Monday, March 27, 2017

7th Annual Writing Workshop in Zurich

Back in 2008-9, Writer Abroad lamented the lack of writing events in Zurich. So in 2010, she joined up with two other Zurich-based American writers, bravely invited a couple of famous authors to teach in Zurich over a weekend, crossed their fingers that other aspiring writers would attend the weekend, and then they held the first Zurich Writers Workshop. It felt great: Instead of lamenting the lack of something, they were creating something. 

Now, eight years later, thanks to a Canadian and Swiss writer, who have also joined the planning committee, the Zurich Writers Workshop is still going strong.

In fact, it's time for workshop number 7. Yes, the 7th Zurich Writers Workshop will take place May 12-14, 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland this spring. And you're invited.

This year's workshop is divided into two sections: 

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 21.51.46
The featured authors' latest books.
Fiction Boot Camp with Susan Jane Gilman and 
Poetry and Prose with Jill Alexander Essbaum

Each section also includes the Sunday Panel: Career Paths in Writing. There is also the opportunity to register for the Sunday Panel only. 

The entire workshop is conducted in English. To register, click here.

More information:
–Eventbrite website for Registration
–Follow Zurich Writers Workshop on Facebook

Details:
May 12-14, 2017

Venue:
Volkshaus Zurich
Stauffacherstrasse 60
8004 Z├╝rich




Thursday, February 9, 2017

Writers, Money, and Careers, oh my.

Writer Abroad is reading the most amazing book. It talks candidly about writing and money. Yes, money.

Money? Stop the press. Aim the camera. Point it at something completely taboo: A writer talking about money. Actually, 33 writers talking about money.

What?

Writers never talk about money. And if they do, it’s usually in the vein of, Well, should I write for free? I mean, I’ll get exposure.

Stop with the exposure thing already. Stop.

Admittedly, Writer Abroad is only on page 29, but she’s in love with Manjula Martin’s new book, Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living. Here’s the best line so far:

“People wonder when you’re allowed to call yourself a writer. I think maybe the answer is when you recognize that it (writing) is work.”

Wow, imagine that. Writing is work. And guess what? The writers who successfully write full time realize this. After all, do lawyers work for free? Do plumbers fix your water heater for free? Why do writers think they should be any different?

If you want to make writing a career here’s the hard truth: you have to talk about money. And you have to turn writing into work no matter how much you love it. And you have to also learn to say no. No to no pay. No to low pay. And no to bad contracts. Even if they mean publication. Especially if they mean publication.

Writer Abroad always turns down offers if they include no pay, low pay, or bad rights-grabbing contracts for work she knows she could use later. Working writers must do this. Why? Because they need time to write things for the publications and companies that actually respect the work they do. If writers write for people who don’t respect them, writers lose. There’s only so much time in a day.

In Scratch, there’s a great interview with Cheryl Strayed about how she had written a bestseller and still couldn’t pay the rent. These are things writers need to hear. Thank you, thank you, Manjula Martin, for this anthology.

Sometimes we need to stop talking about high art and start talking about how to live the life we want to live in order to create the things we want to create—even if, in the end, these things result in high art.

That’s why Writer Abroad is pleased to be on a panel entitled Career Paths in Writing at the next Zurich Writers Workshop, which will be held in May in Zurich, Switzerland. While on the panel, she hopes to expand on why writers need to think of writing as a business first and an art second. But for those who can’t attend—and even those who can—Scratch is the new must-read book for writers.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Travel Writing: The Best Escape for Writers in the U.S.

Happy New Year, Writers Abroad. Be glad, today, that you are abroad.

But for those in the U.S. like Writer Abroad is now, there is nothing like a strange new American presidency to make all Americans feel a little more foreign in our own country.

If there’s any consolation prize, the recent (and sure to be upcoming) American strangeness makes Writer Abroad feel less like a foreigner in her own country than she did after moving back two years ago from Switzerland.

When over half your country also seems confounded by its bizarre direction, it makes the last stages of repatriation a little easier somehow. Together, we are all foreigners in America these days. (This phenomenon is also making Writer Abroad’s upcoming book project, American Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known, an even more interesting thing to write than she ever expected.)

Luckily, Writer Abroad often escapes into Switzerland, even from the United States. (Funny how that happens when you are writing a travel book about Switzerland.) Writing this travel book over the last three years has been a wonderful escape. After the book is published this spring, Writer Abroad will lose her daily excuse to escape into another world because she will be 100% focused on her book about American life. But she’s sure to find another excuse.

Speaking of escaping, here’s a piece she wrote this week for CNN Business Traveller about traveling in Davos, Switzerland. It was timed to run with the World Economic Forum, but really, Davos is a much better place to go when that conference is over. In fact, during the Forum, many places in Davos shut down for security reasons.

And for those of you who would like to escape to Switzerland to do a little writing this year, the Zurich Writers Workshop will be held May 12-14, 2017 in Zurich. Hmm…since Writer Abroad is both planning and attending this workshop, she actually will escape the U.S. for a little while once again. Care to join her?

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