Archive | Gratitude

Gratitude, Schmatitude: Writers, Let’s Complain Instead

turkey_gobble_dinner_268746_lToday is Thanksgiving day in the United States.  For those of you living in other parts of the world, our Thanksgiving is a day to feast and be grateful (never mind that it is slowly getting co-opted by big box stores trying to sell Christmas stuff early).  It began waaaay back in the day, when the first settlers of our fair land, the Pilgrims, made it through their first winter and subsequent harvest season and threw a feast to celebrate.  They even included the locals, Native Americans without whose help they wouldn’t have survived.  (Fat lot of good it did them in the long run.)

As mentioned, gratitude and gratefulness are cornerstones of this day.  And to that I say–bah humbug!  No wait, that’s the wrong holiday.   To that I say–uh uh, no way.  Because, c’mon, we writers have a lot to complain about.  Such as:

  1. Writing is hard.  It just is.  It takes a lot of energy to throw words at the page, make them sound pretty, and have them make sense.  And never mind that you also have to come up with a great story.
  2. The publishing industry sucks.  They pay all their money to a few star authors and ignore the rest of us.  It is slow and dinosaur-like and in general the worst business model ever in the history of the world.
  3. Even when you get published, your book won’t sell.  Because, like, all those stupid self-publishers are out there gumming up the works with their crap.  Our brilliant tomes don’t stand a chance.
  4. There are all kinds of scams preying on writers.  Yeah, its just too much effort to figure out who gives good advice and who doesn’t.  Easier to become an actuary.
  5. Sitting is bad for you.  And lord knows, one must sit for hours at a time to write.
  6. You have to learn grammar! Enough said.
  7. And you probably have to read poetry to be a real writer.  One word: ugh.

Oh, I could go on and on–I’ve not even touched on writer’s block for instance–but I’ll leave it to you to add some complaints to your list.  And today, at the Thanksgiving table, be sure to sigh loudly and mention all these complaints when the topic of gratitude comes up.   I’m certain your assembled guest will be delighted.  And if not, pour yourself another glass of wine and mutter about how misunderstood writers are.

But wait.  What about that moment when you sit up in bed in the middle of the night because you’ve just gotten the idea that pulls the whole book together?  Or the time when you write the most beautiful, heartbreaking sentence known to man? That feeling you get when you’ve completed a writing session and you are in love with everything in the whole world? What about all that?

Yeah, its all that stuff that keeps me writing.  Plus the fact that in however many years I’ve been doing this, writing is the one thing that has never gotten boring to me.  Ever.  And those of you who’ve been reading my blog and newsletter for awhile know that I’m a big fan of a lot of woo-woo stuff like gratitude and that this is written with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek.

Because I am so grateful to be a writer I can’t imagine doing anything else.  I love every aspect of it, even all the things I listed above, and I detest the kinds of writers who think its cool to complain so much.  So today, on Thanksgiving, let’s all give our deepest, most humble thanks for this wonderful work that we get to do.  For the stories we get to tell, the fun we get to have every single time we sit down at our desks.

And the truth of the matter is that I’m actually complaint-adverse.  Or at least I try to be. There’s nothing that turns me off faster than listening to someone bitch and moan.  Especially if it is about writing!  So let’s all celebrate the true meaning of Thanksgiving (it is NOT just the day to be endured before Black Friday) and be grateful.

Photo by kindhelper.

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Thanksgiving: No Whining on the Yacht

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, a day to eat too much turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes, and show our gratitude for, well, everything.  And because of that, I highly doubt that many of you are reading blog posts or newsletters today.  So I'm going to keep things simple today, with a reminder that nearly all of us can appreciate: Tatoosh_paul_allen_794745_h

No Whining on the Yacht.

I get that there are many people suffering all around the planet.  I am deeply, truly sorry for their pain and wish I could wave a magic wand and have it all go away.  However, for most of us–likely you who are reading at this very moment–things are pretty good, at least comparatively speaking.  We are passengers on a yacht and rather than appreciate it, we complain.

Things are good are for me, too.  Yes, I would love to lose a few pounds.  And gain a few dollars. And I wish to God my house were more organized.  But, honestly?  Beyond that I am rich in blessings.  I have great health, a satisfying career, a wonderful family and a passel of amazing friends.  I have a warm house with a fire we light on cold nights, and a big backyard with a deck we enjoy on warm nights.  I have hobbies I enjoy.  Two fat cats and two adorable grandchildren. 

I get to rise every morning and write, which besides the afore-mentioned grandchildren, is my biggest blessing in the world.  I am rich in blessings. I am dripping in them. I am immersed in them.

And sometimes I forget that.  I think we all do.  Instead, I like to bitch and moan about things. Kvetch about the state of the world.  Go on…and on…and on about what's wrong and why it is so unfair to me.  

But more and more these days, I am working to catch myself when I do this.  Because, complaining is really nothing more than a bad habit. And so, on this day designed to remind us to count our blessings, I offer you this: 

A Complaint Free World.

Will Bowen started this project as a little thing his church could take on and it mushroomed into an international movement.   You can order his bracelets (cheap and well worth at $10 for 10) and wear it to remind you not to complain.  Every time you do complain, you switch the bracelet to the other arm.  The goal is to go 21 days without complaining.

A brief aside: one thing I've noticed about my efforts to quit complaining is that I may not always be able to stop myself from complaining, but if I catch myself I can then ask myself why I'm complaining.  And sometimes that reveals a deeper concern that needs to be addressed.  (And sometimes often it just reveals me being bitchy.)

So go forth and quit complaining.  No whining on the yacht, guys!  

I'd be grateful if you left a comment telling me what you are grateful for!

Photo by MC Hart.

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