Laxness decided his purpose in life at an early age . He wanted to be among the top-ranking writers in the world - "he was to sing for the whole world", as is said of the son of Bjartur of Summerhouses in Independent People. He wrote constantly in his youth, his first novel appearing in 1919. He then travelled abroad and spent some time in Copenhagen where he had a short story published in Danish on the front page of the weekend edition of Berlingske Tidende, the most influential newspaper in the country. A few days before the story appeared, on October 10th, 1919, he wrote in a letter to his mother:
"I feel so clearly that this journey [to Copenhagen] is a great step towards what I am seeking, that is to say, towards a knowledge of people and the world, so that I can become a real writer, something which occupies all my thoughts."