Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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March 30, 2020

Generosity Is Contagious

Julie Glover

Today is the day I'm supposed to publish a "Farewell, y'all!" message, as I'm stepping away from the Writers in the Storm hosting team after March.

I started writing my So Long and Thanks for All the Fish post a while ago, and then COVID-19 swept across the planet. I kept working on the post, trying to revamp it to include some quarantine-worthy takeaways. But then, my grown son came down with a fever and a cough, and next thing I knew I was sitting here on tenterhooks waiting for his Coronavirus test results.

Spoiler alert: Test was negative.

While waiting, I had this low hum of anxiety (and ditched that draft post). Not that we were all that worried about a young, healthy twenty-something having this virus—statistics show he's not at high risk—but the idea that he could have passed it on to others was disconcerting.

Yep, it wasn't the idea of him having the virus as much as concern that it could spread.

Some things are contagious.

Many of us are stuck at home or working more hours to stop the spread of Coronavirus, a disease with a transmission rate of 2-3, meaning each carrier infects two to three persons. (For comparison, the flu's transmission rate is about 1.3.)

But when we look up the word contagious, disease is not its only meaning. Yes, that's the first one listed, but look at the second meaning.

And that's where I want to focus today. So many other things can be contagious: positive feelings, happiness, smiling, laughter, success.

What are you exposed to?

It matters what we expose ourselves to. Research has shown a number of problematic things are contagious: negative thinking, loneliness, itching, stress, and workplace rudeness, to name a few.

Among the positives are those named before—good feelings, happiness, smiling, laughter, and success—as well as weight loss, risk-taking, and a desire for new shoes. Yes, I'm counting that last one as a positive—do not challenge me!

Another contagious trait? Generosity.

Generosity spreads.

Research has established that generosity can spread from one to another.

In a 2010 study, participants were given the opportunity to contribute money to others. Those who'd received money were more likely to later give than others who had not received generosity from others, by a magnitude of three times. A 2016 study showed that even watching others make generous donations encourages participants to donate more.

Perhaps my favorite is a study from 2008 in which a "a single person acting as a 'consistent contributor'—someone who chooses to be generous all the time, regardless of other people’s choices— causes other people in a group to be more generous and cooperative."

I've seen this happen again and again in the writer community. Someone begins, and a contagion of generosity erupts!

Writers in the Storm is a generous place.

One of the reasons I agreed to help host Writers in the Storm was the generosity displayed here. Laura Drake, Jenny Hansen, and Fae Rowen have been professionally and personally some of the most generous writers I know, and working with them was a pleasure.

In addition, authors from various backgrounds guest blog and provide free writing advice. That's generosity right there.

Do they make some book sales? We certainly hope so! But most of our bloggers don't do it for that reason; they do it because generosity is contagious. They benefited from the kindness of others, and they pay it forward.

Let's be generous with each other.

In the midst of self-isolation, quarantine, global pandemic, apocalypse—whatever you want to call this—we can take advantage of the generosity of writers. Many already had resources available for free or have offered books or courses at discounted prices or for free.

For example, this past week I binged quite a few of Becca Syme's free Quitcast videos.

This is a great time to back through Writers in the Storm posts, in which many, many writers have shared free writing advice.

And I noticed that Audible is offering over 200 stories for free, without a trial or subscription.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg! Writers are a generous bunch, cheering one another on and up in so many ways.

Today I invite you to share in the comments any free or discounted resources you know of that writers can take advantage of during this time. Let's spread our generosity far and wide!

Photo credit: Anemone123-2637160R

Sources: The Science of Generosity - John Templeton Foundation; Fowler, Paige. “8 Things You Didn't Know Were Contagious.” Shape.

About Julie

Julie Glover writes mysteries and young adult fiction. Her YA contemporary novel, SHARING HUNTER, finaled in the 2015 RWA® Golden Heart® and is now on sale! When not writing, she collects boots, practices rampant sarcasm, and advocates for good grammar and the addition of the interrobang as a much-needed punctuation mark.

Julie is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. You can visit her website here and also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

26 comments on “Generosity Is Contagious”

  1. This prompt is perfectly timed because this free webinar is taking place today! Here's the info:

    Author and public speaking coach Betsy Fasbinder is offering a free webinar, “Virtual Book Events In Surreal Times,” on Monday, March 30, at noon PT/3pm ET. Please register here:

    Description: In this surreal time of social distancing, with live events we’d looked forward to all cancelled it can feel impossible to launch or promote a book right now. The truth is that people need stories more than ever, as escape, as entertainment, as inspiration, and as comfort. Rather than closing down, this is a good time to reach out, connect, and share the story you’ve written. With a few simple techniques used well, you can feel confident using the virtual space to launch your book, share your passions, and connect with readers and potential readers.

  2. Smashwords is running their Authors Give Back promo until the 20th of April with a bunch of free and discounted books.

    Lawson Writers Academy has all April classes and lecture packets marked down, too.

    1. Chris Hemsworth working out? Yes, I can see what that's a, um, must-learn situation. Actually, it's really nice of him! I like seeing how many celebs are doing their part.

    2. Thor is my favorite Avenger. Just sayin... I've got plenty of jokes about his hammer, but this is a FAMILY blog. I'll go check those out. I might even do the workouts. LOLOLOL

  3. This just in! A WONDERFUL FREE OFFER FROM SHE WRITES UNIVERSITY!! They are offering a number of terrific classes on craft and publication at zero cost.

    These classes will be free for 60 days, until May 31. They can be viewed by entering your email address, and browsing the offerings here: http://shewritesuniversity.com/free

  4. Great post. Desire for new shoes ... hilarious!

    Here's a non-writing resource for exercise if anyone would like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNxW1KgPu8g My friend Joanna Pilatowicz is an author and dancer. She's making this type of videos to help people during quarantine.

    I'll take a look at the resources that have been posted! They look great!

    If anyone is interested, I made a blog post that explains how to make elderberry syrup which is a great immune booster and is delicious. http://ellenbuikema.com/gift-elderberry-syrup-recipe/

    Stay safe everybody!

    1. I absolutely need to know how to make elderberry syrup. I don't know where I'll find elderberries but I will work that little detail out later!

    1. We will for sure miss having Julie behind the scenes here on a monthly basis. She's funny, kind, capable, responsible...and really all the things that make a blog host awesome. 🙂

  5. So sorry to hear you're leaving WITS, Julie. We will miss you!! Take care and stay safe.

    1. Don't scare me, Colleen! Julie's not leaving entirely...she's just giving up hosting duties. She'll still be a contributor. I'd be curled up crying if Laura, Fae and Julie had actually left me, left me. But alas, their careers are becoming ever more demanding and they no longer have the bandwidth to host. *sniffle*

  6. Pimp: Debut author, Alison Hammer's release, You, Me, and Us. Women's Fiction, and I spent the last 1/3 of the book sobbing in the BEST possible way! Seriously, check it out: https://amzn.to/3aD7G4y

    Promote: If you need a happy place to go to forget all the drama - I started a group on Facebook: Laura Drake's Peace, Love & Books. Coffee memes, snark, wisdom quotes, beauty pics and fun questions to learn more about you. It's developing into a fun community! Only rules? No meanness, no politics, no SPIDERS! Join us: https://bit.ly/2w9XykM

    1. Alison is amazing - I've been meaning to read that book. Thanks so much for the link!! (And everyone should join your group - so fun!)

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