Don’t Give Us Anything Today

November 30, 2021 § 36 Comments

It’s Giving Tuesday! A hyped-up commercialized day of charity to balance out the hyped-up commercialized days of shopping! You’re probably getting exhortations from every nonprofit you’ve ever lent your email to, plus the charities who bought your email from them. It’s inbox hell.

Brevity does not want your money today.

Instead, consider the spirit of Giving Tuesday: if you have, give. But for your author friends and your literary community, the gift of your time and attention is far more valuable than a monetary donation. In that spirit, here’s Brevity’s wishlist of Mostly Free Acts of Literary Citizenship for Giving Tuesday:

Free, 10 minutes or less

  • Google an author friend’s name or scroll their social media, and comment on their most recent blog post/article/essay. Let them know someone is reading.
  • Pick a quote you like from your friend’s book or essay and post it on your social media. Tag them. If you know how to schedule Tweets, pick three friends and do one a week between now and Christmas.
  • Phone your local library and request they order your friend’s book.

Free, 20 minutes or less

  • Write a note to an author/writer friend you admire, and tell them why.
  • Whatever app, gadget, or process makes your writing life easier, write 50-100 words about why. Send it to Brevity [ brevitymag+blog (insert @ symbol) gmail.com and yes that’s a plus sign] with WRITING HACK in the subject line and we’ll do a round-up of writing-life hacks in the weeks to come.

Takes More Effort But More Rewarding:

  • Write a review of a new, small-press book for your or someone else’s blog
  • Contact your favorite literary podcast and say you’d like to see the author on it (with two reasons why they’d be great!)
  • Offer to read a friend’s manuscript or exchange pages when you both need feedback

Under $20

  • Buy a friend’s book. If it doesn’t interest you, put it in someone else’s Christmas basket
  • Subscribe to a literary magazine you’d like to be published in (win-win!)
  • Take a chance on a new author—tell your local indie bookstore what you enjoy, and ask what they recommend (bonus points: relationship-building with the store that will one day be recommending your book!)

They’re small things. But they’re not insignificant. As humans, we minimize ourselves and our impact. Particularly in these times, our focus is so strongly on survival and protecting those closest to us, it’s difficult to take outward actions, to engage in a world that has become so actively hostile to our ideals. We tend to think, How much does my compliment matter? Does anyone care what I think?

It does.

We do.

And each time we take action to benefit a friend—or wish a stranger well—we take one tiny step towards our own happiness. In a challenging time, feeling our own power to do good, even in tiny doses, can reaffirm our faith in ourselves, in each other, and in our literary world.

You matter.

Your writing matters.

Your opinion, your thoughts, and your inherent membership in our community matters.

Step forward with your words.

Allison K Williams is Brevity‘s Social Media Editor.

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