Writing through the Years

My views of writing are continuously changing. I began writing, after many many years as an avid reader, in an attempt to express myself freely as I adapted to a new culture, new language, new marriage, new country. It was something purely for myself, just for the thrill of easy expression. It was something to do when I got the time.

Then I found an article in the newspaper that could have been written directly for me. Submissions for pieces written by foreign women living in Turkey. I wrote something immediately and my first book publication was in an anthology where the editors worked very hard for publicity and created a really good buzz around the book. I missed the events as I had a very young baby at the time. You can read my story here.

Writing became important. As I dealt with two young children, it became a way to connect to my essence, the part of me that was not there to respond to everybody’s needs. I probably began reading books about craft and how to write at this stage.

As the children grew, I had an idea for a novel and began planning in great detail, trying to map out scenes and characters and settings. I planned in such great detail, even had a title and a cover that looked amazing, that I ran out of steam before I even wrote a word.

Then I had an idea about a non-fiction project and that just won’t go away.

The bright setting sun behind a cliff across the Dardanelles straits casts a reddish light through the sky, silhouetting trees on the near side of the water.
Sunset across the Dardanelles

I had a decision to make at this point. Take the plunge and try to write as a job, a means of income. Or I could use another skill that I was developing to earn some pocket money. Several people told me that I should go for writing, that anything else would stunt my writing and lead to regrets in later years.

They were right about stunting the writing, but not the regrets. From what I know about the business of writing, I was right to use the other skill. It does not involve the uncertainty of writing for years on a project in the hope that agents or publishers or readers will see the value in it, nor the continuous push to publish articles or essays and dealing with the subsequent rejections.

During this time, writing inevitably took a back seat. But it was always on my mind, always there, like a grain of sand in your shoe that you can never quite get rid of.

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