Today I’d like to ask you to consider writing from a place of gratitude, to consider your writing gratitude and put it on paper with some gratitude writing prompts.
This is a hard business. It can be a hard practice. And sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in how difficult it is to break in, how challenging it is to get the work done, how little anyone around you understands what it feels like to be a writer, etc., etc., etc., blah, blah, blah…You’ve heard it all before. You’ve felt it, too.
So the next time you sit down at your computer, or your notebook, or whatever it is you use to write with, I invite you to pause and find a space in your heart to say “thanks.” If you believe in some god, then direct it to him or her. If you don’t, then offer it to the universe, or even to the part of you that writes.
Be grateful for the you that wants to tell stories, or who can string words together in an elegant way. Whatever it is in you that put you on this path, focus on that strength, that talent, that drive – and be grateful.
And if you’re arguing with me right now, in your own head, then perhaps you’re in the wrong place, or the wrong job, or the wrong hobby. If it doesn’t bring you joy, or satisfaction, or ambition – or some feeling that you can point to that says, “Yes, that’s it, that’s why I do this!” – then stop.
Now, as both a practice in gratitude and a writing prompt: read through the rest of this post, then close your eyes, take a deep breath, release it and reflect.
It’s November. Take five minutes and consider what that means to you. Are there scented candles burning in your home? What do they smell like? What other scents do you associate with November? The scent of wood burning in the crisp air? Cinnamon, sage and roasting turkey?
What does your table look like? What kind of glasses and dishes do you use? The special ones that you keep locked away for just this occasion? Or your everyday crockery? See them in your mind’s eye. Do you have real silver, polished to reflect the shine of your china and the sparkle of the candles? Are your linens formal and stiff, or cozy and autumn plaid?
What will you eat and drink? Remember the taste of chilled sparkling cider on your tongue, or hot Irish coffee. Will your dessert be pumpkin pie, or perhaps pecan? Or both? Have you ever known the cool sweetness of true whipped cream? Will you have wine? Light, crisp white, or deep, complicated red?
Who else is at your table? How does that make you feel? Do you dream of Norman Rockwell family meals, but experience stress and discord? Or are you blessed to have a loving, harmonious family, which celebrates its holidays gracefully and in peace. If so, have you ever experienced Thanksgiving somewhere else, somewhere that made you especially grateful for your family? Are you a person who either has no family ties, or is too far away to celebrate with them? Do you eat alone? Chinese perhaps, or a frozen dinner? Or have you created a family-of-the-heart, wherever you are, and plan to celebrate with them instead?
One of the great gifts and burdens of writing is that it forces you to look at your world in a different way. To examine, pay attention, analyze and describe. As a writer, sometimes “writing what you know” is the easiest way to come across effectively, but that doesn’t mean you need to write your own story. It means you are allowed to take details you’re familiar with and apply them to your writing.
I’ve never lived in a mansion, but I’ve read a thousand articles with pictures of rich people’s houses. I know that those Thanksgiving tables look a bit more elegant than mine does. But I also have friends who don’t have a ton of money, but through sheer talent and creativity and a sense of style, put together a table that rivals almost any billionaire’s. I can write about those things. I can write about those people. I can take aspects of the personalities and experiences and photo spreads, and mold them into characters and scenes, plots and arcs.
And so can you.
Happy writing. If you can, find joy in the practice, and be thankful for all the gifts in your life, and for the opportunity to be a writer. It’s a complicated gift, sometimes, but offers some great rewards.
Bobbi Dumas loves good writing. Of all kinds. She also loves romance, a mesmerizing story and the company of friends. When she’s not in the virtual world or one of her own making, she can usually be found in Madison, WI with her husband, two boys, and a clan of great writers she feels grateful and honored to know (some of whom you get to meet here, too). Lucky you!