Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Writer Gives Thanks

Tis the season to give thanks, and I must admit, as I reflect on the past year, I have much to be thankful for. Sometimes the things we want most in our lives, the things we yearn for in the quietest places of our mind, have a way of working out when we aren’t paying attention. And regardless of how big or small they are, we are forever changed by them.

So I offer up the things I am so very grateful for… from a writer’s perspective.

I am grateful that I have an understanding husband who not only allows me time away from the house to work, but rarely questions when I let him know I just ordered another $100 worth of ink or that I have overdue books at the library… okay, he really doesn’t like the last one, but he deals with it. I am blessed that, while he’s had the nerve to call my passion for writing a “hobby”, people I don’t know report that he’s been keeping them informed on my progress.

I’m thankful that I have two young kids who play really well together when mom is in an editing frenzy. But even more than that, I’m glad I have children who will, without provocation, go to their “personal library” and pick a book off the shelf to read. But even more than that, I’m grateful for the creative minds that are beginning to blossom as they immerse themselves in creative play and take delight in making up stories and songs to entertain us during dinner.

I am thankful for the friends who have been constant sources of encouragement, especially when I’ve been on the brink of quitting. The ones who have read parts or all of my book and said they really, really loved it, even though I look at it and think, “What crap.” I am also blessed that they seem to know just when I need a Girl’s Night Out (GNO) or just a coffee break for some over-priced java concoction… after all, you can’t put a dollar amount on getting your cup refilled.

Speaking of GNOs and coffee breaks, I’m thankful for the baristas and servers who remember I’m writing a book and ask me about it when I see them. Strangers have an odd way of holding you accountable. By giving my “elevator pitch” to someone I’ve never met, I’m encouraged that while this book may not be the one that launches my career, my ideas stir interest in someone who really has no vested interest in the books success or failure.

Another group of strangers I’m thankful for are the agents and publishers who blog about the complicated and sometimes frustrating industry of the written word. I have learned so much about what to do, and more important, what not to do that the process seems just a little less daunting. These people don’t have to blog. They don’t have to tweet. But they do, and for whatever their reason, I am a better writer because of it.

On that note, I am so very, very grateful for social media. And by social media I mean, of course, Facebook and Twitter. How else would someone who proudly embraces procrastination as a part of my brilliant literary process waste so much time. (Or get this blog post out to the hundreds of friends and fans?)

While this may sound funny to some, I am truly thankful for Dell’s quick turn around on my orders. Earlier I mentioned the ordering of ink cartridges, but what I didn’t mention is that I normally get the ink delivered to my door by the next day. Heaven help the company that disrupts my creative flow by unreliable shipping times.

Conferences and the people who plan conferences are another group of people who top my list of things to be thankful for, especially the ones who put on the Midwest Writer’s Workshop, seeing as how it’s the only one I’ve been to. But seriously, these resources are such an important part of the process. Yes, classes and workshops give you amazing direction and advise, but more than that, you have a chance to submerse yourself in the world of writing. You are around people who not only love reading and books as much as you do, but they also get, on varying levels, what it means to be a writer. I’ve made some great connections and found amazing crit partners after only 3 days… and I can’t wait to do it again next year… it’s like summer camp for those who prose. (Sorry about the bad grammar, but I couldn’t resist.)

In the last year, I have had a chance to meet some amazing published authors and you know what, they are the best teachers I have ever had. Regardless of the venue, be it a workshop led by a best-selling writer with an adaptation underway (shout out to Marcus Sakey) or a cowboy who took some time to mentor a young writer at a meet and greet (another shout out to Phil Dunlap), published authors not only know what you’re going through, they know that, with enough talent and perseverance, you can reach your dreams.

Finally, and I write this at the risk of offending some, but it’s my blog so… I am thankful for the gift of writing that has been bestowed on me by God. There has definitely been a muse at my side during this process and I would be remised not to acknowledge that while I am the one channeling the creativity in me, the talent is a gift I finally got around to unwrapping.

And with that clever reference to the holiday season, I will end this by wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and Black Friday. I hope you all have many things to be thankful for and don’t forget to BE BOLD!

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