5 Seconds that Will Change Your Writing Career for Good

Close-up of the word gratitude on a piece of paper pinned on a cork board

Confetti and congratulations were flying this month when the Houston Astros baseball team won their first World Series in their 55-year franchise history. They #EarnedHistory in a hard-fought battle.

For a city that had been submerged under 40” of rain in four days following Hurricane Harvey, it was a happy, welcome win for Houston.

In the midst of the celebrations, there was a lot of gratitude in the air … from the coaches, the city, the fans, and the players.

Their World Series rival, the LA Dodgers even published a full-page ad in the Houston Chronicle congratulating them on their win. (Classy move, Dodgers!)

The Astros second baseman, and new Major League Baseball AL Most Valuable Player, Jose Altuve was a favorite of the press because of his enthusiasm, incredible heart, and spirit of good sportsmanship. (There’s a viral clip online of him spontaneously giving away his World Series hat to a young Venezuelan fan at Disney World that made even sports writers misty.)

Then there’s the viral tweet showing a handwritten note and gift Jose sent to JJ Watt.

If you haven’t heard the story, JJ Watt is a professional football player with the Houston Texans. JJ had been watching coverage of the flooding on TV and immediately set a goal to raise $100,000 to help people suffering in his native Houston. He didn’t just reach his initial goal … he beat it in a big way. He raised over $37 MILLION!

Here’s the message in Jose’s note:

JJ —

From one H-town brother to another, thanks for all you’ve done this year for the city we call home. Your support for all things Houston — from hurricane relief to being our number one fan — has been nothing short of incredible.

So, I hope you’ll accept this fine whiskey gift I gave all my teammates following our championship win because to me, you’re absolutely part of the squad.


Image of tweet showing thank you note and gift

Genuine gratitude warms not only the heart of the recipient, but also the giver … and anyone else who gets to witness it.

In fact, gratitude is an excellent life practice, and it’s becoming well-known as a smart business practice, too.

Studies show that gratitude gives you more energy, increased self-esteem, and greater optimism.

It improves your intelligence — both on an emotional and an intellectual level.

And, according to the research of psychology professor Robert Emmons, gratitude improves mental, physical, and relational well-being.

Better still, the benefits you get from practicing gratitude are long-lasting. I wholeheartedly believe it, because I’ve experienced it …

Back when I’d first fallen in love with the writer’s life but had yet to find any paying clients, gratitude kept me afloat. I was at a precarious time in my freelancing career, where giving up seemed like the easier and likely option.

Thank heavens I started keeping a daily gratitude journal. Every day, I forced myself to add a new entry.

Initially, I wrote about being grateful for the opportunity to write. I was grateful to have found copywriting. I was grateful for my computer.

Once I even wrote about being grateful for paperclips.

Gradually, my entries turned into gratitude statements about clients I’d landed. Projects I’d worked on. Friendships I’d formed with other writers.

The amazing thing is how much that gratitude journal helped me through low points. It helped me persist when I felt like I was failing.

Wondering why it works so well? Because focusing on what you’re grateful for is the first step toward being deliberate about what you want in your life. It’s how you get clarity about what’s important to you and what’s important in your writing business.

Gratitude doesn’t have to be complicated. Along with a gratitude journal, here are some other areas you can include gratitude in your writing business:

  • Say “thank you” — and mean it. If a client offers you a project, thank them for thinking of you. Acknowledge the personal effort required on their end to single you out and give you a chance.
  • If you work with a team, show your appreciation. You may be focused on the freelancing lifestyle, but there will be times you work with others to see a project through. You can promote mutual success for the team when you show your gratitude.
  • Recognize the folks who help you move forward in your goals. Maybe it’s a writing buddy, maybe it’s the incredible team at AWAI, maybe it’s someone at home who encourages you each day. So thank them, or show your appreciation with a card or gift or gesture. Acknowledge anyone who lifts you up so you can achieve your writing dreams.
  • Trust others. A little-known way to show gratitude is to trust those who work with you or help you. So trust another writer to critique your copy. Trust your friends to listen to your goals and give advice.

If you want more ideas, consider the poll we took last February in Barefoot Writer Magazine, where we asked members how they express gratitude to writing clients.

Here’s what they said:

  • 60% send a grateful email
  • 54% put a handwritten note in the mail
  • 25% make a phone call to say thank you
  • 2% pop a gift in the mail
  • 8% send a thank you gift annually or around the holidays
  • 6% send clients a gift card or gift certificate

If you haven’t yet started writing for clients, you can still make gratitude part of your writing career. Like I mentioned, I’m a big fan of keeping a gratitude journal.

Even easier, you can start each day with a quick moment of gratitude. Close your eyes and think of one person or one thing you’re grateful for.

It only takes five seconds and you’ll be glad you did it.

Practice gratitude daily and you’ll become a better entrepreneur. You’ll get a mental health boost. You’ll persist in your writing goals.

Just five seconds. That’s all it takes.

Editorial Note: We can’t say it enough … We’re grateful to you, our readers and members. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

One more thing …

Believe you can reach your goals!

Imagine this … Jose Altuve is from Venezuela, where they were so poor, he had to hope and plan at night to even find a baseball to practice with.

Jose was convinced by his dad to go to an Astros tryout. He was 16 and only 5'4" and 140 lbs. He was asked not to come back. He came back anyway, and said, "Are you sure? I just want a chance." The Astros eventually signed him for $15,000.

He's now played seven years in Major League Baseball and won a World Series, American League Most Valuable Player, All-Star Batting Champion, and MLB Player of the Year.

Grit and gratitude. Swing for the fences. You can't miss.

Do you have a gratitude journal? What are you grateful for today? Share with us below in the comments.

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Published: November 23, 2017

3 Responses to “5 Seconds that Will Change Your Writing Career for Good”

  1. I taught a "Living with Diabetes" segment of our local diabetes education classes several years ago. As part of my presentation, I made sure to include thoughts about the positive effects of gratitude. I challenged the newly-diagnosed attendees to write down at least 3 things that they were grateful for, and to do it for 2 weeks, and then another 2 weeks after that. Gratitude can be a major force for healing and better health. Thank you for your inspiration today.

    Karole Hough

  2. What a timely article for me. After two training classes with AWAI, reading 10 books on copywriting, blogging for 2 years and 0 clients, I must implement gratitude in my life ASAP. I was at a business conference two weeks ago & one of the speakers stated to wake up & go to bed thankful.The universe is trying to tell me something.

    Regine Baptiste

  3. I once heard a sermon titled, “An Attitude of Gratitude”. I’ve long forgotten the entirety of those twenty minutes, but the title held the gist of the message.
    It’s been years since I received those words and the thought that went with them, and they are still with me.
    Sensing gratitude in our relationships and situations opens the door to positive feelings. And, with positive feelings positive outcomes are inevitable.

    Guest (Dutch Bowker)

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