Writing as an opportunity for gratitude


Writers complain. A lot.

And really, they have reason to. Does the guy who drives the truck full of books from the warehouse to the bookstore have to hold down a day job so he can pursue his love of truck driving? That’s a nope, but the people who create the objects he’s transporting often do. Most people in publishing do not make mint, but most of them don’t live as though their job is a hobby.

For writers, most of them have to squeeze writing in between work and family duties. Then, when they’re published, they find that things completely out of their control threaten to (or do) sink their book.

Lousy covers. Delayed royalty payments. People who send nasty reviews because they want the writer to see the reviewer’s contempt. There are a million indignities to be endured and worst of them all is the strong possibility that a writer will outlive their own career.

But there are good things, too. A review by someone who gets the book. An enthusiastic bookseller. Beautiful cover art. Beautiful design. A kind word from another professional. A happy reader.

I think that anyone within a (virtual) mile of me knows that I’m running a Kickstarter. In fact, I’m writing this post on Friday night but scheduling it for Saturday morning, 12 hours before the campaign closes.

Going into this thing, I knew I would have reason to be grateful. Even if it never funded, I would be grateful to everyone who pledged and everyone who helped me put the project together. My wife was endlessly patient with that damn video shoot. My kid was enthusiastic about making art for the stretch goals (and the Tejohn Minecraft skins). And others, too, that I’m not sure I should specifically name, who looked at the preview version and told me what to cut or change.

But the response from readers has really been beyond my expectations. I could type out thank yous until my fingers fall off and it still wouldn’t seem like enough.

And you know what? This is pretty much on par with my experience as a writer. The fact that I can string together words into a narrative means that I have been the recipient of astonishing kindness, from things as simple as a word of praise to as complex as offers to replace my writing computer or attend events at a convention.

If there’s one thing about being a writer that has surprised me, it’s the tremendous amount of gratitude it has brought into my life. So thank you.