by KB Meniado
There’s a profound satisfaction in figuring out things on your own, and a lot of times, you want others to experience the same, so you try to help pave the way for them. This is what author Charlene DI is doing. Here, she briefly talks about realizing her dream through indie publishing and why Filipino-authored self-help books matter.
Charlene DI is the author of Erstwhile, a collection of essays, prose and poetry about the different faces of relationships and dreams. She is also the author of Outbox, an advice book on relationships. She believes in the power of purpose and bravery, and she writes to instill courage and inspiration.
Hi, Charlene! Did you always know writing (and eventually, publishing) was a thing you could do?
I have been creating since I was a kid. I remember the first piece I was able to finish was a short story for children. I was eight years old then. I also became part of campus publications since I was eleven until I graduated from college.
Writing has always been fun for me, but I only considered publishing my stories in 2017. Instead of waiting for gold to come to my doorstep, I told myself I’ll be the one in charge of making my dream of becoming an author come true. In April 2017, after all the years of dreaming about it, I was able to release my first book.
This first book is Erstwhile, a self-help book intended to give inspiration to those pursuing their dreams and finding their life purpose. Congratulations! Were there any books that helped you arrive at that point?
I love self-help books! I remember I wrote Erstwhile the moment I finished rereading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield and #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso.
Writing is difficult—how do you do it? Any tips for inspiration and motivation?
When something comes to mind, I stop everything to write the idea down. I usually keep a notebook and pen in hand, or I type in the notes section of my phone. If I see potential in the idea, I do research, I write it… and then I doubt my capabilities and writing skills after.
But since I write to instill courage, I need to be a good example, so I’ll proceed with editing and trust myself one more time. I’m blessed to have people who help me push through with writing and my dreams, no matter what happens. I am also overwhelmed by the response of some readers that they are moved and inspired by the content that I write, so that keeps me going, too.
One more thing is my mission: #TurnYourPainIntoPurpose. [This to me means] that healing is possible and that God let everything happen, good and bad, for a grander purpose.
And you do live by what you preach. Now that it’s been a year of being independently published, what would you say are your best and not-so-good experiences so far?
I guess the hardest part is also the loveliest: You have the last say over everything. It’s challenging to go through the process in detail and, of course, outsource some tasks, such as getting editors and other artists. It’s hard to pave your own way, but having a personal touch on everything throughout the whole process is wonderful.
Well said. Last one: Why do you think it’s important to have as many Filipino authors on shelf?
Filipino writers are a bunch of amazing beings and creators. While some of us are best in creating works of fiction, I know there are also many Filipino writers capable of touching our hearts through nonfiction works, especially those that aim for self-improvement and genuine inspiration. It is important to be represent and be present, since we have to be relevant and cater to the Filipino reader. ☁️