Updated November 2023
When life hands you lemons, do you make lemonade or a scrunchy, sour face? As writers, do you let the long hours, the isolation, and the rejection letters get you down? Or do you embrace every part of being a writer with the power of gratitude?
There are many benefits to focusing on the positive side of the writing life, and they’re not just mental perks. Your attitude can make you a better writer AND improve your career track.
Three Ways To Make The Power Of Gratitude Work For You
1. Say thank you. As a professional writer, you have worked hard to build publication credits. You’ve poured your heart and soul into your writing, and you’re no shirker when it comes to accepting constructive criticism and making revisions.
Your author website is up-to-date and professional, and you carefully market yourself through social media and other venues. You’ve endured months of waiting for editors and literary agents to respond to your queries, and you don’t let rejection get you down.
But have you said thank you?
If you have had the joy of having a poem, short story, or essay appear in a literary journal or magazine, take the time to send a note of thanks to the editor who published your piece. If you’ve published a novel, why not thank the cover designer who made your book “pop,” or the copyeditor who carefully went over every single word of your 350-page novel?
Despite our mothers’ admonitions, most people simply forget the power of expressing thanks to those who help us in our writing journey. But by doing so, people will remember you.
Not only will they remember you as a person, but you will stand out as a professional and considerate author. You’d be surprised how many people forget this simple courtesy and how much it’s appreciated. And who knows, that editor you so thoughtfully remembered may remember YOU the next time you submit a piece.
Even if you haven’t reached the point of having editors or cover designers to thank, there are other people who contribute to your writing journey: a special teacher or librarian. Maybe a particularly insightful member of your writers group who went above and beyond, or a parent who encouraged you every step of the way, no matter what.
It costs nothing to say thanks. And it feels great!
2. Be grateful for rejection. A rejection letter is proof that you have put yourself out there as a writer. You have taken that oh-so-difficult step of submitting your work, and you are working toward getting it published.
Rejection letters mean that you believe in your work strongly enough to offer it up for consideration, and you are passionate about your writing. Go you!
Rejection letters offer a great opportunity for writers to learn what editors or agents are looking for, what you should work on, and the direction you might want to take.
If a busy agent took the time to send you a note, then your work merited the courtesy of a reply, however brief. Embrace these gifts of rejection and learn from them. Challenge yourself to do better, and congratulate yourself for walking the walk, not just talking the talk!
(For more, check out our e-book, Rejoice in Rejection.)
3. Be grateful for gratitude—a powerful tool that focuses your attention on what matters most. Most people will agree that a positive and grateful attitude enhances the quality of life in general, and writers can benefit from this attitude as well.
You may be feeling the weight of deadlines, rejection, or writer’s block, but if you step back and evaluate why you are a writer, you’ll find the answers are all positive: Because I can’t NOT write. Because I am creative. Because I have things to share. Because I have a unique voice. Because writing makes me fulfilled.
The next time you get bogged down by the negatives, take a moment to write down all the wonderful things about being a writer. What it gives you. How it helps you. The positive outcomes you envision. Allow yourself to be grateful for your gifts.
You will likely be motivated and inspired after reviewing the reasons behind your desire to be a writer, which can also get your muse revved up and ready to go. (Want more positive thinking tips? See 10 Affirmations for Creative Writers—And How to Use Them.)
So there you have it. How lucky you are to have a passion and a creative expression! At Writer’s Relief, we are also grateful—grateful for our clients and grateful for those who visit our blog. And after the recent assault of Superstorm Sandy, we are even more thankful for all the good things in our life we would otherwise take for granted—like electricity and a roof over our heads!