This blog was featured on 08/30/2016
How to Spend Your Generosity
Written by
Brooke Warner
December 2013
Written by
Brooke Warner
December 2013

“Generosity is the new currency.” Kamy said this to me at the beginning of our partnership, when we were first conceptualizing She Writes Press and what it would be in late 2011.

I wrote about the idea a little bit in my book because the idea stuck with me. Now, two years later, I’m still quoting her, and I’m still struck by how often I find myself to spreading this idea to writers.

The idea itself is simple: Be generous. It’s worth something. But just like money, some people know how to spend their generosity with grace and ease, while others are miserly. Some people are effortlessly generous; it’s in their DNA. For others it’s tough—being generous is not something that comes naturally—and so it requires tending to, or perhaps understanding how what goes around comes around and why it matters to be generous in public and private spaces.

For writers, being generous opens doors. It’s important to remember that every author started as an unpublished writer, and as much as their merits may have led to their getting published, getting work published is an undertaking that can only happen with an inordinate amount of support, as evidenced on the acknowledgments pages of every book you’ve ever read.

Social media has opened up even more pathways to cultivate generosity. If you pay attention you’ll see people promoting people and work they love and spreading causes everywhere. These forums where people can share what they love and care about is undeniably one of the ways social media is creating a stronger social fabric. Truly generous people will ask you to follow people they love. They’ll ask you to buy the books of people they admire. All of this is of course more powerful when it’s done with authenticity, and I’m not suggesting that you praise or promote or post about things you don’t love, but there’s no denying that generous people have doors opening to them, and people repaying favors and shout-outs. It’s just the way generosity works.  

Here are several simple ways to spend your generosity:

1. Review a book you love (or even just like) on Amazon, particularly if it’s by someone you know.

2. Post about the work/workshops/books/blog posts of people you admire, and make sure to properly tag them on social media.

3. Give credit where credit’s due. If someone has influenced you or made an impression on you, make it known that this is the case. It’s more powerful to acknowledge someone publicly than privately.

4. Give lots of shout-outs. This can be as easy as participating in Follow Fridays (#FF) on Twitter, or as big as promoting someone’s work in a feature in your newsletter.

5. Respond to fellow writers’ accomplishments with words of congratulations. Even just acknowledging a milestone, like the publishing of a new book, can go a long way.

I’d love to hear ways you’ve spent your generosity, and what’s happened as a result. I will share my own powerful moment that happened just a few weeks ago when I put a call out on my monthly newsletter asking people to review my new ebook in exchange for a free copy of my book. About 40 people responded, many of them past clients, but some people I’m only loosely connected to online. It was a powerful moment for me: an ask followed by a wellspring of positive responses. All of these people took time out for me—not something that’s easy to do in our busy lives, and not something I’ll soon forget.

Generosity is a currency of abundance, just like the old song about love being something if you give it away. Just like a magic penny—give it, spend it, you’ll have so many, they’ll roll all over the floor.


Share your stories of giving or receiving generosity—and then go out and commit an act of generosity today. I will too!

Let's be friends

The Women Behind She Writes

519 articles
12 articles

Featured Members (7)

123 articles
392 articles
54 articles
60 articles

Featured Groups (7)

Trending Articles

  • Celine Keating

    Thanks, Brooke, for this wonderful post. I'm reading it just in time to include your suggestions in my New Year's resolutions. One of mine will be to purchase a few SWP authors' books and then review on Amazon and Goodreads. I noticed that some of the 2013 authors have very few reviews, and so will do my part to up those numbers.  Happy holidays to you!

  • Karen A Szklany Writing

    Lovely reminder of the cyclical nature of give-and-take. Have it on my agenda to participate in a "free book friday' very soon.

  • Susan Sparks

    Thanks again for this great piece Brooke!  It not only inspired Sunday's sermon, it was the basis for my recent Huffington Post blog.       Thanks for all you give and happy holidays!  Susan
    Huffington Post blog.

  • Patricia Robertson

    Love this, so many good comments too, not much more for me to say except that I've had that simple phrase, be generous, in the back of my head for past few days since reading this. A good thought to keep.

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    Lovely, Sherrey. I've also witnessed your generosity recently since you went above and beyond with your review of my book, sharing with your online community. I so appreciated that. Happy holidays to you!

    Toi, me too! I need a day a week to catch up on reading. :)

  • Sherrey Meyer

    Brooke, exceptional post and timely. At this season of the year, gratitude and generosity seem to go hand-in-hand. My husband and I make contributions throughout our community but this isn't the kind of generosity I look to as "spending generosity." These are scheduled, planned for gifts. The kind of generosity you write about, in my mind, is the spontaneous reaching out of a hand to help another.

    Recently, we have had a visitor in our church -- a lovely Southern born and bred woman of 78 years -- who moved from Valdosta, GA to Portland, OR to be near her daughter's family. Ethel is a lovely woman but so alone, so my husband Bob and I (remembering our own newness here in 1983) have stepped out and taken Ethel as our "community building project." We take her places with us -- small group gatherings, meals, etc. -- and we make sure to introduce her to friends at church and on the street when together. Sure, her daughter should be doing some of this but she is the mother of three young ones and a busy wife. And what does it hurt us to step out in love and gratitude for the person who showed us around Portland in 1983?

  • Toi Thomas

    I must admit that I can always do better with twitter than I currently am, but I make a point to seek out other authors so I can help promote them. I interview and promote authors all the time and I’m getting better at posting reviews, I just wish I had time to read more books.

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    Thanks for weighing in, Nina. Always happy to see you here. :) I like the change in the meter thing. Once someone paid for my bridge toll for no reason. It was so awesome. But that was back before the days of the autotransponder thing. Now I feel like people don't do that for fear someone will have one of those and just go sailing through the toll. Some things about technology make being generous more complicated I guess.

  • Nina Gaby

    I carry change in my pocket whenever I'm in a city, and put money in parking meters when they are about to run out. Unfortunately I think they are on to me since they've installed those new credit card machines. On a more serious note, I did a FB post promoting a book that an acquaintance was launching (Jessica Handler's Braving the Fire) which started a thread ending up with Jessica agreeing to contribute to my essay collection (which I hope to publish with She Writes). Nice karma. I also notice that women of a certain age, maybe those of us who were second wave feminists, are so much more gracious and generous and helpful to one another- not afraid of the "shout out" as you call it. Thanks for the post and the reminder to be mindful of those opportunities.

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    Thanks for sharing this, Cheryl. So different from what everyone else has shared, and a reminder of all the many ways we can be generous.

  • Cheryl L. Branche

    I have lived in New York City for 10 years. When I notice people on the street with a lost look, I stop and ask them if they are lost. Most of the time they are lost and ask me for directions. It seems to me that it is better to get good directions than wander aimlessly  and vulnerable on the streets of New York City. If I am on the subway, I give out subway maps (one of the two I usually carry on me) to tourists who struggle with the tiny maps in the travel guides.

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    Kathleen, I look forward to reading it, and be in touch any time at brooke [at] shewritespress [dot] com. Looking forward to seeing the piece.

    Great insights, Vivienne. And Nancy and Jennifer, thank you for your comments!

  • Jennifer L Myers

    A writer posed a question regarding my latest blog post. Last week I wrote a blog titled "What is the greatest tragedy in life" about how we should live with meaning and purpose rather than mechanically or even destructively. The writer's question had to do with self-sacrifice and helping others who are less fortunate than ourselves. I found a wonderful quote, and wrote a blog post titled: "If you light a lamp for another, your own way will be lit."

  • Kathleen Dexter

    Brooke - Definitely, let's pow-wow.  I'm doing research right now for an essay on libraries in the age of ebooks and will post a notice here when it's done and readable.

  • Vivienne Diane Neal
    Brooke Warner, what a great article. I have been in business for over thirty years, which included writing articles, running an introduction service for singles, an on-line dating site, publishing three newsletters, blogging and recently becoming an author. Throughout my years in business, I have always believed that when I help others, I am also helping myself, and the more you give, the more you receive and it does not always mean receiving monetary rewards. Meeting wonderful people have opened doors for me by having the opportunity to promote my brand, which in turn has brought more visitors to my Blog and an increase in orders for my books and other services.
    Recently, I became a contributing writer to NINA, a quality of life magazine that supports the growth and development goals of women, products, services, and small business. I have also had the opportunity to write for serveral on-line publications, have featured authors and hosted virtual book tours on my Blog. I also invite guest bloggers, and even though we don't pay for articles, we allow writers to provide links to their sites, books, products or services. When I buy books, I will review them on Amazon and Goodreads because I know how important reviews can be for the writer.
  • Nancy G. Shapiro

    I've mentioned my friend and author Stephanie Bennett Vogt, author of "Your Spacious Self" in several of my bi-weekly blogs, and have co-created & co-facilitated workshops with her. She has been so generous with her vastly larger email lists, both around our workshops, and most recently, a shout-out sent out on the occasion of my publishing "Tilting Toward Chaos", my first Kindle e-book. On the day of her shout-out I sold 1/3 of the total sold on Amazon in the last three months. I'm grateful to have Stephanie as an inspiration and friend, and thank you Brooke for this blog, and your own has touched me in countless ways over the years. 

  • Kamy Wicoff Brainstorming

    @Susan, what a wonderful idea. I visited your website just now and loved it. Do you know Marci Alboher? She's a dear friend and wrote a wonderful book called One Person Multiple Careers. I wonder if you are featured in it! 

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    Kathleen, hear hear. this is so important. good work and I'm super interested in this topic!! We should pow-wow.

    Susan, amazing. Wish I could hear a recording.

    And Kamy, thank you! :)

  • Kamy Wicoff Brainstorming

    Love this post Brooke, of course. And it is generous of you to quote me on the subject of generosity, when you could write a book on it! I am always struck, whenever we do things and go places together, by how many people feel indebted to you, in the best way, for your guidance and your generous sharing of knowledge and advice.

  • Susan Sparks

    Thank you for this great post and wonderful conversation. It is going to be the center point of my sermon Sunday.  :)  Title:  "Generosity is the New Currency" Thank you again!

  • Kathleen Dexter

    Such timing for your post!  I had just turned on my computer to engage in an act of double generosity, thus:

    I'm acutely aware lately of the plight of libraries - how the ebook revolution comes at a time when library circulation numbers are falling.  I also notice that very few indie authors are represented on library shelves.  I got a notice today via M Louisa Locke's emailing list that paperback copies of her trilogy are (today only) on special via Amazon for "Reading Tuesday", so I ordered the set to donate to my community library for Christmas.  I'm hoping this does both the author and the library some good, and that it helps all indie authors make inroads with librarians, who sometimes need a little coaxing to venture into indie material.

  • Janet Singer

    This is a great post Brooke and I'd like to thank YOU for your generosity in thoughtfully answering my emails as I seek a publisher for my book. As for me, when my son was severely debilitated by obsessive-compulsive disorder I vowed that if he ever recovered I would do whatever I could to give others what I so desperately needed (and didn't have) at that time: HOPE. I have done that and my blog of three years now receives over 11,000 hits monthly .Even better than that are the personal emails I receive (typically a few a week) asking my advice and thanking me for my blog. I have also connected with many readers over the phone, and now even consider many of them my good friends. I honestly think that's what life is all about.....making connections and helping others. Really, we're all in this together! Thanks for the reminder!

  • Betsy Teutsch

    I think people like to be cued as to how they can be helpful, since often they would like to be helpful but really just don't know how.  Being very specific in your ask is important.  I am almost always willing to do things friends ask me to do, but I want them to have vetted the process so it works.  A pet peeve of mine is organizations that ask you to vote for them, or whatever, and that takes you to a website where it is completely unclear how to proceed.  So make it easy for people to be generous by asking for something they can actually do.  Like a review!

  • B. Lynn Goodwin

    PART TWO: Some of us need editors to catch the typos... Paragraph 2--line 2 is a good illustration of that. <g>

  • B. Lynn Goodwin

    Writer Advice,, is about empowering writers. It's 16 years old, so it was here before blogs and social media. I do what I can to review books, interview authors, and publish book and website reviews by others. I share contest info and announce writer victories. I pay contributors with resume credits and of course I pay our contest winners cash. 

    So I try to give back to the writing world, but sometimes, I also give to those who need a little help... like a seventy-something nana-to-many, and a member or the church my husby pastors. I gave her a ride home Sunday. We were talking outside her tiny Section 8 home and I asked if she needed a little money. She said she could use $20. I gave her double that, and when she pointed it out I told her that I was an imperfect counter. 

    I want to be good to those who are good to me. Everyone has great stories to share.