Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Kindness Project

Okay, so this was something that started last month, and I was so swamped with the sheer act of breathing I didn't participate. Not to say that this month it's any easier to suck in that breath, but I'm at least on top of blogging. For now.


Here's the reasoning behind The Kindness Project: Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole . It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not entirely sure what I'm supposed to blog about here, so I spent some time reading last month's posts. It appears as if people are mentioning little ways they can be kinder or spread kindness or whatnot.

For me, I think the easiest way to show more kindness is to get outside yourself. Yes, you have a lot going on. Maybe you just signed with an agent. Got a big book deal. Had a book come out (note to self, natch). It's all very exciting for YOU.

But it may not be as ultra-exciting for everyone else. We need to remember that not everything is about us. Get outside yourself.

I try really hard to do this. I try to get to as many blogs as I can. I try to answer every message and comment on my twitter, blog, and Facebook accounts. And when I do answer, I try to ask the person about themselves. Their work. What's going on for them.

Because not everything is about me, my book, my deal, my trip to NYC.

I'm sure you know someone whose blog you've stopped reading. Someone who can't post about anything but them, them, them. (I swear I won't post about Surrender forever! There's just a blog tour going on right now...) It's hard to go to those blogs over and over, because you know that person is all wrapped up in themselves. Sure, you might be happy for them. Ecstatic, even. But it's hard to constantly be taken from.

So today, give something back. All you have to do is ask someone about themselves, instead of talking about yourself. Give it a try. Spread the kindness.



What do you think? Have you sort of stopped reading a particular blog because of this me-syndrome? Have you tried asking people more about them than telling about yourself? 


Start your kindness journey by visiting all these fabulous Kindness Project participants:

30 comments:

Em-Musing said...

I've never stopped reading someone's blog because they talked too much about themselves. I respect that it's there blog, they gotta do what they gotta do. But there is one blog I don't follow anymore because I just don't 'get it'...but they have hundreds of followers and comments. The kindest thing I can do is not mention which blog it is.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I've not stopped reading a blog because it started being all about the person, but I do see it sometimes and may not visit as much.

You're so right. It's not all about us and it's important to remember that and reach out.

Although I'm not participating because I have too much planned on my blog, this is all making me think of when I haven't been kind (like yesterday when I was stressed at work and my computer would not work) and am going to try to be better, especially with those who aren't always nice to work with. Like sadly some of my clients.

Justine Dell said...

Me syndrome. Hmmm...now I want to run back and look at all my old blog posts to make sure I didn't do this. I'm pretty sure I didn't, but just to make sure, you know.

Pretty much all of the people I follow are really good about not having me syndrome. Sure, we all have a journey to share (99% of mine are writers), so I don't mind hearing about their struggles and successes.

BTW, I LOVE all your books covers. They look so wonderful perched up at the top of your blog. ;-)

~JD

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love reading posts about other people. So, no, the ME posts don't bother me. I like them. I get to know bloggers better than way. Of course, when they pay it forward, I learn even more about them. :)

Susanne Drazic said...

Interesting project. I look forward to checking out the blogs that are participating.

Kelly Hashway said...

I really try to make all of my posts (okay, almost all) about my readers. I want to hear what my followers have going on or what they think about a topic. I view my blog as more of a conversation than me posting on things I'm thinking about. I love the interaction and the connection I can make with people through my blog.

Great post, Elana!

Sara B. Larson said...

Oh shoot, now I feel even worse about my post. It's totally all about myself. Ugh. I should have read yours first and taken your advice. Great post, and great advice. I do need to stop focusing on myself. You are a great example of this.

Jessie Harrell said...

Elana -- I just had to let you know that I thought of you this morning. Our local news reported that for a limited time, Burger King is making a bacon sundae. Since I don't know anyone who likes bacon as much as you do, I thought you'd want to know. Sounds pretty tempting, actually ....

Sara McClung said...

You know, I think I do this kindness, this getting outside of myself, for a completely selfish reason. Most of the time, I'm completely uncomfortable talking about myself (total insecurity) so I try to push the focus onto other people instead.

So if that's being kind to THEM, it's making things easier for ME, which I guess means it's a total win ;)

Though while writing this comment, I realized I could actually talk a lot more about myself than I think I do, and this is just me living in lala land... Hmmm. I'll have to pay closer attention!

Melissa Sarno said...

These kindness project posts are so lovely. 'Get outside yourself.' Simple. True. I love it.

Lola Sharp said...

E, you are so so right. Genuinely caring about others is truly kind.
And, I can say this with total sincerity, you practice this...from the beginning of me starting my blog and twitter, you've always reached out. There is no snobbery with you. Your warmth radiates. You are an ambassador of kindness in all you do for the writing community.

Your kindness is a bright light, E.

Thank you for being you. <3

kmckendry said...

I kind of like hearing what other people are struggling with or what they have had success with.

Sounds like a great project and I do think we need to put others first more often.

RaShelle Workman said...

There's a song that goes, HAVE I DONE ANY GOOD IN THE WORLD TODAY, HAVE I HELPED SOMEONE IN NEED... I try to make choices according to that song daily. Thanks for the reminder. =D

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Nice post and cool project. It is easy to let your own life and agenda overwhelm all else. Giving back should be a way of life, not a small part of it.

Patti said...

I'll admit, I've fallen away from blogs that are all me, me, me all the time. I really do think that you balance things well and that's why people keep coming back here.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Nice post, Elana. Sometimes kindness is making a bigger effort, but sometimes it's just acknowledging--as they happen--little things people do for us. Saying "hi" when we're distracted, acknowledging the existence of other people.

Barbara Watson said...

Getting outside ourselves--SO important! I work with kids and spend lots of time with kids, and to get them talking and trusting me, I ask about THEM. And then they know I truly care.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

This is such a good message, especially for writers. Publishing is such a hard business and we're all just a little crazy to be a part of it, actually. It's so easy to get caught up and to become entirely self-focused. We want want want. But in the process of getting getting getting, we lost so much if we don't remember all the steps we've taken along the way and all the people who have been at our side. You're really good at doing this, though. You've really reached out to those around you--and genuinely. I know publishing hasn't always been easy for you, but you've never let any bumps or bruises or celebrating get in the way of kindness. I love that about you.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Totally agree with you! I've followed several bloggers who were nice, but it was all about their book. Over and over. I still follow but never visit.
That's why I'd much rather highlight others. Not just for tours and guest posts, but with my Ninja News. The giving is more fun than the giving.

Jemi Fraser said...

You are one of the most generous, kind people I know in the bloggy-verse :)

I have stopped visiting a few bloggers for reasons like that. Of course everyone is excited about a book and release and deal. I love those posts - it's so much fun to hear about the news and to help celebrate.

But when that's all it ever is, when that person never responds to comments/ blogs/ tweets... I have given up.

KO: The Insect Collector said...

Ah, great point. I think even outside the writing world it's important to phase off the Me-Me-Me thing. But it's hard, because, you know-- the me is me! We only each have our own "me", and it is no wonder it's our focus. All that me-ness aside, I would say recognizing it is half the battle. :0)

Claire Hennessy said...

What a fantastic reminder for me. I've been meaning to highlight some author friends and keep getting too busy. I shall rectify very soon. Thank you.

Alina said...

A lack of too much me is a very good goal. I do love to read about other people, but not when it is all self promotion oriented. That's tough when you have a new book out, though. Thanks for the timely reminder not to let that happen with my own blog. :)

Heather Murphy said...

This is such a good point! It's easy to get caught up in what's going on around you and forget about everyone else. We all do it at some point

Martha Ramirez said...

I haven't stopped reading a blog for that reason but I've come close to unsubscribe to a few people who seemed all they wanted do is sell stuff. They interweave emails with stuff that makes it look like they want to share something for free. Lots of times it's just a pitch and when it is it's disappointing.

This is def a good point. And great reminder! I guess some authors can overdo it too.

Nichole Giles said...

I love this kindness project idea. Also this post. It's just so true. I don't get to read very many blogs in a week, but when I do, I tend to pick the ones where people post about things other than themselves most of the time. Great thoughts.

Elizabeth said...

I don't tend to fall into that trap online much, because if someone's grating on my nerves, I just don't read them for a while. Most of the time a few weeks away does the trick and I can catch up again and be fine.

But (and you knew there was a but coming, didn't you?) sometimes people ARE their blogs. And that's harder to get away from.

I've been blogging since 1998, and I think one of the reasons I'm so introverted nowadays is because of the drama I've been sucked into in the past. Not from blogs, really. But from the people who write them.

The kind of people who think because they have the majority share of followers on social media networks, they are somehow more important than everyone else in the real world. They push people around, they create drama out of thin air, they forget the world is a real place, not just supermarket aisle for blog fodder. They're so busy trying to spin situations in a way that will garner more hits, more attention. I know a mommyblogger who gave up her family because blogging about her divorce garnered more interest/hits/ad revenue/book deals than blogging about a happy, healthy marriage. It's really made me pay closer attention to everything I do, online and off, so that I'm more aware of what I'm giving up and what I'm getting in return, and whether or not it's worth it.

erica m. chapman said...

This is a great post!! I love the concept of getting outside yourself. I try to do that too, ask about them. I find there are people in my life that are always trying to one-up me, and I don't think it's necessary.

CONGRATS on your book launch and blog tour ;o) I CAN'T wait to read SURRENDER ;o)

<3<3

LTM said...

uhh... no. I have never done that. I am very understanding. *eyes dart back and forth* ;p

I think this is a GREAT point about not getting so consumed by this business. This business is all-consuming and crazy-making and heartbreaking and exhilirating... (am I writing a song?)

but I look up and I've got people wondering where I've been for the past YEAR and little children who need their mommy. Great reminder, Elana! And best of everything w/your books! :o) <3

Tracey Neithercott said...

I generally read blogs because I care about the person behind the blog, so I'm happy to read more about them. But I did get rid of my high school friends when it became all about me, me, me and I couldn't get a word in edgewise. So I think you make a good point.

Also, I think I told you this when we posted last month, but you were one of the first people that came to mind when I thought of kindness in the YA world. You probably don't remember this at all, but I had just started getting involved in the YA community and I remember one day you commented on my blog and it made my day. I think actions like that—where you don't necessarily know how much it might mean to the other person— are really what the Kindness Project is all about.

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