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Literary Citizenship

At Ball State University, Cathy Day is teaching a special class in creative writing called Literary Citizenship. The advice she teaches is something all writers can listen to. Engage in the community, and see what you can do for the literary world, not what it can do for you. “I’ve started thinking that maybe the reason I teach creative writing isn’t just to create writers,” Day writes, “but also to create a populace that cares about reading. There are many ways to lead a literary life, and I try to show my students simple ways that they can practice what I call “literary citizenship.” I wish more aspiring writers would contribute to, not just expect things from, that world they want so much to be a part of.”

Here’s some excerpts from the main blog post on her page:

1.) Write “charming notes” to writers. (I got this phrase from Carolyn See.) Anytime you read something you like, tell the author.

2.) Interview writers. Take charming notes a step farther and ask the writer if you can do an interview.

3.) Talk up (informally) or review (formally) books you like. Start with your personal network. Then say something on Goodreads. Then Amazon.com or B&N. Then try starting a book review blog.

4.) If you want to be published in journals, you must read and support them. Period.

5.) If you want to publish books, buy books

6.) Be passionate about books and writing, because passion is infectious.

She then goes into more detail about these challenges. Follow what the class is doing on the site, literarycitizenship.com, and join in on their challenges.

Spread the word!