By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund
Usually I'm the "glass half-empty" kind of gal. It's all too easy for me to feed myself negative messages. In fact, during pity-parties, I'm known to feast on those fattening but empty-calories of negativity.
However, lately I've been convicted that I need to try to be more positive, especially regarding my self-talk. Instead of gorging on all the complaints and difficulties of life, I want to digest a healthy and regular dose of positive self-talk.
One way to do that is cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Instead of focusing on all the things going wrong, I need to make sure to be thankful for all that's going right.
Over the past couple of years, there's been a great deal of upheaval and uncertainty in the writing and publication world. Whether indie, traditional, or hybrid, all writers have faced challenges. Amidst those difficulties, it's easy to let the negative weigh us down.
So today, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and in light of my resolution to focus on the positive, I'd like to propose eight things we writers have to be grateful for:
1. New opportunities. No matter which route of publication we take, there are more opportunities than ever before. We aren't locked into one way of publication. We can pursue whatever is most beneficial for our careers, whether that means traditionally published going completely indie or indie published going completely traditionally, or perhaps writers doing a mixture of both. We can explore new genres, new book lengths, and even new styles of writing.
The doors of opportunity have opened wide and the possibilities are limitless.
2. Revitalized careers. Not too long ago, poor sales often meant the end of a writing career (or at the very least starting over under a pen name). But now, with the long tail of backlists, lower sales are no longer an immediate death knell. Even when publishers have to let an author go due to poor sales, the author doesn't have to lament the end of a career. In fact, the change to indie publishing could be a whole new beginning.
3. Supportive readers. Yes, there are still trolls who delight in damaging authors. And yes, there are still reviewers who take particular enjoyment in being as brash as possible.
But, there are countless readers who are INCREDIBLY supportive of authors, who time and time again do all they can to help promote, cheer on, and share the love of favorite authors and books. They're sensitive to how hard authors have to work nowadays and they show their gratefulness. I know I speak for many authors when I say, "THANK YOU for all you do!"
4. Manageable social media. Not too many years ago, when social media was fairly new, writers jumping into social media often became swallowed up in the hype, feeling that they had to do it all–blog, facebook, twitter, etc. The frenzy to be everywhere doing everything was time-consuming and draining.
Fortunately, that hype has died down. Writers realize that social media is still beneficial for connecting with readers and helping to promote books (to a degree), but it doesn't provide any marketing miracles. Now, writers can focus more on writing good books and keep social media in perspective.
5. Encouraging writer friends. While we may not spend hours and hours blogging and tweeting with writer friends anymore, social media still allows us to be connected to other writers. We can find other writers out there who share the same struggles and challenges that we do. We can draw inspiration, advice, and encouragement from being able to easily interact with other writers online.
6. Helpful writing professionals. We are especially blessed that we have help for ANY issue at the touch of our fingertips. Whether we need help on how to plot our novel or shape our characters, or whether we seek the names of agents who are accepting queries or the names of cover designers, we can easily track down the information we need.
Writers are an incredibly generous group. Indies and traditionally published authors alike go out of their way to share resources on their blogs so that others coming behind can navigate the industry with more ease.
7. Continual need for more books. While there are many readers who still prefer paper books (like me!), we have to recognize the many advantages that have come out of the recent ebook revolution. Ebooks are easy to buy, download, and carry. With portable devices, people have books available to them basically wherever they go. The affordable prices of ebooks often entice readers to try new authors or to read in genres they may not have once considered.
Overall, ebooks have encouraged more people toward reading than ever before. And thus, the demand for books continues to remain high.
8. The beautiful privilege of writing. For those of us who are attempting to make a career out of writing, we can never forget the beautiful privilege we have of being able to do something we love every single day. Even though some of us have to juggle multiple responsibilities and day jobs, writing is a way to relieve stress, to lose ourselves in another world, and to bring joy to our lives.
Ultimately the creative process of writing in and of itself, even without publication, is a delightful activity, one that we should cherish and not take for granted. There are those in this world who don't have energy, time, or opportunity to do what they love because they're busy just trying to survive.
Writing is a gift. Let's never forget that.
Let's give thanks! What are you most thankful for about writing, reading, or life in general?
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