I’ve had a passion for writing for as long as I can remember. My parents still have the illustrated stories that I wrote in first grade. I could barely speak English but I turned the adventures I had with my friends into stories. These were comically written in a mixture of English, Ukrainian, Russian and Czech. It wasn’t blog posts that I grew up dreaming of writing.
I was in middle school when I started trying to write novels… but I never got past a few pages of a dramatic beginning that led nowhere. I was so jealous of people who could create entire worlds in their heads. It was my dream to let these stories flow out onto pages that readers all over the world would hungrily flip through.
As much as I wanted to write, I simply lacked imagination. But that didn’t stop me from writing… outside of a daily diary that I kept since the fifth grade, I practiced writing whenever I got the chance. Essays, research projects, my final IB essay – I reveled in every academic writing assignment I received but I always wanted more.
How it started…
It wasn’t until my first year at university that I started actively pursuing writing. Despite the temptation to go for a journalism major, I decided to study something more “practical” – international relations. I still took writing classes. I also joined the International Women’s Association in the hopes of writing for their magazine, The Bridge.
My first published articles were about art, written for a class at my university. When I asked my professor if I had a chance of getting published in The Prague Post, a local expat newspaper, he laughed at me. He went out of his way to say that I couldn’t write and would never be published anywhere. Despite his negative comments he still gave me a passing grade in the class.
His discouraging words and a B- in the class only motivated me more. I polished up the pieces I’d written for his class and got them published in The Bridge. I kept writing for them long after my membership ran out.
During my semester abroad in Hawaii, I took the glossy magazine cutouts featuring my articles to the university paper. They were happy to let me write a few articles for Kekalahea News.
One morning I woke up particularly motivated. I wrote a short piece about a unique volunteering opportunity that I had recently experienced in Hawaii. I submitted it to the state paper, the Hawaii Tribute Herald. Although they didn’t give me a byline, they did publish my story! It was university professors who told me that it had been published. They brought me and my classmates copies of the daily newspaper that it was in.
It wasn’t until 2014 that I went on a journalism trip with my university. Anglo American University offered a winter course that was half in Prague and half in Kent State, Ohio. It was a competitive class to get into. I was so amused when I found out who the deciding vote was cast by. I was voted in by the same man who told me I would never get published anywhere.
This journalism class was sponsored by The Prague Freedom foundation. They offered a prize for the two best articles written during this course. My controversial piece on abortion laws was selected for an excellence award!
I did my best to keep impressing The Prague Freedom foundation. Finally, I ended up applying for a grant to go to Ukraine and report on the political chaos there – it was approved. I submitted some of the articles I’d posted on my blog to The Prague Post. To my surprise, they were published and read by thousands of people!
Soon after, I got a PR job at Foreigners.cz where I got to write more articles for their blog about visa and expat related topics. This led to me writing a few articles for Expats.cz and eventually, a year of freelancing for Prague.TV.
My freelancing at Prague.TV led to me writing for several other publications including Youth Time Magazine, TU Automotive and even the Huffington Post! But it still wasn’t the same as writing a novel.
Love as Blue as Hawaii
It wasn’t until 2015 that I sat down and wrote down the first draft of Love as Blue as Hawaii as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge. Finally, in 2019 my short story was published in Surrender to Passion. It is my hope to one day turn it into a full length novel and I was hoping to do that this month. However, it may not happen just yet!
The moral of the story? Travel blogging can inspire fiction! I happened to have self-published another story that was inspired by my life in Prague, Czech Republic. By following my blog, you help inspire me to keep writing and pushing forward. One day, my dream of publishing a novel finally comes true! So yes, I do believe that travel blogging can inspire fictional writing!
But wait… what about the travel writing?
Oh right! I started blogging and vlogging about travel when I moved to China. This started in 2016 and I fell in love with it. Travel blogging was very different from writing the occasional travel piece and I became obsessed. Here I am, 3 years later, still going strong!