It’s often said that a simple act of kindness can make a tremendous difference in a person’s life. I’m here to tell you it’s true.
“Kindness” doesn’t have to come in large gestures. You don’t have to donate a million dollars to a charity to be considered kind.
In fact, I’d argue the greatest acts of kindness come in small, bite-size, everyday doses that take only a moment or two of the giver’s time, but make all the difference in the life of the recipient.
Here’s what I mean:
As an author, I had a pretty good 2019 (more about that in my next post), but toward the end of the year I was laboring to finish a Regency romance. I started out liking it very well, and I made good progress on my word count and finished scenes.
But once I’d written about 80% of the book, I started to have serious doubts that anything I’d written was even passably good. Then I began to tell myself the same things I always tell myself about my stories:
“This is horrible.”
“No one wants to read this.”
“If anyone does read this, they’ll hate it, and give it a one star review, and I’ll never sell another book again.”
But this time those self-doubts wouldn’t go away. I started to fret and worry about the characters, the plot, and the setting of the story. Every time I sat down to write, I felt as if I were slogging through knee-deep mud. I struggled to type even a sentence. I felt as if the book would never be done and I seriously considered abandoning it.
Then, right after the New Year I received this direct message on Twitter:
I can assure you without hesitation this message is one of the best late Christmas presents I ever received.
I don’t know how long it took the sender to compose her message. Seconds maybe? Perhaps minutes?
But her kind words of encouragement and thanks meant so much to me, and put me right back on track.
And guess what? I finished the book! That reader’s kindness worked like magic in helping me regain my writer’s mindset so I could complete the story I was working on. I will always be grateful to her.
I’m also on the look-out for opportunities to spread my own version of a kind word to another author; to tell her (or him) how much I enjoyed her book and look forward to reading her next one.
I’m not talking about leaving an anonymous book review, although they’re important (every writer knows our careers live and die by some mysterious book review algorithm that no one understands). Instead, I’m talking about actually reaching out to another writer directly. And every time I do so, I’ll have in the back of my mind the Twitter message I received and the difference it made for me.
How about you? Have you ever been the recipient of a simple act of kindness that made a big difference in your life?