Here in the United States it’s Thanksgiving time—Thursday, November 26th to be exact—and it’s a day of fantastic food feasts, with the bonus of a long holiday weekend ahead.
More importantly, it’s a time to reflect on what makes our lives so special and rewarding and what makes us thankful when we think back on the current year and the events that have shaped our lives in the recent past.
As my life has evolved from a clinical pharmacist into the world of writing fiction, I’ve come to realize how special and rewarding it is to be an author.
Although there are challenges in each and every endeavor we attempt and with each life decision we make, writing has been most rewarding for me in many ways. A few of the “special perks” of being a writer, and the ones for which I am most thankful for, include:
(1) My Life Experiences: We all have life experiences from which we draw on in our daily lives, but a writer has the special privilege of being able to share some of those experiences with readers and, especially as a fiction author, I shape those experiences in special, entertaining ways. It’s those life experiences that help develop my story plots, refine my character developments and influence the dialogue I write. I’m thankful every day for new experiences that help me become a more creative writer.
(2) I’m Allowed To Fantasize As Much As I Want: Writing is one of the few professions where it’s totally acceptable to live in a fantasy world and still not be considered mentally unstable. I love that I can have imaginary friends (my characters) and can communicate with them anytime I want. I’m thankful that I escape reality on a regular basis and still have those around me think that’s perfectly normal.
(3) I Can Be As Manipulative As I Want: The reality of the modern, civilized world involves consensus and compromise on a daily basis to achieve one’s personal goals. A writer doesn’t have to worry about that. If you write non-fiction, you’re considered the expert. As a fiction writer, I’m allowed to write believable lies and dictate what happens in every scene I create. I tell my characters what to say, how say it, how to think and how to act. I’m thankful for the opportunity to function as an all-powerful deity and have my characters cooperate in that effort.
(4) I Make People Think, Smile and Frown: Writers, through their words, reach out and touch their readers’ hearts and minds in special and meaningful ways. Whether the writer’s work is fanciful fiction, serious drama, or non-fiction, the reader’s world is forever changed by the written word. I’m thankful that I can entertain my readers—and possibly educate them in the process—while giving them the opportunity to experience a world different from their own.
(5) Time To Write: It’s often a struggle to find the time to back away from reality, sit at my computer and immerse myself in the imaginary worlds in which my characters live. Often, the real world continues to figuratively knock at my office door. I’m thankful for those times when I’m able to be absorbed into the worlds I’m creating for my characters. That time is very special and extremely personal to me until the manuscript is complete and ready to be shared with others.
(6) Time To Read: No writer, and no writing talent, is ever complete. Having the time to read stimulates my mind to be more creative and teaches me to be a better author. Writing is a time-consuming profession and I’m very thankful for those occasions when I can enjoy the talents of other authors.
(7) My Mentors and Contemporaries: There are many writers, essayists, poets, editors and bloggers among my list of friends. I value their talents and especially their opinions about my work. I particularly value the suggestions from my wife, my first editor. She’s the one person who has the opportunity to see my work before anyone else, and I’m thankful for her patience. I’m grateful for my writer friends who take the time to read whatever I’ve written and for their help to mold me into a better writer. It’s a generous gift they share with me and I very much appreciate them.
Happy Thanksgiving! And I wish you success at being thankful on a daily basis.
Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!