I had originally queued up this post with the thought of
talking railing on about the seeming lack of compassion, sensitivity, concern – for their fellow human beings and the world at large – I’ve been witnessing for some time now from people everywhere (and not just politicians but also those close to home) who should definitely know better.
I decided instead to give you some examples of the ways average people, no matter what their income or expertise, can help others – even if it’s just a matter of including those others in our lives and making them feel welcome and wanted. I also added a video among these examples about helping the animals of the world, because we do share this planet, you know.
Personally, here are ways I have helped others …
For some years, I have promoted other authors free on my blogs. I’ve given them exposure on social media and encouraged sales of their books, all for no charge. I’ve beta-read, done some pro bono editing, and offered free advice and contact information to those authors who I consider to be good enough to deserve that help. I have also volunteered teaching literacy.
I have donated print books to libraries and those groups that supply reading materials for people who can’t afford to buy books or do not have library access.
I pledge to do more, however, and am considering other ways I can Do the Right Thing that will make a difference in the lives of others around me and elsewhere.
Here are a few examples I’ve gleaned from social media recently (and, yes, two of these videos are commercials for large corporations) that offer ideas of ways in which anyone can help the world become a better place.
From The New York Times, Home Is Where the Resistance Is
Or maybe it’s just a small matter of Paying It Forward …
And this story is about a friend who is an avid gardener as well as someone who constantly looks for ways to help others and contribute to her community, just because that’s the kind of person she is … Last summer, when her own garden was in full bloom, she began cutting the flowers to create bouquets then knocked on doors of houses on her street and gave those neighbours the gift of her flowers. Such a simple act, but one which I’m sure the neighbours, many of whom she’d never actually met prior to doing this, very much appreciated.
I know there are hundreds more examples of people Doing the Right Thing, and some other examples I have are friends of mine. I want to “up” my own personal game though and, as I said above, will pledge to do more. As I think of other ways I can personally make a difference I will add them to my blog.
So, what about you? Do you know of other examples in which people Do the Right Thing? If you are already helping the world in whatever way you can – for free, without an agenda or opportunity for personal financial gain, and not just by donating cash to causes in need, but by actually offering personal help, a hand up, or even simply showing compassion and understanding to your neighbours, colleagues, animals … Please post those examples and ideas below. I would love to hear from you!
And, like me, please consider pledging to do more – even if it’s just a small act of kindness a day. If enough people do the same, we can make a difference in this world. That’s the kind of world in which I, and I’m sure you, as well, would prefer to live.
(This is primarily meant for authors, but could possibly work for any creatives.)
At what time during the life of your book will you declare yourself to have been successful? Not successful according to others, but according to you – yourself. When will that moment come that you declare yourself to be a success as a writer?
– When your book has sold thousands of copies and is listed everywhere as a big bestseller?
– When you’ve made enough money on sales to have covered any out-of-pocket expenses for publication and compensate for the inordinate time you spent writing the book?
– When your book receives the 50 reviews or 100 reviews required by online sales sites to push it into the next level and generate more sales?
– When many bloggers and online reviewers want to promote you and your book on their sites?
– When you hear privately from friends and family, or even complete strangers, that they have purchased and enjoyed reading your book?
– When you receive reviews and promotional blurbs from advance readers who have enjoyed your book and praise it?
– When you type “Final File Ready For Formatting” and send that off to be professionally formatted, published and made available for public consumption?
– When you push back from the computer after finishing up those final edits of your book and know that you have done everything you could to make this the best book possible … you’ve written the story the way only you can tell it, you’ve had the book professionally edited, the cover has been professionally designed, and your editor and any beta readers who have helped you are in agreement that this is a great book. Is this the moment you consider yourself to be successful?
Now flip my list over and read in reverse order.
If, like me, you can say – honestly – that “when you push back from the computer” is the moment you consider yourself to be successful then you’ll be able to look at the rest of these achievements with great satisfaction, if and when you achieve them. Because while they will show to others that you have reached some level of success, none will ever match that initial success you feel in actually writing and finishing the book! There are so many, many people in the world who, every day, say, “I’m going to write a book. How hard can it be?” You know, after having completed writing a book, exactly how hard it is! But … you were successful in having finished writing and that, to me, is something to celebrate – even if you only celebrate with yourself and in your own mind. No one can ever take away that sense of accomplishment and, once you have completed your great book, there is a terrific amount of satisfaction in having done the very best work that you are capable of doing.
All the rest of the “goals” on this list are icing on the cake, or coloured streamers on the bicycle handles, as JP McLean declares! If you are self-satisfied that you’ve written the best book you can then you will find readers for that book. And the other levels of “success” will follow on. Eventually.
In the meantime, give yourself a satisfied pat on the back!