Give advice, give yourself

Last year I advised somebody during a writing retreat, where he worked on a non-fiction essay about his family history. He obviously cared about his family, and thought it would be nice to pass this connection on to his own children.
He loved something and he wanted to put it into words.

He sent me the finished booklet a couple of days ago, as a means of saying ‘thank you’, and nothing that’s happened this week has made me happier.

Putting the exact right words to something is an act of love, when you think about it. We writers are all busy, all the time, to put words to the fleeting connections we feel with things, people, emotions. We are constantly trying to save the things we love from being forgotten. Every time we put something into the exact right words, that’s a triumph over oblivion.

And what I found out when I got that booklet, is that every time you help someone as a writing coach, you get invested in the process. You hope the person you’re advising will find the exact right words to make their own connections. You can’t provide the words – everybody has to find their own – but you can give the best of yourself in an effort to help find them. And when you succeed, you help commit an act of love.

A great reminder that whatever you have to spare – give it freely.

Enjoy your Sunday!


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