This week, we’re proud to present an in-depth interview with Noah Cruickshank, filmed at the Chicago Writers Conference 2014! Noah is the Board President of the Chicago Writers Conference as well as the Marketing Manager for Open Books, a Chicago-based nonprofit that works in schools to promote literacy and creative writing.
Below are some highlights from the interview:
Why is having a writing community important?
As much as we have a tendency to romanticize the idea of the sole writer working alone in a cabin or something like that, that’s just not how it works.
You need other people to look at your writing. You need other people to bounce ideas off of. You need other people to provide best practices.
Having a community where people have been around the block to be able to help you is so important if you ever want to get anywhere.
What is a common mistake you see writers making?
We have this idea that as an artist, you should just be able to create what you create and that’s enough… and it’s just not true. If you’re not going out there and really championing your work, then you’re never going to get anywhere. You have to be your best advocate.
By saying that you’re a part of the writing community, by becoming a part of the writing community, you are self-advocating. You’re saying, “I’m part of this group. What I do is important, what we all do is important.”
What is your advice to young writers
Oh boy, don’t give up, I guess?
I work at an organization [Open Books] that helps young and creative writers. What we try and do is provide a nurturing environment for them to start working the kinks out. So they can start realizing how tough writing actual is, but doing it in a way that is supportive.
And that is so important. To say, “Look. It’s great that you want to be a writer. But you do have to understand it’s more than just telling stories now and again. It really requires a huge amount of work and you have to be utterly committed to it.”
Want help support Open Books? Attend our annual Party with a Purpose on March 31 at Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro which supports 20 scholarships for literacy tutors at Open Books as well as 826CHI.