What fills you with happiness? That’s a question I tweet quite often. It’s simple, direct, and thought provoking. The interesting thing about those five words is that every time I type them, I ask myself the question all over again, and I find that while certain pleasures are fleeting—ice cream or brownies, for example—what lies beneath remains constant—giving back, helping others, watching others succeed. Across the board, from family and friends to strangers, the happiness of others is what fills me with joy.
I learned a long time ago that removing your ego can do wonders for your decision making skills. Without ego, decisions are made for the good of others, than for yourself. I don’t think I realized that when I began The Women’s Nest, an online social and support site for women. When I opened the Nest, it was for a very selfish reason (there’s that darn ego). I missed my friends. I had children under foot day in and day out, a wonderful husband, and I was writing. My life was pretty full, but something was missing. You know that emptiness that creeps up on you? When something is amiss, and you can’t quite put a finger on it? That’s what I was feeling. I realized very quickly that if I were feeling that way, there were probably many other women who also wondered about that little missing piece of their lives—and I wanted to help them (kicked that ego out the door, and the Nest flourished).
Women need women friends. I wanted to fill this gap for myself, and found that, in doing so, I could also help others.The Women’s Nest allows us to discuss important topics and share our days without leaving our families and obligations behind. Friends are ever-present—just a mouse click away, in a private community. Within the first day on The Women’s Nest, we were sharing, laughing, and that void I had felt no longer existed. Three days later there were ten women on the site, and a month later, we had over one hundred members. Four years later, we are over 3300 strong, and many of my Nest sisters are among my closest friends. My Nest sisters and I share everything from venting to celebrating, and even just hanging out when we’re bored. We support openly, we cry, laugh, and poke fun at each other. The Women’s Nest is about giving back. It’s about having a sense of community, fitting in, being noticed as a person and friend. The joy it brings me and other women is something that could not be valued financially.
It’s that feeling of being part of something bigger, supported by many, understood and appreciated, that I hope to bring to the literary community with The WoMen's Literary Cafe (for men and women).
I have something to share. I’ve been blessed with books that are doing fairly well, and I want to help others do the same. Authors aren’t marketers—they’re writers. It’s not easy to make the transition, and for many, it’s nearly impossible. When I looked at my life, what brings me happiness and what I have to give to others, the answer was clear. I have the ability to give knowledge, to help others be happier, see a brighter side to the dark avenues that face us everyday. I’m one tiny ray in the flashlight beam shining down the tunnel of darkness between publishing and selling, and the more writers I can teach to market, the brighter that beam will shine, and the easier the path will be to navigate. The WoMen’s Literary Café is a cross promotional literary site for men and women—readers will enjoy the promotions and being able to chat with authors and get to know them in a more intimate setting, and authors can learn how to build those special relationships.
Giving back fills me with happiness. What fills you with happiness?
Melissa Foster is a New York Time and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women's fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page.
"...a stunningly impactful read."
"Psychological suspense at its best"
"...powerful in story, beautiful in its reality, and simply unforgettable."