Welcome back to The Story Behind The Story series. Today’s post is by Solveig Werner, a wonderful blogger and a talented storyteller. Enjoy!
Through writing I express my creativity, I create worlds, personalities, I remember the past and I witness the present. I have been writing for almost a year now. I had not written in quite some time, even though writing had always been part of my life.
The roots of my writing probably lay within my childhood; I grew up with the Grimm fairy tales and the magnificent stories of Astrid Lindgren. These did probably not lead me to write, but they fuelled my imagination. How do I remember those moments in primary school, we would have to write a story, and the imagination would overtake the writing speed in no time and the writing on the page ended up being unstructured. Still I knew it could be done, stories did not only exist within books, actual people had written them down. At one point my mother started writing a children’s book, my sister and I were always keen to know how it continued, thus it fuelled her writing. Looking back, I think that this might have had an impact on my writing; at least I had proof that it could be done.
When I was about thirteen, my school had organized a professional week, with people of various professions talking to us about what they did. We also took a personality test, I was meant to become a journalist, which suited me well as the idea of being stuck in an office scared me. Being a journalist seemed like a perfect compromise between writing in an office and being in the field doing research. I must confess that from then on I did everything to become a journalist.
Fast forward to high school, I started to seriously write more, I knew that in order to be good at writing I would have to write regularly. Essays at school were a good practicing ground. Over time I gained confidence, and started to get very good grades, I wrote reviews about plays and articles about other student activities for the parent’s newsletter and the yearbook. One of my articles resonated with a lot of people; they approached me and said that what I had written was great, and they thanked me for the review. Imagine the impact on my writing confidence.
At one point I started a blog, I needed to get my writing out into the world. On this I wrote about concerts that I went to. I continued writing about music, when I started University. I wrote, wrote, and, well, wrote a lot. I started to dive into research, by the time I had finished my master’s degree, I had written uncountable essays on topics such as the history of Dubai, on whether or not laws make us free, or on the Holocaust and a total of three research dissertations. I even considered continuing with a Phd, I did enjoy research, but what I did not realize at the time that I was constantly yearning to write and write more.
Looking trough old notebooks, witnesses to my constant need to write, and express myself, it turns out that I already wrote short stories and there are even fragments of novels. Over time, I shut down my blog, stopped writing creatively, let go of the idea of becoming a journalist. Too many times I had been told that journalism is a breadless profession, that the likelihood of making it to a good publication was slim and growing slimmer with the Internet giving the publishing sector a major overhaul.
For a long time I no longer wrote, my creative muses had grown quiet. I didn’t do any research, I didn’t write any reviews or articles, I wrote no more short stories, I didn’t even read as much as I used to. Until various events converged and led me to find my balance and with it my passion. At the beginning of this year, my fiancé pushed me to think about what I would like to do in my life, he knew me as someone creative, but something was blocking it. I thought about my childhood dreams and goals, wanting to grow up to be a writer or work for a publisher. Those memories led me to sit down with my new moleskin and just start writing, I felt awkward. I won a book, the biography of my favourite chocolatier, and started writing a review. Then I met an artist, and for some reason told her that I write. The last puzzle piece, was the visit of a friend, in our conversation I mentioned that I wanted to write, that I was thinking to start a blog, and she told me that she believed that I would be a great writer, and that she’ll read me. That day, I sat down and put up my first post, my second post was the book review, and the third one was about the artist.
At the beginning of being a blogger, every like made my heart skip, then the comments started to come, and then the warm words of encouragement. Being told by people who write amazing things that you have a gift, well I don’t know what can be more motivating. Eventually I received a thank-you email by an author whose book I had reviewed, another thing that encouraged me to go on. I don’t write for the feedback I receive, but it helps when it comes to being confident in what I do.
Now, I do not write every day, but I try to write as often as I can, especially when there is a story that wants to be told. Often I will sit down at my computer or with my notebook and let the story decide where it wants to go. Writing is liberating for me, I have the feeling it helps me prioritize, find my balance, and stay sane. For me my writing time is my ME-time, so in a way writing is a form of meditating. When I don’t write for a stretch of time, I’d better be actively doing something that fuels my creativity and that gives me writing ideas.
Today, I want to say: “I write, because I am a writer!” I just didn’t realise that this was my true calling; there were some obstacles to overcome.