Writing as an opportunity for expats

Time to unlock your creativity?

By Margaret Graham.
Bestselling author and creative writing tutor.
Writer in Residence Yeovil, UK. www.margaret-graham.com

Starting a new life abroad could open the door to creativity, something which has been doing a good job at hiding all these years. How? Try creative writing.

Creativity not only requires imagination and inspiration, which anyone who has taken the plunge to change their life has in spades, it also requires emotional depth. Expats have this depth, for they carry with them the memories of their lives in their home country, and the gruelling farewells as they left it behind. But of course, it isn’t left behind. The past is there, informing the hidden creativity which is bursting to find an outlet as new challenges are met.

Writing can provide a medium through which to express this creativity. Through writing, experiences and observations can be turned into something exciting, something that others want to read. Whether it is to be non-fiction – think of Driving Over Lemons, A Year in Provence, or fiction, (novels and short stories too numerous to mention over the years) the writer will find a new and fulfilling route to self-expression, one that not only brings enjoyment, but can bring recognition and profit.

The main thing to remember is that well structured writing requires clarity – in essence a beginning, middle and end. Whether it is non-fiction or fiction, there should be a main character who grabs the reader’s emotions, and who has a ‘quest’ with which the reader can identify. If in doubt, look carefully at films, or analyse the book you are reading, and see how it is done. Join a writing course. Form a ‘Writing Circle’ to share your work, and build your skills and friendships with like-minded people.

And then what? Why not try sending your work to magazines, or publishers, or another route is to try entering a competition. I found my ‘break’ by entering a competition, and though I didn’t win, I was one of the short listed authors. It made me visible, and I was off and away.

So go on. Switch on the computer, pick up the pen. Enhance your life. Get writing.

Need another reason to put pen to paper?

So determined am I and my co-administrator Jim Mitchell to offer the same chance to others, we have launched the international Yeovil Literary Prize 2006 for aspiring writers. There are 3 categories – novel, genre short story, and non-genre short story. As a bestselling author and writing tutor I am leading the team of superb judges. The closing date is 31st March 2006.

For further details:

  • goto the website at: www.yeovilprize.co.uk or
  • write us an email to: or
  • send a letter to: Literary Prize 2006, The Octagon Theatre, Hendford, Yeovil BA20 1UX.

Further reading

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