The author shares a story she was told about an eight-year-old boy. His younger sister was diagnosed with leukemia and told that without a blood transfusion she would die. So, his parents had to explain the situation to him and ask him if he would be willing to donate a pint of his blood. He asked for a night to think about it and returned to his parents the next morning with an answer that, yes, he will help his sister. At the hospital, after a nurse withdrew his blood the boy asked “How long until I start to die?” Lamott says that all writers should be this generous. Her personal motivation for writing stems from this generosity. She aims to give readers that single “Yes” moment that she has gotten from her favorite authors. It’s part of what makes writing worth it.
“You are going to have to give and give and give, or there’s no reason for you to be writing. You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the giving is going to have to be its own reward. There is no cosmic importance to your getting something published, but there is in learning to be a giver.” (Lamott 202) This is another example of the expressive philosophy (See Fulkerson and Elbow) in Lamott’s advice.She values writing for what it does for the writer: as a person, in their career, and in their life overall.