Saturday, May 23, 2020

What Writing Has Cost Me by Victoria Chatham

During a recent conversation with someone who has enjoyed all my books, I was asked what writing had cost me. This wasn't meant in a financial way, more in terms of what social or personal changes I may have experienced. 

As a child, books were always my best friends. I’m not sure if this was the result of being an early reader or the fact that being an army brat and constantly on the move taught me very early on the pain of parting from friends. After the second or third posting, I didn’t bother trying to make them and kept pretty much to myself. I became an observer rather than someone who participated in whatever was going on.

The bonus, though, of each new school was discovering its library and there, I excelled

because I read books way above my grade and so became popular with the librarians who were often the English teachers, too. Yes, I sucked up big time in order to get my hot little hands on more books than the curriculum required.

In my early teens, I switched from reading to writing. I was absolutely convinced I had what it took to be an author. I tinkered with writing, gaining on the way prizes for essay writing at school and good passes in English Literature and Grammar (taught as separate subjects back then) in my GCE exams - this, I think, would have been the equivalent of graduation.   

Once I was married and had a family, I was always writing something, from annual reports at work to stories for my kids. But then I decided to write a book for my daughter. It took me two years to complete but it satisfied me in a way that reading did not. Writing days were
Sundays, when I shut myself in my bedroom tucked up on the window seat with a flask of coffee and a plate of sandwiches. It was known that I was not to be disturbed unless there was lots of blood or something on fire. Writing became a constant friend, the one to whom I never would have to say good-bye. Sure, there were and are moments of au revoir, but then a new idea grabs me, and the writing begins again.

Over the years I know my writing has set me apart, a little. The days when I’ve said ‘no’ to this or that proposed outing because I wanted to write has caused coolness in some friendships and ended others. The times when I have been uncommunicative because I was deep in my story have not necessarily been understood, either. Joining a writing group was the best thing I ever did because being with other people who ‘get it’ is a great place to be.

Overall, writing has given me much more in terms of satisfaction than just about anything else, so for me, there has been far more reward than cost. 




  1. Bookworms unite. Keep writing. I wonder how many writers lives follow similar patterns

  2. Sounds like a good trade! Yes, our writing friends GET us!

  3. Yes, it's wonderful having friends who write! As Eileen said, they GET us! :)


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