Writer’s block. Rejection letters. Harsh critiques of your work. At some point in every writer’s life, it can seem a lot easier to be grumpy than grateful.
But resist the urge to crumple up that draft covered in red proofreading marks and to swear off writing another word, because Writer’s Relief knows a simple yet effective solution to your writer woes—and it can even make you a better writer. It’s something you might not expect.
When you’re feeling thankful, you feel good about life in general. Because when you focus on what you do have, you’re not so obsessed with what you don’t have.
The power of giving thanks can contribute to the longevity of your writing career. Gratitude is an emergency life jacket that can raise you up out of even the lowest points of your writing journey. Giving thanks is a powerful action—deliberately taken—that can measurably improve your writing life.
The benefits of cultivating a regular habit of gratitude are innumerable.
So how can creative writers make the power of gratitude work for them?
Let’s start by taking a look at a few problems that can be improved by a grateful heart.
5 Writer Problems That Can Be Relieved By A Little Bit Of Gratitude
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. —William Arthur Ward
Writer Problem Number One: Rejection Letters Make You Feel Lousy.
When rejection letters from literary agents and editors begin to whittle away at your self-confidence, taking a moment to remind yourself of all your advantages may help lighten your mood. Consider this: Getting a rejection letter means you are in a really good place right now.
Seriously! Here’s why you should be grateful for rejection letters.
First, you have enough time available to actually send out your submissions for consideration—and that is not something everyone has. For some time-strapped writers, making a single submission is nearly impossible. Really. We know this is true because many of those over-scheduled, busy writers become clients of Writer’s Relief, and we help them by making submissions on their behalf.
Second, if you’re making submissions, it means you are actively writing. You have time in your schedule—however precious—to put your butt in the chair, put your hands on the keyboard, and wander into the kingdoms of your creativity. Being able to write at all is an incredible luxury.
Third, getting rejection letters means you’re on the right track. Be grateful for every rejection letter you get, because if you aren’t sending out your submissions for consideration (and thus getting rejections), you have no chance of being accepted at all. Pat yourself on the back for your efforts to beat the odds!
Repeat after us: Thanks, self, for making submissions even when it gets hard!
I am happy because I’m grateful. I choose to be grateful. That gratitude allows me to be happy. —Will Arnett
Writer Problem Number Two: Family And Friends Aren’t As Supportive As You Would Like Them To Be About Your Writing Career.
Being a writer requires a willingness to be vulnerable. We are vulnerable when we put our feelings on the page. We are vulnerable when we seek approval from the publishing “powers that be” and from our writing peers. And perhaps most of all, we are vulnerable when we present our friends and family with our writing goals and with the pieces we’ve written.
So how can gratitude help when it seems like friends and family just aren’t as enthusiastic as we would like them to be?
First, consider if it’s possible your friends and family are simply looking out for your best interests—however misguided they may be. If so, gratitude may go a long way toward soothing ruffled feathers. Reassure those you hold near and dear that you genuinely appreciate their love and care for you, but that you are courageously following your own truth. You may find that others become more accepting of your writing (and your writing career) over time.
If you don’t believe your loved ones have your best interests in mind—or you suspect they are only looking out for themselves—a little bit of gratitude may help you yet again.
Because guess what? It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you or your writing. Your relationship with your writing is between you and the page—and no one else. And thank goodness! How liberating is that? The work of writing does not actually require anyone else’s approval for you to move forward. And that is a wonderful reason to be grateful.
Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you,
knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something
bigger and better than your current situation. —Brian Tracy
Writer Problem Number Three: You Feel Like No One Understands You.
Congratulations, writer! If the desire to be understood is what moves you whenever you try to wrangle your ideas into words, then you, dear friend, may be the real deal.
Many famous writers have been driven by a distinct desire to be understood—because they felt like they were not understood at all.
So what you feel may be a natural symptom of your authentic creativity and passion as a writer. And that is actually something to be grateful for.
Because, while other writers might have to struggle to get into the mood to write—and are constantly trying to rekindle the flame that ignites their words—you have a whole well of passion built up inside you, ready to tap at your convenience. You are determined to make yourself known.
As for worrying about whether or not pundits in the publishing industry will ever understand who you are and what you’re trying to say—the truth is, they may not. But that doesn’t mean your writing doesn’t have value, even if, for the moment, it’s only valuable to you.
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. —Brené Brown
Writer Problem Number Four: You Can’t Secure Literary Agent Representation Or Get A Traditional Book Deal From A Big Publisher.
It can be really discouraging to have shopped your book around to every possible literary agent and even to every possible publisher who would consider an un-agented writer—only to be rejected time and time again. At some point, you may reach the conclusion that there just isn’t a place in the traditional publishing industry for your book.
But aren’t you lucky! There are big reasons to be grateful right now, even if you were rejected by the traditional publishing industry. Because it has never, ever been easier to get a book published in the whole history of our human experience. Self-publishing has become a respectable and viable option for writers whose books may not automatically fit the paradigms of mainstream publishing.
No longer a second-class option, self-publishing gives creative writers the opportunity to become the authors they always wanted to be. Plus, self-publishing has become the place where literary trends are born. In other words, your book might not be trendy right now—but who’s to say it won’t be one of the first of a new trend once it’s self-published?
So even if you haven’t found a home for your book within the traditional publishing industry, we hope the promise of self-publishing will make you feel grateful to have an alternative road to success.
Think you might want to jump into self-publishing? Check out our blog dedicated to independent authors!
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. —Melody Beattie
Writer Problem Number Five: If You’re Never Going To Succeed, Why Even Try?
When you find yourself thinking you are never going to “make it” as a creative writer—and you’re considering giving up—it’s time to pay a visit to your bookshelf.
The boost for your flagging writer willpower is right there, printed on the spines of the books you love.
Because if you’ve ever picked up a book and thought…
- my life is better because I read this
- the world is better because this book exists
- I am deeply grateful for this book in my hand
…then you know how to make the power of gratitude work for you.
Consider this: If you don’t keep writing…if you don’t keep going…then it will never be possible for someone in the future to stand in front of a bookshelf and think: Thank goodness this book is in my life.
You are grateful to other writers—those who didn’t give up even when they almost certainly wanted to. And hopefully, one day someone will be grateful for reading your story too. But you’ve got to write it.
The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude. —Friedrich Nietzsche
How To Cultivate Thankfulness In Your Daily Routine
You don’t have to wait for adversity to strike to make the power of gratitude a stronger force in your everyday writing life. Make a point of actively cultivating a 24/7 attitude of gratitude by using these simple techniques. Then, when life’s slings and arrows rain down, you’ll be ready to protect yourself with durable, deliberately crafted “thankfulness” armor.
Here are a few actions that can help you to create a habit of gratitude in your life.
Savor. Savoring is one of the most powerful ways you can regularly remind yourself to be grateful for all you have (instead of focusing on what you wish you had). Research shows that making a regular practice of savoring can increase feelings of happiness and positivity. While savoring sometimes does happen by accident—such as when you are spontaneously reminiscing with friends or daydreaming—there’s no reason to wait around for opportunities to savor. Instead, you can actively create them.
How to incorporate savoring into your writing life:
- Display pictures of treasured moments and loved ones.
- Frame your milestones (such as acceptance letters, first dollar earned, diplomas, etc.).
- Keep a journal that focuses strictly on life’s beautiful moments, and occasionally reread.
- Practice spiritual gratitude. If your worldview supports gratitude as a fundamental practice of living a good life, then reach out to a community of like-minded people who can encourage your attempts.
- Talk about your favorite memories when the opportunity arises: “I was just remembering the time when…”
- Encourage others to share their special memories with you so you can delight in them vicariously!
Do good for others. One of the best ways to ensure that you live a life of gratitude is to give yourself the opportunity to do good in the lives of those around you.
Your intentions don’t have to be global and grand. If you can dedicate time to community service opportunities, that’s fantastic! The memories of your hard work will serve you for a very long time. But kindness doesn’t have to be limited to the efforts of organized groups. Bring a meal to someone in need. Surprise a friend who is down on her luck. Visit neighborhood shut-ins or donate to good causes. Then, take a moment to honor your good intentions and be grateful for their positive impact in your life.
Read books about gratitude. Many books have been published about the art of practicing gratitude. And we are grateful for that!
Go outside. “Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe.” –Wayne Dyer
Thank Yourself For Investing In Your Future As A Writer
If you wait for others to give their stamp of approval to your writing, you may be waiting forever. It’s dangerous to pin your idea of writing success on anyone else’s opinion. Deep down, most writers understand this. You can’t control what other people will think about your writing.
You can only control what you think about it. So…
When you are up at 5 AM to write hours before the rest of your family is even thinking of getting out of bed—
When you are packing a suitcase to attend a writing conference that you know is going to be totally exhausting to an introvert like you—
When you are pushing yourself to learn the etiquette of the publishing industry even though you’d rather be freewriting in your journal—
When you are sending out submissions to literary agents or editors even though you suspect most of them will say “no thanks”—
…remember to be grateful to yourself.
We Love Writers! 9 Reasons Readers Are Grateful For Creative Writers Like You
Here at Writer’s Relief, we are so fortunate to have been managing the submission strategies of countless creative writers since 1994. We love books and we love writers! And just in case you’re not already grateful for yourself and the work that you do, we asked a few people to tell us the reasons why they are thankful for books and writers. This is what they said:
- I’m thankful for writers who create new lives and worlds that I can explore.
- I’m thankful for writers creating books for me to read during my leisure time!
- I’m thankful for writers and their ability to reflect real life on the page, bringing us to fantasy worlds we want to be in, and taking us on emotional journeys that have the potential to be life changing.
- I’m thankful to writers for inspiring me through the good and the bad.
- Writers enrich our lives and expand our horizons in countless and often unexpected ways. I can’t imagine a world without writers!
- I’m thankful for writers and books because it’s so enjoyable to get lost in a writer’s imagination of characters, scenes, and worlds they have created.
- I’m thankful for sci-fi writers because they can boldly explore the inevitability of change and study it to its extremes. We often see the world differently after such an experience, and this can give us a sense of wonder and awe due to our own perspectives being augmented irreversibly by these new ideas.
- I am thankful to writers for providing me with a method of transcending time if only for a short interval.
- I’m thankful to writers because they give us so much to think about! Reputable journalists are especially important to us these days because we get important news from so many sources.
Writer, Can You Help Us? Why are you grateful for the work of writers?
Share your gratitude in our comments section (with our thanks!).
As a ‘cultivator of stories,’ I hold classes in retirement communities that inspire others to retrieve their stories from their memory files. They are astonished at what surfaces for them, and I’m grateful for each of the stories they’ve written and shared as it encourages others to do the same. I tell them to write as if no one will ever read their words. I feel so blessed.