Friday, November 5, 2010

Writers and Readers Reach Out

If I knew a tricky way to get your attention and keep it, I’d be mighty tempted to employ it. Instead, I’m simply going to ask you to stop a minute, open your minds and your hearts, and consider doing something really special together this holiday season.

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”

For the last three years we’ve had a fall fund-raiser here at All Things Southern to benefit the less fortunate. (Last year the ATS porchers pooled their funds and dug a well in Africa in conjunction with the ministries of Life Today. “Our” well is giving and will continue to give life-sustaining water to a village of people for their entire lifetimes! The experience had an eternal impact on me. I’ve spent more than four decades on this planet taking water for granted, but one full year later I still can’t step in the shower without giving thanks for the blessing that flows at the touch of a button!)

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

In preparation for our 2010 drive, I was seeking direction and researching all the excellent programs we could work with and the endless parade of needs around the world when I became captivated with the longing to shoot for something bigger than ever, to use my platform here at ATS to touch as many lives as possible. The longing grew even as my pragmatic side continued to remind the dreamer in me of the challenging economic times we’re all facing. The dreamer won out. The vision became “Readers and Writers Reach Out”!

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Here’s the idea: While I’m grateful to the ATS porchers who have helped me raise money in the past, I’m literally supercharged with the realization of the exponential power to do something huge that’s represented by all the writers I’ve met in my travels over the past few years. Each of these wordsmiths has a circle of readers that enjoy his or her work and interact with them via their websites and blogs, Facebook and Twitter, book clubs, newsletters, etc. This year, throughout the month of November, and coinciding with the season of Thanksgiving, I’m asking these writers and readers everywhere to embark with me on thirty days of thankfulness. We'll multiply our efforts for the less fortunate! The initial recipient of our 2010 drive will be World Vision but through them we’ll touch lives all across the globe. All proceeds will go to this reputable organization, well known for its integrity, efficiency, and transparency, to be used where the need is greatest. Just think, if only ten authors were to raise a thousand dollars in each of their circles, we would raise $10,000 dollars in one month’s time. Could we do it? What if that was just a start? What if we could do so much more? Let’s dream together, shall we?

I hope to snag some media attention (beyond my own radio show) to help our efforts. If anyone has contacts or is willing to help in that area, let me know.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

I realize we shouldn’t need encouragement beyond the realization of how blessed we are, but on the other hand, a little incentive never hurt anyone and a bit of friendly competition is always fun. Towards that end, one of my radio sponsors, Jim Taylor Chevrolet and Ford out of Rayville and Ruston, LA has donated a brand new Ipad. The writer whose group raises the most money will be able to pull a donar's name at the end of the month and gift this reader with the Ipad along with our gratitude for participating.
Each author will collect donations from his or her readers and remit the final amount to me at the end of November. There are many ways to do this. You can put a donate button on your website, use a paypal link, etc. (Many of my readers like a physical address to mail a check or money order, too. Everyone isn't comfortable donating online.) We'll keep totals at the Facebook Author group. Your readers can make their checks out to World Vision.

So, come on, author buddies, we're almost a week into November but there is still penty of time to join me and get the word out to your people. It has been my experience that rather than being offended, your readers will welcome the opportunity to partner with you! Feel free to put our drive in your own words, or copy and paste this blog to your site. Then, a simple facebook status reminder here and there will keep it before their eyes. Just make sure to remind everyone that each donation made to Writer and Readers Reach Out is appreciated, regardless of size. I’ve no doubt the loaves and fishes will multiply when our hearts are in the right place! (I ask my readers to give just $10 each.)
“It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.”

Should the quotes scattered throughout this blog sound familiar, there’s a good reason for it. They’re compliments of one of my favorite heroines, the late Helen Keller. It just felt right to invite Ms. Keller to share this journey with writers and readers. For it was the power of a word written in the palm of her hand that unlocked Ms. Keller’s heart and mind and subsequently impacted untold lives around the world!

Thirty days of thankfulness. It’s not a long time, but it’s a perfect time to join hands and do something grand, together.

“While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done.”

Should you have any questions or perhaps if you want further ideas of how to jumpstart your drive, please feel free to contact me at or thru Facebook or Twitter. My social media links are on my website. I've also created a Facebook Authors Group recently, but please know that it is by no means intended to be exclusive. If you're a writer on Facebook, shoot me a note and I'll add you promptly. Many thanks to y'all. Let's do it up right, shall we?

*****Update***** My friend at Newsstar (Gannett paper I write for here in Northeast LA) was putting the Writers and Readers Press Release out to her colleagues today but I'm having her hold off to get as many of your names in the hat as possible.  


Cheryl Lewis said...

Wonderful idea! I just stumbled onto your blog post, because you recently started following me on Twitter. I'm so glad to meet you! I can tell we're kindred spirits in more ways than one. I'm afraid I've tapped out my audience, since I've had my busiest year of mission service yet (OK, it was my first year of mission service, but it has been relentless!) and people have been extremely generous. But I want to be part of what you're doing! The world needs us and giving is the most rewarding experience of my life! I admire you for launching this. :)

A Good Blog Is Hard to Find said...
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A Good Blog Is Hard to Find said...
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Shellie Tomlinson said...

Hi Cheryl-- yes, I started following you on Twitter because I saw one of the "kindred spirit" tweets of yours. :) I totally get tapping out your audience. I always say this sort of thing is a beautiful opportunity for those who aren't currently involved in a mission but that doesn't mean that those who are should feel like they have to take on one more! Thank you very much for wanting to be a part of it, though. I'm headed to your site right now to learn more about Cheryl!

(I removed my other comments so I wouldn't be "impersonating" the one and only Pulpwood Queen!)

River Jordan said...

Wonderful idea, mission, and nonprofi. posting more tomorrow from facebook and linking to group. A great month to be Thankful by sharing our blessings.


Kathy L. Patrick said...

Shellie, you are a Pulpwood Queen and all our Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club Chapters and Authors should get on board to help on this tremendous project. I'll share you blog and recommend then after I get through Books Alive this coming weekend, I'll work on this some more! You have my Official Stamp of "PAYING IT FORWARD" Approval. I also wear many hats besides a CROWN and I am a Rotarian that's motto is "SERVICE ABOVE SELF"! You go girl and I'll jump on the Writers and Readers Reach Out Bandwagon with YOU!
Come on everybody, we can make this challenge!

Shellie Tomlinson said...

Kathy, THANKS for coming on board. Your inimitable touch is just what this needs. I'm hard at work on some new ideas to help our incredibly busy cohorts throw their hats in. (Lord knows I'm familiar with the balls in the air!) I've been in cohorts with World Vision. Hope to have a big announcement early in the week that will make it easier for everyone to join us!

Kate said...

You a truly a phenomenal writer. I am so happy that I stumbled upon your blog. I will save your link so that I can visit back to catch up with your future posts.

Thank you for being an inspiration!

Peace & Love