Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writing. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing and publishing to expat writers around the globe.
- Expats are not the same as travelers. Because expats hunker down and live in a country (as opposed to vacationing for a week or two), they have vastly different experiences than travelers and therefore very different perspectives. It’s much like the difference between marriage and popping in for a quickie; when you’re married, you know as much about the hairy wart on the left buttock as you do the sexy eyes that attracted you in the first place.
- Expats are bursting with stories…literally bursting. Sit down for a drink with an expat and you will get your ear bent a thousand different ways. In fact, a common comment (complaint?) about many expats is that most of their sentences begin: “In _______ [ fill in name of host city/country], ….” (It’s hard to stop us once you get us going…)
- Many expats become expat writers after moving to their host countries. In some cases, they’d always wanted to write, but hadn’t had the time or head space to do so. In other cases, there is just so damn much to tell that writing it down feels like the most natural step.
- Expats write kick-ass blogs. They write funny blogs, informative and educational blogs, raw and revealing blogs, thoughtful blogs. (If you need proof, read Expat Harem or Mrs. Madison’s Dubai or From My Tingzijian.)
- Expats write too many blog entries and not enough publishable essays, articles, etc. (Ouch! I know, I know…this one stings. But it’s true. Blogging is terrific—I’ve been a blogger for years—but it can become a rut.)
Before we go on, I’m going to repeat #5 a little more loudly (raises bullhorn):
EXPATS WRITE TOO MANY BLOG ENTRIES AND NOT ENOUGH PUBLISHABLE STUFF!
Now there are many solid, understandable reasons expat writers do this. For example:
- They are new to writing and don’t know how to get started. A blog entry can take any shape, voice, tone, length, etc. It doesn’t come with lengthy, hard-to-navigate writers’ guidelines. That feels comfy and safe.
- They don’t know how to finish and polish a piece to publishable quality.
- They don’t know how to find markets (magazines, online pubs, lit mags, agents, etc).
- They don’t know how to submit their work.
- They don’t have a support group. (Being an expat is often a rather transient existence. Folks come and go every couple of years. It’s hard to establish a support group or class with all that coming and going. But having a support group is a vital part of being a writer. Yes, writing is done in solitude, but all writing is polished and improved upon with the help of others—peers, teachers, editors, and agents.)
The thing is, all of these challenges are a natural part of the expat writer’s journey. So what’s to be done? How do you move to a new level with your writing? How do you find a support group? How do you learn the ins-and-outs of publishing your work? How do you get out of the blogging rut?
Answer: Take my online writing workshop for expats. (No, this is not the only answer, but in my mind, it’s one of the best. )
So, if you are an expat/repat who is:
- a beginning or seasoned writer
- bursting with stories
- looking to write short, publishable essays
- interested in moving your writing to the next level
- interested in learning how and where to sell your writing
- longing for a supportive writing group
…sign up here. It starts on May 1.
Q4U: Where do you fall in the spectrum? Beginning writer? Seasoned writer? Blogger? Published author? What are your goals as a writer?
Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net