In my last post I wrote about public shaming and everyone piling on just because they can. I also wrote about how an editor requested a story of mine that he had seen online and then proceeded to bash me and tell me I should never write anything ever again.
It was shameful behavior.
Today, I want to talk about something else, something inspiring. Oh, wait. I just want to talk about being an inspiration to people. Clearly, the reviewer in the previous post was not an inspiration to the writer. If anything, he was a detriment to the writer and his ego (come on, we all know that sometimes our egos need a good stroke).
My grandfather was one of my greatest inspirations I ever had. He told great stories. He painted vivid pictures as he told those stories, and I loved hearing them. My wife, Cate, pushed me to keep writing when I wanted to stop. She inspired me by telling me I was good at it and that I loved it, and that one day…one day, Baby, I would break through. They were positive influences. They were inspirations.
A couple years ago someone read one of my stories online and liked it so much that she decided to try and write. She contacted me and told me this, and for a little while, we chatted back and forth about writing.
I had inspired her.
That was an awesome feeling.
That leads me to today’s thoughts. My friend, Jackie Chin, posted a meme on Facebook, that terrific social media platform we all know and love. The meme was actually a picture of her. The meme says:
Just in case you don’t know, Jackie is the host of the radio show, Zombiepalooza. It’s a live radio show she host on Youtube. It airs every Friday night from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. She gives a voice to a lot of writers that otherwise wouldn’t have one, and she always tries to keep a positive attitude, even when things don’t go quite right.
When I saw the image on Facebook, I recalled my wife not letting me quit when I wanted to. She had been right. I love to write, to tell stories. If I would have quit, I would have probably been very unhappy. Cate is my greatest supporter (and critic). She is my greatest inspiration.
This is what Jackie was talking about. Jackie is an inspiration, but I don’t think she realizes it…yet. A lot of writers have gotten a lot of free publicity because of her. A lot of people have gotten their names out to an audience who would have never heard of them without appearing on Zombiepalooza.
But how, A.J.? How is she an inspiration? Simple. If she is willing to help so many authors, then why wouldn’t someone else be willing to help others as well? Maybe not in the same capacity as Jackie and her radio show, but in other ways. How about posting something on Facebook about someone’s work to help spread the word? Or maybe write a blog post about a book you read? Or maybe just opening the door for someone who has his/her arms full. It’s not hard to help folks and it gives you a great feeling when you do this.
Inspiration isn’t just doing something that makes someone want to do something else. It’s also championing these people. It’s the constant, ‘I think you can do it,’ and ‘don’t give up, you’re so close,’ and ‘keep going, you can do this.’
It’s believing in that person. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to believe in someone else to make good things happen.
I believe in Jackie’s show, Zombiepalooza. I don’t just say that. I’ve listened to it. I’ve watched it on Youtube. I’ve seen her posts on social media. She’s always working, working, working, but not just to make her show great, but for the authors she interviews and for the listeners who tune in.
But there is another place inspiration comes from. That is in gratitude. Saying thank you to someone when they do something nice for you, or help you out, or when they buy you lunch. ‘Thank you’ goes a long way in having people want to help you again.
I’ve never been on Jackie’s show, but as someone who has listened to and watched it, thank you for doing this, for the writers and the listeners. You are an inspiration.
Until we meet again my friends, be kind to one another…