A key benefit of participating in my #Giveaway4Good Campaign. (Hint: It’s all about the dopamine.)

I want to take a moment to share the method behind my month-long #Giveaway4Good Challenge

It’s all about the dopamine, my friends

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken with a number of writing friends and clients who’ve been struggling with pandemic-related stress and depression. The constant bad news, lockdowns, isolation, and restrictions are getting to everyone—even me. 

In mid-November, I noticed a depression kicking in. 

I knew I had two choices: let my emotions sink even deeper or do something that inspires hope.

As a kid growing up in a Buddhist community, I’d been told that focusing on others would ease my emotional pain. While earning my master’s in counseling, I learned why this actually works.

So, if you want to know the science behind my challenges, here goes: 

  • When you do something for others, your brain gets a hit of dopamine—the feel-good neurotransmitter associated with the brain’s reward system. Studies show that increasing dopamine production lessens depressive symptoms. 
  • Doing something for the social good gives you a sense of control when you’re feeling helpless. 
  • Participating in a challenge allows you to be part of something greater than yourself, which combats feelings of isolation.
  • The challenge generates positive news at a time when we desperately need it. 
  • And, prizes are awesome. (Also, they give you a second dopamine hit.)

I can’t change our political landscape or the course of the pandemic from my house in Charlottesville. But, I can do my part to boost your resilience while we weather all that 2020 has thrown at us. 


So far, this challenge has raised $2,891 for those who are struggling. 

While this number is exciting, the stories people have shared about why they made specific donations have been really touching. 

With your help, I bet we can double that number. 

To join my #Giveaway4Good challenge, here’s what you need to do. 

Between now and 7:00 PM on Monday, December 7, 2020, donate at least $10.00 to a charity that supports those in need

Then, respond to this email with the name of the charity and the amount of your donation. 

Already made a donation on Giving Tuesday? Just send me an email. 

That’s it.

I’ll enter you into the drawing and sign you up for my weekly newsletter, which gives you access to a free copy of my ebook 5 Brain Hacks that Will Change Your Writing Life and weekly posts on the craft of writing and the writing life. 

This week’s drawing is for a $50 gift card to New Dominion Bookshop, AND my grand-prize drawing for a one-hour coaching session with yours truly (includes a 10-page manuscript evaluation) PLUS a spot in Jane Friedman’s self-study course How to Write a Book Proposal

Here’s a little FYI from Jane:  A nonfiction book proposal is a required document if you want to land a traditional book publishing deal. It serves as a business plan for your book that proves to an agent or editor why your book will be successful when published.

While book proposals aren’t required for fiction writers, taking this course can help you develop a vision for where your book fits within the fiction market and what role you’ll play in eventually promoting it. 

New Dominion Bookshop is the oldest independent bookstore in Charlottesville, Virginia. They can deliver anywhere in the United States. All you’ll need to do is call them to place your order. 

I’m giving away extra tickets for a few specific charities. You can find out more by clicking here

If you’re struggling financially, you can still join the challenge.

Simply reply to this email with pictures of 3 random acts of kindness you performed, and I’ll enter you in my drawing.

Remember, it’s about the dopamine, and the hope you inspire not just in other people, but deep inside yourself.  

*|FNAME|*, I can’t wait to see the impact of our combined generosity. 

Have questions about the campaign? Send me an email
I’ll leave you with this quote a newsletter subscriber shared with me yesterday afternoon.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” -Sir Winston Churchill.

Stay tuned for next week’s #Giveaway4Good Challenge, and keep writing. Your stories matter. 

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