Never underestimate the power of a good story.
I’ve been looking forward to P4A2015 for a long time. I’ve never gotten the opportunity or known enough about it to participate until this year. I originally planned to promote another organization supporting a completely different cause. Then Sarah Mackey over at NaNoWriMo asked the regional MLs (myself included) if we wanted to take “a few minutes” to make a video for an organization we were, in one way or another, already promoting anyway.
So I thought, “What the heck. Why not?”
I had no idea that, without even donating to P4A (I literally can’t afford to this year, and I wish with all my heart that I could), Project for Awesome would completely change the way I appreciate the charity that has supported me, in many ways, for the past eight years.
I didn’t expect to spend over eight hours scripting, filming and editing a video.
I didn’t expect to tell any part of my story.
I didn’t expect to cry, okay? Especially not on camera.
Philanthropy is often heavily criticized for its dependence on narcissism (I just wrote a paper on this, so bear with me). From some points of view, doing any kind of promotion to support a good cause, and making it “about you” at the same time, defeats the purpose. Before I started working on his project, and as I wrote that paper, I agreed. But then I realized something pretty important.
Just because you’re telling your story doesn’t mean it has to be all about you.
We all go though things. We make mistakes, we learn lessons, we lose people, we fall in love. When we open up and talk about these things (and spend way too many hours hearing the same story played back over and over again), it starts to seem pointless. “Why does anyone need to hear this? It doesn’t matter.”
But it DOES matter. Everyone has a story, and EVERYONE’S STORY MATTERS.
My story probably won’t mean very much to very many people, but it’s not about me. It never is about me. What’s important is there’s someone out there, maybe even just one person out of billions, who will relate to this, or who will be inspired by it. Who will be hearing about NaNoWriMo for the first time. Who will finally be given the opportunity to put their ideas into words and let their story be heard.
That’s why I tell stories. In the hopes that someone, somewhere, will be affected in the most constructive, positive way possible.
You can hear my story, and all about National Novel Writing Month’s impact on my life, in my Project for Awesome 2015 video.
I’m just one person. One writer. It’s one story. But it counts. It’s important. And I hope, if you’re reading this, it reminds you that your story counts, too.
Learn more about National Novel Writing Month’s nonprofit efforts, and if you can, make a donation to Project for Awesome. All donations go toward multiple charity organizations around the world.
Image courtesy of Meg Dowell and Project for Awesome.