They’re called “likes” but the icon looks like a heart so I call them “hearts.” Recently I wrapped up an online workshop that had a discussion board. It was possible to like/heart other people’s posts but I didn’t do it often.
At the end of the workshop I realized my bio page kept my statistics: how much time on the site, how many posts read, topics created, hearts given and received.
My tally: 94 hearts given, 493 hearts received.
My reaction was embarrassment. People had been generous with me and I had not been generous with them.
I wondered what other’s heart statistics looked like. As I wondered about whose to look at, there were two women who came to mind. They were gracious in their comments and asked thoughtful questions. If someone gave an avoidant answer, they didn’t walk away. They stayed and asked another question, couched in kindness. They were consistent, patient, encouraging, prodding, honest, vulnerable, inspirational.
I felt like voyeur as I pulled up their bios. How many hearts had they given? One had given 1000, the other 1800.
94 vs. 1800
Why was I so stingy with my hearts when there was a limitless supply? Love is like that. Limitless. When I give love away I don’t have less. We both have more.
After having written 67,326 words on my novel, this week I realized that it wasn’t working. The scenes were boring.
I dug into Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid to figure out what was wrong. The answer was that I wasn’t writing scenes, I was writing what Coyne calls “shoe leather,” a bunch of words that go from one place to another without much happening.
For a few minutes, I was tempted to just keep going and fix the whole thing at the end. That was pride talking. I wanted to be able to say, “I finished my first draft!” But then I thought of you, the eleven of you who read this blog. Your names are written on a card by my desk. I looked at that list and realized I was on a path to make something that wasn’t worthy of you.
After three days (including nights) studying a story that works, I identified the weaknesses of mine. I’m not sad about this. I’m glad that I figured it out now, before I got any further. And I’m glad about the shoe leather. It will help me on this next, rockier section of the journey.
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Chewing the Cud of Good
A man who is an expert in data analytics for grocery stores left his job to apply what he knows to bring fresh food to food deserts in Cincinnati.