Author Spotlight: Victoria Ichizli-Bartels, author of Cheerleading for Writers
International Writers Inspiring Change (IWIC): Tell us about yourself …
Victoria: My name is Victoria Ichizli-Bartels, and I am the founder of Optimist Writer, a writing, publishing and consulting business. I started my business in October 2015, and until then I specialized at various times of my life in business development, information technology, semiconductor physics, and electronic engineering. Today, I write books, provide content on my website (which I call tools) as well as training, and consulting
services for writers, business professionals, and users of a global technical standard. I am keen to find the potential in any challenge, to disentangle complex projects into logical sequences of steps, to bring creativity and a positive attitude to any project, and to help writers, entrepreneurs, and other creative people do the same. I was born and grew up in Moldova, lived in Germany for twelve years, and now live in Aalborg, Denmark, with my husband and two children. Since 2015, I have published an array of books both non-fiction and fiction. Before that, I authored a Ph.D. thesis on semiconductor physics and technology as well as a number of scientific and technical publications. In the past two years, I have submitted two of my books to the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. One book was a spy fiction novella and another a motivational nonfiction guide. Both books were praised by the judges of this prestigious contest, with the latter one getting highest grade (5 = outstanding) in all for nonfiction relevant categories. I have given various seminars and coaching sessions on fiction and creative non-fiction to aspiring writers in Aalborg, among other, at the South Gate Society School of Creating Writing, Aalborg, Denmark.
IWIC: What inspired you to write?
Victoria: My love for the written word began early – initially sparked by my Father. As an infant, before I could read, I would lie on my tummy with an open book and trace the rows of words with my finger, as I thought I had seen him do. I would make muted noises as though I was mumbling the words aloud. Several years later, I was disappointed to discover that everyone my age was not only eager to read but was actually doing it. I mean, really reading. So, I decided to rebel and be the only one who didn’t read. But with time, the praise appeared to be more attractive than the lack of it. So I started reading what was required of us at school. And in addition to those prescribed books, there were others that I really liked. Later, having first wanted to become a dentist, and then playing language teacher with my dolls, I went to study semiconductor physics. My father died when I was ten, so I never got to experience the typical teenage conflicts that would prevent me from idolizing him. My father studied and worked in the field of semiconductor physics and semiconductor devices. Thus, my choice to study the same. It came naturally to me, and I was resolved to follow his dream. But this was my dream, too. Nanophysics, as it is called today, is incredibly romantic. There is either attraction or repulsion. Nothing in-between. And so many uncertainties that there is even a scientific principle, a postulate, dedicated to them: the uncertainty principle. I discovered my love for writing almost twenty years later. I had tried my hand at poetry while at school but had discouraged myself as much as my literature teacher did. In any case, the attempt at poetry was mostly about being fashionable. Everyone at school wanted to be poetic. An early hint of my eagerness as a writer came from my professor, or doctoral father, in Germany, when he reviewed the first draft of my Ph.D. thesis. He said: “Frau Ichizli, you write very poetically.” I did rewrite the entire dissertation to make it more suited to a study of porous and nanostructured semiconductors. But his feedback remained one of my favorite anecdotes. And now that I’m addicted to writing, I realize why. Like anyone in this world, I had and have many dreams. One of the biggest was to start a family. The person I loved, and still love, the most in my life had the same dream. So we dropped our initially careful family planning and just started trying. But things didn’t go as expected. So, we tried, and we waited. And we waited, and we tried. And then we asked for external help. On a bus trip to one of the checks and treatments, I wrote my first short story about a woman who was on the way to get two embryos implanted. She took a taxi. But the taxi driver was a broken man after his mentally ill wife had killed herself and their son. The woman he was driving looked so much like his late wife that he almost punished her. But then the woman told him where she was going, and his madness stopped. The woman’s wish to have children was so opposite to what his wife had done. This woman wanted to give life instead of taking it. So, he took her where she’d asked him to, and sometime later he went to apologize. The woman named one of her babies after the taxi driver’s son. More stories found their way into my head, and I was eager to keep writing. I started a blog, and then a novel. The fact that I do have a family now – two highly energetic, sweet and wonderfully cheeky monkeys, a son and a daughter – has generated even more inspiring stories, which enrich my life and provide me along with other experiences with an endless well of creativity. I’m thrilled to be on this journey of re-discovering moments in my life, capturing the people I shared these moments with, and conjuring new elements in my imagination. Realizing that I could create rows of text that would hook a reader, made me want to write even more. And I never want to stop.
IWIC: What inspiration or message are you trying to get across through your
Victoria: Be here and be bold. Remember that kindness and honesty are mutually inclusive and can’t truly exist one without another. Also remember that fun is not a bonus of what you do; it is a must. It is a parameter determining the success of whatever you are up to.
Brilliant quotes to live by:
“Life is fleeting. If you have the idea you want to do something, you should go for it.” (Ariel and Shya Kane)
“You are never given a wish without also being given a power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” (Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah)
“Lessons learned in games have a greater impact than lessons learned any other way.” (Richard Garfield, inventor of the game Magic: The Gathering)
IWIC: Tell us about your latest book.
Victoria: Writing and especially writing books is a long-term process. There are many great books on writing craft advising how to become a better writer, as well as those exposing the lousy writing examples. A friend, who was first a stranger and who found me online, became not only one of my dearest friends but also became someone else for me. She didn’t edit or criticize my writing pieces (either blog posts or book manuscripts I sent her) and didn’t say how to improve them. She did something else. She pointed out what she liked most. But most of all she told what feelings my writing generated inside her, along with the memories of her childhood and youth. She related how my written pieces resonated with her. When I tried to identify who she was to me and my writing, I realized that she was neither an editor nor strictly a beta-reader. She was my cheerleader! As I experienced her support, I realized that she was not the only cheerleader in my life. Her presence and support made me aware of many beautiful and supporting people in my life, including my writing life. I wanted to pay the gift of cheerleading for writers. And with some contemplation of how to do that, I decided to create a resource for writers and to share the discoveries I made along the way. In November 2015 I started a blog category “Cheerleading for Writers” and wrote 26+ articles on various topics of writing, creativity, and life. In October 2016 I completed this resource and after another year of polishing, revising and editing (both professional and self-editing), I have published Cheerleading for Writers: Discover How Truly Talented You Are in October 2017. To continue cheerleading writers, I created a public Facebook Group with the same title, Cheerleading for Writers, which I invite you to join.
Do you sometimes feel stuck when you sit down to write? Do you wish you had someone to empathize with the challenges of the creative process – someone who could cheer you up and remind you that you have the talent and power to succeed? Sports teams have cheerleaders who raise the overall mood by cheering at each of their matches. The authors of this world, whether experienced or aspiring, need cheerleaders too. Enthusiasm and support allow writers to gather their wealth of experience to enchant and entertain their fans. I’ve been lucky to have many amazing cheerleaders in my life. And in my life as a writer, there has been one particular cheerleader who made all the difference. She helped me finish my first novel and showed me what I could achieve if I just listened to her uplifting feedback (and that of other well-meaning friends) and continued writing. She is also the one who inspired me to write this book and give back the gift of cheerleading to others. Cheerleading For Writers contains twenty-six articles and essays on various aspects of writing, publishing, and life. In them, I share personal experiences about my writing adventures and reveal what I learned from teachers and cheerleaders along the way. I hope it will help you discover the pearls inside your own writing and creativity. I wish you joy while reading this book and immense pleasure in your creative processes! Author website