Thankful for Being a Writer: Happy Thanksgiving to All
November is the month to express gratitude, so it fits that this blog post is dedicated to personal thankfulness. While there are a few things I’d change about myself — let’s not go there; that’s a different post — being a writer isn’t one of them. To the contrary, I wouldn’t trade being a writer for anything.
While writers have varied and interesting (well-deserved?) reputations, this blog is dedicated to the wonderful traits that comprise being a writer. I contemplated a variety of skills and narrowed it to three: Insightfulness, patience, and willingness to be alone. While there are many, many others, those three comprise the traits for which I’m most thankful. Those God-given abilities are some of my strongest skills; I value them because I believe they comprise my writer-identity. Without them, I couldn’t be a writer. While technique can be studied and craft can be practiced, certain traits must comprise a writer’s DNA. Or, this writer’s DNA, anyway.
Question: What traits are you most grateful for? Do you know? Are you willing to ask?
Writers have a gift, a magic. We find treasure. We find hidden meaning, true motivation. We read between lines; we find truth. We trace random ideas to overarching themes, sometimes when authors or their characters are oblivious to them. In short, writers are insightful creatures. We understand that words on a page are so valuable that nothing written or spoken by a character is ever random; every moment in a well-written story has weight, meaning.
The greatest aspect of being insightful is that writers enjoy it. We like solving the puzzles of humanity. Like a mathematician that spends joyful hours wrestling with numbers, writers spend similar effort poring over words and phrases. Seeking meaning based upon keen instinct is in our genes. Don’t play Balderdash against us, include us on your team. We relish in discovering evasive behavior and obscure words.
To enjoy a novel means to savor a novel. By definition, to savor means to enjoy completely. Writers understand that good writing is meant to be consumed slowly. That means word-choice is appreciated; paragraphs and chapters are read and re-read; and reading sometimes is halted entirely to contemplate and create images in one’s mind. In short, good books should never be rushed. On occasion, I’ve encountered books so superb that I delayed the ending, stopping at mid-point and returning to the beginning to savor and study each page.
In addition, putting words to page takes the patience of a 2017 Green Bay Packers fan. Further, after a novel is written, edited, and queried, the resulting agent and publishing decisions takes the patience of none other than Job.
Willing (and Happy) to be Alone
This idea is misleading because no writer I know is ever truly alone. Rather, the best thrive in something called productive solitude or productive discomfort. Most writers crave isolation, and if they’re not putting words to page, they’re reading. Books are an evening’s entertainment, and favorite authors and their characters become a writer’s beloved friends. If a writer is lonely, the cure is located in a keyboard, a bookshelf, or in the stack of tomes at bedside. Most writers I know don’t consider being alone a hardship; in fact, they prefer it. They would rather spend an evening reading than doing almost anything else. (No offense to family and friends; it’s just a writer’s nature.) We’re wired to seek and enjoy solitude. It’s refreshing, it’s our creative space, and it’s where we immerse ourselves into make-believe worlds created by like-minded writer souls.
I am enormously grateful that I enjoy solitude. It means I accept myself and enjoy my own company. I’m willing, simply, to be.
I couldn’t imagine not being intrigued by books and stories, by not having the urge to put words on a page. I’m thankful that my inherent skills — insight, patience, solitude-seeker — match my passion. It’s almost as if the good Lord knew what he was doing when he created me, eh?
Happy and safe Thanksgiving to all!
As always, happy writing.
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