‘G’ is for Giving Back

G

 

GiveBack_web

Webster definition:

Giveback: n. A previously negotiated workers’ benefit relinquished to management, as for some concession was given.

adj. 1. Accustomed (to) by habit, etc. 2. Specified. 3.assumed; granted – n. something assumed or accepted as fact.

As a writer, I love nothing more than sitting myself in the chair to write, write, write. The introvert side of me could easily ignore many aspects functioning as a human, such as having the balance of making a living, relationships, leisure time, and giving back to your community. In the writing community, there are plenty of ways to giveback all of which are incredibly rewarding.

Though, it’s still a struggle for me not to put my blinders on my writer’s eyes and just worry about writing my current story. My Finished manuscript calls out to me loud and clear. I like nothing more than abiding by my self-made deadlines, and ignoring the rest of the world. But that way of thinking is selfish and believe it or not less productive than being energized by gIving back and helping others.

Over the years, I’ve done my share of volunteering from giving blood, to being a mother helper at school, and routinely helping at church, donating time and effort to food banks, etc. On the writing side of life, I’ve also been involved with writing groups that physically get together once a week to read and critique each other’s work. Other times I’ve been an island by myself and trying to make sense of my works, badgering my spouse to be my first reader (like Stephen King’s wife), and hinting around to friends who like to read, hoping they might want to read my books before or after publication.

Almost a year ago, I was invited to join an online writing group on Facebook. I feel privileged to have found the Indie Authors Support and a Discussion online writing group. Before that time, sure I’d review various Indie books that I’d read, but that was my extent of giving back to the writing community. What was missing in my life was all the helpful discussions, because a hundred plus like-minded heads are better than one. In this playground, everybody plays an important part of posting questions and bouncing ideas off one another.

I’ve found plenty of occasions to beta read for others and many others have done the same for me. I’ve given feedback on future covers, getting and giving ideas on formatting, advertising, sharing what works and doesn’t work in publishing digital and printed books, crying on each other’s virtual shoulders, etc.

For me, IASD, and a select few other online groups have taken my writing to the next level. If you think about it in the light of lifelong learning, a writing group that you’re vested in is as valuable as getting a Masters Degree in Literature. That’s how I view this opportunity.

Many in this group and another private group I’m involved in have volunteered as admin and have much more time and skills put forth to the cause than I have offered. I’ve only participated in the discussions and support part, but it benefits writers. So hats off to the admin teams of the writing world. Your time given is a lifeline to writers who are part of these groups. I aspire to help out wherever I can. I for one appreciate all you do and look to your dedication as an example.

I’ll continue to volunteer as part of the chat room because I feel like I’m helping others in some small way, even allowing me to continue to find my voice and give back to a community that has given me so much. I continue to work towards volunteering more, but because of all the support I’ve received, I’ve learned I’m more than a writer standing (or sitting) alone. I’ve become a happier wife, a friend to many all over the world, and finally, a more fulfilled writer.

 

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21 thoughts on “‘G’ is for Giving Back

  1. A nicely written piece Pam and, as one of the Admins, I can tell you we all appreciate knowing we’ve helped any of our peers in any way we can.
    I’ve been with the IASD since the early days when Paul set it up and, I can tell you I’m proud to be associated with such a group of people. There is an unselfish sharing of information which goes on all day, every day – mainly due to the time-zones. 🙂
    I’ve learned so much from trying to help fellow writers, whether it be on short stories, novels, titles, covers, or simply getting on with the task of writing.
    Give what you can when you can – and remember the other ‘give’ … don’t give-up. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful post, Pam. I don’t think anyone should compare what they do or give back with what another person does. We all have different skill sets, priorities, and amounts of time to devote to different things.

    I know for me, I often wonder how I am helping others, if they find my advice helpful, if my blog posts benefit them in some way, or if the other things I do that I see as helping out or giving back has meaning and value to others.

    I’ve come to realize that everyone sees things differently, and sometimes someone else might see something as having more meaning or value than we might. I don’t think we should focus so much on asking if there is meaning or value to what we do to help out or give back. I believe we should continue helping out and giving back and know that no matter what it is, or how small it might seem to us, it makes a difference for someone.

    I had an experience yesterday that I think shows this, I was at a food court yesterday. I was waiting in line to buy my son a snack. An older gentleman pulled out an envelope full of change to pay for his meal. He was short fifty cents. I handed over two quarters. Did those two quarters mean much to me? Did I think much of giving fifty cents to the older gentleman to help him pay his meal? To that man, I think it meant much more than it did to me. He tried to refuse my help, but I insisted. His face lit up. The corners of his mouth slowly lifted until he smiled broadly. There was a tear in the corner of his eye, and he thanked me profusely. It was only two quarters to me. Something I would have thrown in my change jar at home. To him, it was more than “just” two quarters. It was a hot meal. It was the kindness of a stranger. Who knows what else this meant to him?

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    1. Hi Kelly, I love your comment. Maybe the two-quarters would have just gone into your change jar, but it took an effort of choice. I was thinking of another possible scenario of someone standing in a grocery line and not having enough money to pay for what the cashier rang up on the register, and needing to pick items to take out of the line to make the total smaller – all while holding up the line of irritated shoppers behind them. In embarrassment, that person vows to help others if they ever stand behind such a person in a situation like that, just so they don’t have to feel humiliated, or stupid for not bringing enough money with them, or not calculating ahead of time how much they’d tally up at the checkout.

      I totally agree with your outlook not to compare what you do or don’t do to measure giving back. I think that takes so much pressure off the giver, and it removes any obligation. In my giving back I try to go with my first thought of kindness. That’s always the correct one (at least with me). That way If I act quickly, then I don’t have to chance to question my motivations, my judgements, my own selfishness of time or even my ability or lack of ability to commit. My first thoughts tend to be more generous than my ‘Let me think about it,” response.

      Thanks Kelly for you input. I did find this helpful and of great value.

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    1. Isn’t the Internet great Mary. It lets us network just like the great writers of old (The Lost Generation group) how they networked in person, and would even get together to critique each other’s work. What a great time to live in now, which is no different than how T.S. Eliot, Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, and the rest of the gang sought their inspiration with constant interaction with all the writers and artists during that time and the connections it created with one another. Like a constant party of bouncing ideas of each other.

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  3. Networking is a great way to give back. (I actually wrote about it today as my “N” for the A to Z blogging challenge).

    For me, I give back through free book reviews, and through offering Book Coaching at a seriously reduced rate (or free through contests). I know how much time and help it takes to make a writer, and I want to help other authors in their journeys.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Andrea, thank you for reading my blog. I also am following your blog now. I liked your breakdown of the ‘N’ word, Networking-real or Fake? for the A to Z Challenge. I like commenting on blogs of interest, but many times I hesitate because I don’t want to sound superficial. Thought I’d share that since you addressed such things in your blog. I like how you think!

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      1. Thank you! This is true–a short comment can sound superficial–but as someone who, for years, had followers who visited and never said anything, it’s far more gratifying to have actual comments than just silent likes. Some may misinterpret your efforts and think you’re “begging for a like-back” but most will probably just be happy you took the time to share your thoughts.
        Thank you so much for stopping by!

        Liked by 1 person

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