July 27, 2021

Loving Something is Not Enough—we have to Engage.

I am a fairly new writer to the Elephant Journal community, but after participating in the free Write Your Heart Out classes with Waylon, I believe I understand the mission: write pieces that are of benefit to others.

I have made reading others’ articles part of my daily routine. I signed up for the membership so I am able to read an unlimited amount. I do this with the sole intention of immersing myself in Elephant’s milieu. I do this because I want to effectively contribute to Elephant’s mission and feel the only way I can be successful is by reading and participating in the messages conveyed by the writers and by engaging others in conversations through commenting, or as I refer to it, Ele-engaging.

What I have noticed, however, is the lack of comments on pieces that have been published, and I find that troublesome. I have read many articles with greater than 100 reads and found there are no comments.

Personally, I don’t need the feedback to make me feel good about my published piece, but I do appreciate it. It helps me to know if I have connected with the reader and to determine if I am fulfilling the mission of Elephant.

I want to know that healing myself through my own written words has essentially helped someone else.

I realize that in this chaotic world, we all get caught up in the day-to-day, and taking time to read, let alone comment, sometimes feels overwhelming, but if we stop to think about it, the comment not only helps the writer of the article, but it also helps us to be in the present moment.

It calls upon us to sit and reflect on the message. We have to pause and ask ourselves how it touched us. Did it motivate us? Did the writer’s feelings resonate? Did we agree or disagree with their ideas? Did it spark curiosity? Did we learn something new? Did it make us laugh? Cry? Get chills?

Stop. Take in their words. Process them. The reflection and feedback will help us both.

In the Royal Literary Fund’s dissertation guide, they assert that as a writer it is difficult to “distance yourself from your writing,” and that “simply seeing something through someone else’s eyes is hugely valuable for reflecting on what you’re doing because everyone will see it differently.”

I must commend the editors I have been privileged to work with thus far, for they have been overwhelmingly supportive, provided exceptional guidance and feedback, and overall, have made me want to become an even better writer. Their engagement motivated me and instilled a desire in me to share my journey and serve the Elephant community.

Shout-outs to Robert Busch, Brooke Mundell, Kate Fleming, Anjelica Ilovi, Michelle al Bitar, and Elyane Youssef. They went above and beyond the call of an editor and for that, I am grateful. But, we can do this for one another as well, as fellow readers and writers.

As a lifelong writer, I remember reading my poetry to friends over the phone in high school and getting their feedback. I read my short stories to my family for encouragement. I still read each and every article I write aloud to my husband before I submit it. I watch his expressions. I read his body language as he listens. I watch his eyes to see if they get teary.

But to the greater Elephant world, this massive universe of over five million readers, the only way a writer can tell if they’ve gotten to your heart is by way of your comments.

Clicking on a heart, or ele-hearting is wonderful, but that takes less than a second to press. If the words of a writer in this community have impacted you, please consider taking the time to share this with them. And if someone has taken the time to comment on your pieces, the comments should be acknowledged.

You may be asking yourself, what is the point of this piece? How is this benefiting the world? How does this resonate with the mission of Elephant Journal?

It’s not to increase ecosystem scores. It’s not to fulfill the writer’s ego. It’s purely to engage one another. The benefit will be conversation and camaraderie. The benefit of commenting is the initiation of dialogue, debate, reflection, and ultimately improving the future of Elephant because future articles will be written with more insight and the messages more powerful.

So, today, in all my naivety as a new writer to Elephant, today as a woman with big visions and dreams of how we can impact lives and the universe, let us challenge one another to stop after we’ve read an article—and share our thoughts with the writer.

By making a commitment to do this at least twice a day after reading a writer’s piece, the dialogue initiated amongst us could be inconceivable. The benefits to all of us, unimaginable. Just try it. We will see how much better we feel as writers encouraging one another, and that, my friends, is the purpose of this piece: to fill ourselves up with positive energy, by giving it to someone else, thereby benefitting the world.

~

Write your way to a life you love, here.

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