I have to apply for citizenship? Those were the words that popped into my head when this idea of “Literary Citizenship” was first brought to my attention. At the end of last semester, one of my professors brought this idea up to our Novel Writing class, encouraging us to become stronger literary citizens, and adding in the fact that there was going to be a class on the subject offered the following semester. Intrigued, I enrolled in the class.
I have only ever created one website, a requirement for one of my courses, and I only have twenty followers on Twitter, by no means noteworthy. Having very little experience with these sorts of things, I figured that I could learn a lot from this course – most of all, how to become a better literary citizen. The first step was to create and post in a blog – something I have never ever done before and had never considered doing until now. Not only have I never created a blog, but I am unfamiliar with the conventions and norms that pertain to starting and maintaining a successful blog and following.
I had no idea how important creating an online following was to my literary future. And I had no idea how far behind I was in the grand scheme of things.
So, what is “Literary Citizenship?” Good question! I still have no solid idea, having only attended one class thus far. However, on of the biggest things I picked up from that lecture was: Be interested in what other people are doing. Why should people be interested in what you have to say if you’re not interested in what they have to say?
This question jarred me quite a bit when I was listening/reading our introductory materials. It was something I had never actually thought about before and I immediately began to question what I had been doing up to this point. I was also forced to reevaluate my opinions on some things. For example, before being introduced to the idea of “Literary Citizenship,” I didn’t feel it necessary to consistently post Facebook, Twitter, or even create a blog. From my previous experiences, people only used these outlets to whine about the things that weren’t being fulfilled in their own lives. However, I soon discovered that I wasn’t looking in the right place. At all.
Finally, I find that what I need the most is to learn how to improve and build off of the foundation I already have. I need to push myself much, much further into the writing community, because, as I said before, why should people be interested in me, if I’m not interested in them?