Why Start Writing?

I am frequently asked ‘Have you always written?’

I could say ‘After the age of four, yes.’

What a flippant, shallow answer! I know exactly what my interrogator is actually asking, so unless I am hell-bent on being awkward the answer would be ‘No, not until I retired to Spain.’

The next question, following on the heels of the first one is ‘What made you start?’

‘Ten euros.’

Now you can take it or leave it – my listener has the option of lifting the cover on my answer or walking away with the comment that I am a mentally deficient bovine, though probably expressed in a shorter phrase.

But it is true – it only took the promise of ten euros to unleash my inner author and set me on a path which has given me much pleasure over a steadily increasing number of years.

It came about so: The local English language newspaper had buried in its depths a little story – I forget what the story was about, but as a footer it offered ten euros for any story published.

Being very recently retired, and not yet having found out how busy retirement is, I thought I’d have a bit of that – ten euros, better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!

I counted the words, all one hundred and twenty of them, and with the bliss of ignorance set about to commit one hundred and twenty words to the page.

‘One hundred and twenty words – can’t be difficult, can it?’ At that point I had no idea that the shorter the piece the harder it was to write.

Also I was not yet cursed with technology, so I wrote my little masterpiece, The Pancakes of Mercadona, and took it in to the newspaper office by hand.

I stood centre office holding out my sheet of paper and looking like an ancient artefact while around me bustled a bevy of youngsters, all of whom knew what they were doing, and who were doing it quickly.

I was asked to wait while my hundred and twenty words were perused and taken into the Editor’s office. I knew it was the editor’s office, it had Editor written on the door.

Thus I could work out that the lady who emerged from that office was the Editor.

She didn’t waste time. ‘Can you do me another one for next week?’

I could, and I did, every week until the paper was bought up and swallowed by a soulless giant from further up the coast who had no time for the fripperies of my funny little life experience stories.

So harking back to the ten euros; I began writing for the promise of money, but continued putting together little pieces of nonsense for the enjoyment of my reader and for my enjoyment of their enjoyment.

But I never did get my ten euros!

Hand holding seedling

If you enjoyed reading this post, you may also like Bruce’s post about Creative People.

Illustration credit: congerdesign on Pixabay – copyright free.


  1. Lovely piece Jos! I’ve recently been looking at the requirements for submitting poems to some different poetry magazines. In addition to the poem and a very short bio, they all seem to want a description of why the poet writes poetry. So I looked at what different people wrote about that. A lot of bombast about epiphanies. Then I read “it only took the promise of ten euros to unleash my inner author.” Sooo much more believable!

  2. I say, whatever it takes. (Referring to the 10 Euros.) We are glad you took the bait back then, Jos! Keep it up.

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