Holidays: A Great Time for Showcasing Your Writing & Helping Others, Too

I am somehow still lost in October. And, here, November is whizzing by. As writers, we often realize that we need to spend time during the holiday season not only with friends and family, but sharing ourselves and our work with our readers. It may be something as simple as  having your work displayed where a lot of people gather or giving a poetry reading with a book signing. But, you can also showcase other people’s work, too.

Coming up next weekend, on Sunday, Nov. 25, I will be guest reader at Brewed Awakening coffee shop in Westmont, IL from 12:30 to 2 p.m., 19 W. Quincy St. I will read various forms of my poetry and sign my book, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All. This event is sponsored by Illinois State Poetry Society.

Each time  I do a reading, I see faces I know–some whom I haven’t seen in years– and of course, new faces from the immediate area where I am doing the reading. Of course, the holiday time is a great time to sell books–the best time of the year– as most people love to give signed copies to their friends and family.

And, on Friday, Nov. 30, at 4:30 p.m. I will be attending a poets’ and artists’ reception at ArrivaDolce Cafe in Highland Park, IL where my poem “Solitary Thoughts” is on exhibit. (1823 St. Johns Ave.) This event is sponsored by East on Central Association. I will engage with friends and the public there.

However, the holiday season, as we know, isn’t just about ourselves. It’s about giving to others. Many people come up to me after my readings, remember me, and tell me how they appreciated my mentoring them years back on a volunteer basis.

Although I, like other writers, love to showcase my work,  I also make time during the holidays and throughout the year, showcasing the work of others. One of my new projects is to showcase the work of others (besides the one in The Daily Haiku on this blog”).  A new effort is my poetry column in a local lifestyle magazine. The magazine is “Winnetka Living.” It’s an attractive, glossy, full color magazine.

I run a column called “Creatively Versed,” where I showcase the work of local and neighboring poets. I run their poetry with their bio and photo, along with a photo they’ve submitted that illustrates their poem. I allow both beginning poets and experienced ones of all ages–even seven-year olds–to participate. I don’t get paid for the column. It’s my way of spreading the word about poetry.

You’d be surprised at how many people like to see their poetry showcased in a general-interest magazine. I think it’s the need to be creative that a lot of us have.

I’ve also spent much time during the past eight years mentoring individual poets on a volunteer basis. My point is this: promote and share your work, but also go through life with the gentle soul of a writer, giving to others without being maniacal about self-promotion.  Many will recognize your volunteer efforts. Some won’t–they’ll take what they can get– but what the heck!

Life isn’t all about recognition and laurels. It’s about giving. And, if you’re not a terribly giving person, think about doing some giving in 2019.

Copyright 2018 by Charlotte Digregorio.

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 recently received an Official Commendation from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner 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 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 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 a Pushcart Prize in poetry. I have won forty-seven poetry awards, writing twelve 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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17 Responses to Holidays: A Great Time for Showcasing Your Writing & Helping Others, Too

  1. You are spot on Charlotte! You are generous and giving and I encourage others to follow you’re example. The thing is, you are blessed when you help others. Blessing works both ways!!

    Susan
    💛

  2. Barbara Tate says:

    You are so right. I believe I live in a poetic wasteland here. Good goal to see what I can do about it!! Thanks for the thoughts and the incentives!!

    Barbara

  3. haikutec says:

    What a great set of events you are going to, and engage with people from all walks of life, that’s what I love too! 🙂

    It is great to appear in a newspaper or magazine that isn’t normally poetry focused because it’s a great boost to our self-belief as an artist.

    Although Karen and myself don’t have plans for live events later this year, we do have something in mind that will be very seasonal next time. 🙂

    Also we plan to make where we live more of a place to visit and talk haiku. We’ve had overseas poets, as well as local poets visiting already, and have some nice new features for next year!

    I know when I’ve done live gigs that are open-ended, that it was great to meet fellow haiku poets. We’d work and chat during the prescribed time, and then go off to a cafe and have a great old chin wag. It’s not always that easy just to sit and talk about our poetry in a relaxed non-clock watching way, and I miss the past times where this was possible. So I hope to bring some of that back, as social media can get fraught, and I want lots of laughter in between as that’s a great way to learn and exchange too! 🙂

    warm regards,
    Alan

    • Thanks, Alan, for sharing. I like living in a large metropolitan area where the population can support the arts. It’s often hard for a writer to live in smaller cities where arts and culture can take a back seat to other events. Sounds like you’ve got a lot going on in your neck of the woods.

      • Yes, it’s so great to get out and about to readings and launches and to meet like-minded people, Charlotte. I’m not as fortunate as Alan, as I usually have to do a ninety mile round trip to Belfast for literary events. However, myself and my writing friends have recently been trying to help promote local artistic endeavours. Once you get a decent number of people attending one event, its more likely that more will be organised. I have been involved since the summer with an environmental community project that has resulted in a beautiful book of art and haibun. This has meant more local readings in a series of five launches across the county – which was lovely.

        Oh, and, fingers crossed, I’ll be meeting up with Roberta Beary for the first time this Saturday at a literary festival just a couple of miles along the coast, in the village of Rostrevor! 🙂

      • haikutec says:

        Sounds great! Travel can be very expensive, and London events are a round trip of 200 miles, and that city is far more expensive than going to other cities.So I’m working on a locally based project which echoes our old NHP/With Words ethos of joint local and global.

        Congrats on the haibun book with art, the genre has certainly exploded and capturing the imagination in so many ways now.

        warm regards,
        Alan

      • haikutec says:

        In some ways I’m okay with Chippenham being quiet, as I can get to other cities such as Bath (where I’ve met many North American haiku poets etc…) and Bristol. But it does mean that even when I lived in the fairly large Bristol, that most of my events had to be self-funded. And with the cuts due to Austerity measures, both vulnerable people and the Arts have lost out. I’m a big boy, and often funded my own projects, I just wish the desperately vulnerable people weren’t penalised.

        Yes, we have exciting plans for visitors to England, as Chippenham is so easy to get to, and hope to have more American and Canadian visitors, as well as visitors from other parts of the world.

      • Uh oh, the word’s out! I’m sure some Americans will be knocking on your door soon! And I must admit, poets are a strange breed.

      • haikutec says:

        Hi Charlotte,
        .
        Well, having worked in various retail sectors small and major; building; offices (only occasionally); as a Mall Santa; and in security work, “there’s nowt so queer as folk. (colloquial, Yorkshire, Lancashire, England, funny island opposite The Americas). 🙂
        .
        The whole human race seems eccentric as heck. 🙂
        .
        We had a lovely tea and crumpets party yesterday for our second haibun workshop at our base. Really excited, as there’ll be innovative books in the next few years, Can’t say more, but things are changing. 🙂

      • A tea and crumpet party for poets sounds lovely, Alan! You and Karen, I’m sure, are wonderful hosts.

      • haikutec says:

        Our haibun student was over the moon about our tea service, being really wanted and cared for. 🙂
        It will now be an integral part of our haiku and haibun sessions at our house. We also have one of the longest river walks in the country, and part of it is just a minute from the train station, and a stroll through parks and meadows to our home, all in around a relaxed stroll of around 20 minutes.

        So people coming to our house can have either a solo ginko before they arrive, or I can even meet them, which I do on the first time, and have extra haiku drafts on the way! 🙂

        On a sombre note our national poverty has risen and we have emergency food banks everywhere, and tens of thousands of children now hooked on gambling. We need another Charles Dickens to highlight the return to the dark side of Victorian times.

  4. Paul Beech says:

    Hi Charlotte,

    I applaud all you do so generously in showcasing the work of others and encouraging creativity generally.

    Another way of showcasing new poets alongside established is to publish their work, if good enough, in anthologies.

    I’m currently on the editorial panel for the next Chester Poets anthology, due out next February. It’s time-consuming work (I had 51 poems to assess in a single batch recently), but I knew what I was letting myself in for when I put myself up for election to the panel as my partner Maureen had been on it three times previously. I just felt it was time to give a little back.

    There are many other worthwhile things to do as well of course. In May, Maureen and I put on a big poetry and music show in Chester to raise funds for a local charity called SHARE, which supports homeless people and refugees. We’re also both contributing poets in recently published fundraising anthologies with all profits going to worthy causes supporting mental health, homeless people and victims of poverty, war and oppression worldwide.

    Enjoy your upcoming gigs in Westmont and Highland Park and good luck with your column and all other endeavours.

    My very best,

    Paul

    • haikutec says:

      Sounds great Paul! 🙂

      It’s been a long time since I’ve involved in an anthology, so all the best, it’s hard graft but can be highly rewarding.

      We’re looking out for vulnerable people in our area, as this is the season for a lot of street deaths. One woman, new to the area, is safe, thank goodness, but there’s always more.

      warm regards,
      Alan

    • Thanks so much, Paul! And, you’re certainly doing your part to make poetry visible to the public. Hopefully, these activities will also encourage literacy, too. Who knows, poetry may become ever-popular with the general public in the next few decades.

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