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, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.
I was hungry for it.
For months, I’d been packing, moving, marrying, organizing for moving and marrying, organizing for organizing, and so on.
I wanted—no, needed—to get back to the writing.
After all, novel #2 was on the tip of my tongue. I had at least a dozen essays hopping around in my noggin. And there I was, immersed in a country that was setting my passion for place on fire.
(as I already knew)
(though perhaps had blocked in order to survive)
(let alone in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language)
So despite my need for speed, it was sssssssssllllllllllloooooooowwwwwwwww.
How did I do it?
First, I found a writing group (via an article in a Shanghai expat magazine).
Next I found M on the Bund…quite possibly the world’s most amazing international literary hub.
Then I found a writer friend. A really amazing writer friend whose brilliant, sparkling writerhead ignited my writerhead…and vice versa.
Then I started a reading series for writers.
And then (to make a long story short) I also…
- took on a couple of students
- joined Facebook
- started yakking with writers around the world on Twitter
- published a novel in the U.S.
- published a bunch of essays in various publications
- spoke at some writers conferences
- started teaching classes
In short, I worked my arse off. I shared what I wanted to receive. I reached out and touched someone (no, no, not literally!)…I simply mean that I reached out, found people who cared about books, words, and writing, and then kept them in my life.
Happy to say that nearly five years after I landed in Shanghai (just as I was leaving, of course), I’d grown exactly what I’d been seeking: a vibrant, nurturing, ass-kicking, writerhead-feeding writing community.
Qs4U: What is your literary life like in your host country? How did you create it? How do you nurture it? Is it everything you want it to be? What would you like to be different? What’s missing? What’s brilliant about it?
Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net