How great is it being a writer? Sure, there are downsides. Rejection. Revision. Poverty. And so on.
But all in all, writers are a privileged bunch. We get to write! We get to “live and move and have our being” among words, sentences, magazines, blogs, and books. We know how to use semicolons and apostrophes (well; some of us’ do anyway). We sometimes even experience the joy of knowing someone has read, maybe even been blessed, by our words. What could be better, right?
That said, however, some of us struggle to be grateful writers. We moan. We cry. We threaten to quit. But the writing life is so much more enjoyable—and effective, I would argue—for grateful writers, even if gratitude doesn’t come easily or naturally amid all the struggles and stresses we endure (wiping away a tear as I type).
So, in the spirit of the season, let me briefly suggest four great ways to be a grateful (or more grateful) writer:
Express your gratitude.
If anyone should be good at writing thank-you notes, it should be a writer, right? Of course, right. Calls and emails work too. But make it a regular practice—perhaps even schedule it in your calendar or “to do” app—to thank critique partners, editors, agents, writers group leaders, and conference presenters who have been kind or helpful to you.
Boost other writers.
I’ve occasionally said at Christian writers conferences that we’re all in this together; we’re not competitors as Christian writers, we’re co-laborers, with God and with other writers. So one great way to be a grateful writer is to praise and encourage other writers. Recommend, rate, and review their books. And thank those who’ve done that for you.
Build or join a community.
Are you part of a critique group? Book club? Online network? A grateful writer contributes to a community of like-minded souls, giving (and receiving) companionship, inspiration, and encouragement.
Appreciate your readers.
It’s such an honor to write something that others read—whether in a church newsletter, a newspaper column, an article, a blog post, a book, or something else. So when you meet or hear from someone who’s read your words, even if they’re correcting or criticizing, be grateful. Respond respectfully to their perspective. Reply to their comment. Thank them for reading.
These are only four ways to be a grateful writer. I’m sure you can add many more in the comments. So thank you for reading and commenting and sharing, etc. (See what I did there? Go thou and do likewise. Amen.)
God gave me a little gift,
not unique, but just for me,
that I could give some folks a lift
through the use of poetry.
I admit, ’twas unexpected,
for I’d not written verse before,
and its import I rejected
’till God bade me, through open door
to see my work through others’ eyes,
that they could see Him in my words,
and, sometimes, to their surprise,
they found themselves now walking towards
a God whose love they’d come to cherish,
a love that would not fade nor perish.
I really hope that this doesn’t come across as insufferable hubris; it’s an accurate account of my personal journey of gratitude, and of survival (the latter because Barb is firmly convinced that what she calls the poetic ministry has kept me, by His mighty hand, alive through cancer’d days and years to work on His behalf).
In letting the Almighty show Himself through my words, I am more and more grateful to Him for the chance, and more and more humbled, because for sure, it’s not me ‘doing’ this; the only ‘me’ in the picture is willingness to be used, and a disinclination to quit when, honestly, it hurts too much and it’s really (literally) hard to breathe.
Again, I hope this doesn’t sound self-serving; it’s just where I’ve been.
So others “could see Him in my words.” Yes, Andrew! You’ve put words to my heartfelt prayer:
Lord, may others see You in the words I write.
Shirlee, I am so honoured!
Wow! Powerfully said, Andrew! The prayer of every Christian writer should be that others would see Christ in our writing. Keep writing!
Funny, how much we need reminding to be grateful. Journaling our prayers and God’s answers can be another way to track all the reasons we have for gratitude.
How astonished I am sometimes to look back over things that once had me in knots and realize how God untangled it all for me. That’s when gratitude pours onto the page—and out into conversation with others needing assurance that our Almighty Father works on behalf of those who love Him.
Amy Boucher Pye
Such a great reminder! I immediately went to messages and replied to the kind words from a reader that I hadn’t yet responded to. Thanks!
Thank you, Bob, for great advice—and for communicating it with humor.
Going to check my to-do list for the book launch in which I’m excited and honored to be included. And I have a couple blog post readers I need to respond to.
Thank you! And thank you to all of you, Steve, Bob, Tamara, and Dan (Did I miss anyone?) for blogging faithfully. I look forward to your posts!
Andrew. I missed Andrew. Thank you, Andrew. I read and enjoy—and marvel at—your poem(s) every time you comment. 📚
Thanks for your continual encouragement and occasional sarcasm.
Powerful and perfect reminder, Bob! Thank you!
Kristen Joy Wilks
Thank you, Bob! I love the writing community I’ve discovered as I learn and grow and being grateful is such a beautiful way to be a part of it!
This is so true. I was just thinking along these lines this morning. Thank you.
Yes and ament. I needed this today. Thank you.
Always, always go to Him and ask His permission to enter His presence (when dealing with royalty, even if a close family member, it’s traditional to ask). I praise God for making me a great writer, writing with clarity, for teaching more about the gift. Then, ask help to put words down and make the story grow to honor Him. I always ask to be in His perfect will in all things, to love Him above all else. Peace to you, may all of you be a blessing on all families of the earth.
Thank you for writing blog posts for us week after week. Thank you for generously sharing your wisdom and wit. You have blessed so many of us—myself included. I’m grateful for you.