A couple of years ago, when I started my journey of establishing my online presence as a writer, there were a couple of terms that always found their way into my days — writing community and literary citizenship.
These are phrases that I had heard before. But I didn’t understand them at first. And I often saw people throwing them around on social media sites like X, formerly Twitter, Facebook, and even on Instagram. I didn’t give them much thought beyond the meaning of shameless self-promotion.
However, during my time as an undergrad earning a BA in creative writing and English, and now as a grad student earning an MFA in creative writing, I’ve had a chance to learn the true meaning and value of a writing community and literary citizenship.
Now this is the one that may sound mysterious to many. How can a member of the writing community become a literary citizen? What does that even mean?
Well, according to Jane Friedman, the term originates as a means for describing self-promotion and marketing in a way that is more palatable for the literary fiction community. However, she also says that today “at its heart, literary citizenship is about focusing on celebrating the literary community, whatever that means to you.”
Therefore, literary citizenship can take on many forms, whether that is promoting your own or someone else’s work or offering insights and inspiration to others.
A writing community can come in many forms. And there are numerous writing communities out there in which we can participate.
Take Medium, for example. Medium is a place where writers from all around the world gather, share their writing, and read works by others, often giving feedback by clapping, sharing, or leaving comments.
It is, in essence, a community of writers and readers who share a common interest — reading and writing impactful stories that resonate with readers.