Seven Writing Gifts to Be Thankful for This Year
November 22, 2019
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, gratitude is ever-present on our minds. An annual tradition many practice is that of going around the Thanksgiving table one at a time, as each family member shares what they’re grateful for. For me, my children and family always come first to mind, followed closely by my love of writing and the gifts it brings into my life — something I’m not always focused on with the day-to-day grind of life and slogging in the word mines.
Have you contemplated — or cultivated — gratitude for your writing? A writer’s life has many ups and downs and writing itself can sometimes feel like a chore. But focusing on gratitude can help us remember why we’re writing in the first place, and why it’s worth it to keep trudging along.
The following are seven gifts writing offers to inspire you to reflect on what it’s brought to your own life.
- Deep personal growth and learning.
There’s nothing like writing to push the boundaries of your personal growth and learning. While you may feel grateful learning the craft and business skills that writing requires, much of your true growth occurs at the personal level.
You strengthen your character when you practice discipline with writing.
You grow as a person when you teach yourself to persevere and bounce back in the face of disappointment, frustration and rejection.
You learn about yourself and your fears when you write. It also gives you the opportunity to explore and address unresolved feelings and issues in your own life as you role-play through your characters.
When we hold these challenges and lessons as something to be grateful for, we gain from them even more.
- Meaningful connections with other writers.
When you’re a writer, you have the ability to connect with a huge community of like-minded souls.
Whether you’re going to meetups to write, conferences to learn and pitch, classes to hone your craft, or connecting with writers in online groups, communities and social media, you get to be with other writers who “get you.”
If you haven’t given yourself this gift yet, please do. It’s so normalizing to be around other people who understand the craft and challenges of writing. This is definitely something I’m hugely grateful for in my own writing life.
- Achievement milestones you’ve reached as a writer.
Take a moment to reflect on your writing achievements thus far, big or small. Because screenwriting is a long game, celebrate any and all victories along the way.
Whether you’ve just finished the first act of your first script or the third act of your tenth, congratulate yourself for what you’ve achieved. You might even want to make yourself a log or “brag book” to track your successes so you can remind yourself of them when the going gets tough.
Giving gratitude by focusing on what you’ve already accomplished creates a strong, positive foundation of confidence and trust for your future writing.
- Delightful opportunities to create worlds you love.
Writing allows you to design and inhabit worlds you love. Or, to take it a step further, as Anais Nin said, “I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live.”
If you’re living with any of the “existential dread” Chuck Wendig notes in his article on self-care in writing, world creation may be one of the cures. In our everyday lives, we don’t often get to experience tidy resolutions where it feels like everything comes together in an unexpected yet satisfying way. We don’t necessarily get to see “the end” or experience true hope in an all-is-lost moment the way we do in film and TV. Through story, we can. And we can share that love, hope and optimism with others through our writing, even if our characters go through hell first to get there.
Let’s be grateful for the opportunity to escape when we need to, help others to find possibilities and escape if they’re seeking it, and to share our vision of other worlds, ideals and messages with them as well.
- Expansive (and protected) freedom of expression.
Along with personal growth, writing is a glorious means of expressing yourself. It’s a chance to dance in the realm of imagination. A place to find your voice, your rhythm, your process. A way to put your ideas — and yourself — out into the world in a unique way.
Freedom of expression is also something that is protected in this country. How lucky we are to be able to express ourselves as fully and as freely as we can in our culture. We’re also encouraged to pursue and explore our thoughts and imaginings. Something else to be grateful for.
- Satisfying moments of rightness and flow.
As a writer, there’s so much joy that comes from the moment when your writing clicks into place. When, as one of the writers in my Called to Write community recently described, you finally find the right word that makes a sentence go from feeling off to singing. Or when all the elements of a story come together, and you have that inner sense of rightness that feels oh-so-good.
There’s also the delicious state of flow we can experience when we’re writing. It doesn’t always happen, and it’s not guaranteed, but that just makes it all the more wonderful when it does occur.
- Heartfelt knowing that writing is your calling.
When you find your calling as a writer, it’s like coming home. Even if you’ve struggled to get clear on your calling over the years, or wrestled with writing as your calling once you’ve found it, deep down, you know you’re here to write. And when you know, in your heart, that writing is the place you live, you will shine with a natural gratitude and delight. All you have to do is remember it.
Your Weekend Writer’s Assignment
What are you grateful for? What gifts does writing bring into your life? This weekend, journal about what you’re grateful for with your writing. Then, come tell me about it on Twitter, so I can learn from your insights as well.
Written by: Jenna AveryJenna Avery is a screenwriter, columnist, and blogger who redesigned her life and career to support her calling to write. She specializes in sci-fi action and space fantasy, and her most recent project is a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story for a Canadian producer. Jenna is also a writing coach and the founder of Called to Write, where she has helped hundreds of writers overcome procrastination, perfectionism, and resistance so they can get their writing onto the page and into the world where it belongs. Jenna writes about writing, creativity, and calling at calledtowrite.com, for ScriptMag, for Final Draft, and teaches for Screenwriter’s University. Download Jenna’s free guidebooks for writers when you join her mailing list at https://www.calledtowrite.com/mailing-list