Kindness Journal

sharing the light

In December of 2018 I ran a series of good will stories on this blog. The response was encouraging and spending the Christmas season watching for instances of good will lifted my spirits. I’ve missed the Christmas season this year, but for the New Year, I’m looking for deeds of kindness.

I got the idea from a fellow VIRA member, Judy Hudson. Life has been rather unkind to her for the past several months so she is hoping to show kindness to herself for 2020. In a stressed out, maxed out, tapped out world, a little self-kindness is a much needed antidote.

I confess, I’m rather self-indulgent with chocolate, coffee dates and a good book always ready to offer me comfort. I need a different kind of resolution. I’m going with writerly kindness–both giving and receiving. What does that mean? It means posting a review when I’ve enjoyed a book. Sending a fan letter if I’ve really enjoyed the book. Voting in those cover contests. Contributing to my local writers organization.  I’m sure you can think of more.

Regular readers of this blog know I’m a big fan of “Writer Unboxed.” Here is a group of gifted writers willing to share their wisdom, experience and advice just to make the writing world a better place. Donald Maas wrote a post in that forum that struck me as a most generous act of writerly kindness. From someone who is a giant in the world of fiction writing, came words of encouragement and sympathy for a writer who had fallen into the abyss,  I bookmarked that post and keep it handy for days when I wonder “why bother?”

Social media can be vicious, destructive and nasty. Or it can make a forum for people like the contributors of “Writer Unboxed.”  At one end of the spectrum lies hate and selfishness, at the other love and generosity. I’m not much on new year’s resolutions, but I do promise to make 2020 the year I say thank you to those kind souls among us. As the song says, “what the world needs now is love, sweet love.”

I invite you to share stories of writerly kindness in the comments section below. At the end of the year I’ll compile my favourite stories. Contributors will be entered in a draw for a free book for Christmas 2020. Spread the word, . . . and the love.

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  1. Laura Langston

    Lovely post, Alice. I’ve been thinking about it for most of the week and pondering various acts of writerly kindness. The one that continues to tug at me didn’t come from a writer, but I still think of it as an act of writerly kindness. A previous neighbor always asked how my writing was going (a kindness in itself) but never read any of my books. I didn’t expect him to. Most of my work at that point was for children and teens. But at one point when he was preparing to go back to Barbados, where he’d grown up, he knocked on my door and asked if he could purchase a copy of each of my books, or as many as I had on hand. He wanted to take them back and distribute them to the children and teens he knew. I was deeply touched. Even more so when he came home and told me he’d read one of my novels on the plane and enjoyed it. His support touched me deeply and even though it happened years ago, I still think of it.

    • Alice Valdal

      What a lovely story, Laura. Definitely an act of writerly kindness. Thanks for sharing.

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