Kindness at the Supermarket

Quite an armfull! Me and Robin and Doug.

Here’s my first Quora answer! I keep forgetting it, until I get a new notice about an upvote. Still makes me cry when I read it.

Profile photo for Luann Udell

I was at the supermarket with my one-year-old son (Hanniford’s for you folks from Keene, NH) running “just one more errand”, when he had a meltdown. I knew what it was. He had patiently accompanied me through my morning, me trying to get all the things I needed done, until he was at his limit. He was hungry, and he was not at his best when he’s hungry. (Still isn’t at age 28!) He went into tantrum mode.

I was sitting on the floor, holding him tight, and an older woman walked by. I glanced up and gave her an apologetic smile. She glared at me and snarled, “If that were MY kid, I’d smack him!” and moved on.

I sat there almost crying myself, when along came a young woman who worked at the supermarket. I thought the other woman had complained, and thought the employee was there to ask me to leave.

Instead, she knelt down beside me and said, “How can I help?”

Now I was almost crying with gratitude. I told her he was tired and hungry, and if she could just bring me a carton of milk and a straw, he would be fine in a few minutes.

She did just that. When I told her I would pay for the milk, she just smiled and said, “On the house. Anything else I can do for you?”

I said no and thanked her, and she left.

When I am anywhere in public, and someone’s kid is having a meltdown, I now approach the parent and do the same thing. If the mom is just stressed out because the kid is being “too noisy” or “too rambunctious”, I give mom a smile and say something kind. “I remember those days! Hang in there.” Or, “Your child is so happy!” or anything that shows I am not insulted or perturbed by ordinary kid behavior. I can see them visibly relax and soften, and they often look at their child with exasperation, but also with love.

I will always remember that angry woman who judged me. I will never forget how she made me feel less-than. (I have no idea what her issues were. I just don’t EVER want to be like her.)

But I will also always remember that young woman who showed compassion for me and my son. Such a small act of kindness that still seems so big, after almost 30 years.

We have the power of our choices. And I will always try to choose kindness.

(Note: If I hadn’t been so addled, which was my normal state of mind in these early kiddo years, I would have gone back to the grocery store and asked for that young woman’s name. Then I would have told the manager that they had my loyalty as a shopper forever, because of her.)

ANOTHER QUORA QUESTION ANSWERED

Another slew of Quora requests in my inbox today. And as usual, most of them I can’t/won’t answer. Trust me, if I knew how to earn a living and how to get famous for blogging, I wouldn’t be answering Quora questions.

But the ones I can answer, I usually try.  Here’s today’s reply:

Profile photo for Luann Udell

Luann Udell , Blogger (2002-present)

If you are asking what you can make money blogging about, I can’t help you with that.

If you are asking because you want to have a voice, a presence online, then this is what I advise you to do:

You don’t have to have a particular niche in order to start a blog.

You don’t have to be an expert. You don’t have to find something popular. You don’t have to write about things you don’t care about.

A blog in our modern world means HAVING A VOICE.

You can focus on a topic, a pastime or hobby, a cause you care deeply about.

You can focus on your own skills and knowledge you excel at.

You can write about a topic you’re interested in, and want to know more about. You can write about the reasons why you’re interested, why you want to know more about it. You can share your journey as you research, learn, and grow.

I’m an artist and a writer. I often write about art marketing. But I’ve also written a freelance humor column about being an artist/craftsperson for a monthly craft magazine for almost a decade. (Until they told me I wasn’t funny anymore, but I found out later it’s because they realized it was cheaper to have their own staff write stuff instead of paying a freelancer.) I also write about why it’s important to do our creative work, no matter how much money we actually make at it, because it’s good for our soul.

I’m a parent (and now a grandparent!) and I’ve written about humorous events and life-learning moments to be found in parenting.

I have silly pets, and I write about their antics, set-backs, and the powerful life lessons I’ve learned from them.

I love a metaphor, and I’ve used a variety of them throughout my two decades of blogging: Lessons from the gym/physical therapy sessions, lessons I’ve learned from horse-riding, lessons from doing open studio events, insights from an airplane pilot, from martial arts, from my elderly rabbit in my art studio who died just after we moved to California. And lessons from the prep we went through to get ready for that huge life move.

This sounds like it’s all over the map, right?

But it’s all about what I’ve learned—and am still learning—from this incredible school called “life”.

See what I’m saying here?

You can specialize, or you can expand your view to include everything. You can focus on something incredibly important to you, or something you’d like to know more about.

It’s not about the audience, nor what the audience wants. There are billions of people on this planet, and whatever you choose to write about, there will be plenty of people who will be attracted to it.

The most important thing is to write authentically. To write with integrity.

Chasing an audience rarely works. ATTRACTING an audience takes time and effort, and in the end, can still feel elusive.

But know that just having a voice is a powerful place to be in the world, and in your heart.

 

If the link above gets broken, you’ll find this Quora post here:  https://www.quora.com/How-can-I-choose-a-niche-to-start-a-new-blog/answer/Luann-Udell?prompt_topic_bio=1

DO WHAT WORKS FOR Y*O*U!

One of the signs in my studio, in front of a maple syrup tapping can full of sticks. Um….I am still open to receiving sticks! (You can never have too many.) (Despite what my husband says….)

 

 

I’ve been answering questions about blogging on Quora for awhile now. So every day, I get about half a dozen ‘requests’ for information and advice on the topic.

Most of them are out of my league, and my comfort zone. I do not know how to make money from my blog. I tried it once, two people signed up, and it just felt icky. (Not everything we do can make money.)

Today, I responded to an old question from two years ago. (The link in my email took me to it instead of the orginal poster, for some reason.)

The person said they suffer from a lack of motivation about writing. And anything they want to write about, someone else has already said it, and said it better.

A well-known writer said they should just quit, if they couldn’t do it. (Argh!!!)

Here’s what I wrote instead:

Here’s the weird thing about writing:

Even some of the best writers struggle to make themselves write. They also struggle about what to write about.

Here’s an article I came across the other day that helped a friend: Brandon Sanderson’s Advice for Doing Hard Things

Here’s another that crossed my path from The New Yorker magazine about one of the best-known writers in America: John McPhee’s Slow Productivity

Yep. He writes 500 words a day. Not much more than a page. (But he wrote every day.)

And here’s one of my favorite blog posts about making room for ‘making’: THIS IS LOVE

Did you see the part where she couldn’t believe her process was “professional”? Until I pointed out that her practice/process was actually working for HER?

The trick is to find out what works for YOU. For me, it’s deadlines. I had regular gigs for almost two decades, and my best work always showed up the day before my deadline. Now that I don’t have any, I have to REMIND myself to write.

I love writing, it’s who I am, it’s how I sort stuff out and make my way through this crazy world.

And yet it’s still hard to “make time” to do it.

We think of successful authors as people who just sit and write all the time. Yeah, some do. But most don’t.

Even if it’s ‘who we are’, it’s just like every other important thing we have to make room for in our life: Exercise. Reading (instead of doomscrolling or watching movies.)

So figure out what works for YOU. A writing group with accountability? Scheduling a daily writing period?

As for coming up with something original, there are two ways to look at that: One, YOU are unique, and whatever you share will reflect that. Write about the topics, events, thoughts YOU care about. And two, there is nothing new under the sun. Of course other people have already “said” it. But “everything” also gets transformed when it passes from our mind/heart to paper (metaphorically paper). Do you really think no one wrote a romance story with a sad ending after Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet??

Don’t walk away from the work of your heart because you think you’re doing it wrong.

Celebrate what makes you YOU, no matter how you do it, no matter how you get it done, and no matter whether someone’s already said it. You will transform ‘trite’ into ‘passion’ with your own way with words, with your own experiences, with your own thoughts.

Now git busy and go write something.

Short answer: Do the work of YOUR heart because it will be your voice in the world.

It might be hard to get it done, and even harder to get it out in the world.

But it will worth it to YOU. And it will be worth it for others in ways we can’t even imagine.

You can see the original post here: https://www.quora.com/How-can-I-deal-with-lack-of-motivation-to-create-content-I-feel-like-anything-I-could-possibly-say-has-already-been-said-better-by-at-least-a-thousand-people/answer/Luann-Udell?prompt_topic_bio=1

 

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