It’s Thanksgiving weekend, and some folks are taking advantage by enjoying a much-needed rest or doing one last deep dive into their NaNoWriMo project. Others are spending time with their families, working, or even giving back to their communities.
As we celebrate the holiday in whatever way we can, here are just a few things writers and authors can be thankful for this year.
People are still reading
Book nerds will always be book nerds. While the global health crisis certainly made a lot of things harder, it made some smaller things feel extra special—and books are absolutely one of those things. We have all been reminded about how much we love to escape into a good story. Books are our companions. And while the market may be somewhat oversaturated, books are still selling.
We love what we do
Maybe not all the time—this profession certainly offers many challenges in terms of sustainability, earning potential, and not smashing your screen when words just don’t seem to work right—but at the end of the day, writers love to write. (Falling out of love with it? I recommend a four- to six-month sabbatical working at a basic temp job to remind you how much you love your job.)
No one loves critical feedback—at first. Even when it hurts, a great editor is a writer’s best friend. No other person in our lives will make us better, drive us harder, and ensure that whatever we’re turning in is the best possible version it can be. Remember that we love you, editors. Even when we’re crying during revisions.
That we can be the voice of change
Writing—no matter what it is we’re working on and no matter what genre—is inherently political. Every interaction, every setting, and every word spoken can be seen as a commentary on your values and beliefs, and how they fit in the world. So writers, like so many artists, have the potential to be part of the change we see in the world. How do you want to shape humanity?
Compared to authors and writers from other decades and even centuries, technology has made it easier than ever to express ourselves, edit, use autocorrect, and format every line we write. And look at how easy it is to share it with the world. Let’s all say thank you to the gods of technology…even if they cursed us with Twitter.
The writing community—as diverse, eclectic, and scattered across the world as it is—is still one of the strongest professional communities. We have groups, conferences, hashtags, feedback, and even readers dedicated to telling us what’s good and bad about our manuscripts. When two writers collide, sometimes it’s almost like a secret handshake. You can sit down, compare notes, and chat about things as if you’ve known each other forever. The writing community as a whole tends to be super positive and supportive. And that is worth a whole lot of gratitude.
Being able to write
Those of us who are able to make a living by writing, or even enjoy it in our spare time, are incredibly fortunate. We live in a world where we can do this because we’re good at it—and because it’s an acceptable living. Not everyone is so fortunate to be a writer, to have the skill, or to even have the opportunity. That makes it pretty special.
Grit and determination
So many people think writing is an easy profession. But making a living through writing is far from easy. It takes heaps of creativity, determination, and a borderline pathological stubbornness that keeps us doing this, even when we’re not making much money, getting benefits, or leaving the house. Writing a book is hard, especially when there’s a chance you will only make a few dollars on it. And still we persevere. It’s not an easy profession at all, but holy crap, it can be rewarding sometimes.
Making it through another year
If no one else says it to you, we will: you did fantastic this year. Maybe you triumphed and this year exceeded your expectations. Or maybe it didn’t. Maybe you didn’t quite get to where you thought you’d be; maybe your writing year was filled with disappointments and painful reality checks. But you’re still here. You’re still writing. And that’s enough.