tech tips for writers / writers tips

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Random Acts of Kindness

I’m excited to join Raimey Gallant’s #AuthorToolbox monthly blog hop (third Wednesday of each month) with the theme of resources/learning for authors. Posts are related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, or anything that an author would find helpful. We share our experiences as it relates to these topics. Interviews are also permitted as long as they provide valuable knowledge for authors (i.e. advice.) Straight book reviews are not permitted unless they are reviews of books about writing/publishing/etc.

This month: Random Acts of Kindness

I’ll never forget the day years ago when I stood in a donut shop, half asleep, bed head, with a monster sugar deficit. As I got to the front of the line, the man before me said, “I’ll pay for hers, too.” I didn’t know him. We hadn’t commiserated over how Krispy Kreme was always crowded. I’d just slogged onward, waiting my turn, eager to taste my apple fritter. His simple act of paying for my donut made me feel special, brought a smile to my face all day, and lightened the load of whatever happened after that.

That was one of my first Random Acts of Kindness, the feel-good event started in 1995. Now, February 17th in America is called the Random Acts of Kindness Day (September 1st in New Zealand) and is when everyone encourages acts of kindness without any expectation of consideration in return.

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” — Mark Twain

What is Random Acts of Kindness Day?

February 17th — Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Day — is twenty-four hours when anyone who chooses to participate agrees to perform unexpected acts of kindness to pay it forward for that time they need a little bit of unexpected care.  We flaunt our altruistic side by doing something nice for another without a thought for the consequences.

Why is Kindness important?

Why kindness is important seems obvious but I can name a whole lot of people who have succeeded despite being, well, jerks so why should we think there’s merit in a gentler approach?

One reason is that research says there is. Studies show that being compassionate not only helps others but ourselves. We’re happier, healthier, and may be at a lower risk for heart and blood pressure-related diseases. For most of us, being kind feels good. We are more accepting of what is our lot in life and less judgmental of others. When we practice kindness, life seems to be more of what we once dreamt it would be.

Some resist being kind because it sounds weak and/or might make them look naive but truly, being kind often requires strength, courage, and commitment. How often have you been in a situation where you were expected to judge someone poorly just because your peers and besties did? It’s a struggle to stand up for someone who “no one likes”. I’m thinking of a situation like that right now. Sad to say, no one stood up for me and I wasn’t strong enough to do it myself.

Aside from peer pressure, have you ever wanted to be angry with someone who disagreed with you or corrected you, maybe ignored you when you needed to be included? Kindness requires that you push all of those thoughts away, reject the easy path in favor of being forgiving and helpful.

That definitely is not easy.

Why is kindness important to authors?

As writers, we are people watchers. We study humanity, observe cause and effect around us. Of course that is easier if the people we are watching have a positive view of us. Sharing a random act of kindness–picking up something someone dropped, giving directions, offering help to someone who’s confused–that all becomes part of our authorial voice. Eventually, it comes out in our writing.

Just for fun, I googled “why is kindness important to writers” thinking I would find nothing but ended up with two great articles you might like on this topic.

Recommended activities

If you are stuck for ideas, here’s a list of activities that are suggested by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and others:

  1. Let someone go ahead of you in line.
  2. Buy extra at the grocery store and donate it to a food pantry.
  3. Help a friend (or a stranger) change a flat tire on their bike.
  4. Send an encouraging note to someone.
  5. Bring a treat to a neighbor.
  6. Wash an elderly neighbor’s car (or mow their lawn).
  7. Introduce yourself to a new neighbor. You might even invite them to have coffee with you.
  8. Pay the bus fare for the passenger behind you.
  9. Say thank you to a community helper.
  10. Visit an elder in a senior care center.
  11. Reconnect with an old friend.
  12. Donate blood.
  13. Find a Little Free Library and donate some books.
  14. Notice a need and fill it.

***

Kindness is the gateway to caring. Try it once. Live it forever.

More on Kindness

YouTube on the Science of Kindness

TED Talk on A Call for Kindness


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Summer 2020. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

71 thoughts on “#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Random Acts of Kindness

  1. A lovely post, Jacqui, and I was disappointed to have missed Feb. 17th, not that a random act of kindness shouldn’t be restricted to one day a year! But usually my local news stations talk about Random Act of Kindness Day. This year, with the news of COVID-19 and major protests happening here in Canada, it just didn’t rate a mention, which is sad in itself. And you’re so right. The writers I know can always use a random act of kindness, which I try to do every week with a positive review or buying a book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I talk about #14 a lot in my current WIP. It’s critical to making communities work and I think, too often, we feel like “that’s someone else’s job”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My experience is that authors regularly demonstrate kindness within the writing community by supporting one another.

    While I like the symbolic nature of having random acts of kindness days, the real test is how we treat one another in our daily lives. Thanks for being part of that kind community, Jacqui.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve put a few of these on my 101 goals in 1001 days list. When we used to live next to a Chic fil a, I’d paid for a lot of people’s meals, but only did it because I wanted to help and it made me feel good. ❤ Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post! As you say, we writers are trying to be as aware of people as we can. Kindness should be what we breathe. Thanks for the reminder, and best wishes to you this February! I’m sorry I missed the official RAK day, but kindness can be every day.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks Jacqui great post! I know how it is to receive an act of kindness – when travelling a few months ago, I stopped in a small Karoo town to get petrol (gas) and coffee which I ordered while I went to the loos … when I came back a sweet young lady had paid for mine!!!! Soooo sweet, and I always think of Mary Lou and try to pass it on or whatever small way …

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well said. *claps* I’m a firm believer in always making sure to make someone feel better who I don’t know, and doing it without a thank you or any gratitude. Making people feel good is a wonderful thing to do. Your post has me smiling. Thank you very much for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Jacqui – always … helping others … and it’s wonderful to see others in the world benefiting, as well as giving to help – be it doing something or just generous thoughts/actions … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What’s most amazing about Random Act of Kindness is how easy and inexpensive they are and yet capable of bringing hours and hours of happiness. Something we should practice every day. And writers… boy, do we need them. Other writers are our best friends when it comes to our chosen vocation. 🙂 Great post, Jacqui. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This is a great post, Jacqui, and you have made some lovely suggestions. I make fewer spontaneous acts of kindness now due to the surge in crime. There have been a significant number of armed hold ups at traffic lights in the suburbs so I have had to stop giving tins of foods to beggars and limit myself to donations through the church.

    Liked by 1 person

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