Each day before I eat breakfast, run, or begin working, I spend time giving thanks for the extraordinary blessings I’ve been given. Sometimes I focus on the big gifts, like the good health of a friend celebrating her 8th cancer-free year, and other times I acknowledge the little things that make life easier, perhaps the Post-it notes that keep me organized or my how my favorite pen writes perfectly every time.
As Thanksgiving celebrations begin, I’m considering the much appreciated but often unsung blessings enriching my writing life. Sometimes they seem to get lost in deadlines, contests, bill paying, and other daily tasks, but I know they’re always in the background quietly making a difference in my life.
The writing life, as exhilarating and satisfying as it can be, is not without its challenges:
• Writing requires long periods of solitude which often puts a damper on a social life.
• Sitting in a chair in front of the computer for hours has physical implications, including weight gain, eye strain, and back and neck issues.
• Writing can be tough on self-confidence and self-worth when publishers and agents reject manuscripts and queries, reviewers pan your book, or negative comments show up on social media.
• Sometimes authors become so focused they lose a little bit of themselves.
These can take a toll on writers who become so wrapped up in the process that they don’t take time or find opportunities to enjoy the path.
I’m thankful to have a terrific support team: My family, friends and former colleagues, and writing buddies. They’ve found me freelance jobs, recommended me for speaking engagements, and edited and critiqued my books and articles. They’ve also been my cheerleaders, coffee and chocolate suppliers, task masters, and enforcers of fun time.
In addition to these much-loved and respected people in my life, I also give thanks for these blessings:
• A return to running and my faithful running buddy, Laura Griffith. This wise and wonderful woman not only makes sure I get my three runs in per week, but also serves as a sounding board for anything rolling around in my mind. Running clears my head, improves my thinking, and counteracts the often sedentary lifestyle of a writer.
• My fulfilling position as writer-in-residence at Sidestreet Studio. Artist Tinia Clark generously provides a place for me to teach writing courses and lead a writers group as well as mingle with artists and other creatives. She lures me out of my writing cave for monthly soirees and poetry readings at the studio.
• The joys of monthly book club meetings. I’ve never been much of a joiner, but this year a writer friend invited me to her book club after I told her of my need to make time to read and socialize. It’s a small group including women of varying ages, occupations, and interests. They welcomed me into their fold and I’ve enjoyed the books, conversation, and food – there’s always something interesting to discuss and scrumptious to taste!
• The calming influence of the salt rock lamp. The soft warm glow of this gorgeous lamp alleviates my allergies, improves my mental awareness, and helps me stay serene in the midst of deadline crunch or massive re-writes. I keep it on the corner of my desk and I sometimes I swear it lights my way through challenging chapters.
• The loving companionship of my trusty kitty Bellamy. I’m not sure who rescued whom when this emaciated, starving yet adorable and sweet, abandoned cat showed up on my deck nearly two years ago. It didn’t take him long to charm himself into my food supply, screened deck, and finally the entire house – not to mention my heart! He checks on me frequently throughout the day and often sprawls on my desk in front of the computer monitor so I don’t get lonely.
Every day I give thanks for the life I lead and the blessings keeping my writing on track. They motivate me to stay physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially healthy and strong.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!