Giving Back / Paying Forward

Anyone setting out today to get rich writing had better have their head examined. Their odds of winning the lottery are far better. I write because I can’t not. It keeps my brain engaged, it links me to a community of like-minded people, it forces me to constantly learn new ways to approach the craft, it gets me in front of people to market my wares, and, best of all, I enjoy doing it, all of it.

That said, my books do sell. I also earn some money teaching writing and speaking. I’m retired from the corporate world, and my financial needs are few and pretty well covered so, thankfully, I don’t depend on the income from my writing to put food on my table and keep a roof over my head. In fact, I have enough excess in my budget to give some away.

So, I’ve decided to give away all my writing income. Past, present, future. I’m doing this in the form of a fixed monthly donation, and playing catch-up to cover past times when I wasn’t able to be so generous.

I didn’t have to search far for a deserving place to put it. I have an adult son with schizophrenia, and I found a well-respected organization that grants 100% of its donations to research toward treating and curing the illness. I choose not to name it, because there are many worthy charities, and I don’t want to influence your decision to give by revealing my choice.

Two things moved me to make such a decision at this time. First, I read Hidden Valley Road, a true story of a family with twelve children, six of whom have schizophrenia! The book is a must read for anyone with a friend or family member with mental illness. It chronicles the Galvin family’s journey alongside the slow progress (and regression) of treatments from early recorded history through current times. (Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe neurological brain disorder estimated to affect 1.1 percent of the world population, including approximately 2.6 million adults in the United States aged 18 or older. An estimated 40 percent of individuals with the condition are untreated in any given year.) The story gave me pause to again recognize how much needs to be done for children like mine, families like mine.

My second motivator was taking myself on a self-imposed retreat for month, a time to rest, replenish my motivation to write, and renew my psyche with daily walks on a Southern beach, watching sunrises that differed each day. While there, I couldn’t help but reflect on a lot of things, and feel the space to make some delayed decisions, this being one of them. And I hope you, if you haven’t already, will make a decision to give back to a cause that resonates with you, in a way that is meaningful to you. Now, each time a book of mine sells or some digital dollars land in my account from speaking or teaching, I’ll know I’m moving those dollars toward helping my son and those like him.

This isn’t a sales pitch to buy my books. It’s an invitation to consider what’s important to you and yours, and to take some action that shows how much you care about it.