Years ago, an artist-friend told me that she loves to share her art. She said even if just one person who sees it, feels it speaks to them, and gets him/her through a bad time in life, it is worth it.
I never gave this a whole lot of thought until I wrote my fourth book in 2005, Everything You Need to Know about Nursing Homes: The Family’s Comprehensive Guide to Either Working With the Institution or Finding Care Alternatives.
After it was published, a person wrote to me and said how it got her through one of the most challenging times of her life, when her father was in a nursing home and the staff was so unresponsive to her complaints on his behalf. She told me my book was a “real powerhouse” for her.
Ever since then, in writing my poetry, I’ve often wondered, too, if my creative writing could make a difference in a person’s life.
Any type of writing, of course, can impact your reader, if you are sharing either information or insights about life, living, and death. Think about anything you’ve ever written, whether or nor you’ve gotten it published, or just shared it with a writer’s group, family or friends. I’m sure if you give this some thought, you’ll realize that your writing hasn’t just been for your benefit, but for others. Realize, that when you write not just for yourself, but for others, that can be the most gratifying experience. We don’t live in a vacuum, nor should we write in a vacuum.
Through the years, many people have offered to buy me lunch to essentially ask me to tell them my secrets about writing and publishing success. I often cringe when people extend these invitations, simply because I seem to be always busy with some project. If I am not writing, I am thinking about ideas to write. And, in a way, I feel used to tell a person my “secrets” that have taken me years to learn. Of course, I share my secrets (experience) on this blog, but I am not individually meeting with people. Individual visits can take much time out of one’s day.
I also remember about ten years ago when an acquaintance asked me to meet with one of his friends over lunch to tell him how to become a columnist. I did, though reluctantly. After speaking with his friend, apparently, I gave him such good advice that he ended up getting a regular column published in a major newspaper. He didn’t even bother to notify me about his success! I had told him some of the secrets in my book, You Can Be A Columnist. I should have just asked him to buy the darn thing!
So, your writing can change individuals–many not the whole world, though!
I’m beginning to find that my writing can reach more people, if I combine it with art. As some of you know, one of my haiku was selected to be inscribed on a metal plaque on a boulder at Holmes County Open Air Art Museum in Millersburg, Ohio. And, it was also selected to be on the museum’s video, http://www.innathoneyrun.com/open-air-art-museum/
Further, I am featured in the recent publication of the Northwest Cultural Council as its Featured Poet. http://www.northwestculturalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/2016Fall.pdf Please see pages 8 and 9. My poetry with art is featured there. And, having an exhibit of my illustrated poetry currently running at the Rolling Meadows (IL) Library that the NWCC arranged for, has given me vast exposure. The Library held a reception for me in conjunction with the exhibit. At that time, I also did a book signing for my book, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All.
Recently, two of my poems were selected for publication in the East On Central anthology, a journal of arts and letters. This anthology is wonderful, and the work of artists that accompanies writers’ work is stunning. The East On Central organization also recently chose my poetry to be exhibited at ArrivaDolce Cafe in Highland Park, IL beside artists’ work. They also held a reception there for selected poets and artists.
My point is, if you try to make your work accessible to others, you can, through your sharing, touch others. As I’ve said many times in my posts, don’t be bashful. Get your work out there. Start by sharing it with a writer’s support group, if you tend to be bashful by nature, then graduate to open mics. The latter are good for poetry and (short) short stories.
Whatever you do, share your work! There are no excuses for not doing this. If you feel there are no activities in your immediate area that would support writers, organize one. For example, go to your local library and try to organize a support group, or go to your local bookstore and try to organize an open mic. I have done both, many times in my life.
Don’t just sit at home with a box of your writing tucked away in your bedroom closet.
Share! Share! If nothing else, you’ll know if your writing makes sense to others.
Copyright 2016 by Charlotte Digregorio.