If you’re a writer or a reader, you’ve likely heard the phrase “literary citizenship.” While it means different things to different people, to us at W.A.T.T. it means participating meaningfully and deeply in the literary life: reading, writing, sharing, suggesting. It means finding new ways to connect people and writing.
What are some ways we strive to be good literary citizens?
Buying. We buy books. From a local, nonchain bookstore when possible. New, when we can afford it. When we can’t, we frequent our local library. Their funding often depends on their circulation, so checking items out (even if you’re like me and keep them until they’re “stale” and return them occasionally unread) is helpful for them.
Promoting. Barry and I were students in an MFA program, and we are not shy about sharing news about our friends’ work. Why wouldn’t we? It feels great to help others and it’s cool to hook readers up with emerging writers. And maybe we’re biased, but their work is AWESOME!
Making our services affordable. One of the things Barry and I are most proud of is that we attempt to make our writing coaching services affordable. We have sliding scale, senior citizen, and friend rates. (So it behooves you to become our friends. LOL.) It’s been wonderful to watch people who thought they couldn’t afford to hire help with their writing get it. Talent comes at all socioeconomic levels.
Organizing events. Barry and I are working on organizing some events now. We’ll keep you posted! We attempt to attend those that already exist.
Read. We read. Read, read, read. We read current books. We read classics. We read the books in between. We share what we’re reading on social media. We ask what others are reading. We read aloud. Instead of watching as much TV, we aim to read more. (Still working on that.) We read while on the treadmill.
Listen. Sometimes we even listen to audio books. (Do you know about librivox.org? I have listened to their recordings of books in the public domain for years now. They’re boss to paint to, and if there’s a classic you just don’t think you can make it through, give them a listen.)
Blog. We blog and read others’ blogs and share. We share, share, share.
Review. We review books, but we try to be kind and generous while also being honest and objective. We never assassinate writers’ work. Just having written is a major achievement.
Donate. We donate our time and expertise. We have mentored students at both local high schools and adult education programs. It’s terrific watching ideas blossom. You can do the same in your community!
Thank you for reading this post, you good literary citizen. If you want to share it, or encourage others to follow our blog, that would be great, too. How do you practice literary citizenship? What else should we be doing?
Writing All the Things,
(Photo credit: Angilee Beery.)