Let Jo help you write the stories only YOU can write

Only YOU can write YOUR life stories

Neil GaimanIf you’ve ever had the itch to write, there’s no better advice than that of Neil Gaiman, best-selling American author (The Sandman, Stardust etc., etc.), who says: “Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you.”

And the best way to begin is with stories from your life, whether it’s for a short blog or  full-blooded memoir. Or just a record for your grandchildren to enjoy and to understand what you did and how it was when you were younger. So come and join us and learn how to write about the real you, as only you can do, with author and mentor Jo Parfitt this Summer. You’ll need motivation and courage, but the rewards will be great. As one student on Jo’s last course here said: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.”

Jo’s first week with us, from 22-29 September, is now completely full, but we still have a few places on her second Write Your Life Stories course, from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018.

Jo’s Write Your Life Story creative writing courses are designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Jo Parfitt has published 32 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

Bring your experiences of life to life!

Bring YOUR experiences of life to life!

Jo adds: “The class will include several methods and genre and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.”

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 Three/four places

22 September to 29 September 2018 Course full

Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

Watermill creative courses: grab those last few places!

Here’s an April note to keep you up to date on current availability on the world-famous Watermill creative holidays.

As you see, quite a few courses are fully booked (but there are waiting lists if you are keen on a particular tutor and there may be cancellations). We’d love you to join us on one of our sun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring courses, so if you’d like to come, now is the time to reserve your place.

*** Why not bring your non-participating partner as well? There’s a generous £250 discount for him/her if they share a room with you – and there’s plenty for them to do. Have a look at our Partner’s Activities Page for suggestions.

Painting courses

paul plus picPaul Talbot-Greaves
28 April to 5 May 2018 
Watercolours (and acrylics)

Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Paul, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page.


maggie plus picMaggie Renner Hellmann
19 May to 26 May 2018 
‘Courageous Color Workshop’

One place left (or two sharing)

To learn more about Maggie, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page


Sandra plus picSandra Strohschein
Watercolours

26 May to 2 June 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open
2 June to 9 June 2018 
One place left (or two sharing)

To learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page


Sandra plus picSandra Strohschein
Watercolours

9 June to 16 June 2018 Two/three places left 
16 June to 23 June 2018 
 One place left (or two sharing)

To learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page


Andrew plus picAndrew Geeson
Watercolours

23 June to 30 June 2018  Two/three places left 

To learn more about Andrew, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page


terry plus picTerry Jarvis
Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)

7 July to 14 July 2018 Still plenty of places

To learn more about Terry, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page


Nel and Bec plus picRebecca de Mendonça & Nel Whatmore
Pastels

1 September to 8 September 2018 One place left (or two sharing)

To learn more about Rebecca & Nel, their course and to see more of their pictures, please visit their Profile Page


mike plus picMike Willdridge
Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)

8 September to 15 September 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Mike, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page


Painting by Claire Warner, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Claire Warner 
Watercolours (and oils and acrylics)
15 September to 22 September 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Claire, her course and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page


vicki plus picVicki Norman
Oils en plein air

6 October to 13 October 2018  Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Vicki, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page


Tim plus picTim Wilmot
Watercolours

13 October to 20 October 2018  Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Tim, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page


Knitting holidays

aperitivi and laughter

Sarah Hazell
Knitting and La Bella Vita
5 May to 12 May 2018 One place left (or two sharing) 

To learn more about Sarah and her courses at the mill, please visit her Profile Page


The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Marie Wallin – course full, waiting list open
Knitting and La Bella Vita

14 July to 21 July 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Marie and her course at the mill, please visit her Profile Page


The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Lisa Richardson 
Knitting and La Bella Vita

29 September to 6 October 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Lisa and her course at the mill, please visit her Profile Page


Writing course

Jo Parfitt
Write Your Life Stories

18 August to 25 August 2018 Four places left
22 September to 29 September 2018  Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please visit her Profile Page


Italian language course

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Giulia Balestri
Italian language

30 June to 7 July 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Giulia and her course at The Watermill, please click here


Yoga retreat

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Amy Rogg & Joanne Brohmer 
Nourish – mind, body and soul

25 August to 1 September 2018  Still plenty of places

To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page


Everything’s included in your watermill painting holiday, yoga retreat, creative writing holiday, knitting week or Italian Language course

Painting by Terry Jarvis, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Don’t forget that everything is included in the cost of your week: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport; an excursion by train to visit the ancient walled city of Lucca or the stunning seaside villages of the Cinque Terre). All you have to do is to get to Pisa airport and we do the rest.

Whether you’re travelling alone or with a partner you can be sure of a warm welcome, and that you’ll be well looked after. We have built our reputation on the comfort of the mill and the care we provide.

 

 

ShareThis

A sinful monk but a sublime painter, the story behind our Lippi Suite

Continuing our tales of the Renaissance artists who have given their names to Watermill bedrooms and apartment suites, today is the turn of Filippo Lippi. Although a monk, Filippo was also a womaniser, a forger and an inveterate liar. He was also one of the great painters of his time.

Georgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists tells a typical tale: “He was taken into great favour by Cosimo de’ Medici, but being devoted to pleasure, he neglected his work for it. Cosimo therefore, when he was working for him in his house, caused him to be shut in, so that he could not go out and waste his time; but he, cutting up the sheets of the bed with a pair of scissors, made a rope and let himself down by the window. When after many days he returned to his work, Cosimo gave him his liberty, considering the peril he had run, and sought to keep him for the future by many favours, and so he served him more readily, saying that genius is a heavenly being, and not a beast of burden.”

Yes, he was a sublime painter, the teacher of Sandro Botticelli and the father (by a nun!) of the great frescoist Filippino Lippi. One of my favourite paintings is Filippo’s Virgin and childe with two angels in the Uffizi: 

Come and be inspired (artistically) by the Lippis. Our Lippi Suite has two bedrooms (the large, Filippo, the smaller Filippino!), so it is ideal for a couple or two friends sharing  That’s the sitting room above, and here’s the main bedroom — and you won’t need a knotted bed sheet to get out!

The Lippi Suite is still available for Sandra Strohschein’s painting course, from Saturday 9 June to Saturday 16 June and Terry Jarvis’ painting course from Saturday 7 July to Saturday 14 July. It is also free for Jo Parfitt’s Writing your Life’s Stories, from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August and Amy Rogg and Joanne Brohmer‘s yoga retreat from Saturday 25 August to Saturday 1 September.

 Sandra plus picSandra Strohshein

Watercolours

Places left: 2-9 June AND 9-16 June 2018

Please click here to learn more about Sandra’s painting holidays at The Watermill.

terry plus pic7-14 July 2018 

Terry Jarvis

Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)

To learn more about Terry and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 

Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

Amy and Joanne H&SAmy Rogg & Joanne Brohmer
25 August to 1 September 2018 – still plenty of places
Yoga retreat
To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page

The rare and perfect talent of Fra Angelico to inspire your creative week at the Watermill

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.I had such fun yesterday writing about Lorenzo Ghiberti and his eponymous bedroom at the Watermill that today I thought I’d introduce you to Fra Angelico, whose bedroom is one floor below in the 19th Century Tuscan House in the main courtyard.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Fra Angelico is one of the great early Renaissance artists (my favourite period), perhaps best known for his amazing frescoes in the Monastery of San Marco in Florence. He also had/has a sackful of names!

He started life as (in 1395) as Guido di Pietro, but was known to contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John from Fiesole) and, later, Fra Giovanni Angelico (Angelic Brother John). A devout man, he was/is known in Italian as il beato Angelico (the blessed Angelic One) and in 1982, Pope John Paul II made if official by beatifying him. The English usage Fra Angelico means Angelic Friar. To the left is Giuseppe Simonelli’s posthumous portrait of him in a fresco in Orvieto cathedral.

He had “rare and perfect talent,” according to Georgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, who added: “It is impossible to bestow too much praise on this holy father, who was so humble and modest in all that he did and said and whose pictures were painted with such facility and piety.” 

This is Fra Angelico’s Annunciation in Florence’s San Marco, in all its simplicity, harmony and purity. And don’t you just love the Archangel Gabriel‘s wings?

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

We hope the angelic friar and the other Renaissance masters after whom we have named our bedrooms inspire your painting while you are with us (and your knitting, writing, yoga and Italian language speaking, too, come to that.) But if you want to bond particularly with Fra Angelico, his bedroom is having a busy season too. In fact, his bedroom is only still available for three weeks all season. He’s fully occupied the rest of the time!

You can stay in Fra Angelico on Terry Jarvis’ painting course from 7-14 July, Jo Parfitt’s first Writing your Life Stories course, from 18-25 August and on Amy and Joanne’s yoga retreat week, from 25 August to 1 September.

Come and join us!

terry plus pic7-14 July 2018 

Terry Jarvis

Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)

To learn more about Terry and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 

Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

 Amy and Joanne H&SAmy Rogg & Joanne Brohmer

25 August to 1 September 2018 

Yoga retreat

To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page

A residential writing course reaches the places other courses cannot reach, says Jo

A atmospheric old photo, well saved, from Jo’s last writing week at the Watermill

Jo Parfitt, our enthusiastic and inspiring writing tutor is back with us after a break of a few years (mainly in the Far East) and has been reminiscing on her last Writing Your Life Stories course here. She says she was stunned by the effect of running a week-long residential course, with classes in the morning, homework and private time every afternoon and group feedback (over aperitivi) every evening.

Jo says: “It was incredible! The students grew in confidence, sure, and their skills improved dramatically, but what was most striking was how a ‘place of safety’ was created: the way the students began to trust each other and recognised that their stories would be safe in this group of twelve people, who had been strangers the week before, blew my mind. I think it blew theirs too. As the week progressed friendships were formed – friendships that have lasted through the years to come.

“But we were there to write and write they did, at least twice every single day. Sharing their work daily taught everyone the value of constructive feedback and soon their work became braver and bolder; some even shared some personal stories that has until then stayed locked inside them. I felt tremendously privileged to have been witness to this development.”

A friend who is also a counsellor told Jo one of the reasons the course was such a success was that there were clear boundaries: “Not only were you living in a defined location within the grounds of the watermill and the village of Posara and that gave you physical boundaries, but being with a group of strangers all joined in a common purpose you felt psychologically safe in that environment too.” That’s why they all felt able to share, why they bonded so well and people were brave enough to write about tough stuff.

Jo says: “That is why I am now such an advocate of the residential writing course. And that is why I am delighted to be returning to Posara for not one, but two, Writing Your Life Stories courses this year. It’s true: a residential writing course reaches the places other courses cannot reach.”

We’ve had such a demand for Jo’s courses this year, that, with her first week fully booked, we’ve opened a second week for her. If you’d like to write down some of your life stories, be it a full-blooded memoir, or a shorter journal, or even a blog, we’d be delighted to welcome you here. Jo’s new week will run from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018. We’ve been told that this is an ideal time for many people, such as people who work in schools and universities, who can only take time off in the academic holidays and, of course, anyone who want to come is welcome. You won’t regret it! As one student on Jo’s last course here said: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Bring your experiences to life

Jo’s Write Your Life Story creative writing courses are designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Jo Parfitt has published 32 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

Jo adds: “The class will include several methods and genre and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.”

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 Still a few place

AND 

22 September to 29 September 2018 Course full

Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

Thirty-two babies and it’s not getting easier! Jo on the birth of her new book.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Our talented and inspiring writing tutor Jo Parfitt has just published her 32nd book and she says: “I have often compared writing and publishing a book to having a baby. Not only does it take about nine months to gestate but then, once it is in your arms, it takes over your life!”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Monday Morning Emails is co-authored with Canadian Terry Anne Wilson, who, like Jo, has lived abroad for about three decades, has sons in their twenties and is not quite sure where to call home. This book is very different from Jo’s usual ‘how-to’ books, telling of the vicissitudes of living abroad and bringing up a family: “The birth was fairly long and painful. The third stage of labour took us to well over 25 edits and read throughs, times when gas and air did not quite hit the spot and we needed wine. But, in the end, about a month ago, our baby slithered off the press, silky skinned and gorgeous.

 “My heart was on my sleeve and as the book arrived in the world, my heart was in my mouth… Until Monday Morning Emails I had not really known how it felt to be faced with writing raw, authentic, vulnerable truth about myself and those close to me.”

Jo and Terry Anne had bared their souls, so what would people think? Jo says: “I felt like hiding behind the sofa, ready to be judged for what I had written. Was I a terrible mother? Had I worked too hard when the children were growing up? Had people suffered too much because we made the choice to keep on moving from country to country?”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Terry Anne Wilson and Jo: a successful birth.

The book was launched the book in The Hague on March 7th and at the Families in Global Transition conference two days later: “And only then did I dare to peak over the back of the sofa where I discovered words such as: “I wanted to thank you both for putting those issues on the table in such an honest and compelling manner. Already, it has been a catalyst for my parents to discuss decisions they made all those years ago, and ask me what I think now, as an adult.” “It’s the best thing you’ve ever written.” “Thank you for starting the conversation.”

Jo says: “As with the birth of any baby. The hardest work of all begins after it arrives. Terry Anne and I have work to do. There is a website, a new blog, flyers, reviews to elicit, a book trailer, book club questions, promotions, articles to write and readings to do. Thirty-two babies in and it has not got any easier…”

So, we’re not promising book writing is easy, but with Jo as midwife, you can begin the exciting process of giving birth to your own creation during her unique and inspiring Writing Your Life Stories courses at the Watermill.

We’ve had such a demand for Jo’s courses this year, that, with her first week fully booked, we’ve opened a second week for her. If you’d like to give birth to some of your life stories, be it a full-blooded memoir, or a shorter journal, or even a blog, we’d be delighted to welcome you here. Jo’s new week will run from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018. We’ve been told that this is an ideal time for many people, such as people who work in schools and universities, who can only take time off in the academic holidays and, of course, anyone who want to come is welcome. You won’t regret it! As one student on Jo’s last course here said: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Bring your experiences to life

Jo’s Write Your Life Story creative writing courses are designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away.

Jo Parfitt has published 32 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

Jo adds: “The class will include several methods and genre and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.”

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 AND 

22 September to 29 September 2018 Course full

Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

 

Avoid alliteration (always) and shun clichés like the plague (they’re old hat!)

Here are some excellent, but firmly tongue-in-cheek writing tips, courtesy of famous New York Times columnist, the late William Safire. Some are his own, some came from other writers. All, while amusing, are also very true. As well as urging us to avoid alliteration and clichés, Safire also advised:

  • Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  • And don’t start sentences with a conjunction.
  • Sentence fragments? Eliminate.
  • Prepositions are not words to end sentences with
  • If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  • Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
  • Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  • Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
  • If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.

Good stuff, and there’ll be plenty more sound, practical advice, too, from Jo Parfitt, during her Write your Life Stories weeks at the Watermill.

Jo’s first week with us, from 22-29 September, is now completely full, so ‘by popular demand’, we’ve opened a second course: Her new Write Your Life Stories week will run from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018.  Come and join us: you won’t regret it! As one student on Jo’s last course here said: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.”

Jo’s creative writing courses are designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically.  Jo Parfitt has published more than 30 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.” 

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
Write Your Life Stories

18 August to 25 August 2018 Still some places 

AND 22 to 29 September 2018 Course full 

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

The Watermill March newsletter is just out…

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.…with stories on:

  • A new chef and new mouth-watering recipes for our creative course guests

And on:

  • happiness
  • postcards and bookmarks
  • dirty hands
  • pencils and prayers
  • singing mouthwash
  • feet and sleep

Intrigued? Read on by clicking here.

And you can subscribe to our newsletter (it’s free) by clicking here.

Hope you like my soprano and mouthwash story! I’ll make a blog about it at the weekend!

Blog coloratura or collutorio

 

Jo Parfitt’s latest book is just out. Come and meet her — and her co-author

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Jo Parfitt, our inspiring Write your Life Stories tutor, has just published her latest book. It’s called Monday Morning Emails and it concerns two mothers sharing the ups and downs of living a global life. It covers six months, twelve countries – and a thousand thoughts.

Jo says: “It seems Monday Morning Emails is being well-received. A recent reader said: “Simply splendid, raw, personal and gripping. All three elements, the diaries, memoir and self-help, spoke to me. So much more to learn and read!’ “

You can not only learn about how to write your memoir, blog or journal from Jo, but also meet her co-author Terry Anne Wilson, who is attending Jo’s week-long course here. (More details of Jo’s week here below.)

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Terry Anne Wilson

A continent apart, Jo and Terry Anne made the commitment to email each other every Monday morning for six months. Part memoir, part diary, part self-help, the result is a vulnerable and insightful recollection – the then and now – of expatriate life between two friends. Over the past twenty-five years, Jo and Terry-Anne have created homes for their families in 12 countries from Japan to Kazakhstan, Malaysia to the Netherlands, the US to India and Oman. Combined, they have raised five sons, supported their husbands’ careers, and cultivated their own passions in writing, publishing, mentoring and more.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Jo Parfitt

Monday Morning Emails delves into a myriad of tough subjects including identity, parenting, Third Culture Kids, faith, rootlessness, traumatic childhood experiences, anxiety and depression. Jo and Terry Anne emerge from this candidly emotional exchange drawing joy and growth from facing life’s challenges before an ever-changing backdrop. And together they affirm that mothers are mothers, wherever home may be.

Come and learn more with Jo at the Watermill. Jo’s first week with us, from 22-29 September, is now completely full, so ‘by popular demand’, we’ve opened a second course: Her new Write Your Life Stories week will run from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018.  Come and join us: you won’t regret it! As one student on Jo’s last course here said: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.”

Jo’s creative writing courses are designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away. Jo Parfitt has published more than 30 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.” 

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 Still some places AND 22 to 29 September 2018 Course full Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

You’ll be as busy as a bee writing the stories of YOUR life

Bring a pencil (and a prayer?) on Jo’s writing course

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.We’ve still a few places left on one of Jo Parfitt’s inspiring Writing your Life Stories weeks. If you’re itching to write why not join us for perfect week of work and relaxation? And to inspire you more, here are some writing tips from the celebrated novelist Margaret Atwood (pictured above). They originally appeared in The Guardian newspaper in England and they range from the practical to the spiritual, from pencils to prayer…

Margaret’s tips:

  1. Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.
  2. If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.
  3. Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.
  4. If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick.
  5. Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
  6. Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What ­fascinates A will bore the pants off B.
  7. You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.
  8. You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.
  9. Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.
  10. Prayer might work. Or reading ­something else. Or a constant visual­ization of the Holy Grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.So why not bring a pencil and a prayer on Jo Parfitt’s creative writing week this August? Jo’s first week with us, from 22-29 September, is now completely full, so ‘by popular demand’, we’ve opened a second course: Her new Write Your Life Stories week will run from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018. You won’t regret it! As one student on Jo’s last course here said: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.”

Jo’s creative writing courses are designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away. Jo Parfitt has published 31 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’. Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.” 

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 Still some places AND 22 to 29 September 2018 Course full Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

And a final, not-too-serious, tip from another great writer:

chalkboard_quotes_twain