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Be a Good Literary Citizen

Spring time signals the start of literary festivals. This weekend a lot is going on in the DC area. I will be at one of them (I’ll post pics on Sunday.) and I’m going not just to support my friends who will be on various panels, but also to surround myself with like-minded people.

The old saying goes, “Tell me the 5 people you spend the most time with and I will tell you who you are.”

Literary festivals are great for supporting authors, introducing you to new ones, and getting a free tote bag. (Those bags are everywhere! Snag one!) They are also great for inspiring you as a writer. Maybe you are feeling burnout? Or maybe you are tired of staring at the wall as you look for inspiration? I’m as introverted as the next writer, but there is something nice about surrounding yourself with other readers and writers. It’s your tribe.

My Stuff From AWP 2017.

Most of the time I go to them expecting to hear the nuggets of info about the writing life. You can find basic information about writing and publishing from books and blog posts. But the small, everyday stuff, I only hear about it when the writers are in front of people and the casually mention their inspiration or strange writing quirk. Those are the moments I live for. Often they are relatable and kinda funny.

Usually there are panels about publishing too. Again not new info, however sometimes I need to hear it again. I always bring a notebook, so I can jot down a piece of advice here and there. I find them good for getting me in the right frame of mind.

If you don’t find many free festivals around you and you are short on funds to attend, you can always volunteer. You won’t get to every panel, but you can see a few and maybe meet one of your favorite authors.

One of my goals this year was to attend more writing events and be a better literary citizen. I wanted to support more writers, festivals, and literary journals and magazines. I think this is a good start.