Can You Change the World with Your Writing?

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.

 

 

 

 

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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. I am also the author of five non-fiction books: 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; and Your Original Personal Ad. 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." 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 have signed books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores. I was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry. I have won thirty-three poetry awards. 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 am an internationally-published haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, haibun, free verse, acrostic, cinquain, etheree, and sestina poet. My poetry has been translated into six languages, and I have done poetry readings at a variety of bookstores, libraries, art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. My poetry has been displayed at supermarkets, art galleries, libraries, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I've been interviewed on cable television about my poetry. I also 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 was also self-employed as a communications/public relations/marketing consultant with 111 clients in 16 states. In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give special lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and to those at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and to 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. Currently, I am Second Vice President of the Haiku Society.
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7 Responses to Can You Change the World with Your Writing?

  1. Inspirational – thanks Charlotte

  2. What a great post, Charlotte. Great insights and suggestions about sharing work. What a shame about the guy who milked you for the secrets of writing a column without buying your book or thanking you either. ~nan

  3. Paul Beech says:

    Last night, at an open mic on the Wirral, I read a poem about homelessness and later a pleasant lady came over to tell me how much it meant to her.

    The poem, stemming from my long years helping the homeless, was ‘Countdown’ from my first collection of poetry and prose, ‘Twin Dakotas’, published by Cestrian Press in August. The poem was reproduced a couple of months later in our Chester Poets anthology 2016, ‘Unheard’, also from Cestrian Press. The principle theme of the anthology was displacement and proceeds from the launch, during the Chester Literature Festival 2016, went to a local charity, Share Aid, which supports refugees everywhere and homeless people in the UK.

    Overtly political poetry may put some people off. Likewise poetry of a purely personal nature may have limited appeal. But poetry that is personal/universal showing how individuals respond to, or cope with, common experience or major problems of the day (at home or abroad) may have relevance and meaning for many, and even change lives.

    We must get our poetry out there through books, magazines and blogs; through open mic events, fundraising events, festivals, local radio and so on.

    I agree with you completely, Charlotte. Sharing our work is what it’s all about.

    My very best,

    Paul

  4. Susan Furst says:

    Charlotte,

    You are a kind and generous person, and you have impacted my writing life in many ways. You published my first “official haiku,” and that encouraged me and I am grateful. Your book is one of the best on writing and appreciating the art of haiku. I love that you have written so many books and also beautiful haiku. I love that you combine it with art. I think what I respond to is your can do attitude. “Just do it,” that is my motto. I have been blessed and overwhelmed with my “little over a year,” writing experience. I have had to learn most of what I know on my own, which is a good thing. Also there have been numerous people who have helped me. My first book came from my first writing class. My teacher told me I should publish it. So I did! My poetry has been published in two anthologies and online and in print. It is amazing how my world has changed. God has blessed me! So I guess that I am trying to say, that if you are kind to people and you are genuine, most people will respond and help you along the way. In the end though, it is up to you to go out there and learn what you need to know and put in the hard work. And most importantly, treat people the way you want to be treated. Help someone else when they have a question. And say Thank You. So Thank You Charlotte for writing your blog posts and publishing the daily haiku. They encourage me, and I am sure many others. And they make my day!

    Susan

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Susan. Each person creates his/her own success through diligence. You are definitely a hard worker and you have created a literary life for yourself. Be proud of your accomplishments. Throughout my life, I have always tried to celebrate my small triumphs. They will lead to larger ones. Yes, writing is often a lonely pursuit, but we are lucky, these days, to have the internet to connect us with strangers who later become friends in writing. Keep writing, Susan, you are doing well and will achieve great things. Best Wishes, Charlotte
      ,

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