Greetings, inklings! I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving with friends, family, and strong coffee with which to combat the post-turkey coma!
Last week, I mentioned I was going to try a different tack when it comes to giving thanks for my blessings. Instead of trying to lump them all together under one generic Umbrella of Gratitude, I’ve made several categorized lists, for example, “Marriage,” “Friends,” even “Hardships.” “Writing” is among these Lists of Thanks, and I’ve had so much fun sharing what writerly things I’m thankful for!
Last week, I gave props to the alphabet, printing press, social media, technology, and music. This week, I’m sharing five more items that warm this writer’s heart and reinforce my love for the life I’ve chosen! (or did the writing life choose me… ;-)). I hope you resonate with a few of these thoughts and are inspired to make your own personalized List of Thanks!
1. Generous Writers
We all know that writing is no walk in the park. Sure, there are such mystical things as “writing zones” and occasional muse visitations by which our fingers seem to type on their own accord and ideas bubble out of us as if from a geyser. But that level of blissful, almost effortless productivity is often the exception, not the rule.
Most of the time, writing is more analogous to chipping away at an immense block of marble than collecting a surplus of water from a spouting spring. We chase the words. We fight for them. They don’t fall like raindrops upon our heads and then flow freely from our fingertips – and if they do that for you, then you, my friend, are one of the fortunate few!
Not only is writing tough, it’s also time consuming, and not just the writing itself, but the researching, the revising, the staring off into space and deeply pondering…while greatly caffeinating… And so for these reasons, I am incredibly thankful for writers who take time out of their busy schedules and stringent routines to share their tips, tricks, encouragement, inspiration, witty memes and so much more with the world. I wish I could gather all the writers I follow online into my living room, brew them a cup of coffee or tea, and thank them in person for being virtual mentors to me.
If you’re a writer who gives generously of your time to aspiring writers, whether through social media posts, blogs, speaking engagements, YouTube videos, etc., THANK YOU! You help writers like me keep going when the going gets tough, the doubts get loud, and the fears get fierce!
I say it all the time: Even if my writing was only read by my husband and mom, I would still do it as much as possible and with just as much passion. That being said, having readers actually spend time and money on one of my brain babies is an enormous blessing, especially when those readers reach out to me and let me know they enjoyed something I wrote, be it a blog post, an article, or a book.
Readers are busy people. Just like the rest of the world, they have things like jobs, relationships, hobbies, homework, and myriad other responsibilities to see to. With only an hour or two of downtime a day, they often must choose between surfing through social media, watching TV, or, the most old-fashioned of the pastimes: reading a book. When they not only take time to read my work but to also review it or email me about it, I feel tremendous joy and appreciation, as well as the desire to reach through my iPhone and give them a hug or a Howie Mandel-style fist bump!
If you’re a reader who’s ever reached out to an author via social media or email to tell them you enjoyed their book or to offer a kind word of constructive criticism, THANK YOU! You encourage us to keep doing what we’re doing and give us hope when we feel we’re writing to the wall…and a few pitying, biased relatives.
“Good health and good sense are two of life’s greatest blessings.” -Publilius Syrus
I am often guilty of taking my good health for granted. I have no physical handicaps or diseases, nor any aches and pains that inhibit or challenge me as a writer.
Not every writer is so fortunate. People like Helen Keller, Octavia E. Butler, and Jorge Luis Borges wrote prolifically, despite serious disabilities. Irish author Christy Brown, who suffered from cerebral palsy, was only able to write or type with the toes of his left foot. Butler, a well-loved sci-fi writer, struggled with dyslexia all her life and was bullied for it by her peers.
If you follow my fitness-related blog or Instagram account, then you may know that leading a healthy lifestyle is very important to me. I lift weights, do CrossFit and yoga, and eat well most of the time. But some things are simply out of my control – out of all of our control. We never know whether severe sickness will strike or if a car accident will someday render us paralyzed, as one did for nonfiction writer John Hockenberry when he was just 19.
Today, I am healthy, and I am thankful, as I know good health is not a blessing given to all of us, nor is it guaranteed to last.
4. Family and Friends
I don’t have a lot of real-life writer friends, and therefore most of the people I’m typically around look at me like I’m speaking Klingon after they ask me things like, “How’d you become a writer?”, “How do you get ideas?”, and “How did you get published?”
Turns out, not many people can relate to knowing at age seven what their occupation would be. Not many people get ideas for fantasy novels by brainstorming how to adapt one of their screenplays, the concept for which they received five years prior while reading an online article on the siege of Masada in 73 A.D. Turns out, not many people understand terms like “querying,” “self-publishing,” “small presses,” “Kindle Select,” “going wide,” and my least favorite, “platform building”!
Yet despite the fact that I’m from a different planet than my friends and family when it comes to my line of work, they still love and support me. Ever since I was a little girl doodling Ninja Turtles and making up silly stories about them before I knew how to write, my parents have encouraged my writing, sending me to poetry and theater camps, giving me their blessing to major in Screenwriting, reading everything I’ve ever written and giving me their honest, heartfelt opinions. And my husband – bless his heart – puts up with my foul moods when I’m experiencing writing withdrawals and patiently lets me pick his scientific brain when I need help with a particular scene. He even proofreads, and courageously typo hunts!
There are a handful of girls from the gym who have been gracious enough to be advanced readers for my current works in progress, and their feedback has been invaluable! Words fail to adequately express just how thankful I am for their kindness and generosity.
Which friends and family members have been most supportive of your writing? Why don’t you let them know in an email, text, or – getting out of our introverted shells here – a phone call?
This one doesn’t need an explanation, does it!? I mean coffee is the universal beverage of happiness and productivity, and is therefore a must for most of us writers. I don’t know if it’s the smell, the taste, the caffeine, or the combination of all three, but there is just something about coffee when paired up with a laptop or a notebook that gets the creative juices flowing.
A few fun facts about coffee:
- Coffee is the most popular beverage worldwide with over 400 billion cups consumed each year.
- Coffee lends its popularity to the fact that just about all flavors mix well with it.
- Advertisements for coffee in London in 1657 claimed that the beverage was a cure for scurvy, gout and other ills.
- Before the first French cafe in the late 1700’s, coffee was sold by street vendors in Europe, in the Arab fashion. The Arabs were the forerunners of the sidewalk espresso carts of today.
- Adding sugar to coffee is believed to have started in 1715, in the court of King Louis XIV, the French monarch.
- Beethoven who was a coffee lover, was so particular about his coffee that he always counted 60 beans each cup when he prepared his brew.
To learn more interesting coffee trivia, visit http://www.corsinet.com/trivia/vv-triv.html.
I hope you enjoyed this second installment of my writing-themed Thank You List! What are you most thankful for? Tweet me @dandersontyler or hit me up on Instagram at authordianatyler. I would love to hear from you!