Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day in the US. Here’s a few ideas on how writers can give back to the people who allow our precious writing time and writerly needs to be part of their lives.
Encourage someone to pursue their dreams –
You write because you love it. Because you need to do it. Because it fulfills you. Even if you never get published or have your script produced, you keep writing. Tell someone else who’s struggling if they should start a new project or hobby: if you love it, do it.
Compliment someone else’s writing –
We feed off compliments from others, so it’s only fair to return that positive feedback. Whether it’s a particularly clever café sign, a well-crafted staff email, a zinger of a tweet, or a heartfelt personal story, let others know their writing is valued.
Compose a short story/poem/monologue/email for someone you love –
Doesn’t have to be long, but make it from the heart. All those feels you feel? Put them into words and share them with the people who mean the most to you and do the most for you.
Write letters to strangers –
More Love Letters has a list of people who could benefit from letters of encouragement. Each person has been added to the web site by a friend or family member (you can add people, too). Alternately (or additionally): Send cards to lonely seniors. Love for the Elderly distributes letters to American seniors via senior centers and nonprofit organizations.
Send a thank you note to a barista, service provider or favorite retailer –
You know who almost never gets personalized, genuine props? People who interact with customers all day. The rep who handles freaked out calls when the internet goes down. The grocery clerk who waits patiently for customers to sift through coupons, count out change, and figure out the chip reader. The undergrad making fifty-three lattes in fifteen minutes without spilling a drop. Every single retail sales associate who keeps calm no matter what’s happening around them. Don’t just say thank you. Take the time to write out something more personal and share it with them (and their supervisor).
Say ‘yes’ to someone’s invite –
We often say no to things – events, dinners, happy hours, coffee catch-ups, birthday soirees, charity donations – because we feel too busy, too drained, or want/need to focus on our own work and life. It happens. But try, for a day or a week, just to say yes to those invitations (you don’t have to go full Shonda and do it for a year). Then, actually go. Even if you only stay an hour, commit to giving back time and energy to others. Who knows what kind of story ideas you’ll get out of it…
Post positive notes in unexpected places –
The library. A bookstore. Random bathrooms. The water cooler at your office. A transit stop.
Listen to someone’s problems. Don’t comment. Don’t judge. Don’t pile your issues on top of theirs. Just listen.
These acts can be done any day, but as today is Friday and it’s Random Acts of Kindness Day, consider helping some folk enter the weekend feeling valued and appreciated.