You probably know that the butterfly effect is, very simply, a small happening or alteration that can result in larger changes. For example, a butterfly flaps its wings which leads to the creation or absence of a hurricane. Bruce Coville opened the SCBWI conference in L.A. with an inspiring keynote address in which he talked about how what writers and illustrators do often ripples out and affects others. I love this idea, especially since it’s not exclusive to being published.
What we do, whether it be writing, illustrating, bagging groceries, or even driving down a road, can make a difference when there is an opportunity to offer support, kindness, or some form of grace. I know someone who stops his car when he sees a turtle inching across a road. He gives the critter a lift (literally) to the side. I love this. Simple acts of kindness can be respites of relief in a world that is often too harsh. Sometimes just a smile can make a difference, even between strangers.
Maybe I’m biased, but I do believe that writing and illustrating gives those of us who indulge in one or the other or both a special opportunity to send out ripples. Consider the people who share their time and creativity for the benefit of others. Maybe by blogging, tweeting, or posting on Facebook; maybe by supporting the blogs of others; maybe by sharing guidance and wisdom in critique groups; maybe by sharing knowledge with a new writer. We creative sorts tend to be sensitive by nature. Having the support of kindred souls makes a huge difference, I think.
So, cheers to those who act with a good heart and a desire to make a difference in a positive way. Great things can and do result. As Bruce Coville said, we can start a ripple with even the smallest gesture.
What do you think? Have you seen the butterfly effect in action? Do tell! : )