The Write Crowd: Literary Citizenship and the Writing Life by Lori A. May

REVIEW by Elise Brand

So you write. And you want to get your writing out into the world. You may even be pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing. Is that enough, though, if you want to be a writer? Writing is a solitary thing, but being a writer is not. So, how, then, do you network? Make friends with other writers? How do you become part of a literary community? Lori A. May offers up a variety of clear, genuine ways for any writer – at any level of experience– to authentically connect and contribute to the writing world. It is not just about networking. In her new book, The Write Crowd, May goes beyond the suggestions of starting your own blog or attending readings. She offers a series of suggestions, opportunity offerings and interviews from others in the writing arena who take on addressing these questions.

May lays the groundwork for us by stressing the need for writers to become literary citizens–those who promote artistic interest, advocate literature and foster a culture of well-being. May also shows you how to become involved. Essentially,May argues, pay kindness and skill forward; this helps you as you help others. Once again, May’s specific tips help to enable any writer do this– from running a workshop for a school or other community outreach effort to writing book reviews to creating and sharing opportunities with others. May’s book reads easily,written with a knack for giving you the straight story from someone who really knows.

May is knowledgeable about the literary scene, showing her expertise as the result of a cumulative process. “All along the way folks took the time to show me a bit of a path, teach me a small lesson, and correct my course in small ways, just as a tennis coach might correct someone’s backhand. My success, such as it is, is partly hard work and dedication, but also an accumulation of one thousand moments of generosity from other writers and editors,” May says.

May argues that literary citizenship is a critical component of a writer’s career. She also cautions writers to have a positive effect on the writing community while not sacrificing too much of their own writing life. There is a way to establish literary citizenship with as much or little time as a writer has available. Nor should involvement be viewed as a “down-payment” for future rewards, she warns. May also does offer a few marketing tips, but stresses that this is not a marketing guide.While doing good work in the literary realm may not necessarily get you published, its positive effect in the literary community is meaningful.If there can be a “How-to Guide” for getting involved in a literary community and living an authentic writing life, this is an inspiring must-read.[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Elise Brand is a poet and teacher from Montgomery County, PA, earning her MFA in Creative Writing from Arcadia University in 2014. Her work has appeared in Adanna Literary Journal, The Broadkill Review, The North Penn Reporter, and Mousetales Press. She views art and its making as gifts with which to be generous – the connection between artist and audience a sacred thing. She enjoys travel and cooking, bicycling and refurbishing old furniture. She lives in Lansdale with her husband, a history professor, who shares her of love of vintage records and the resurgence of vinyl. (Records, that is. Vinyl in other instances may be questionable.) [/author_info] [/author]