We all know how the Internet transformed the publishing Industry by opening the doors to Indies. This fact has given readers the power of choice by providing all kinds of stories that would have not been published before. Just this accomplishment alone is amazing, but there is another accomplishment that is not that obvious. The self-publishing Industry has also given hope to those people in the US from different backgrounds to find their voice and share their stories. America is a stew of cultures and stories, and up until now, many of these life lesson stories would be lost because of the language barrier.
As an Immigrant with a story to share I struggled with the idea of writing it in my native language and then having it translated; but somehow I was not convinced that a translation would do my voice justice. So for me publishing didn’t become an option until I found the strength to sign up for a creative writing class, and the instructor opened my eyes. She said, “Do not think your accent is your handicap, it is actually your asset.” After 20 years of writing and publishing in English, even though English is my third language, I am proof that she was right.
The problem when we live in a different country is that we see our roots as a handicap, and in many aspects it is. However, when it comes to sharing a story, your accent and roots become your biggest asset. Make no mistake, writing is a craft and as such grammar, spelling, and structure are important. But your voice is unique, and this is where you must embrace your accent, and leave it to the editors to edit the grammar, structure and spelling where pertinent.
It does sound easier than what it is, I know. We criticize what we are writing even before the words hit the paper. The critic within must be shut down, until the whole story is on paper. After the story is down in your accented version of English, then the re-writing can begin.
Here are some tips on how to tear down the language barrier and write your story in English.
· The first thing to do is to turn off the critic within. You can begin by writing short pieces in English as an exercise. Try thinking in English by imagining you are speaking to someone. Just write it down as it comes in your brain. Read it and try to correct as much as you can. Then try again. Repeat this until you feel comfortable with listening to your English persona.
· Find a writing group around your area and a creative writing class. Listen to other people’s critiques and take their observations in a constructive way. Clarify with them that English is not your first language and you wish them to focus their critique on the story, message, characters, description, and all other aspects of writing style and not to worry about grammar, as it will be edited by a professional editor.
· Once you have played enough with short stories, start writing your project. Put the entire story on paper, before you begin the critiquing and re-writing.
· Make room in your budget for an editor. It doesn’t matter how good the story is, if it is poorly edited you won’t get good reviews. This fact is true whether you are a native English speaker or not.
Be proud of what you are doing. It takes guts, determination and persistence to crumble a language barrier. When in doubt remember that “your accent is your asset.” For more information on how we help authors visit www.readerviews.com.