How and why I became a writer

People ask me how come that I love writing books. I ask myself the same question. I know that writing a book is not and has never been an easy task. Combining and manipulating the 26 letters of the alphabet to create meaningful sentences, write paragraphs and fill pages in a way that tells an exciting story for readers is a work of art that demands a lot of courage, motivation, concentration and consistency. 

My long journey to becoming a writer

As far as I can remember I always wanted to become a writer and a journalist when I grow up. Although my family was of the opinion that I should instead study law, I told myself I would one day become a writer, when I will no longer need their permission to do so. When I was 12, I secretly started my writing career. I remember writing love novels inspired by Miles and Bones, one of my favourite novels series back then. I even wrote to the publishers many times proposing my stories for publication, but never got an answer. After many attempts, I gave up and started telling myself that I was probably not a good writer. I then followed the advice of my family and enrolled in the faculty of law at the University of Yaoundé in the early 90s, determined to become a lawyer.  In my second year, I was kicked out of the university because of my involvement in the student’s movement that changed the political landscape in Cameroon for the first time in history. 

From there I had to redefine myself. I continued my Activism in defense of women’s Human rights. When I got the chance to continue my studies in Austria in 1995, I  was told that my law studies from Cameroon were disqualified. I had again to redefine myself. Yet my family advised me to read sociology, and so I did.

Self-doubts and negative self-talk

While in Austria I had to learn a new language, German, one of the most complicated and complexed languages I know. It did not take long until doubts took control of me. I told myself I was never going to write a book. I was so sure my command of the German language was never going to be good enough for me to write a book. From that moment onwards doubt rented a big space in my mind and heart, and my negative self-talk took full control over my desire and my passion for writing.

“Who are you to want to write a book?”

“In which language are you going to write?”

“Who is going to read your book?”

“Look at the bookstore; there are many books in the world already; who is going to read yours? Forget it and do something normal.”

These and many other familiar questions hunted me up until when I was 41 years old and my wish to write turned into a need to write. It became so strong that I could no longer ignore and could no longer procrastinate. So I made up my mind to write a book, in German. Then I found a ghostwriter.  My first book “Vielfalt statt Einfalt – wo ich herkomme” was released in 2011. Little did I know that the writing fever had got me. In 2013 I again called my ghostwriter, this time he was mir developmental editor and I the writer. It did not take long before I released my second book “Erfolgsfaktor kulturelle Vielfalt. Anderer Menschen. Bessere Teams. Neue Kunden”. From that moment on you could say I overcame my self-doubts and finally embraced my passion for writing. Since then I have released 8 other books and no day goes by today without me writing.

Challenges faced by independent writers and publishers. 

Even though I write with lots of typos, I have come to understand myself as a content writer, not a language or grammar writer. I just refuse to let the fear of making mistakes keep me away from my passion for sharing the contents that I have to share and doing the thing that fulfils me the most.

Yes, I still have and do face many challenges in my everyday life as a writer. One of the biggest challenges of independent writers and publishers is that they have to pre-finance every step of their writing business, from writing to page-setting, design, proofreading and editing, printing to marketing. Finding reliable, consistent, patient and available proofreaders and editor, as well as affordable printing, can be very challenging. Still, I refuse to let even this challenges stop me from writing.

I write much faster than my proofreaders. This means I always find myself seating on finished pieces pending editing. However, it is easier for me to have them written and waiting than having to stop my writing flow. I will tell you more about the advantages and challenges of choice to remain an independent writer in another conversation.

So how about you? Are defying all oughts and following your dream or waiting for better times?  Do not sit on your goals, do give up the fire in you.  Need someone to rekindle it? Then talk to me.

Yours in creativity

Beatrice Achaleke