What if all creative writing programs did this? What if instead of expecting our students to figure it out on their own, we gave them some stars to steer by?
Check out the mission of Write-a-House:
Our mission is simple: to enliven the literary arts of Detroit by renovating homes and giving them to authors, journalists, poets, aka writers. It’s like a writer-in-residence program, only in this case we’re actually giving the writer the residence, forever.
And here’s the best part, how you get to keep the house: be a literary citizen.
The WAH Author-in-Residence will also be expected to:
- contribute content to the WAH blog on a regular basis.
- participate in local readings and other cultural events
- use the home as their primary residence.
- In general, they will be responsible home owners, engaged neighbors, committed city residents and good literary citizens.
Apply for a residency and spread the word.
On her blog, Journeys and Destinations, Lori May offers a roundup of links about Lit Cit.
In print. Online. Everything. Hooray!
That itself is literary citizenship!
I couldn’t be happier to see so much discussion of late on the topic of literary citizenship. This is a topic near and dear to me and one I’ve had the pleasure of discussing at a number of MFA programs and community writing events over the years. We can never discuss this topic too much. Our involvement in the community—as writers, as readers—only nets good, as far as I’m concerned. Whether helping a small press get off the ground through volunteer hours, or sharing a recommended read with a booklover at work, a little good goes a long way in fostering not only our literary and cultural communities, but our regular old day-to-day life as people.
Advice to an Aspiring Author on How to Publish Your Book
by Shannon Cain
1.) Write well. Pursue this goal for about 10 or 20 years.
2.) Tend to your literary citizenship:
- Read. A lot.
- Subscribe to literary magazines.
- Buy books. Review them, and publish the reviews.
- Celebrate the achievements of your colleagues. Champion their work.
- Share your power.
- Donate to small presses. Volunteer. Join a governing board.
- Practice humility.
- In workshop, be patient and kind and truthful.
- Attend talks and conferences. Listen hard.
- Mentor a new writer. Be mentored.
- Be a good friend to other writers. Keep generosity in your heart.
3.) Realize that literary citizenship makes you a better writer. Know that the more you give, the more you get back. Forget about publishing. Just write. And give.
Shannon Cain’s story collection, The Necessity of Certain Behaviors, won the 2011 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. She is a manuscript consultant and teaches fiction in the MFA program at Bennington College. This advice appeared in the newsletter for Kore Press. Leslie Pietryzk noticed how awesome it was and blogged about it at Work-in-Progress.