Monday, April 18, 2016

Sharing is Caring

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away, someone taught me to share.

"Sharing is caring," this person said. And while it took me a long time to learn how to share in the best way--each situation encompasses very different details, of course--I'm happy to report that eventually, I learned my lesson.

Now I find myself sharing my food, time, talent, and energy with so many people, I'm quite overtaxed at times.

But that's not the point of this post. After all, every one of us can conjure a plethora of reasons for why we might be spent these days, and I don't expect you to take pity on me.

So as usual, then, what is the point of this post? Does it have anything to do with my introductory theme of sharing?

Yes, yes, it does.

Because a few years ago, I decided to fulfill a life-long dream of mine and write a novel. When I finished that novel, I went on to the next, and the next and the next. I have four complete novels and one draft of another novel, and because someday, I'd like to possibly publish at least one of those novels, I've also undertaken other aspects of writing life. I edit and write profiles for Literary Mama; I'm part of a writing group; I submit short stories to literary journals, some of which have been rejected; I've written two blog entries for The Huffington Post. Along the writing journey (and it's still going, I might add) there are two lessons I've learned that go hand in hand with sharing.

The first lesson was quick and easy to learn: It's important to share.

Like what you read or see? Share it. That's really the only way a copy of anyone's work will be read or noticed. And if you're an artist and have actual work hanging in a gallery somewhere, you're in the same boat. It's not enough to simply hit the like button on a Facebook post. Sure the number of likes tells the writer or artist how many people liked the piece, but readership needs to be increased if a writer is going to survive and artists need to have people physically go and see their work.

So go ahead and like the post but you should also share the post. That little action doesn't cost you a thing but can help that person out in more ways than you might anticipate. (I hope it goes without saying that if you pick up a book and like it, tell your neighbors and friends. And if you go to an art gallery and see an artist you like, buy a piece or at least spread the word about that artist. I'll end with a business example: if you like the caterer you used last Saturday, recommend that person!)

Remember the Care Bears? Why yes, this is Share Bear.
The second lesson took me longer to learn, but I'm certainly glad I did: Don't be afraid to ask someone to share.

I consider myself self-sufficient and pretty much rely on  myself to accomplish a task. I don't really like to ask anyone for help. So this lesson has been the single most difficult aspect of writing for me to swallow. I expect people to share my work because that's what I do for them. Assuming I see your link on Facebook or Twitter (I probably don't spend enough time on social media), then I will share without you having to ask. And silly me, I once thought the world worked that way. An acquaintance taught me otherwise.

"Can you..." she'd email me as part of a group. "I hate to ask..." another email stated. "Why so much asking?" I'd ask myself. Then the thought suddenly occurred to me that in order to make sure her work is circulating and hitting the right targets, she HAD to ask us to share. While I might be a sure thing, not everyone else is. (Just so you know, to this day, I have trouble asking anyone other than my sisters to share my work. I'll do it, but the act makes me nervous. Crazy, I know.)

So I challenge you to this, readers. This week, as you go about your business, try to share as much as you can. Sharing is caring, my friends. And caring makes you feel pretty darn good.

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