No good deed goes unpunished

Who originally said no good deed goes unpunished? It has been attributed to several luminaries, including Billy Wilder, writer Clare Booth Luce, American financier John P. Grier, banker Andrew W. Mellon, and Oscar Wilde, although its actual origin has never been established.


I wrote recently on personal transformation and how it ripples out into the world. I could give you a raft of examples of how my own personal contemplation and growth, as painful as it has been at times, has brought amazing gifts to my life. Sadly, I have become aware recently of at least four instances where I have done something for someone, believing I was doing the right thing, only to have it bounce back at me later. All of these instances involve staff. Perhaps it’s just this year, the year of fear, that’s making people act out of character but the sense of entitlement I have seen in some people is breathtaking!

Maybe it’s my sense of entitlement that’s making me think people should be a bit more grateful?

see what I did there…

I’ve been nervous about dealing with the staff since the last situation, retreating to the safety of my office and leaving the wrangling to The Boss and The Boy. I was afraid all this nastiness would stop me from helping people out but a few days later a staff member came and asked for help with a personal issue and we helped. How could we not, when someone could end up homeless or go back to using?

Sometimes you just have to help and if they decide to bite the hand that feeds them, that’s their choice. I wondered afterwards if I would go back and change any of my decisions and yes, maybe there was one I wouldn’t help. He turned out to be far more trouble than he was worth, but as for the others, I hope one day they look back and see that their time working for us was a positive thing they didn’t appreciate at the time.

Perhaps when their money runs out.

I’ve been there. I’ve regretted my own ill-considered actions at times as an employee, and sometimes not ’til years later. The Dream Job working environment was far from perfect but my actions didn’t help things and it was only in the later self-inquiry after I left that I realised I could have handled things far better.

When we know better we do better.

I set very firm boundaries in the job after that as a result…the job I now refer to as the Nightmare Job. That’s what happens when we set boundaries – we don’t tolerate abusive situations anymore and sometimes people take offense at that and bite back.

Regret has been a major theme in my fiction up to this point (and my life to a degree…) Of course I didn’t realise this until after I’d written yet another regret laden story. Stephen King’s On Writing illuminated the connection between his substance abuse and phenomenal mid-career blockbusters. It’s tragic but sometimes the greatest art comes from the greatest suffering.

I think perhaps only the most planned out, plotted and ‘troped within and inch of its life’, commercial fiction can escape the stank of the writer…(think mass market romance novels, stories like A Star is Born, Avengers, Transformers etc) There’s nothing wrong with them but the writer is intentionally nowhere to be seen and that’s great. It’s horses for courses. But they’re never going to be great art, are they? They’re like the old colourful canvases I used to churn out in the studio in the Dream Job – a bit of frippery to brighten the hotel room. Sure, those tropey stories often make a buttload of cash because they appeal to a broad base but I think the best fiction happens when the writer feels deeply about a subject but writes a story unaware that their passionate beliefs have filtered in. With true creative work, you can’t eliminate the impact of the artist on the work.

As Hemingway once said, there is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

I love writing. I love editing. I even love the marketing side of things. I regret not making more headway with my email list this year.

I sent out my first email campaign on Friday. Did you receive it? A goal for 2020 was to build my email list. All authors and other creatives need an email list even if they have 10K followers on social media. Even those who make good money in KU need to start thinking about their email list. Why? Because we need to own our contact list. I have 5500+ followers on my I Love Paris Facebook page but Facebook could easily shut my page down at the drop of a hat due to some infraction, real or imagined. I know people who have experienced exactly this. It can’t happen when you own the contact details and people have willingly signed up to receive my information.

Part of the job of building an email list is regular cleaning. I was happy with the stats achieved on the email. With an open rate of over 35% and a click rate of 2.5% we’re off to a cracking start. The cleaning part comes when you get a list of unsubscribes from the campaign. I used to work for someone who would re-subscribe those people, but the idea is to remove them from the list, never to be seen again. The last thing I want is someone complaining about my emails! I’m not offended by unsubscribes because once my list hits the 2000 mark (wow… imagine…) MailChimp will shift me to a paid account and I don’t like the idea of paying to market to people who don’t want my stuff.

There’s no such thing as criticism, just feedback

Amber Lilyestrom

and i’ll just leave this here…


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