I first arrived in Spain in the summer of 1998, to teach English to a whole bunch of children in a summer camp in a lovely little village in the northern mountains called Cervera de Pisuerga. I spent another summer there two years later.
I was in the middle of studying for a degree in Modern Languages & Linguistics, and Spanish was one of the two focus languages (French was the other). I did ERASMUS placements in Murcia and Nantes.
I won a student copywriting prize in my final year and after graduation worked as a copywriter in Stockholm, a journalist in Madrid and Moscow, and a teacher and translator in Murcia.
But it had to be Spain and writing and words. I even managed to work hard and win a place on El País’s prestigious Master’s Degree course in Journalism, but couldn’t find the funds in time to begin studying.
Then one cold January night in 2003 I was in a rather terrible train crash in the Albacete region, which would change my outlook on life a little, although it would be a while until I realised it had done so.
I lost my love of travelling, or rather couldn’t get rid of the fear of it after the crash, and settled here in Murcia in the south of Spain. I set about building a languages company we called Doctorlingua.
My love of writing and journalism didn’t disappear, though, and I began experimenting with blogs. The most successful was a blog called The Big Chorizo, which was all about Spain, in English.
None of the blogs made any money, but it was fun to start learning how the internet works for articles, news, commentary and stories, and to discover there were other bloggers writing about Spain.
Doctorlingua did well enough, and after a couple of years there were seven or eight teachers, a small network of translators and a couple of hundred happy students and clients. I learnt a lot about business.
Then in 2008-2009, more or less coinciding with the economic crisis, we closed Doctorlingua to go our different ways. I wanted to concentrate on blogging, to see if I could turn it into a business.
But what should I focus on? I asked my friends and students and readers. They said I was good at translation, explaining Spain, thinking big thoughts and being provocative with delicate subjects.
I beavered away on this blog, writing my posts and doing podcast interviews. I even managed to develop an online language learning dynamic readers valued with real money, but it was the wrong focus.
In 2011, I found out I was to be a father. This was wonderful, wonderful news. Writing about Spain suddenly became much more personal, much more important; as did earning more coin.
I started working on a novel about a future version of Spain, and created a new site called The Spain Report, a digital journalism project publishing online news from Spain, in English.
Readers were very supportive of the reporting of the Santiago train crash, chipping in to fund a trip to find out more about what happened, but the project failed due to a lack of funds.
The Santiago reporting project worked very well; readers really did (do) value that, and I currently feel I am in their debt as I work through all of the material I collected to turn it into a story.
There is a problem with (online) journalism business models, so I have decided for now to stick to what works and continue to write both my blog about Spain and longer stories in e-book form.
I hope this will help me to continue improving my writing, and also to learn much more about online publishing business models. These are exciting times for readers and writers.
The key concept my writing revolves around—the state and future of Spain—is broad enough a topic to sustain both non-fiction reporting and analysis and novels and episodic series.
I very much hope you enjoy reading.
How I Can Help You
As well as reading my blog, over the years my readers and friends have helped me clearly define how I can best help you with your own projects:
1. English–Spanish Translation: if you need a document translated from or into Spanish, I can do that for you very quickly and professionally. 95% of the documents I translate are marketing and sales documentation, contracts and reports, or scientific and academic articles.
2. English & Spanish Copywriting: getting your company’s messages through to your target clients is no easy task and is not just about typing words on the page. There are lots of psychological, narrative, strategic and structural subtleties you need to be aware of.
3. Setting Up Your Own Blog: I have been blogging for 10 years now. I can help you quickly set up your own blog, on your own domain, with your own hosting and your own design concept using WordPress and Genesis, the best blogging platform in the world.
Send me an e-mail and tell me about your project, and I’ll send you some more information and answer all your questions. We can also speak over the phone or on Skype about what you’re trying to do.
You can e-mail me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or you can send me a message using this contact form:
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