimaginable sense of responsibility and obligation it demands, my decision remains firm—I will keep writing until my fingers bleed.
For once and for all, I decided to change my distorted perspective about success, and the one I believed before is definitely the wrong approach. Right here, right now, I want to believe that I can finish writing a book as a non-native English speaker. I can do this!
Even if it would take more time until I reach my ultimate goal, what matters to me now is how I have given myself a rare opportunity to prove that hope truly exists, and I have never let myself down. Not this time.