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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Being Thankful When You’re Not

Why me?

Why did I end up with a post on Thanksgiving on a website to encourage other writers? Why, when this writing season of mine has been driest I’ve experienced in years, and with my recent job hunt, threatens to be the toughest season of all? Writing a post on Thanksgiving could only mean one thing. I had to come up with some platitude of why I’m thankful for my writing journey and sound sincere, right? Well, if you’ve come to know me and my writing you know I can’t fake it. Don’t even want to try. Besides, a while ago I already mentioned what I would change about my writing journey, so being less than truthful would be, well, lying, and I have my tagline to maintain. Always Real, Sometimes Raw, Definitely Redemptive. So let’s see if I can keep with my brand and the title of this post.

Let me start by saying I’m very thankful for many things in my life. God. Family. Friends. Health. I’m even thankful for the little things like dancing and not having a full time job right now so technically I should have more time to write. I’d also be amiss if I didn’t mention my loyal critique partner who pushes me just enough, but still I’m not consistent in my writing to give him anything to do but make bitstrip cartoons of him taunting me. So it’s not that there is nothing to be thankful for, it’s about sometimes not feeling it because my focus is off.

So my advice for being thankful when you’re not…

Don’t fake it until you make it just yet. Feel what you’re feeling. Write it out. Journal. Whine, gripe, and complain to safe, understanding people and get it out of your system. You’ll be surprised that when the negative emotional energy passes through your body, you’re left with peace. Which leaves room for…

It’s easy to be so focused on the big picture that you miss what’s right in front of you. You might have your life and career all mapped out. You see your destination, but if you don’t focus on your next step, the things you can control to hasten your journey, then you’ll drive yourself crazy and probably miss a few important pit stops.

Freedom comes with a price. Examine your life and try and figure out what price you’re willing to pay for your freedom. Is it surrendering your writing to a process you might not understand? Is it working harder or smarter? Is it letting go of worry and taking things one day at a time?

I can’t guarantee if you follow my three simple steps that you’ll suddenly get all Pollyannaish, but I do think it’s a great place to start.

Your turn: How do you embrace thankfulness when you don’t feel it?

Gina Conroy is founder of Writer...Interrupted and is still learning how to balance a career with raising a family. Represented by Chip MacGregor, she finds time to write fun, quirky mysteries in between carpooling and ballroom dancing .  Her first mystery Cherry Blossom Capers, released from Barbour Publishing in January 2012, and Digging Up Death is available now.


  1. You think you got it bad? The only way I can get published on Novel Rocket is with bitstrips. You hang in there, partner. You were called to write. You couldn't stop if you wanted to. You're a great inspiration to me and it's an honor to torment you. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Hey, don't knock the bitstrips! And your right about me not being able to quit. I should listen to you more often. I agree with Ane, you're time will come. She knows what she's talking about!

    2. I love the bitstrips, Ron. Don't denigrate yourself. LOL Seriously, they are terrific and a wonderful form of creativity.

  2. And YOU hang in, Ron. Your time will come. :) Then we'll get you up here with a really cool interview.

    Excellent post, Gina. :)

  3. Sometimes the things I've sacrificed so that I can write and be the mom my kids need, leaves me hurting and wanting for what I can't have and want the most. But even if I didn't sacrifice I would have no guarantee of those things and I do have much to be grateful for. I think I better sit down with my journal and get out some of the feelings so I don't unleash them in less appropriate ways--although it's always good to take them out on my characters, when I finally focus well enough to write. See, you're not the only one with that problem!

  4. Thanks for being vulnerable, Susan! And that journaling is NOT wasted. I keep notes next to my really good "stuff" so I can refer back to it when I write a character experiencing similar emotions. I even have a feelings journal to really dig into what I'm feeling for future reference. Even if the situations I experience are different from my characters, the feelings are similar. So even when I'm not writing, I'm writing! Nothing is wasted, right?

  5. I tell myself I don't "deserve" anything, that what God has given me is far and above what I "deserve". It's what I have to do. Entitlement doesn't become me, and I don't want to go there. I have a blessed life - I just can't argue with that. No matter about broken or unrealized dreams. I have a blessed life.

  6. Something our pastor said in his message last Sunday really hit my heart, and made me realize anew how much God loves me. He said that each of us is where we are because that's where God wants us. So I know that I'm in this stage of my writing because that's exactly where God wants me to be today. He already knows the choices I'll make and where I'll be tomorrow. It's up to me to keep writing and be patient. At my age, I know one thing for certain...God knows what He is doing and it will always be for my best no matter how hard it may be at first. And for that I am VERY thankful and blessed beyond measure.

  7. I second your very good advice about journaling those feelings and sharing with trusted friends. It is also so important to stay focused on what you want/need to do and try to accomplish just a little every day that brings satisfaction. That satisfaction leads to a little more, then a little more until maybe the writing routine is back to normal.

    1. Good advice, Maryann. So many times we are doing something right, but they're just baby steps and we can't see progress. Well, baby steps will get us there eventually. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. I agree, Martha! Still it doesn't make the journey any easier sometimes, does it? :)

    1. Yes, Gina. The journey is hard. I have a bracelet with a sea shell and the disks, one with two footprints, another with one set. It reminds me that He will carry me when the journey is at its most difficult.


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