I’ll be mostly offline for the next week, but I wanted to thank everyone for your support. This has been an insanely difficult year for me (3 productivity-killing medical issues and 4 surgeries with complex recoveries), and I greatly appreciate all the help and understanding I’ve received.
I’m usually the one trying to help others, so it’s been…odd to be on the receiving end of that flow. *smile* But that oddness only makes me appreciate the caring of others all the more.
I’m still neck-deep in Christmas to-do list activities (cookie-making and wrapping and cards—er, maybe e-cards, given the late date), so I’m going to keep this short. (I hope. *grin*)
“Little Things” Add Up
A couple of years ago, I mentioned that we all have the power to make someone’s day better, simply by being kind. Especially during this time of year—when people are stressed and potentially short on time or frustrated by the failure to find the gifts they wanted to purchase—we have the power to provide a bright spot in the world.
As I wrote about the hectic Christmas prep-season in that post:
“Those who work retail have a difficult job and often face grumpy customers who don’t see them as people. … I was reminded of this superpower we all have when I was out at a store last week. I was waiting to be helped when a customer yelled at a saleswoman for several minutes about something she couldn’t control or change. After he left, she turned away from the counter. Her shoulders shook, and she swiped below her eyes.
I stepped to the corner of the counter, held open my arms, and whispered. “Do you need a hug?”
She choked out a sob and nodded, and then she cried in my arms. I held her and told her that it wasn’t her fault and that she’d handled that situation the best she could.
From my perspective, I didn’t do anything special. I mean, it was just a hug and kind word. That’s something any one of us could have done.
But at the right time, at the right place, that “little thing” can have a big effect on someone else. We might never even know how much we affect others with our actions.
At the wrong time, an unkind word can ruin a day. But at the right time, a kind word can make everything better.”
After this difficult year, I know just how much those “little things” can help. The comments here on my blog and on social media were so supportive and filled with helpful tips that I never felt alone.
Even when every deadline of this year slipped, and then slipped a little more, and yet still more, I felt surrounded by those who understood. Those who reminded me to take it easy and let myself heal. Those who cared.
Thank you. Truly. *smile*
Writing: When a “Little Thing” Can Have a Big Impact
As I also mentioned in that post, we have the same sort of power with our writing. Given world events, election chaos, fear for ourselves or others, many people do want an escape right now.
Our writing—our stories—can give readers a breather, a chance to recover, an opportunity to regroup and build up strength or defenses. The crazier the world, the more the world needs our stories.
As I wrote in that post:
“We have more power to affect others than we think. We know this. If we didn’t think we could affect others, many of us would write just for ourselves and not worry about readers at all. But we do hope our written words affect others.”
So if we’re struggling to find our writing mojo given all the craziness around us, maybe we can stop and remind ourselves of two things:
- Any “little thing” we can do to make progress in our writing will add up. Even 50 words on our work-in-progress is 50 words we didn’t have before.
- We can affect readers with our work.
With that second one, we might want to dig deeper…
How Do We Want to Affect Readers with Our Work?
We might want to…:
- inspire readers with stories of how one person can change the world
- remind readers that people can be good
- provide examples of how people can change and earn redemption from their mistakes
- share a story of love or kindness or hope
- improve readers’ empathy for others, especially for those who are different or less powerful
- fill their imaginations with the possible and the impossible
- distract them from their troubles
- inspire readers to recognize their strengths or abilities
- offer a feel-good scenario of how evil doesn’t pay and good wins in the end
- show readers how to overcome their fears or how to deal with difficult situations (or offer a “what not to do” example)
- remind readers to be grateful for what they have or how things could be worse
- let readers test their smarts against the twists of a plot
- etc., etc.
No matter our story or genre, we can probably come up with a positive affect our writing might have on readers. (Even if it’s just a “what not to do” example. *grin*)
And maybe reminding ourselves of that positive energy we can put out into the world will help inspire us and our writing. We are capable of great things. What we do might seem “little,” but that won’t stop us from changing the world. *smile*
Now, if you’re celebrating this week, I hope your plans all unfold smoothly, your travels all go safely, your family members all behave perfectly, and all your dreams for the New Year come true. I’m off to continue my annual cookie-baking extravaganza.
I think I’ll end up with between 500 and 600 cookies this year. Want to take bets on how much I overdo it? *snicker*
Speaking of… *passes around platefuls of virtual cookies* Here, take as many as you want—I made plenty. This year I’m making chocolate fudge, fudge oatmeal bars, caramel-stuffed Snickerdoodles, chocolate bark (Angela James’s Cracker Candy), Russian tea cookies, and chocolate mint Oreo-style cookie sandwiches.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not,
I wish you all the best during this season.
Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah—heck, Happy Everything!
And take some cookies… Please! *smile*
How have others helped you recently? Have you struggled to find your writing groove this year? If you’ve overcome this issue in the past, what tips do you have? Have you ever thought about how you hope your stories will affect readers? What do you hope for?Pin It