The importance of being thankful gets a lot of attention this time of year. With Thanksgiving next week here in the U.S., the subject has started coming up. The holiday brings some problematic historical baggage along for the ride, particularly in light of ongoing racial strife and feuding over immigration policies, but I prefer to focus on the sentiment of the word rather than pilgrims and turkeys. In difficult years, I think it’s more important than ever to consider what makes us grateful. Holding on to the good things gives us strength to push through all the rest. Especially when all the rest feels completely overwhelming.
In daily life, I tend to frame my gratitude as an afterthought. It comes out sort of like, “I gained so much weight this year, I have to stop sitting so much, but at least I can afford new clothes.” This probably isn’t the best approach. Being thankful should be a conscious choice. Taking a step back and considering what you appreciate in that moment. That has impact. When life ramps up and the world feels like it’s spinning faster, it makes a difference if you pause and think, “Hey, I accomplished this,” or “I’m so glad I got the chance to see so-and-so.”
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d take a moment before posting this week’s links to list a few things I’m thankful for this year. No disclaimers beyond stating that it’s incomplete and a work in progress. As it should be.
I’m thankful for:
- My family and friends, the whole crazy bunch.
- That my parents are still alive and independent into their eighties.
- My coworkers, who are always ready to chat books and publishing, and to trade information about our work.
- My clients, with their talent and persistence and willingness to dig in cheerfully to make their wonderful stories even more wonderful.
On the smaller side of things, I’m thankful for a year of delightful books and movies–so many great discoveries. For entertaining writing challenges like NaNoWriMo and 4thewords, that keep ideas and words flowing. I’m grateful for the lovely spaces in my town that allow me to take a break and clear my mind. For houseguests and visitors. For writers conferences and other opportunities to travel and see new things. For relatively good health and a functioning car and an apartment I like.
Being thankful mostly feels like a small, quiet thing. But when you start listing all the things that come to mind–that bring you joy or relief or just allow you to function–it can feel much bigger. What are you thankful for today?
And on that note, I offer up this week’s Friday links. They’re kind of a mishmash, but I hope you find something entertaining. Wishing you a wonderful weekend, because I’m thankful for all of you. Happy writing!
This week’s links:
You Can’t Rely on Inspiration: Essential Writing Advice from J.G. Ballard. – Thoughts on writing and keeping the words flowing.
Writing Excuses on NaNoWriMo 2018. – The podcast offers up a mini episode with advice and encouragement.
7 Free or Cheap Writing Residencies to Apply for in 2019. – Pretty much as stated. For anyone looking to get away to write.
Applications Now Open for the Sesame Street Writers’ Room. – Information on how to apply before the December 3rd deadline.
Anyone Obsessed with British Authors Should Add These 4 Literary Destinations to Your Travel List. – Great spots to visit if you’re a fan of Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Virginia Woolf, and/or Agatha Christie.
Having No Time Is the Best Time to Get Writing Done. – An argument for being forced to write when you can squeeze it into the rest of your life.