Since I moved to Spain in 2008, I must have written hundreds, if not thousands, of blog posts and articles about life in Spain. And I’ve also come across some excellent bloggers and authors about all things Spanish. Many of them have become good friends along the way, and in May I set up a Facebook group called Writers On Spain. It’s a meeting place for writers who live in Spain, or who live elsewhere but write about Spain.
It’s also a place where they can promote their own work, share the work of others and pass on tips and information that may be of interest or help to other writers. But above all it’s a friendly, supportive and welcoming community where we can network, vent our frustrations to people who understand where we’re coming from and take a break when we need to. After just 5 months, we have over 150 active members, and I’m continually amazed by how many people – mainly expats – can write so knowledgeably and engagingly about the wonderful country that is now our home.
The Writers On Spain are the antithesis of the Bar Stool Experts we all know and hate and the so-called travel bloggers who regurgitate the guide book stuff without having ever set foot in Spain. Our writers have been there and done it, and they can take you there with their words in ways you would never believe possible.
The group is a closed group, so although if you click on the link you can see the group and its members, you won’t be able to read any of the posts. However, I’ll be bringing the writers to you by way of short profiles and blog links, so you can be guaranteed great reading on all things Spain related. and since this is my blog, bags I’m first in the queue!
I’ve been writing online for about 10 years now. Why the late start? Well, in my previous existence I was a catering manager, but when I was diagnosed with Lupus back in 1996, I was medically retired. It took almost two years to stabilise my condition, and then I decided to do what I’d always wanted to do – go to University and get me a degree. I always go over the top with everything I do, and my First Class BA in Literature and History wasn’t enough for me, so I did an MA in Anglo-American Literary Relations. The plan was to do a little part time lecturing – after all, Tony says I’m very good at lecturing – but it didn’t work out that way.
As I’ve always loved writing, I decided to see if I could get into it as a way of passing the time and even – dare I hope – earning a few quid. At first it was slow going. I joined a couple of content creation sites, and earned about $15 in my first 6 months as an online writer. Then some of the stuff I’d written for Helium started attracting attention. I sold a few articles as stock content, and got commissioned to write stuff for other sites. All of a sudden I was earning three figures a month. Okay, it was in dollars, which meant it was still in two figures in GB pounds, but it was a start, and if you’re just writing for the money, you’ll never make it. First you write for the love, then the money will follow if you’re good enough.
My breakthrough came in 2011, when I was commissioned to write some regional guides for Insiders Abroad. They were pleased with them, and they’ve kept me on as a regular contributer since then. I’ve also picked up regular private clients, and generated work and contacts from my first blog on Eye On Spain. And now I have my own, shiny new website, and I can say with honesty and pride ‘I write for a living.’ Okay, it’s a modest living at the moment, but hey, I get paid for doing what I love, and I’ve found my spiritual home in Spain. Life is great!