By JO PARFITT
If you live overseas, chances are you’re already what the author of Diplomatic Incidents calls ‘happening prone’. In an unfamiliar environment the things that happen to us — good, bad or downright funny — tend to be magnified.
Perfect material for life writing!
After twenty years of writing and publishing abroad I make my living sharing what I’ve learned. Especially the mistakes.
These seven don’ts can be a waste of time and talent, and often destroy a good writer’s confidence.
- Start writing before you’ve read other books like the one you hope to write.
- Start writing before you’re sure there’s a market for books like yours. The Wealthy Author is great at this.
- Start writing your own stories before you’ve practised your craft and received feedback. An effective story needs “s-p-i-c-e”: specifics, place, incident, character and emotion.
- Start writing your life story before you have a support network in place. A writers’ circle, a mentor or teacher who can ensure you find out where you’re going wrong — and right.
- Write the entire book before you know what you’re doing and have received feedback that confirms you’re on the right track.
- Start writing before you understand why you’re doing it. Money, leaving a legacy, fame or just wanting to share your story are typical motives but each can require a different approach.
- Think that just because someone has already written an Eat, Pray, Love or a Tales from the Expat Harem you can’t do it too. Formulas do work, and are even stronger when differentiated.
What other lessons have you learned from writing about your out-of-the-ordinary life?
Jo Parfitt is a writer, author of 27 books, speaker, publisher and writers’ mentor currently based in The Hague, Netherlands. Want more advice from Jo? Pick up a free report here.
Learn to effectively write about your happening-prone life, with Jo’s Write Your Life Stories (aff) home study program… €97 8-session course contains workbooks, video and audio guidance.
and you’re eligible for this expat+HAREM freebie: Get a complimentary PDF copy of Jo’s publication RELEASE THE BOOK WITHIN (a €10 value) by writing “expat+HAREM” in the comment area when you buy the product.