Be An Ambassador of The Written Word

You don’t need to be an experienced, published writer to be an ambassador of the written word. You can be one, even if you’re a beginning writer. Ambassadorship takes many forms.

I write non-fiction and poetry. Since April is Poetry Month, I’ve been thinking about poetry activities. In so doing, I’ve begun to reflect on all my writing activities in the past 31 years of doing it professionally. I realize I’ve been an ambassador at each juncture in my adult life.

If you’re a beginning writer, you probably don’t realize you’ve been an ambassador, too. Have you ever helped a writer’s group organize a conference? Have you hosted a writer’s critique group in your home?

You may not realize that you, too, can share your knowledge as a beginner.
Do you belong to a service organization or business group? Realize that you can give a short presentation sharing writing tips before a group. You’d be amazed at how many people are insecure about their writing, and even find it painful to write a sentence at their jobs.

Or, perhaps there are others who aspire to get just one piece published, and you’ve already done that. They might get some ideas from you.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been published or published a little, you may know more about writing than many do, and be one step or more ahead of them.

In my years as a writer, I have regularly
spoken about or given workshops on non-fiction, creative writing, and authorship.

I’ve also been on university faculties, teaching writing to undergraduate and graduate students. But, even when I’m not a faculty member, I’m busy promoting the written word.

For example, this month, I’m participating in a poetry project, introducing poetry to professional actors so they can perform it. And, in conjunction with the Japanese Consulate in Chicago, I judged a haiku contest for Chicago Public School students earlier this month.

A few months ago, I gave a haiku workshop to Chicago Public School teachers, grades 3-12, so they could learn to teach it to their students.

For me, May will also be poetry month. I have three major poetry events. I have organized Haikufest, Saturday, May 7, at the Evanston (IL) Public Library in Metro Chicago. In addition to other speakers, I will speak on “Haiku: A Path Leading To Conservation Thought.” There will be hands-on workshops, a Japanese art exhibit, haiga, that features haiku, and a haiku contest. This event is in conjunction with my duties as Midwest Regional Coordinator of the Haiku Society of America. I organize about five programs a year that are free and open to the public. I am an honorary, elected officer of the Society.

I will also be giving haiku workshops, Saturday, May 15, at Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s Annual Book Club Conference in the Chicago Public Schools. Students, grades 7-12, will attend. Further, I’ll be speaking on haiku Saturday, May 21, at the Milwaukee (WI) Public Library.

Through the years, I’ve authored four non-fiction books: “You Can Be A Columnist,” “Beginners’ Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features,” “Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes,” and “Your Original Personal Ad.” I’ve taught journalism to undergraduate and graduate students on the faculties of universities, and have been a writer-in-residence.

However, perhaps my real activities of ambassadorship have been when I’ve taught workshops that people didn’t have to take for school credit.

There’s a particular satisfaction that a writer receives when her audience is comprised of people who choose to learn about writing for non-credit purposes. I’ve taught feature and column writing workshops at libraries and through Continuing Education Departments at community colleges. I’ve also taught them at writer’s conferences, along with being a panelist or speaker on non-fiction. I’ve addressed associations on authorship; alumni and business groups on how to do publicity writing; spoken on creativity at Lunch and Learn series, sponsored by community colleges; and given personal ad writing workshops at bookstores, libraries, and community colleges where I’ve signed books.

I’ve also promoted the written word when I’ve been invited to exhibit my poetry at banks, retail stores, supermarkets, art galleries, wine shops, university and public libraries, and on public transit. I’ve done poetry readings at bookstores, libraries, and art galleries, and on radio. I’ve exhibited my books at cultural centers.

I’ve been interviewed by print and broadcast media about my books, and I’ve given informational interviews on the craft of writing on cable television.
Further, I hosted my own radio poetry program, “Poetry Beat” for two years on public broadcasting, interviewing poets.

As a book publisher and marketer of books, I’ve, of course, promoted many authors, spreading the written word.

As for you, be a doer! You’ll advance your knowledge of writing without even realizing it. Even if you’re a beginning writer and volunteer to register attendees at a writer’s conference, you’ll be around writers. It’s amazing what you’ll pick up. Perhaps you’ll learn of publishing opportunities. So, just be an ambassador in the simplest of ways.

And, remember, if you’re around writers, you’ll begin to think like a writer through osmosis.

Take in all the opportunities around you. Besides being an ambassador, go to poetry readings, author’s talks at bookstores, and free writer’s workshops at libraries. You have nothing to lose. You’ll always come away with nuggets of information.

About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. In 2018, I was honored by the Governor of Illinois for my thirty-eight years of accomplishments in the literary arts, and my work to promote and advance the field by educating adults and students alike. I am the author of seven books including: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; Your Original Personal Ad; and my latest, Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu by Charlotte Digregorio." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I regularly sign books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores, and do poetry readings at art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. I was recently nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in poetry. I have won fifty-nine poetry awards, writing fourteen poetic forms. My poetry has been translated into eight languages. I do illustrated solo poetry exhibits 365 days a year in libraries, galleries, corporate buildings, hospitals, convention centers, and other venues. My individual poems have been displayed at supermarkets, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I am self-employed as a public relations/marketing consultant, having served a total of 118 clients in 23 states for the past several decades . In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America, and for two years as its Second Vice President.
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