How writing saved my life.


When I was a young teenager, we started building a house in the suburbs of Casablanca. It wasn’t exactly ‘we’ because I never considered myself a part of it but it was happening all around me. An episode of my life I hate recalling yet an episode that exists nonetheless. Like a stubborn stain that just won’t fade.

So they were building. Mum and him. It was a big concrete house that opened up to a vast terrain with an alley running along the middle of it. Nothing had been planted it but the seeds were in. It was happening.

It was the time of Harry Potter. Book number 5 had just come out and I had devoured it in my soon-to-be-yet-never-became bedroom. Books are such a fantastic escape yet even Harry Potter didn’t suffice. I needed my own project.

And so I started writing my first novel – a sort of magical-mystery-very-Harry-Potter-like story whose plot I can’t, for the life of me remember. But I was into it. I wrote on the roof. Under the beating sun. Barely acknowledging the view. Or the heat. Or them, planting the seeds of a future that never grew out of the ground. I just wrote.

Like many projects I have started, I never finished this story. Where is it now? Was it a notebook or a few loose pages clipped on a board? Memory fails me. Even then, even those few chapters I wrote, well they saved my life. They were a great diversion.

Today, writing is more than a distraction – it is a purpose. A project of my own, one that is growing alongside of me, giving me a reason to wake up in the morning, saving me, everyday. I left a big chunk of my heart in London and the only tangible thing I have managed to salvage is my novel. The only thing that has survived all my insecurities and all my uncertainties.

There are the friendships of course. And the memories. But they don’t give you a purpose. That, you have to find on your own. And to finance this purpose of mine, I am going to pay the bills by being a childminder. Looking after a 3 year-old one one hand, and a trio of 7, 12 and 13-year olds on the other.

There is no point in lying to myself; without my novel on the side, I would be crushed. But once again, in yet another turning point of my life, writing is here to save me. Because as hard and potentially pointless as it is to think about… Without my novel, who would I be?

(No pressure.)


Thanks for reading.
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19 responses to “How writing saved my life.

  1. The daring of you! It seems to me that you’re following in the footsteps of famous writers who congregated in Paris and poverty to write. May your novel take centre stage, and may you also know that you are much more than it, with absolute conviction. Maybe too you’ll be a contributing architect to four young lives!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Meg, and sorry for replying so late… Well, in a few years, maybe I’ll be a famous writer and will look back at those years of confusion and let out a little laugh.
      Hope you’re settling well in Poland!


  2. Writing provides clarity, helping one sift through conflicting thoughts, and in the end, map a path forward. You are following in the footsteps of many artists that have escaped to Paris. What an adventure! And childminding at the same time. That’s a tough but important job.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wishing you well on your Parisian adventure. I’m glad you’re still writing, and you can still see the goal in sight :-) Childminding is tough, but it can also be so rewarding – plus I feel you might get more story material from the experience.


  4. Without your novel, who would you be? Seriously? You need a damned good talking to, young lady!
    Of course, the novel is an essential part of you, but there is so much more of you than that. You have talent (musical as well as literary), you have courage (not everyone decides to move to a different country – and that’s only one example), and you have a history of experiences already that most people don’t get throughout their lives. I can see that, and I’ve only met you once.
    What I mean by all of that is that you have a great foundation on which to build a life that has so many dimensions, and if you feel as if you’ve taken a few steps back at the moment, that’s not always a bad thing. As Stephen Covey once said, the worse thing you can do is climb the ladder of success only to find it’s leaning against the wrong wall. Here’s a great opportunity to make sure you find the right wall.
    Like so many people here, I will be quietly (most of the time) wishing you well and urging you on. Have faith – we’re right behind you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow… Talk about a talking to… Thank you for that, honestly. And I must say your quote has stayed with me and keeps nagging at me. It’s SO relevant and the image so clear it really makes you think.
      I think I have to learn to define my self-worth not only by my job title but by who I am aside from what pays the bills. That’ll be an accomplishment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’ve hit the nail on the head, there, Ellie. And it’s easier for you to make that change at your tender age than it will be if you wait until you reach mine. Remember we’re all rooting for you

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, for sharing this. I too feel that writing has saved me for a new chapter in my life. You have also just sparked another memory, I too used to sit out on the roof. It was my Thinking Space.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read your piece and the comments it inspired with so much enjoyment and head nodding! Yes, writing is life-saving and life-altering – in fact, the caring and health professions are increasingly coming to share this view, with creative writing being offered more and more alongside talking and corresponding art therapies. You may well be interested, Elissaveta, as may other visitors to your blog, in a workshop I can thoroughly recommend, which introduces people of diverse backgrounds and interests to creative writing for therapeutic purposes (CWTP). This is a fascinating, growing subject area, and as the workshops are coming up, I attach the relevant info:
    Bristol (Clifton) on Saturday 21st May 2016 from
    11.00am – 5.00pm and
    London (Ealing) on Friday 27th May 2016 from
    11.00am – 5.00pm
    If you are interested, contact Mandy Kersey on 0208 8579 2505 or or visit the website:
    Again, thank you for this piece and for sharing it with others, taking us into the magic of the imagination’s heartland.


    • Hi Emery! Thank you so much for your words and the introduction to this workshop. Unfortunately I no longer live in London but it’s always good to know about this.
      Thanks again for reading and commenting!


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