The Writer’s Life: 7 Unusual Things I’m Grateful For
The writer's life is more than a catchphrase or slogan. It's a lifestyle offering freedom of choice: where and when you work, what projects you work on, and how much time you devote to your career.
That much freedom creates a lot to be grateful for!
During my 21 years of living the writer's life, I've certainly been grateful for all the obvious, much-touted benefits. But, I've learned to be grateful for some unusual blessings also. Here are seven of them:
Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas, James, and the rest of the toy train cars bought me extra work time when deadlines were looming. I’d set up elaborate train tracks around the office floor and my little guy would happily play trains while I was typing away. It was fun, and any time spent with family is a win.
I’d thank Legos for the same reason, but if you’ve ever stepped on a rogue Lego, you’ll know why Thomas tops the list.
Back to the Future and Wild Hogs. These two films have been great companions when I need to tackle chores I enjoy the least (like filing!). I know the scripts word-for-word, so they are simply an upbeat soundtrack as I work. Writing can be isolating at times, and it’s good to have sound to break up the solitude.
Some writers listen to specific music while they write, and some listen to audiobooks when they exercise. Whatever brings you up, make a little time for it. (And if you’ve never seen Wild Hogs, the screenplay goes directions you’d never anticipate, making it both entertaining and a good study in creative writing.)
The IRS (aka The Internal Revenue Service). I’m grateful for the years I’ve had to pay them, because it meant I was making money in my business. And while there’s a pinch when you write them a check, it still means you’re earning and succeeding at what you’re doing.
I was taught by a more advanced freelancer to bank 30% of every check in a separate account. Then you always have money to pay your tax bills. Not always easy to do when you’re starting out, but it’s a good habit to get into from day one.
Subway. Yes, the sandwich shop. I grab Subway when I’m grocery shopping at Walmart as lunch for the next day. I’ve never quite mastered the actual “lunch break,” so I’m grateful for days when I can eat Subway and keep working.
Eating healthy, getting regular exercise, and taking breaks are an important part of the writer’s life … and I hope you’re better at all of those than I am! (Goal #1 for next year.)
Apple iPhone and iPad. While Apple is probably not an unusual entry for the list, it deserves a spot. Setting the iPhone timer to 50 minutes for the Steve Slaunwhite method helps me improve my focus and productivity.
And checking email from any location — in the house, out and about, or when travelling — has brought an unrivaled locational freedom. (I remember the challenges of checking voice mail from pay phones!)
Plus it’s such a great change of pace to research on the iPad from next to the fireplace.
Disney. I’m always grateful for all things Disney. I enjoy the imagination in the lithographs that line my office walls, and the opportunity to spend my days in an office decorated to spark my creativity. No cubicles and office rules!
And while I am VERY grateful to work from home, there are times when it’s rejuvenating to get away. For us, our Disney Vacation Club timeshare has been a blessing many times over.
The World Wide Web. Nothing has brought more opportunity than the Internet. The ability to work with clients from all over the world, all from our convenient home offices — there’s never been a technological advance that’s helped us more as freelancers.
I’m grateful for what the net makes possible!
Finally, it's not unusual, but I'm very grateful for work that has brought me in contact with so many dedicated, talented, and fascinating people. From emails that really do make me "LOL" to patience with me on the days the deadlines become all lumped together, I appreciate and have great admiration for everyone I work with.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States, I'd like to wish you a writer's life stuffed with much to be grateful for. That every day is an adventure of projects that bring you satisfaction, working with people you respect and enjoy. And that you have a multitude of financial blessings to make your life better, as well as enriching the lives of everyone around you.
May every day of your writer's life feel like one of Thanksgiving!
Now, what are you grateful for — unusual or otherwise? Please share in the comments …
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