Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal- Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal – or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help. Several times a month, we'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.

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Last month I attended the Spring Writes Finger Lakes Literary Festival in my hometown of Ithaca, NY. It was full of workshops and panel discussions, poetry readings and exhibits. I spent a day sans family, with other writers and artists, being completely revived and inspired. I learned quite a bit, but one main idea I heard again and again, presented in different ways from publishers, editors, and writers, was the idea of becoming a Literary Citizen.

A Literary Citizen is not simply a person who sits alone in their studio writing books.  While she may indeed do this, she also reads and buys books, she embeds herself into the current media technology, she reviews books and interviews authors on her blog, she supports the local library book sale, she attends screenings of classic literary movies, she volunteers to help kids learn to read, she reaches out beyond the world of her own creative mind and engages in new ways with her community.

This strikes me as what Literary Mamas already do. In our efforts to find and give support to other mothers we are constantly networking with our community. As we write articles or poems or notes on the scraps in the diaper bags, we push ourselves to reach out to our world. And we become Literary Citizens along the way.

In your journal today, explore what the idea of being a Literary Citizen means to you. But not in your traditional medium. If you are a writer, put away your pen and sketch a picture of yourself as a Literary Citizen. If you are a painter, write a poem. If you write haiku, take yourself outside and take photographs of where a Literary Citizen might visit. If you’ve never tried Twitter or Pinterest, sign up and post something. Push your boundaries. Try something different. Discover the Literary Citizen inside you.


Amanda Jaros is a freelance writer and blogger, focusing on nature and science stories. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including Terrain.org, Newfound, Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine, Highlights for Children, and Cargo Literary. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Chatham University.


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