It’s that time of the year. Halloween has come and gone, the turkey’s on the table, and goodness, do you smell that pumpkin pie? Thanksgiving has come, and with it promises of Christmas! But before we deck the halls and put up the tree, it’s important to pause for a moment and take stock of everything we writers have to be thankful for.
This year has been an especially difficult one — for a myriad of reasons. COVID-19 has been a terrible plague on 2020, and now that it’s reared its head again, it’s can be easy to feel really down this holiday season. Family gatherings have been forced to go remote, either via Zoom or some other tech wonder. It’s just not the same as hugging Grandma and Grandpa and being the same warm room with family.
Sometimes it’s even become difficult to write when things are like this. Personally, this year has been especially difficult for me when it comes to writing. Stress has a way of burrowing into my thoughts, even when I sit down to lose myself in words.
But there is always something to be grateful for: big things like family, friends, and that Thanksgiving turkey. I’ll always be thankful that I have a loving family, good friends, and a love of life. But it’s important to take note of the little things too — because they add up.
So, here are some things that we writers have to be thankful for.
Friends, Teachers, and the Writing Community
Where would we be if we didn’t have the support system we needed to spark inspiration, motivate us to continue writing, and celebrate our milestones with us? Personally, I’m thankful to my family, especially my sister, who reads just about everything I write and is my biggest cheerleader. And in times like these, cheerleaders are needed now more than ever.
Similarly, I’m thankful for all the professors and teachers that have taken an interest in my writing and have helped me grow over the years. From Fiction 101 at community college to Fiction Capstone at PLU to every class at the Rainier Writing Workshop, I’ve met wonderful, talented, and encouraging people, and without their feedback, my motivation to keep writing would be terribly low.
For those who aren’t English majors or aren’t pursuing a degree in creative writing, social media is also a good source of encouragement, and the #WritingCommunity on Twitter is always active with fellow writers who want to uplift each other.
I know it seems like a given for a writer to be thankful for books, but it’s so, so very true. Sometimes all one really needs in order to escape from the overwhelming situations in 2020 is a good book.
I’m especially thankful for V.E. Schwab, Brandon Sanderson, and Marissa Meyer all exist. Without them, this year definitely wouldn’t have been as inspiring as it was.
Even one quick, helpful writing craft book can make a difference. I recently read The Art of Subtext by Charles Baxter, which was exactly what I needed.
Happy books, sad books, epic sagas, little college romances. All of these stories inspire, provide escape, and are deserving of thankfulness. I think I speak for all writers when I say that our lives would have been much different without that one good book.
This one’s a bit less universal, but ever since writing that one article earlier this year about how I’m an old-fashioned writer, I now know that I’m definitely not the only one who still writes by hand. Even for those who write on laptops, pens are the unsung hero of outlines, post-it notes, and scribbling on napkins.
Ali Raphael of Ali’s Reviews and More, an awesome blogger and a personal friend, reminds us that it’s good to have a pen on you at all times, especially when writing more than one project. And it’s very true: ideas come and go in the blink of an eye, so having a pen close by can mean the difference between a fleeting, half-remembered thought and your next big book.
They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but I think it’s even more powerful that a pen can write the strokes of a sword right into a fantasy story. As an old-fashioned writer who jots down most first drafts by hand, I can say that I’m personally very thankful to these little pens.
From the epic instrumental pieces of Two Steps From Hell to pop hits from Taylor Swift, writers get a lot of inspiration from music, and it’s time to say how grateful we are to other creative minds that provide music to get our creative juices flowing. I wouldn’t have written some of my favorite scenes or stories without an original music video playing in my head when I listen to other people’s songs.
Of course, there are so many other things for a writer to be grateful for, and I haven’t even touched the surface here. 2020 has been hard, to say the least, but we writers do have a lot to cherish, and I hope we all go into the holiday season knowing just how lucky we are.
Happy Thanksgiving, bookwyrms!