Thursday, February 23, 2012

5 Disadvantages of Being a Writer Abroad

In general, Writer Abroad prefers to discuss the advantages of living abroad. After all, many great writers have lived in other countries. Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway. The list goes on and on.

Living abroad can make you more creative, allow you to understand your homeland as you never have before, and teach you a lot about yourself.

That being said, there are several disadvantages. Here are a few Writer Abroad has run across.

1) You are writing about your experiences abroad but you don’t live in Italy or France. Maybe you didn’t get the memo. But according to one American agent, no one cares about Switzerland in the United States—except for maybe the government looking for our bank accounts. But that’s another story.

2) The dollar isn’t what it used to be. And as most writers know, it’s hard enough to make a living as a writer. If you have to convert your hard-earned dollars to Swiss francs or euros, it’s even harder. Solution? Move to Mexico or write for local publications.

3) Editors back home might not get it. As an international writer, you’ve got something unique—an international perspective. Unfortunately, many editors haven’t lived abroad, so they might not understand where you’re coming from. David Sedaris read an essay about language difficulties to an audience in Zurich and there was not a person in the theater who wasn’t laughing. But according to Sedaris, that very essay had been rejected by the radio show, This American Life.

4) Residence permits and bureaucracy are huge headaches that typically repeat themselves every year. Enough said.

5) It can be hard to find classes and workshops in your language. That’s one reason Writer Abroad founded the Zurich Writers Workshop along with several other American writers. Sometimes if you want a writing education abroad, you have to organize it yourself.

Any writers living abroad want to chime in on disadvantages? If you’re from the UK or Australia, is the situation similar?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day jobs, copywriting, editing & more

Erika Dreifus had a great post yesterday about five things to appreciate about being a writer with a day job. In the last five years, she's managed to work 9 to 5, maintain a fantastic blog, and publish a collection of short stories. She is inspiration to all of us who want to work and write.

Speaking of working and writing, sometimes if you're lucky like Writer Abroad, you can combine the two. On Sunday night, the advertising copywriters of the world (well, of the U.S.) had their evening of glory. One of the best written spots was for Chrysler, although I thought the Chrysler spot from last year was an even better example of writing well for advertising. So too, the spot last year from Google.

Speaking of writing for advertising, SWISS recently unveiled their new campaign and Writer Abroad had the honor of working on it. The ad pictured in this post is one of the print ads.

In other news, the spring Zurich Writers Workshop is already half full, so if you're interested in attending, Writer Abroad recommends registering soon. Zurich has been a home to James Joyce, Goethe, and more and is a great literary city to spend a weekend in.

Finally, Writer Abroad heard that it was good to cut out filter words when editing a novel or memoir so Writer Abroad decided she would do it as she continues to edit her 350-page memoir. It felt like a lot of work but seemed like a fairly easy thing to accomplish in small chunks with a baby around. Anyhow, thanks to a helpful blog post from Write it Sideways, Writer Abroad had a list of words to go through and now her book is four pages shorter.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

You're Invited: 2012 Zurich Writers Workshop

Writer Abroad always gets a bit excited about writing workshops, especially when they’re in Zurich and she’s in charge of organizing them. For the third time in two years, there will actually be something in Zurich other than bankers, lawyers, and ladies who lunch. (All kidding aside, Zurich is a beautiful city and worth seeing if you haven’t—here’s a Zurich travel article that proves it).

Anyhow, this spring, the Zurich Writers Workshop will feature two British authors: award-winning novelist Sam North (The Old Country) and Switzerland’s bestselling English-language author, Diccon Bewes (Swiss Watching). The workshop will take place May 18-20, 2012.

The workshop will be divided into two sections, fiction and travel writing/non-fiction. Participants will receive nine hours of instruction in their chosen area, an author reading and apéro at Zurich’s English-language bookstore, Orell Füssli The Bookshop, as well as the option to participate in a literary dinner at Europe’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, Hiltl.

Registration opened today. Space is limited to 15 participants in each section and is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. You can register at Click here to sign up for the mailing list.

Hope to see you in Zurich this spring. And please spread the word!


Related Posts with Thumbnails