Books need a wow factor! Find out how to make your book come alive by writing effective anecdotes and case studies. Come and be inspired and empowered when I’m the guest speaker at Storyville in WC2 from 7-9 pm on 29th. Just £15. Details at

Could you, should you, write a book?

If this is a question that you often ask yourself, then maybe it’s time to find out. On 9th July I’m running a Special Interest Group workshop for the European Professional Women’s network in Amsterdam. It will cover topics including:
what makes a book sell?
what is a wow factor?
could I really write a book?
what book would make me the most money?
how can a book help me raise my fees?

So, if you need to be inspired, informed and supported hurry and grab your place on this free workshop. led by me, Jo Parfitt, from 7-9pm at the Renaissance Hotel in Amsterdam.

Places are limited and the link is here

As from today, I become a kind of virtual writer in residence, or is that an ewriter in residence, at my favourite Hague based website, The Hague Online. Find me on the second Tuesday of the month, among the revamped sites collection of new columnists. I’ll be writing about whatever’s inspired me lately, like I do. This month it’s about winter weather. You may have missed the freeze that meant skating really could take place on the canals, but don’t miss my column. Find it in the Your Columns section here.

People often ask me how I manage to motivate myself to write so much (yeah, 25 books is quite a lot!) and I tell them that I have found ways to force myself into it. This time I have made a commitment to write a fortnightly column for the Expat Telegraph – that’s part of the Daily Telegraph. Calling myself Expat Writer, and offering inspiration from the rollercoaster, I hope that will keep me on track and help me to remember that I am, above all, a writer. This was my latest commitment to myself. If you are committed to being a writer too, then perhaps you would like to commit to reading my column? Find the first one here. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Survival tips for newbies

September 28, 2007

Yesterday I ran my Expat Writer – Break into Writing course. I love doing this and have now had more than 600 students, would you believe? This time the students came from as far apart at Argentina, Indonesia, Slovakia and Russia. This class involves a lot of practical writing and the students had to interview each other about how they stayed happy in a new posting. I thought you might like to see a selection of their responses:

To volunteer to welcome other newcomers as soon as I am settled.
To get a job fast.
To get out and meet people as much as possible.
To join a networking group – and the board – as soon as possible.
To start driving.
To make friends through the children and their school.
To eat healthily and exercise regularly.

As for me, I find that the toughest thing about a new posting is the crushing tiredness I feel after a few weeks, which leaves me too want to lethargic to get out there, get a job, drive, make friends or even eat healthily. But after 5 moves I now know that the only thing I must do is to get out there and start moving my body, then that gets the endorphins going, makes me want good food, lets me explore the local community and soon everything else falls into place. My bicycle got me settled here. Holland is good for that! Now, I can’t bear to be posted somewhere else that has hills!