38Write: Is This Writing Workshop Right For You?

38Write—my [new-ish] global writing initiative—is a monthly series of online writing adventure workshops for place-passionate, culturally curious writers around the world. Each writing adventure focuses on one particular aspect of craft or the writing life (for example, writing kick-butt descriptions), and during each 38-hour adventure, you’ll be connecting with me and 38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag. It’s new. It’s different. It’s crazy, mad fun!


 

I sat down just now to write a blog entry about why #38Write is the writing workshop for you, but instead, I find myself in writerhead, being drawn to work on a piece I’ve been writing about the chicken man in Shanghai. All kinds of things are stirring me up creatively this morning: this NYTimes piece about singer/songwriter Frank Ocean; Julian Gough’s open letter to Jonathan Ive (and Apple) about a short story he wrote called “iHole” (which I discovered via a Tweet on Sunday morning); and even this study about how dogs in an office setting can reduce stress (weaving it into my argument for taking my new pup to work).

So if you’re sitting out there in China or Ireland or Boracay or Alaska, thinking, hhhmmm, 38Write? Yay? Nay?

Yay. For sure, yay. And let’s get on with telling the story.

 

Mojo Monday: The Next 38Write Workshop Is Open for Registration

It’s Mojo Monday, and as always, I’ve got a little something-something to lift your creative spirits, buoy you up, help you get your mojo on, and nudge (or better yet, catapult) you into writerhead.


Ready to write, folks?

Looking for a unique writing workshop?

Perfect timing…because the next edition of the 38Write writing adventure series—38Write  Structure—is now open for registration. (Click over to the CLASSES page for lots more information about this specific workshop and to sign up.)

WHAT IS 38WRITE?

38Write is a writing adventure workshop designed specifically for place-passionate, culturally curious writers that will get you out of your house—no matter where you live—and into your environs.

Last month, I launched the first 38Write online writing adventure with 38Write | Description, and yowza! It more than exceeded my hopes and expectations. Thirteen writers in 7 countries signed up, set off on their adventures, and wrote some intense, provocative prose.

THE UNIQUE ASPECTS OF 38WRITE

  • Each writing adventure is 38 hours long. It’s a manageable amount of time that fits into anyone’s busy schedule. (Good gracious, no, you will not be writing or adventuring for 38 hours straight. I’m ambitious for you, but not crazy. You will need approximately 2-4 hours to work during the 38-hour period…give or take an hour.)
  • Each writing adventure will focus on one particular aspect of craft or the writing life. You will not be writing an entire essay or short story (but you might accidentally do so). Some adventures will focus on a skill, like writing kick-butt descriptions; others might get you to look at what inspires you or how you move from idea to writing.
  • During each 38-hour period, you’ll be able to connect with me and 38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag. (How cool is that?!)
  • You will get feedback from me. (For more info about me, click here.)
  • Terrific for folks writing fiction, essays, or memoir.
  • Beginners and experienced writers are welcome and encouraged to join.
  • It’s affordable. A single 38Write writing adventure costs only $38 (U.S.).

WHY DID I CREATE 38WRITE?

While living, writing, and teaching writing in Shanghai, I learned (and/or relearned) a number of things:

    1. Each of us has a heck of a lot to learn from folks in other countries (and not usually the things we think we need to learn).
    2. Story is an international conversation that can help us better understand one another.
    3. By helping writers from all over the world to improve their craft, I can play a wee role in facilitating this global conversation.
    4. Writing is recursive. You must practice. (And if I do say so myself, I’m pretty darn good at getting writers to practice.)

IS 38WRITE FOR YOU?

38Write adventures are designed for all place-passionate writers, including expats and repats, globetrotters, armchair travelers, nomads, cultural spelunkers, deeply rooted souls, mapmakers and mapbreakers, wanderers and wayfarers, voyagers, and all writers interested in exploring and writing about their environs.

So, yup, if you’re asking, 38Write is probably for you.

To learn more and sign up for 38Write | Structure, visit CLASSES.

_____

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mojo Monday: Abigail Washburn Builds U.S.–China Relations With a Banjo

It’s Mojo Monday, and as always, I’ve got a little something-something to lift your creative spirits, buoy you up, help you get your mojo on, and nudge (or better yet, catapult) you into writerhead.


As a (reluctantly) repatriated expat in China (nearly 5 years in Shanghai), I think a good bit about U.S.–China relations. I took one look at Abigail Washburn singing in Chinese and playing her banjo, and I thought, “Wow, I sure hope Obama is using her in delicate negotiations.” (If, like me, you’re smitten after watching this amazing TED talk, you can check out a schedule of Washburn’s upcoming performances here.)

Watch. You’ll see what I mean.

 

38Write: And We’re Off! Here, There & Everywhere!

38Write—my new global writing initiative—is a monthly series of online writing adventure workshops for place-passionate, culturally curious writers around the world. Each writing adventure focuses on one particular aspect of craft or the writing life (for example, writing kick-butt descriptions), and during each 38-hour adventure, you’ll be connecting with me and 38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag. It’s new. It’s different. It’s mad fun!


And so, 38Write | Description—the first in the monthly series—has launched.

13 writers in 7 countries:

China (Suzhou & Shanghai)

India

Australia

U.K.

France

Belgium

U.S.

At midnight-ish (U.S., Eastern Standard Time), I emailed the 38Write | Description missive. Writers have 38 hours (from noon on their Saturday, June 2) to complete the adventures and writing assignments.

We’re Tweeting the workshop at #38Write. Check out the conversation.

And if you’re interested in the next 38Write workshop, sign up for email updates. The announcement is coming soon!

38Write: Worldwide Writing Workshop Launches Tomorrow

38Write—my new global writing initiative—is a series of online writing adventure workshops for place-passionate, culturally curious writers around the world. Each writing adventure focuses on one particular aspect of craft or the writing life (for example, writing kick-butt descriptions), and during each 38-hour adventure, you’ll be connecting with me and 38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag. It’s new. It’s different. It’s mad fun! (For more info, click here. To sign up, click here.)


38Write | Description launches tomorrow! Sign up today!

So far, 10 writers in 6 countries!

China

India

the United States

England

France

Australia

Click here to join in the fun and make your writing sing! La la la la!

 

Happy Mother’s Day

I’m a lucky mom. I’ve got an amazing daughter who changes my life in wonderful ways every day. I became her mom via adoption nearly four years when she was just a baby, and though I don’t know Tully’s birth mother, each year I proudly share this day with her. After all, she created and gave birth to this amazing kiddo.

On this day—and many other days—I talk to Tully’s birth mother in my head and heart. I tell her what an incredible, loving, giving, smart, creative, heart-centered, silly-as-heck kiddo Tully is. I tell her how much love Tully gives and receives in her life with us. I acknowledge the sacred connection between us.

So today, I wish all moms a happy Mother’s Day.

If you’d like to read more about my journey as Tully’s mom, here we are in 2008 on our very first day together, and here we in 2009 on my first Mother’s Day.

xo

Mojo Monday: Get Inspired…Do Something

It’s Mojo Monday, and as always, I’ve got a little something-something to lift your creative spirits, buoy you up, help you get your mojo on, and nudge (or better yet, catapult) you into writerhead.


Last Thursday evening, I gave my first-ever Writerhead presentation at PechaKucha at River Tree Arts in Kennebunkport, Maine. It was fantabulous! (I’ll be talking about Writerhead again in a few weeks at the Pennwriters Conference in Lancaster, PA. Come on out!)

One of the things I (re-)realized during the presentation was that DOING something creative gets me into writerhead. There I was, getting into writerhead while giving a presentation about writerhead.

So for you today? Two creative opportunities for you to DO something…and the promise that DOING something will help shift you into writerhead.

KICK-ASS CREATIVE OPPORTUNITY #1 / The “Immersion” Writing Contest at Brevity.com

Details from Brevity.com.

“To celebrate Robin Hemley’s new book, A Field Guide for Immersion Writing: Memoir, Journalism, and Travel, we are launching a quick contest. You have one month, until May 11th, to immerse yourself, in something. If it is water, be sure that you can swim. If it is honey, watch out for bears.

“Here are the details:

“For centuries writers have used participatory experience as a lens through which to better see the world at large and as a means of exploring the self. Immersion writing encompasses Immersion Memoir (in which the writer uses participatory experience to write about the Self), Immersion Journalism (in which the writer uses the Self to write about the world), and Travel Writing (a bit of both: the writer in the world and the world in the writer). Types of immersion writing within these broad categories include: the Reenactment, the Experiment, the Quest, the Investigation, and the Infiltration.”

For complete details, visit Brevity. (Quickie Info: 500 words due by May 11, 2012! Get busy! Immerse yourself!)

Bonus: You could win a showercap!

* * * *

KICK-ASS CREATIVE OPPORTUNITY #2 / “The Great Outdoors Photo Competition”

Yep, photos, not writing for this contest. Of the great, grand, gorgeous outdoors.

Photos of a cutthroat trout, bison, the sky, a lily, your cousin leaping over a creek, elk in rut, green leaves, etc.

For complete details, visit The Great Outdoors Photo Competition. (Quickie Info: Photos due by May 10, 2012.)

_____

Image: arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Expat Sat: Travel Writing Scholarship

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


This is such an amazing writing opportunity for some youngster or oldster who fits the criteria. Check it out. (Please note that all information has been taken from Travel Writing Scholarship. I’m just sharing the goodness.)

 

DESCRIPTION:

“Do you want to be a published travel writer?

“This year we decided to shake things up a bit and instead of choosing just one country for our scholarship…we’ve decided to send you off to three different countries in Southeast Asia! Once on the ground, you’ll have the opportunity to see for yourself life beyond the banana pancake trail, and get to know Southeast Asia from the local perspectives, through the eyes of three amazing writers.

“Here’s the triple-dip deal:

“First you’ll head off to Singapore to go on assignment for five days under the mentorship of Rough Guides writer Richard Lim to review and update ‘The Rough Guide to Singapore’.

“Then you’ll fly to Bali and meet up with Stuart McDonald, founder of Travelfish, the online travel guide to Southeast Asia, before heading off on six days of cultural insight and adventure in Indonesia.

“For the last leg of the scholarship, you will be whisked off to Malaysia for a food odyssey through Kuala Lumpur and Penang with former local and cookbook author of award winning hsa*ba Burmese cookbook, Tin Cho Chaw, to explore how cuisine shapes the lives of Malaysians.”

HOW TO ENTER:

To enter, you must:

  1. write and submit a 2,000-word essay
  2. fill out and submit an entry form

Topics and details are here.

PRIZE

See description above.

DEADLINE:

April 23, 2012 (Write! Write!)

WHO CAN APPLY:

* This opportunity is open to students, emerging and non-professional writers and lovers of travel looking for a career change.

* The scholarship is open to all nationalities, however, you must have a high degree of proficiency in written English.

* The opportunity is designed to give you a taste of what it’s like to be a travel writer on the road, so you must be comfortable doing some travel on your own.

* Minimum age 18 by the date the scholarship application close (April 23, 2012)

* A current passport with at least six months before expiry

* You must be available as per the dates set out. Please note these dates are not changeable in anyway, you must be available for the entire assignment.

* You should be an exceptional writer with a lust for adventure travel, a desire to experience new cultures (and eat them!)and above all, a burning desire to become a professional travel writer!

THE KICKER:

None that I can see.

THE UPSIDE:

Duh.

ADVICE:

Check out the Travel Writing Scholarship. There’s lots more information there. Then get busy and write.

_____

Image: worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Expat Sat: “Shanghai Calling,” the Movie

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


All my Shanghai/China/expat pals, look out! “Shanghai Calling” is a’coming to theaters near you. Check out the trailer! (Look/sound/feel familiar?) I love this!

Expat Sat: Thin Places

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


As I move into writing my new novel (which mostly takes place in Shanghai), I think a lot about why China affects me so deeply. Why it’s become such an integral part of my being. Why I can’t shake it. Why when I’d never planned to love it–and when it pisses me off in a lot of ways–I do.

Last week in the New York Times, Eric Weiner wrote a piece about “thin places.”

I know, huh? What the heck are “thin places”?

Weiner describes “thin places” like this:

“They are locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent or, as I like to think of it, the Infinite Whatever.”

And then:

“A thin place is not necessarily a tranquil place, or a fun one, or even a beautiful one, though it may be all of those things too. Disney World is not a thin place. Nor is Cancún. Thin places relax us, yes, but they also transform us — or, more accurately, unmask us. In thin places, we become our more essential selves.”

And there it is.

Quite unexpectedly, in China, I became my more essential self.

This piece–and this idea of “thin places”–has given me some real insight into this next novel of mine. So thank you, Eric Weiner.

And to all you expats/nomads/wanderers out there, what’s one of your “thin places”? Where have you become your more essential self?

_____

Image: thepathtraveler / FreeDigitalPhotos.net