I had some great news on Monday. After just a few months of writing about living in rural Mallorca, my blog has been nominated for the Expat Blog Awards 2012. OK, I know there are loads of really interesting blogs in the running – from expats living all over the globe – but just getting this far feels fantastic.
If you are an expat blogger too, it’s really worth checking out their website. I’m looking forward to reading some of the other nominations when I have a few quiet moments to myself. I’m fascinated by what motivates people to leave their homeland and travel to a (sometimes very) different country to pursue a new life.
When we moved to rural Mallorca, I was itching to start the novel I’d always wanted to write, but there were a few small challenges. Firstly, the finca we’d bought needed quite a bit of work to turn it into a comfortable permanent home, rather than the rustic holiday home it had been for many years. Our days were filled with DIY, painting, varnishing, cleaning up the inevitable mess that results from home improvements, and undertaking shopping expeditions for various items of furniture and other necessities. My spare moments were spent recovering from all this, rather than writing.
There was also the small matter of electricity – which we didn’t have for the first eight months we lived here. No electricity meant no computer, so any writing would have had to be by hand, using a pen or pencil and paper. And for me, for some reason, the words just don’t flow unless there’s a keyboard and screen to accept them. How I envy those writers who can sit with a notepad and pen, committing their mots justes to paper. It just doesn’t work for me.
Once we had electricity, I began to make up for lost time, and I’ve now had several hundred articles published in Mallorca-based magazines and a few publications in the UK. But I’ve made little progress with writing fiction. Several short stories sent to women’s magazines in the UK have been rejected, and the novel has stalled at 20,000 words. One day . . .
However, I’m thrilled skinny (oh, I wish) to have had some success with a short story (only my second to be published), entitled Embracing the New, which appears in the third anthology, Foreign Encounters, published by Writers Abroad http://www.writersabroad.com/ today (October 24th); the stories, articles, and poems included have all been written by expat writers living around the globe.
Author Julia Gregson, a former expat whose bestselling novel East of the Sun won the Prince Maurice Prize for romantic fiction, has written the foreword.
All proceeds from the sale of Foreign Encounters will go to Books Abroad, a charity which co-ordinates the donation of books to schools throughout the world. The charity celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and has supplied more than 1,600 schools with books.