4 Steps to Creating Your Literary Life - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

4 Steps to Creating Your Literary Life

What is a literary life? In part, that’s a question that you will need to answer yourself. But for most people, it means reading and engaging with literature and perhaps doing some writing of your own. You don’t have to be a writer, a professor of literature or independently wealthy to create this life. You can lead it in the midst of everything else you are doing, from working full time to raising a family, and the steps below can help.

Getting an Education

The good news about majoring in English, comparative literature or a related field is that these are very versatile degrees. Unless teaching is actually what you want to do, ignore the people who tell you this is the only job you can get after spending the next few years studying some of the world’s great literature. Companies love employees who have strong critical thinking and communication skills, and the study of literature will train you well in these areas.

It is also good preparation if you want to go on to a professional degree, such as law school. You can enhance your potential with a bachelor’s degree in a literature-related field that you can pay for with private student loans in addition to scholarships, federal loans, and other funding sources. The low-interest rates and easy access to loans offered by many private lenders mean that these are often available to students who may not be able to get other types of funding.

Finding the Time

One of the unfortunate shocks of finishing college and entering the real world is how hard it can be to find time for your literary life. You really have to consciously prioritize it or work, friends, family, and other activities will consume it. Commuting and lunch hours can be great times to get some reading done. Some people get up an hour before anyone else in the family so they can squeeze in a precious hour of reading or writing before the rest of the world wakes up. Keep in mind as well that audiobooks count as reading. You can get through chapters while running errands or doing chores.

Seeking Out Resources

To keep up your lifelong learning or if studying literature in college is not a possibility, look for resources that will keep you up to date on the literary life. There are magazines, podcasts, blogs, and social media groups with people who are just as passionate as you are about the written word and just as eager to share it. Read reviews and contemporary criticism. If you’re looking for reading lists or reading challenges, there are websites and books that offer lists you can follow or modify for your own uses. You can also register for free online courses, sometimes known as MOOCs, offered by universities.

Finding Community

Online connections are great, but nothing beats making local connections in your own hometown. Join a book club, Bible study, or start your own. You can also start a writer’s meeting group or talk to a local cafe about hosting reading nights or poetry slams. Find out what local writers live in your community and make an effort to support them by buying and promoting their work if it appeals to you.


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