Nancy: On Gratitude

Season of Gratitude

Those of you living in the States know that this coming Thursday is the day we Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. For many, this is a day of hectic traveling and imprudent overeating. But it’s also a day of gathering together with loved ones and reflecting on the things in our lives for which we’re grateful.

It shouldn’t take a special holiday to make us realize the wonderful things in our lives and show gratitude for them. But speaking for myself, I get busy, caught up in life, and don’t always take time to acknowledge how fortunate I am. So, in the spirit of the season (and in no particular order, because these are all wonderful things – how could I rate them?), here are some things for which I’m grateful in my writing life.

Great Critique Partners. I’ve had the great fortune of exchanging critiques with fabulous writers who not only speak the same writing language, but approach the work from different perspectives and teach me new things on every project. And when I provide critiques for them, I have the added bonus of reading great stories and contributing (I hope!) to making them better.

The Internet Age. Need to find a writing text to help you through a plot problem? You can probably find it online. Looking for a book in your genre to help spark your creativity? Not only can you find oodles of great books online, you can get them instantly if you’re into e-books. Feeling isolated on your writing journey? You can find like-minded writer types in multiple online forums, including the 8LW blog.

The Romance Writing Community. As Michille pointed out in her post last week, the romance writing community is an amazingly supportive bunch. Romance books are uplifting, and the community of writers creating them are inspiring. Whether I’m writing romance or fantasy or women’s fiction, I always find inspiration and support at local and national RWA conferences and events.

The McDaniel Program. This program came at the perfect point in my writing career. I’d learned all I could on my own, through workshops, and via ‘one-off’ classes. I needed a structured approach to honing my craft and taking my writing to the next level, but I couldn’t afford the time on campus required for traditional or even low-residency master’s programs. The all online Roberts Writing Program was a great fit, and teacher Jenny Crusie and my fellow students I met through the program proved to be an amazing bunch. Which leads me to…

My Writing Friends (including the 8LWs!). Okay, this isn’t a countdown list, but this is the number one writing life thing for which I’m grateful – friends who understand this crazy joy/pain/preoccupation/obsession. What could inspire more writing life gratitude than that?

7 thoughts on “Nancy: On Gratitude

  1. The holidays are a usually a hectic time for most people, but they’re also a good time to pause and reflect on how much we have. I count myself lucky to have the 8LWs, too, Nancy! And I’m looking forward to meeting you in January.

  2. That’s a beautiful list, Nancy!

    I am so grateful for the inner and the outer. Whatever it is in my brain that produces these stories, and spins out the entertainment for me — thank you. And for all the outer things that influence the inner — the news, the interesting people in history, the random internet connections — and of course, my writing friends. I am so grateful that Jenny suggested we put this blog together. It’s such a great way to keep in touch, and to encourage people and be encouraged in turn.

    I’m very thankful.

  3. Love your list, Nancy, and the comments above.

    I’m thankful that my family and friends are so supportive of my decision to give up a good career to follow my writing dream, and that they’ll give their time and know-how to help me figure out details and plot points; very thankful that Nora Roberts decided to give money to McDaniel to set up the Romance Writing Certificate, that McD were flexible enough to allow foreigners to take the course not for credit, that Jenny decided to teach it, and that such a great group of ladies signed up for it, all at exactly the right time for me. I’m thankful that RWA provides such a great resource for unpublished writers, and that they’re so welcoming of overseas members. I’m very thankful for the 8Ladies and all the followers and commenters here.

    Oh – and as Michaeline said, I’m especially thankful for my Girls in the Basement, without whom none of the above would be possible.

  4. Those are great lists!

    Jilly – Thanks for mentioning the Nora Roberts grant to start the McD program. I had meant to include that. It’s also another example of how supportive many successful romance writers are of others in the field, even the ‘newbies’.

    And Michaeline, I’m so glad you mentioned “whatever it is in my brain that produces these stories.” I remember years ago, while walking to elementary school, that I had running story narratives in my head and would weave tales about the people we passed on the street. It was years before I realized not everyone’s brain works that way (and sometimes I still forget it!). So I definitely need to add that to my own gratitude list.

  5. That’s a great list, Nancy. The McD program came at the right time for me, too. I learned a ton about craft and love, love, love that we have been able to keep it going through this blog and conferences and writing retreats.

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