Day of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude is one of the best feelings we human beings can feel. When you are in a state of appreciation, you cannot at the same time be in a state of fear or lack. So focusing on gratitude can actually improve your day, your mood, and even your sleep. Studies have shown that making a gratitude list, even in your head, before sleep, gives people more and better sleep (this works for children, too.) For more fascinating information about the benefits of gratitude, read Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, by Robert Emmons.

In honor of the Day of Gratitude, I thought I’d offer a little gratitude exercise, especially for writers. I recommend you either print this out and fill in the blanks, as quick as you can, or just jot the answers in your journal as you read through the exercise.

Writer’s List of Gratitude

3 Books I Am Grateful Got Written So I Could Read Them (Okay, not great grammar, but you get me, right?)

My list:

  1. I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb
  2. Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger
  3. Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh

Your turn:

  1. ___________________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________________

3 People Who Support Me As A Writer (Even If Still Have a Day Job.)

My list:

  1. My husband
  2. My sister
  3. The nice lady at the coffee shop who is always friendly whenever I hang out there to write.

Your turn:

  1. ____________________________________________________________
  2. ____________________________________________________________
  3. ____________________________________________________________

3 Pieces I’m Glad I Wrote:

My list:

  1. That spoof on Star Trek back in college for Donna. I had so much fun writing that and I’ve never forgotten it.
  2. My first novel, because I never thought I could ever do it.
  3. Stupid Girl, an autobiographical poem I wrote, because it got a lot of emotion out of me and onto the page so I could see it and deal with it.

Your turn:

  1. _________________________________________________________
  2. _________________________________________________________
  3. _________________________________________________________

3 Places or Things That Support You As a Writer

My List:

  1. A good cup of decaf coffee (You do not want to be in a writing group with me if I’ve had caffeine.)
  2. Bonhoeffer’s Café, in Nashua. Great coffee, lots of outlets, and friendly faces.
  3. My journal, a true companion. (I use Clairefontaine journals—love them!)

Your Turn:

  1. __________________________________________________________
  2. __________________________________________________________
  3. __________________________________________________________

3 Qualities You Love About Yourself As a Writer 

My List:

  1. My attention to detail.
  2. My love of grammar.
  3. My ability to tell a story.

Your Turn:

  1. ___________________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________________

Okay, that’s it. Fill this out as fast as you can and bask in your attitude of gratitude. Doesn’t it feel good?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Diane MacKinnon, MD, is thankful for the long holiday weekend and hopeful that she will be able to catch up on her word count for NaNo by Sunday night. She is hosting a Write-In on Saturday, November 24th, at Rodger’s Memorial Library in Hudson, NH, to join other like-minded individuals as they word sprint their way to a finished novel. If interested, or if you’d like more information, please click here.

29 thoughts on “Day of Gratitude

    • Hi MarinaSofia,
      I think we are hardwired to look for what’s wrong as a survival mechanism, but I have found the more I focus on what I have, the happier I am. I feel that I’ve been training my brain away from focusing on the negative toward focusing on the positive and it’s made me a happier person.

      Thanks for reading and for commenting!

      Warmly,
      Diane

  1. Oh wow. Now you’ve got me thinking…
    3 Books (fiction books only): A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (all time fave from my childhood); The Elegance of the Hedgehog; and most recently, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry because you’re never too old to deliberately upset your world.
    Support: Other writers who get how hard this writing thing is.
    Pieces I’m glad I wrote/am writing: An essay about parenting a child with a gamut of special needs which is the basis of my talk as a “Life Interrupted” speaker with NAMI; a sample article I wrote for an editor looking for a previously published writer (which I was not). She liked it, called me for a phone interview and I landed a staffer’s job (she bought my “sample” article which was syndicated right out of the chute – what an ego booster that was!); Judith The Giant – my current project which is a coming of age story with a VERY strong protagonist. (We can never have enough strong women in the world!)
    Three things that support me as a writer: My mind, my heart and my life experience.
    3 qualities I love about myself as a writer: I never, ever have writer’s block; I see stories EVERYWHERE; I can be ANYPLACE and write a story in my head.

    • Hey Laura,
      Thanks for doing the exercise here in the comments. I love reading your answers to the questions. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn was one of my favorites, too, although I didn’t read it until I was an adult.

      Speaking of gratitude, thank you for always taking the time to comment on my blog posts and that of others here at NHWN. I really appreciate your support.

      Warmly,
      Diane

      • Are you kidding? No..thank YOU guys! That’s part of how I keep going! Plus, so many great comments from your “regulars!” It’s a terrific blog site for writers.

  2. Thank you for providing this excellent means of expressing gratitude. I’ve shared it on my blog: Comparing Apples and Oranges http://gayingram.blogspot.com/2012/11/gratitude-day-special.html

    Writer’s List of Gratitude

    3 Books I Am Grateful Got Written So I Could Read Them (Okay, not great grammar, but you get me, right?)

    The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck
    War and Remembrance, by Herman Wouk
    The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron

    3 People Who Support Me As A Writer (Even If Still Have a Day Job..)

    My husband
    My sisters
    My critique group

    3 Pieces I’m Glad I Wrote:

    Comfrey Chatter – my newsletter about herbs
    Twist of Fate, because I wanted to make a cultural statement
    Some Write Thoughts, I desire to share the lessons I’d learned

    3 Places or Things That Support You As a Writer

    decaf coffee and dried fruit trail mix
    My little cabin
    My morning pages

    3 Qualities You Love About Yourself As a Writer

    My determination to complete a task
    My insatiable interest in words.
    Instinctively knowing when the words are right.

    • Hi Gay,
      Thanks so much for your answers to the gratitude exercise. I love getting a glimpse into other writers’ minds.

      I think determination to complete a task is one of the most undervalued skills in the world. I think that, more than intelligence or any other quality, is what got me through med school. And it’s going to get me to be a published author (one of these days!)

      Thanks again for your comments, and thanks for reading!

      Warmly,
      Diane

    • Hi Deb,
      Thanks for reading and thanks for your good wishes. I had a great Thanksgiving–I hope you did, too!

      Warmly,
      Diane

  3. I whish we had a thanks giving day in South Africa.
    Maybe then the people would have more appreciasion
    for each other and what others do for them.
    And familys could see how lucy they are to have one
    another in theyr lifes, for there are others that don’t
    have a family.

    • Hi mags551,
      Thanks for reading and for commenting. I do love that we have a day of Thanksgiving here in the USA, as do many countries. A whole day dedicated to saying “thank you.” What a great holiday!

      Warmly,
      Diane

  4. Pingback: Gratitude Attitude … | THE STRATEGIC LEARNER

  5. WOW! after reading this powerful post and doing the exercise, it brought on a sense of accomplishment in itself. as long as I have this WordPress account, the inner critic chained me with cuffs of procrastination; due to an unspoken fear that no one would truly care to hear my voice in the crowd of many. A LIE A LIE.. So as I went through the exercise, my writer’s chest began to swell and writer’s collar began to pop on its own (lol). Thank you for posting and here are my answers: [3 Books] (1) First and foremost (keeps me grounded) the Bible and the Message and/or Amplified inspired word. (written just for my personality) (2) Spiritual Inheritance-Juanita Bynum (despite our past, there is a predestination we have and we must journey through and learn along the way) & (3) Hinds Feet- Joni Tada-Erickson (getting in the place and not allowing our quirks to keep us from greatness). [3 people who support me] I had to add a fourth one because I have truly learned the importance of this individual. (1) My mom, (2) My beloved ‘earthly king’, (3) My ever supportive children and (4) Myself (if I can’t believe and support myself and passion, then how can I expect someone else to do so)? [3 Pieces I’m glad I wrote- although not published in book form as of yet)] (1) A Mother’s Heart- about the sacrifices we as mother’s have gone through and currently go through for or on the behalf of our children (especially when they don’t have a voice of their own, yet) (2) Armor Up & Embrace the Help- about allowing the super woman cape to take a rest and realize provided help, when one sees it. (3) Silent Tears I Cry- all about much transparency, heart behind the smile and much feedback. [3 Pieces or things that support me as a writer] (1) People watching-being able to see and hear people, in their most unsuspecting ways and how they interact. (2) Riding in a vehicle, on a long ride or straightaway, with my phones notepad (I hear a story unfold, see in pictures and different topics flash before me; to write about- whether lyrics or daily memoirs. [3 qualities you love about yourself, as a writer] (1) My non-ending possibilities to see (visionary) any situation (good or indifferent) and craft a writing from it. (2) My willingness, ability (non-prideful way) and love to just write! (3) My passion of touching lives through what I may pen on paper, type or write on ones heart; through the spoken words as my ink. Simply energizing post Diane. HAPPY THANKSgiving.

    • Hi Touching Lives At Bedside,
      Thanks so much for posting your answers to the gratitude exercise. It’s so great to see what other writer’s come up with. We are all so different but we all have something to be grateful for!

      Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments.

      Warmly,
      Diane

    • Hello,
      though I felt strange about you writing the bible, I thought about it and yes, yes, I can see what you mean because. I am truly motivated to buying an audio tape of the bible for many months and also, I read my bible as well. The bible, always there but I do not go to church. I have audio books I listen to or I listen to really interesting radio, for myself is ABC am. Interesting what you do to care for yourself….people watching or writing. Thats lovely. I like very much reading your email. It would be very hard for myself to continue writing to you as of my personal situation but thankyou for sharing to the world

  6. Dear Diane,
    I found your blog when was trying to log on to Radio 810 in Western Australia about writing a book. this is what I thought my husband and I could do as he has serious mental issues and well, a project to help ourselves would be an awesome thing to do and something that Ive dreamed about for many years.

    I am grateful for all that is in my life; every day;

    Like your blog it’s cool;

    3 books grateful that they got written.

    ‘Wizard of Earthsea,’ by Ursula L’ Guin.
    ‘Solitude, a return to the Self,’ By Anthony Storr
    The Astological Neptune, and the Quest of Redemption, by Liz Greene

    I will look forward to reading all your blog and answers now, look up the website and see what others around the world are influenced by.

    Anne :0)

  7. Pingback: Being Grateful and Giving Thanks | Live to Write – Write to Live

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