Things This Writer Is Thankful For

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I don’t know about you but in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it’s more apparent than ever how much I have to be thankful for. Nothing like the biggest and worst storm on record to make you appreciate the little things in life.

Here’s a short list of the things I’m thankful for in my writing life…

The Internet

Research can be fun, but it can also be a major time suck. I’m so grateful for all the wonderful historical blogs and sites that make it easier to find the nuggets of information I need. Google Books is worth its weight in gold for first person historical accounts.

A Supportive Family

Writers are a special breed. Not everyone understands or respects what we do. We trudge and toil at our keyboards, learning about craft, conflict, and point of view until our eyes bleed. We get up early, stay up late, and squeeze in breaks during our day jobs to get ideas out of our heads and down on the paper. All with the hope that someday, somehow, someone will buy our stories.

And then you get rejected. Soul-crushingly, gut-wrenchingly rejected. Your perfect little baby, so shiny and new, now out in the world all alone…and then it’s ripped into a thousand tiny pieces and shipped back to you in a metaphorical pine box.

Thank goodness for our spouses, partners, siblings, parents, and children who encourage us. They may not understand they why or the how, but they keep us from jumping off the Tappan Zee when the going gets rough.


Rejection is the worst. (See above regarding soul crushing.) It sucks. It sucks so hard that we need to come up with a new word for “sucks.” But we have to be thankful for rejection. How else will we learn the plot holes? The faulty logic in our premise? The lack of depth in our characters?

While it isn’t fun, we have to appreciate the honest criticism we get back from agents, editors, and contest judges. Better them than an Amazon reader review that will haunt you till your grave.

Critique Partners/Group

I’ve said it before, but I’ll reiterate how lucky I am for the Femmes. I’m so thankful to have found a group of like-minded, talented, smart, and generous women. This year has been rough for me, both personally and professionally, and the Femmes have been consistently supportive in ways not even related to writing.

Many of you have your own critique groups and partners, so you know how important your support network is. They listen to your ideas, they offer advice, and they pat you on the back after yet another soul crushing rejection.

And did I mention WINE?! Writers like wine.

Next month is going to be exciting on the Femmes. Jenna Blue will kick off our holiday story round-robin next week, so don’t miss it.

Also, if you haven’t entered our contest to win a Nook Simple Touch, this is YOUR LAST CHANCE! We’re drawing the winner on November 30.

Have a great week,

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  1. Swap the wine for rum here. Hi, Char from Australia, budding writer and role player. I find that being part of a group of writers, that meets on Skype, and does creative writing together, we tend to read each other’s work all the time. This is good for me, since I can get the two thumbs up, or a raspberry, if I suck.
    Love the blog. You have a new fan. ❤

    • Welcome, Char from Australia! How did you hear about us?

      • Actually came across you here on wordpress. I totally loved your article, and was able to relate a bit to what I do here on wordpress and another client. Really great to see the network you have here, and I am so looking forward to reading more from you all. ❤

    • Hi Char! Thanks for commenting, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. Skype–what a great idea, especially for brainstorming and bouncing ideas around.

      We love Australia. The Hemsworth boys? Enough said! I’ve heard that you have a supportive, fun group of writers there. Tessa Radley is a member of our local RWA chapter, and we all love her.


      • Sweet. Nice to meet you too, Joanna. In fact, as we speak, I am helping a lad with weapons details for his combat character. Helps with skype, since we are all on at different times, but there is usually someone on, that can answer questions and help others. ❤

  2. Oh, Joanna! You are too funny! I have a new quest in life…to find a new word for “sucks”, lol! One we can actually use in public, that is.

    So thankful to have you and the other Femmes…who, when the going gets tough, make me laugh until I’m crying. You rock! I’m looking forward to our holiday get-together, and more wine.


    • Glad this made you laugh. We can all use a little of that, right? I’m also looking forward to getting together. It’s been too long!

  3. Ditto to all of the above. Family support, beta readers and yes, even rejection, are like the difference between a hackney and a well-sprung carriage on the road to publication; both will get you there, but only one cushions the bumps along the way!

    • I love that you worked in a historical reference here. And it’s so true. We hate the rejection, but it comes with the territory. Of course, some hurts worse than others.

      And I am thankful for YOU, my friend, who spent an hour and a half on the phone with me a few weekends back to help with my plot issues. You’re a miracle worker, I tell you!

  4. Jenna Blue

     /  November 26, 2012

    Joanna, I love this Thankful Writer post. It’s dead on, and laugh-out-loud funny, even as we groan along with you. Will try hard to think of a bigger, badder word for “sucks.” I am thankful for You, dear Femme, and all our other writer pals.
    PS: Diana, love the hackney comparison!

    • Glad it made you laugh! You and the other Femmes help keep me sane, so I figured I was overdue for a shout out. And you get more of my grumbling when we carpool, so you really deserve a pat on the back.

  5. I spent almost half the time since I’ve been writing trying to write and re-write my story myself, afraid to show my work to people. It’s hard putting your writing, your baby, out there for others to comment. But you’re right, Joanna, better to take the hard-face truth from friends and peers than an Amazon review. Since I’ve met all you wonderful ladies, I feel more confident in my ability as a writer. And when I struggle, I know you’re all there to lend your opinion and suggestions. I’m thankful for all of you. And love that we all share a passion for wine and chocolate!

  6. R.A. DeFranco

     /  November 30, 2012

    Excellent post, Joanna! I love your list of things to be thankful for as a writer. While I’m not a Femme, I feel so blessed to be surrounded by all of your positive energy and the opportunity to share in the journey. I would be lost without my CP’s as well. Rejection…eh…yep, it sucks! I’m not really sure that there is a better word for it. Maybe after a few bottles of wine one can be found! 🙂 I think so much of what we’re facing in regards to rejection right now is an industry that is changing by the minute. It impacts the agents and editors just as much as us. As soon as the industry shifts, so does what they’re looking for, or what they think they’re supposed to be looking for. As for support of family, when the rejections get me down, I’m so blessed to have my little supportive clan. Knowing that they believe in me makes all the difference in the world! You know what though? At least we’re all putting ourselves and our work out there. It takes a lot of courage and resilience to be a writer!

    • So true, RoseAnn. It’s not easy, and it does take a lot of resilience. Also patience, which is not my strong suit! We’re so glad to have found you as well, and I always appreciate your advice and support. Someday we’ll get there! 🙂


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