As a fulltime writer, one of my key daily tasks is to simply sit, close my eyes, and think about things. There’s something that’s been on my mind lately, something that might be obvious to some of you, and I think it is to me too, but it’s just something I’m not sure people really think about much, me included. This post is about having something to offer. Yeah, I just used the word “something” four times in like three sentences. But I’m just going to roll with it.
And when I say “something to offer,” I mean big things, important things, life-changing things. Things that keep people on their feet (literally, mentally and emotionally). Am I talking about the researchers who are making strides to cure cancer? Of course. How about the leaders out there trying to solve the challenges that face the world’s economies? Sure, them too. But offerings of that scale are not the focus of this post. My focus is much smaller, the little things, the normal people. Wives and husbands and children and brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers…and yes, second cousins twice removed. Them too. This post is about how everyone has something to offer, and how most of the time those things, however small, tend to be the biggest offerings of all.
So why did I start thinking about all this, you might ask? Mostly because of my Goodreads fan group (David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite!), which has grown to over 3,000 members. It’s because of my daily interactions with the wonderfully diverse group of people in the group that I’ve come to realize just how much every single person has to offer, and how big those offerings really are.
In the group we have people from all over the world, of different ages, races, backgrounds, economic situations, religions and on and on, and you know what? Each and every person in that group has something to offer each other, and most of them don’t even realize it, which is what makes it so much more special. Let me give you a few examples. On a day to day basis I see:
-Encouragement! This is my favorite of all, because this is a hard, hard world, one where surviving is easier said than done. We all go through struggles and we all need encouragement. Well, the members of my group are all about it, sharing their writing with each other, offering praise, congratulations on small events in each other’s lives. It’s simply heartwarming to watch and be a part of. This is a welcome relief from a world where bullying has become common place, not just in schools, but in workplaces and online and on TV. In many cases it’s accepted outright, sometimes as entertainment. Well, not in my fan group. The members are nothing but kind to each other. THIS IS HUGE! I can’t say it enough, a lot of people (if not all people) have hard lives, and simple words of encouragement go a LONG way.
-Comedy! I swear I’m laughing all the time when reading the posts in the group. There are so many funny people out there, many of them under the age of 18 (if I’m being honest, many of them are like 13, 14 years old), that provide constant entertainment for the group members. I believe that smiling and laughter are extremely important in life, and can change the lives of people for the better.
-Caring! The people in the group care about each other deeply. If someone says they’re sick or out of sorts, the members are there to offer their shared sadness for another group member’s suffering.
-Advice! Wow, I’ve been so impressed with this aspect of the group. It sort of just happened, people (mostly Indie authors), asking for advice about book blurbs, pitches, aspects of writing, and the members totally jumped in and helped provide some really good, constructive advice. I jump in to offer my own too, but mostly I can just sit back and watch the members take care of each other.
-Stories! We have a Share your Writing with the Group section where members can share anything really. I’ve been so impressed by the quality of the poetry, short stories, and even chapter books that comes through from the members. And again, the other members are so encouraging to each other!
-Welcoming! The members are so welcoming of new members, letting them feel like a valued new addition to the group right away. And so they are!
I have so many more things to say, but I don’t want to take all day getting to my point. What I’m trying to say is that it’s the little things, the things that ANY of us can offer if we just choose to, that can make the BIGGEST difference in the lives of others. I’m trying to do better at remembering that, both for my own actions, and so that I always recognize that any new person I meet has a story and has talents and has SOMETHING TO OFFER.
David Estes is the author of more than 20 science fiction and fantasy novels that have received hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide, including The Moon Dwellers, Fire Country, Slip, Brew, and his new SciFi Pinocchio retelling, Strings. He lives in Hawaii with his inspiring Aussie wife, Adele, rambunctious son, Beau, and naughty cat, Bailey. When he’s not writing, you’ll likely find him at the beach swimming, snorkeling, or reading under an umbrella. You can get FOUR FREE books by signing up for his mailing list on his website: http://