"Where word power and wanderlust collide." These are the words on the home page of the Content Castle's website that attracted me to apply for their intensive writing program in Thailand. As a writer who loves to travel, this sounded like the perfect opportunity for me. Plus, it is located in Southeast Asia, a part of the world that I have never been to. Also,Thailand is on my bucket list. So, now that the "wanderlust" in me is satisfied, what is this "word power" that they speak of. Upon further investigation the Content Castle promises that I will be writing and editing content for real clients, on a variety of subjects, from lifestyle, tech, travel, homeopathy and more. Researching and writing for these client's websites, blogs and other communications developing a portfolio of experience. We would also attend workshops to help us hone our writing skills. They described it as developing skills as a digital nomad writer. This is exactly what I had been working almost two years towards, this kind of opportunity. Digital nomad life here I come. The requirement, writing 7,500 words a week. Now that is some real word power. Thank goodness I have been into reading and writing words since I was a child.
The first time I can remember knowing that words on a page could tell a story, I was five or six years old. My love for the story though came before the words had meaning to me. I received my first book before I could walk and by the age of three I never left home without a book in my hand. I would look at the pictures and pretend to read, making up my own story. For example, in Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf was not trying to lure Red to eat her; he was playing dress-up. He only wanted Red to play with him while grandma played hide and seek with both of them. To four years old me, the three little pigs was still a terrifying tale of a bullying wolf. But in my version the little pigs were only building playhouses and the mean wolf kept knocking them over. Now as I am writing this, it appears that I may have had a fascination with wolf stories as a child.
Once I learned how to read and found out that the words on the page weren't just squiggly lines, but actually told the story, I became an avid reader. My favorites were Charlotte's Web, the Wizard of Oz, The Little House On the Prairie books, Are You There God It's Me Margaret?, Little Women, anything by Dr. Seuss, Tom Sawyer, Alice In Wonderland, The Diary of Anne Frank and more. I would also write my own stories, poems, songs, and plays, the latter of which I would make my brother and cousin act out for the family.
So, of course I applied to the Content Castle and was accepted. And so, I traveled over 9,000 miles, 21 hours of flying between two continents, three countries and three cities, an overnight train and a ferry to get here. I am currently living and writing in the Content Castle. This is the beginning of my fourth week of living in Thailand.
Last week, in our first workshop we were given fifteen minutes to describe why we choose to be writers. So here it was my first workshop and an opportunity to really think about why I write. Why did the little girl who made up oral stories, became an avid reader and continued to make stories using her own written words decide to be a writer? What was I doing here?
I would like to share what I wrote:
I have always thought of myself as a writer. I was given a journal from a relative at a very young age. I looked at those blank pages and ran from the room to get started filling them. I have since filled the pages of probably a hundred journals. Each newly blank notebook still gives me goosebumps when I sit down to fill those pages. Yes, I do read them back to myself, usually over a bottle of wine.
My journals are filled with everything that I am and tell me more about myself than any words I could speak or any therapy I could seek. They are also where I create the characters for my novels, the descriptions for my settings and how I turned traveling into a blog. I love sitting down in a new city with a journal that I have already started to fill with my hopes and expectations for this new journey and begin to write in it. I love to sit in a coffee shop and eavesdrop on conversations. I listen for the stories that describe the heartbeat of that city. I get so much joy from sitting somewhere with my eyes closed and feel the surrounding place, the smells, the sounds and then I open my eyes and write what I see. I enjoy visiting museums, cemeteries, places of worship to find names for the characters in my stories, to understand the culture, to gain insight into what makes this place, these people exist here.
I write because it’s all that I know; I write because it fills my empty places; it brings me joy; it helps me figure out not only who I am, but who other people are and it allows me to accept them where they are and to appreciate our differences.
So, it took me to come this far to begin to figure out things about my writing that I didn't know. I realize that I enjoy writing about tech, it's pretty straight forward and makes sense. I'm not a fast writer because I love the process before you put any words on the paper; my love of research is real. But I am steady and accurate in my writing. I love writing about things I have a passion for like Apple products, television, movies and homeopathy. I can't wait to see what more I discover about my writing by the end of my time here at the Content Castle.
If you are interested in coming to a place where your word power and wanderlust will collide. You too can apply to start your digital nomad journey at the Content Castle. Apply here.