Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Find your writing treasure

We each have certain gifts we can share with others. And if we're not sure what those treasures are, we can enjoy hunting for them. Maybe it's a career path, maybe it's a hobby, or maybe it's a favorite sport.

We're writers. We recognize that our skills are constantly improving, but still, many people wish they could do what we do. How can we share this treasure? Here are some suggestions:
  1. Write for no pay/low pay markets. Whether or not you have publishing credits, writing for these markets is a great way to hone our skills while helping others. Children who can't afford a subscription to Highlights magazine could enjoy your stories or articles for free. Some children's markets which are seeking manuscripts are Imagination Cafe, Stories for Children, and Viatouch.
  2. Volunteer. Maybe a church needs someone to write their bulletins, or a local community group has trouble putting together legible newsletters. Busy teachers are always looking for classroom volunteers to read to children or help strengthen writing methods. These tasks take time, yet it's a win/win situation. We can practice our skills while lending a hand.
  3. Consider fictionalizing an issue that's close to your heart. Domestic violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, coping with an illness or death. These issues make powerful stories, and authors have a unique opportunity to shed light and inform readers. Many times we've read stories and thought, wow, I'm not alone after all. Someone else out there understands.
Our writing skills could be clutched to our chest and used only for our own good, or we could share those skills, practicing and improving our techniques along the way. Who knows where our treasure hunt could lead?

What's your opinion on this subject? Can you think of other ways to share our writing treasure?



36 comments:

  1. Write small plays/skits for your local church or middle/high school. Oftentimes they have causes they would like to promote or events that they have at the end of the year, but need some material for it.

    I've done this in the past, and found it highly rewarding. :)

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  3. I have a strong opinion on this Julie, that's only recently been developed. I think one of the great benefits of being a writer is developing your Voice. And here I'm not referring so much as to the voice of your characters in your story as much as your author Voice that not only permeates your story but comes across in real life. The stronger our Voice becomes, the more influential.

    Although my Voice is still not well heard, I know where I will be using it toward helping others. I have a cause dear and near to my heart, and as much as possible, any benefits I get from being a writer, as in being listened to, will be used to help this cause. (Just need to make sure I don't get preachy! :-)

    JK Rowling is a great example of this. Her Voice is extremely loud and she's used it in so many ways to benefit others. It's a responsibility she carries seriously.

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  4. These are great points, Julie. Also, SP's point of growing our voice in writing and to support a cause important to us.

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  5. This is yet another example of what a wonderful person you are, Julie! I love this post because I do want to help others through writing. Some other ways? I've donated to writing auctions and bought at them to benefit good causes, and I think just being open to helping others just starting out and encouraging them is a good way to give back.

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  6. I love this idea. I'm a big supporter of other writers and I'm always doing whatever I can to help them. I never thought of actually using my writing as a way to give back though. This has wonderful potential.

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  7. I love nurturing young writers. I think our writer's group, The Burrow, has done a pretty good job embracing teens. I also keep intending to contact our local magnet high school and offering myself as a mentor--the students need to do a community experience--sort of a shadowing thing--and I know there are students who want to write--one of my daughter's classmates in fact, just turned 16 and has written two novels. I think that last one, too, is an important one. I don't CENTER on those issues, but I feel obliged to be honest, and typically include, mental illness, addiction, or abuse in some form.

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  8. I do help some at our church with the website. We could also be a critiquer for someone young - encourage them to continue writing.

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  9. You guys are brilliant! Thanks for these awesome ideas :D

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  10. Hart Johnson, you're absolutely right. Young writers need so much encouragement. In fact, a lot of them are already good storytellers despite their seeming youth. Becoming beta readers or critiquers for young writers is a great way to help them develop their writing, AND a good friendship too. :)

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  11. Veronika, so true. The young people can teach us a thing or two while we're helping them. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

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  12. I love the idea of fictionalizing an issue close to your heart. Not only will it make your writing better but it can be therapeutic for other people who have dealt with that issue. The Glass Castle comes to mind for that. Really great post.

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  13. Thanks for the links to kid mags!

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  14. I especially love #3. I find that most of my stories are inspired by certain situations where I think "what if this was a story?" Fantastic advice, Julie!

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  15. I love the about out to volunteering in the classroom. 5th and 6th graders still love to be read to. We have a handful of grandparents who come and read. Talk about your treasures!

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  16. once again, superb advice.

    sorry i haven't visited in a while — hope you are doing well!!

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  17. What a great post, Julie. Yes, we should share the treasures with others in whichever way fits best for us. I love doing author visits at schools at no charge and I'm receiving as much as I give. Kids are wonderful. We can always learn from them while encouraging them to pursue their dreams.

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  18. I think that if there's a way to help, we should. It's always good to give back, and writing is a skill like anything else. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  19. Found you through Jill's blog. I'm a water drinker too. :O)

    Great tips and thoughts. Have a super week!

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  20. These are some fabulous ways to give back. One thing I've found that I love is volunteering as a reading buddy at elementary schools. I haven't done it in a while, but it's a great way to help kids who are struggling a bit with reading to learn to love it. Even though it's not exactly sharing my writing, I like helping kids learn to enjoy all kinds of writing. :)

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  21. Thanks for the link to the children's sites. I plan to submit a story. The thought of giving a child FREE access to a story in this economy is a wonderful idea.

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  22. I started subbing to Stories for Children a few years ago and have appeared in their great publication several times--both fiction and non-fiction. I learned so much. They have great editors. I think it's wonderful that they've become a paying publication. That helps new writers build creditability. Great ideas, Julie. THanks.

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  23. I love the idea of sharing our writing passions as a way to give back. I think fictionalizing an issue close to a writer's heart is one of my favorite ways to contribute. Also, though, I'm always touched by how generous writers are with each other--sharing experiences, encouraging, etc.

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  24. These are great ideas. I love volunteering at my kids' school. I was blessed to be able to give a week-long fiction workshop to the seventh and eigth graders last year and hope to do it again this year. They're talent amazed me!

    And fictionalizing issues close to our hearts is one of the best ways we can make a difference.

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  25. Thanks, Julie for the websites and good reminders that not every child can afford print subscriptions. I think another way to share a love of books is to go visit schools and read to a class, or to a children's ward in a hospital. Or even volunteer at a school and share books.

    T. K. Richardson' blog Has a post about the Partners in Print project. They are looking for donated books to share with foster kids. The site is. Evening fades.b.ogspot,com, and it's her July 19th post.

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  26. Great post, Julie. I especially appreciate the links to those free children's publications. I have a few stories I'm not sure what to do with. This might be an option. :)

    Amy

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  27. You guys are amazing writers! I love these ideas you've listed, thank you!

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  28. Great insight Julie. I think it is certainly true that if you want to be a writer… write. Write articles for whatever suits your style. There are new e-zines up all the time, new sites looking for content and more. Just write it and get it out there. Another avenue is writing content for SEO purposes. Companies looking for content writers for their websites.

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  29. These are great ideas. I especially love the idea of volunteering to write for churches, communities, etc. What a great way to help AND hone your skills at the same time!

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  30. Great ideas. I am searching out different areas where I may find a venue for my writing.

    Deciding to do any of the types of things you prescribe depends on the writers goals, and I'd say more importantly, his/her ego. Some may feel their work is too important to be placed in the "lower realms" of published material.

    I think it's a great way to start out. Rejections are fewer, maybe even non-existent, and you get to see your own style improve and grow as you look back on what you did yesterday, after finding a new home today.

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  31. We're storytellers. As my niece said recently, I like your stories... tell me a story about one of your friends.

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  32. Well said Julie. I had the opportunity to be involved in a writing group at work. Now the writers are trying to bring the humanities into the curriculum at our school. It's my way of giving back.

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  33. Loved all the ideas , Julie. It makes sense and at the same time benefits a host of people. Really a win-win situation.

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  34. Great post, Julie. Lots of great ideas in the comments. Thanks everyone for sharing!

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