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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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