As we walked down the beach one day, my mom and I saw two anchored boats cracking against each other in the waves. One had broke loose of its rope. Neither had anyone on it. We looked at each other, we dove in. Feeling like low-grade Baywatch, we swam to the boats, climbed aboard, and buoyed them until their owners could be found.
We’re helpful. My mom was a first grade teacher. I am a writer and an adult educator. Mostly, helpful is good.
But also, there are the times when no one is looking for help, and suggestions just burst forth. We can be what I call Militantly Helpful.
In my private life, I try to ban the word should from my conversations with other people. I catch myself telling someone the great program they should be using for that spreadsheet. I chide someone that they should be setting reminders. I tell a friend they should check out this class on Lynda.com.
When I hear shoulding on people, I say to myself, “Calm down Suggestion Sally,” and I try to just listen. I try to only help those who want my help.
In my work life, I get to let it rip. As soon as I started coaching, I realized it’s the perfect job for me. I get to be nosy about people’s lives and tell them what to do. I’m made for this. As a bit of a technology geek (everyone as lazy as I am should love technology as much as I do), I also enjoy connecting people with the tools that can make their lives easier. And, as it turns out, this is something you can get paid for.
The world has turned into the kind of place where the thing I do anyway, telling people what books they should read, what classes they should take, and what tools they should check out, can get me paid. As a writer living in an expensive city, getting paid is something I need to worry about.
To be honest though, I can’t shake feeling a little like a creep about it. Even though in my book, I joke that Lynda.com really needs to start paying me, because I’ve been talking them up for years. The site really has changed my life, and if someone had shown it to me, I would think they deserved that $10, and be happy they got it.
I guess it all comes down to trust, and to being myself. Do I trust myself to recommend things that will actually help writers? Yes. Do I hate that I have to do affiliate links? Yeah, a little. It feels like a begging bowl.
Can I see it more as a tip jar? I’ll try.
I often wonder why the universe made people like my mom and me. We love to gobble up information, package it up, and pass it along. I guess we’re needed in the grand scheme of things, and the universe probably wants us to survive. So it invented affiliate marketing.
If you need a place to learn about affiliates for your own work, Michelle S course helped me get started. (This is actually not an affiliate link, the irony!)
Here’s my official affiliate statement:
I’m a writer who connects writers with books, programs, and writer toys that make the writing life easier or more fun. As it turns out, people get paid for that. So some of the links I have are affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I get a commission if you click through and buy something. If I recommend something you don’t agree with, just let me know. I stand by everything I suggest as a resource that will help you be the writer you want to be.
This one’s from Amazon:
Welcome to the Writer’s Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
I feel better.