The Struggles of Being an Non-Native Writer

The pen is indeed mightier than the sword, but can it overcome long-standing biases?

Sal
4 min readSep 15, 2020

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English As a Second Language | English Writing | Non Native
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The Love for the Written Word

I come from a strict family, with a focus on education as the means for survival rather than educating one’s self just for the sake of improving oneself. Thus, mundane and everyday activities a child might enjoy were prohibited for me, and I was not allowed to leave the house unless necessary. The only respite that I could find to break my monotonous routine was books.

I issued a new book every week, and although I was very bad at English, I drudged through it and enjoyed whatever little I could understand. However, I took very quickly to the language and became obsessed with trying to replicate the writers I read. I found that I could write better than most of my peers and that I actually enjoyed the process of doing so.

My mind began to become more comfortable with the idea of becoming a writer, even as my parents and teachers warned me that I would find little monetary success in the path I was about to embark on.

Reading a Book | Child Reading a Book
Photo by Victoria Borodinova from Pexels

On the Road Less Taken

I never gave up the dream of becoming a writer, though. Over the course of my more youthful years, I wrote prolifically, in prose and in verse, and through self-critique and the critique of like-minded individuals, I developed my craft, and to a point that I considered my skills to be at par with professional writers.

Being born into a lower-middle-class family can both be a curse and a blessing, depending on how you look at it. I was educated and knew enough about the world to want more from it, but empty pockets can take you only so far, and I had to find a way to earn. Armed with newfound confidence and faith in myself, I delved into the realm of freelancing.

The first website was one suggested to me by a friend, called Upwork. After multiple attempts, I managed to start a conversation with a client. It was going well; he liked my samples and was interested in…

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Sal

I am a History Educator and a Lifelong Learner with a Masters in Global History.