How and Why I became a writer

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Jeta Volkollari

How I became a writer

I always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first poem at nine years old. I remember reading it in front of my class and when I finished, my teacher asked “Did you write it yourself?” I have been writing my entire life, but I never published a book until now.

Why? I have always thought that the real writers were Ernest Hemingway, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens, Ismail Kadare or Julian Barnes, to mention just a few. How could I compare myself to them? I probably have some talent and would continue to write for my own satisfaction, but I could not be called a writer. Furthermore, I could not pretend that full-time writing would provide for my living expenses. I needed a job and a career.

My busy life took a certain direction. Other responsibilities came to my life after family, children. Wonderful writing ideas were born and died inside my mind. What I wrote, in the little time that I found, were stories with a beginning and an end, but those stories were raw. They needed editing and this is a painful process. It was easier to throw a new story onto paper than edit an old one. It bothered me to think about it. Rewriting was a lot of hard work, total focus, hours and hours of computer work. Rewriting needed time, which I didn’t have with my other priorities in life.  The desire to become a writer was fast transforming into just a beautiful dream, akin to a childhood dream of becoming a famous actress, an astronaut, etc. I had to forget about it.

For  long period of time, I went on with my life’s routine, working, exercising, meeting my friends, housekeeping, shopping and even learned a foreign language. What I did not do was write. I was hoping to be healed from the craze of it.

But I didn’t heal. The passion to write was boiling inside me. While working full time (I presently work for the City of Toronto, in Canada), I studied the mechanics of writing fiction. It was self-study. Using online sources, I studied different styles of writing in order to focus my skill.

I wrote a novel, a new story.  I reviewed it and then I gave it to my husband to read. Was it easy to hand those written papers to him? Not at all. It was even harder than it had been years ago.  I felt that I still didn’t have enough confidence in myself. Would he like the story? My heart was beating like a teenager’s heart. When my husband said that he liked the novel, I exhaled – relieved. Then I gave that novel to somebody else to read. And then to a third person. They all liked it.

What I did incorrectly at that time, was that I rushed to send it to the literary agents and publishers,  without knowing how to talk about my book. Without knowing how to write a query letter. Without doing the right research on how to publish it. And certainly, the answer was a big “No”. I felt defeated and dejected. Then I gathered myself together and started thinking.  I had written a novel which many readers liked. I believed in what I had written. I had to accept the fact that finishing writing a novel doesn’t mean you have finished working for it.

After many conversations with publishers and fellow writers, I finally broke into the published world with my novel “The devil I paid for advice”.

Why I became a writer

I became a writer because I enjoy the process.

I have a vivid imagination. I can create realistic stories which convey significant meanings to the reader, not in an obvious way. I love to create characters, build situations, and paint landscapes to transport the reader through the pages.

I also read a lot. Reading introduces one to unknown worlds, with wonderful feelings and fantasy. I want my books to provide the same experience for my readers.

Contact Jeta Vojkollari at:



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