Pay it forward. We like the sound of it. We learn the difficulty of it. We must find our own way to it. We must make it real on a personal level, before it becomes a guiding force in our lives.
For me, that way began with Building Community One Story at a Time, which is my 2014 challenge: for this blog going forward, for the life I’ve been blessed to have, for my family and writing and service and teaching and editing and mental well-being.
I’ve already experienced some amazing results this year, trying my personal Pay It Forward mantra on for size, taking it out for a spin, stretching it at the seams to see what gives, throwing a pebble into the stream and searching the ripples for what is real… You get the picture. And you’ll get more details here, daily. I’m so excited to share. I hope to inspire. I long to create a space where others can’t wait to do the same. It’s time to turn up the volume and live my 2014 challenge out loud.
I’m all in.
Meditating on what could be my chance to give is no longer enough for me. There’s more calling me than thinking about it. There’s more calling each of us.
Deadlines and responsibilities and demands and successes and failures and fears and dreams aside, there’s life to live. And paying what I’ve found forward, feeding myself with the energy of feeding others however I can, is that life for me. Living on “building” others up, in tangible and intangible ways every day, is already changing me. More than I could have imagined. It will change you, too. I challenge you to find out just how much.
Building Community One Story at a Time…
What does it mean to me? I’m not sure yet, but I’ll be finding my way out here every day. I invite you to search and experiment and share what you find, right along with me.
So far this year I’ve:
- Begun a book-donation/community-based charity (Hearts for Hearts) and inspired friends, family, writers, publishing professionals and neighbors to donate thousands of books to those in need in their communities.
- Mentored a high school senior, helping her (with assistance from more rock star publishing pro friends of mine) write, revise, edit, create cover art for and (very soon) indie publish her first novel on Smashwords.
- Seeded a book donation program at my YMCA that drove member participation and resulted in a landslide of books and TWO community libraries (adult and children’s) for members who can’t afford to buy their own, all in a matter of months and launching by the end of April. A dream come true, and Hearts for Hearts is only getting started.
- Begun a non-fiction project to share with other mothers/parents my experience raising and letting go of my teenager, proceeds of which will fund another, to-be-named, community-based assistance program for families not as lucky as mine who must conquer challenges I can’t possibly imagine WHILE dealing the insanity that is loving, inspiring, guiding and letting go of our children as they grow.
- Started mentoring/freelance editing again for a few select clients, feeding my passion for helping writers learn how to create the very best they can and set their voice free in the world for readers to find.
- Finished one new novel (a long novella, actually), and begun a second, in a new series about community and family and the struggles beneath the seeming calm in the ordered world so many of us see when we look out our suburban windows. By the end of 2014 I will be close to completing a third, and I could be more excited about the spin-off on Mimosa Lane (younger and full of energy and light AND deeper emotions and challenges and successes!) my publishers supporting!
- Given a keynote at a reader event, focused more on the “person” of my reader/writer audience than the business of publishing. I have another scheduled for the fall. I couldn’t be more excited–more than I’ve been about any writer/publishing event I’ve been asked to speak at for years. The energy of immersing myself in that kind of “inspiring” opportunity was a revelation.
That’s my pay-it-forward start.
What will be yours?
It takes only one decision to go for it (in December of last year, Hearts for Hearts was only a flicker of an idea) to change your entire world’s view. Make that decision today. (more…)