This weekend, I got an email from Aimee Bender.  Yep, THE AIMEE BENDER, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and a slew of short stories that make my heart sing.   6042589259

She wrote in response to an interview query I sent for the Writers Write series, and not only did she write, but she agreed to be interviewed. (So stay tuned for an interview with Aimee Bender here. 🙂 )

That little bit of kindness from a busy writer – the willingness to give of her time and her words for my blog – buoyed me through the whole weekend.

And it reminded me of something fundamental about writing – encouragement matters.  Kindness matters.  Responding matters.  Self-sacrifice matters. 

In contrast, a former colleague – someone I might have called an acquaintance if not a friend – asked me to pay her to help support my ThunderClap campaign, the free campaign I’m running to get a social media buzz going around The Slaves Have NamesShe is a PR person, and so yes, if I was asking her to promote my book professionally, I would not hesitate to pay. But this campaign takes 3 seconds to join, requires almost no effort on a participant’s part, and costs the participant nothing.  A little generosity – like that given by the 92 people who have signed up – would have gone a long way. Instead, I will probably never contact her again, personally or professionally.

But more, people have stood beside me to give me a gentle push forward, and I’m forever grateful. Ted Gup once told me he thought I would be a great writer, and that one sentence of encouragement changed the whole course of my life.

The wife of the man who used to drive the bus for my high school softball team put my book on her list of most influential books in an article in the local paper, and I wept from the joy of it.

Someone writes me through the little box that pops up here on this website and asks how they finish a short story when they’re not sure they are any good at writing, and I find myself encouraged because someone trusts me.

The least I can do is return the regard and say, “You can do it. We are all afraid.  Keep going.  Keep writing. We need you.”

It doesn’t take much for us to propel people – 3 seconds of time, one sentence of kindness, a hug.

The kindnesses that send a writer to the page, every day are small but oh so necessary.

What kindnesses and encouragements have people given you toward your writing? How did they help?


If you’d like to support my ThunderClap campaign, I would love to have your voice added to the other 92 generous folks who have signed up. Just follow this link – – for more information and to sign up. I just need 8 more people to fulfill the campaign goal and launch it on Wednesday.