Making choices can sometimes lead to having to defend yourself. Even in writing. I often get asked why I write my stories in English and not in my native tongue, for example. Although it is a good question, it always bothered me a bit. There’s always a bit of stink eye coming with it from my fellow Dutchies, so I struggled to deal with that.
You see, I’ve been writing in English ever since I was a teenager. I grew up with a British friend and was blessed to learn the language early on. Because I heard it so often, and they taught me by speaking it with me, it became embedded into me. It opened up a whole new world to me, right as the internet became a thing. And for that, I am very grateful.
Fanfiction and RPG
Due to the success of the internet, I discovered fanfiction in my early teens,. Let me tell you that when you love a show so much that you are writing fanfiction on it, you don’t do it in another language. That just doesn’t seem right.
So I started writing my stories on Buffy and Xena (you can estimate my age from this) and sharpened my skills. When I got a little older, I joined an RPG group called Themiscyra and wrote in the English language even more. I got a lot of feedback from my writing sisters, allowing me to grow further.
My American Tribe
Fast forward a few more years, and enter my internship in West Virginia. My American tribe supported me in all ways possible. They helped me grow into the woman I am. And part of that was by cheering me on about my writing. So, I kept writing in English.
Becoming serious about writing
As you can see, It has always come naturally to me. I didn’t give it a second thought. It just was what it was. Until I got more serious about writing and somebody asked me why I didn’t do it in my mother tongue. That threw me off. Especially since they added that the Dutch market is hard enough to conquer on its own, let alone the English one.
Looking back, I guess the reasoning makes sense. I live in the Netherlands, so it would make sense to write in Dutch. And I tried. Hell, I wrote several short stories and books in my mother tongue. I became a part of a beautiful writing community (that I appreciate so much)! But yet… it didn’t feel right.
My writing group
So, when a story came to me that only could be written in English, I presented it just like that to my writing group. And they asked me why I didn’t write more like that. They were the first to see me write in both languages, and they noticed off the bat which one came most naturally to me.
Instead of being small-minded, my writing group’s reasoning was that the English market is way bigger. By writing in that language, I can reach a lot more people who would enjoy my stories. Especially since my writing style matches that market more than it does the Dutch market.
It was that little nudge that motivated me. Writing for a bigger market didn’t narrow my chances but only increased them. Writing in English wasn’t something to be ashamed of, especially not since it fits my stories so well. So, I made a choice, and here we are.
I just finished writing my novella The Hunt, and I have plenty of ideas in my head of where to go next. Maybe a creepy horror thriller, or another YA, plenty of choices. And that makes me happy. I write to be read, after all.
I’ll tell you a little more about how I am doing that in my next personal blog. Because when you are a professional writer… you need to take some serious action, right? Like reaching out to an agent, for example? For now, I wish you a gorgeous day and happy reading/writing!
Do you want to know more about me? Send me your question at firstname.lastname@example.org