Monday, November 21, 2011


THE THANKFUL WRITER: 11 ways to appreciate you’re
blessings in 2011

The calendar has finally rolled around to November. That time of year when everyone indulges in more candy than they should. That time of year where people begin counting the days down to Christmas. That time of year where family gatherings are planned with individual efficiency.

Wait, stop the presses!!

My most favorite part of November is Thanksgiving: Giving Thanks for all those things that bring out the best in my life. Notice I didn’t say just the positive things because sometimes those negative events shape our character as much as the positive. So, really, it takes both sides of life’s coin to shape us and make us happy.

So as writers, let’s stop for a moment and count those events in our lives for which we should be thankful. I can’t speak for each of you, but I can share some of those things that made the top of my list.

1. I’m Thankful that God gave me not only the desire to write, but the talent and the ambition and the courage to follow my dream. Writing is often hard work. It can be lonely. It can be frustrating. It can be freaking fantastic! What other job can you work during the time of day when you’re at your best? What other
job can you work in your night clothes and do housework in between chapter breaks? How cool is that?

2. I’m Thankful for my wonderful husband- my number one cheerleader- and my children- who keep pestering me to get my book published already. They’ve learned not only to fend for themselves when I’m absorbed in my words, but they work with the inconveniences caused when I attend my local writer
chapter meetings and go to conferences. My husband especially recognizes how much writing feeds into my happiness, and he often encourages me to keep going…even when I really don’t want to hear it.

3. I’m Thankful for my mother, who only reads Nonfiction True Crime books, announcing that although romantic suspense wasn’t her kind of book, she’d definitely read mine when it’s published. Not if, but when. How encouraging is that? Wonder how she’d feel if I ever finished my paranormal story? Hm…

4. I’m Thankful for my critique partner, a truly awesome woman who contacted an unknown quantity and said, “Hey, how would you like to be in a critique group with me?” I mean, let’s be honest, she really didn’t know what she was getting into here. But, over time we’ve worked together and found how to best complement each other. My details to her big picture. My plotting and planning to her pantzing. And, we’ve rubbed off on each other, making both of us better writers. When either of us receives a bad judge’s contest score, or great news, or simply need to brainstorm with each other, we know we can count on the other. There is one thing we haven’t quite figured out yet. How to merge the early bird with the night owl. Yep, we’re still working on that one.

5. I’m Thankful for my local writing group, Georgia Romance Writers. Through this group I’ve received some of the best instruction and assistance in improving my writing, met many amazing writers, and realized there are other people who can get as weird as I can. I mean, where else can you meet other people who collect words like antique coins? Feel normal among the masses?

6. I’m Thankful for the published authors God has granted me the privilege of getting to know. Who’ve given me advice. Who’ve offered to read my work and send back notes on how to correct what wasn’t working. You know who you are, and to you I say, “Thank You!”

7.  I’m Thankful that God has provided me with a full-time job. Yes, there are many days- most days- when I groan because I’d rather be writing, but let’s look at the facts. Working a day job, forces me to set my priorities, forces me to be disciplined, forces me to set goals. And let’s be brutally honest, a day job keeps me from having to worry how my bills will get paid so I can focus on my writing.

8. I’m Thankful for the ability to enter my work in contests. Yes, it can get expensive if contests are entered indiscriminately, but if you learn how to research the best contests for you, there are a lot of positives you’ll get in return. Critiques received from contests help hone your work and help you see patterns in your writing to avoid. (Even the bad scores and hurtful comments, if looked at objectively, almost always provide a few insights into your work.) Contests provide a deadline for unpublished writers in getting their work completed. Contests provide a way to get your work into an editors hands while avoiding the slush pile of doom if you final.

9. I’m Thankful God has met my writing needs with technology advances. When I was in college (no I won’t tell you how long ago that was) all my papers had to be completed on a typewriter. Very time consuming and expensive when you’re pulling an all-nighter and mistype often. I love my laptop, my netbook,
my iPod touch, and my e-reader, all of which make my writing life easier.  Let’s face it, when you have limited time to write, anything that helps you accomplish your goals faster is worth it.

10. I’m Thankful to have the internet at my fingertips for researching. When working full-time and raising a family, spending days at the library simply isn’t always possible. Let’s face it, if the only time I can find to work on my story is midnight, I can still get my research done. Yes, I have children and know firsthand the pitfalls the internet can be to those who haven’t developed good judgment in choosing websites to visit, but that’s what parental controls are for and passwords so certain persons can be banned from the computer if

11. I’m Thankful for all the awesome blogs out there that provide so many opportunities for writers to learn more about writing and for readers and writers to connect. It’s awesome how online communities are being built across cities, countries, and continents. I never would’ve thought I’d get to know someone in Australia, New York, Minnesota, or even my home state of North Carolina through blogs. It provides awesome networking opportunities for introverts like me who often embarrass themselves when they open their
mouth but don’t have a problem communicating through the written word.

For me, keeping that attitude of Thankfulness, helps keep me pointed in the right direction. It helps me keep a perspective on my situation when things are not going so well. This writing road we’ve chosen to travel can take years to reach the milestone of publication so we have to guard our outlook and our goals. Living in Thankfulness gives individuals the weapon to fight defeat, failure, and depression.

Now, it’s your turn. What are the things for which you’re most Thankful?

If you leave a comment, you'll be entered in a drawing to win a $5.00 gift card from Barnes & Noble or Amazon so you can buy your favorite book.

Want to know more about Dianna Shuford? 

Dianna Shuford is a multi-finalist in the prestigious Maggie Award for her manuscripts Fear Not (receiving 3rd place in 2008) and Charmed Deception (receiving Honorable Mention in 2009 and 3rd place in 2011).  She was also a 2010 finalist in the Genesis Award: Romantic Suspense Category for her manuscript Charmed Deception.  Most
recently, her manuscript Charmed Deception was announced a finalist in the 2011 Finally A Bride contest.

She is an active member in her local RWA Chapter, Georgia Romance Writers, serving as a current Board Member and a category coordinator for the Maggie Award. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and visits the local ACFW WORD chapter whenever possible. She is a member of a critique group and mentors new writers whenever possible in an effort to give back to the organizations in which she’s involved.

Dianna graduated from Georgia State University with a major in Education, works as a high school teacher, and helps her husband maintain their family owned business along with caring for their three children.

Be sure to visit her website:


  1. Hey, Sandie and Dianna! Great post!

    Dianna, I'm most thankful to God for a healthy, happy family. I'm also thankful I can work in my pajamas! :)

  2. Dianna, what a great post...


    For these babies. For all babies. For young families and the miracle of life!

    Which means sticky fingerprints and runny noses and stinky diapers but also toothless grins... baby powder fresh... clean cotton... cooing sounds.... belly laughs.

    I'm grateful for babies!

  3. Hey, Missy! Isn't working in your PJs phenomenal?

    Good health is always something to be grateful for. We do tend to take that for granted, don't we? Need to add that to my own list.

  4. Ruthy- it's great seeing you here! Thanks for stopping by. I'm thinking you must love children, right? I like babies too, but I must confess that I like being able to give them back to their parents.

    My teenagers are doing me in right now, but I am extremely grateful for them. They are a blessing also, even when they threaten my sanity. LOL

  5. Dianna, I'm thankful for a lot of things--my husband, children, in-laws, and three grandchildren; my extended family; friends; roof over our heads; food on the table; my day job; my students and their families, who make going to work every day such a pleasure. But the most important thanks have to go to God, who by his grace sent his Son to die for us so we have eternal life. I love my life here...but I'm really gonna love my life with HIM! God bless.

  6. Diana, thanks for reminding me to take time to not only remember but be grateful for the small things in my life. I have a wonderful family who encourages me to follow my dreams. They're my greatest cheerleaders. I've had a challenging past two years, with my husband and sister's illnesses, but you know what-I'm still grateful and know that I'm blessed.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed your post today!

  8. Anna, a woman after my own heart! I will say, however, that I need to work on being more thankful for my students. Some days that is so hard!! But, they are my mission field as I keep reminding myself.

  9. Pamela, having an encouraging family always makes a big difference, and I'm sure you're as much a blessing to them as they are to you. Many times where we focus our thoughts is what pulls us through those trying situations. Being thankful for those small things is one major step in the right direction. Keep pushing forward, Pam!

    I'll keep your family's health in my prayers.

  10. Edwina- thanks for stopping by. I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit.

  11. Great Post Dianna!

    There's so much to be thankful for. This season it's great to show gratitude. Love it!

  12. Hi, Alicia! So glad you could stop by. It's so encouraging to stop and count all the things that we are thankful for isn't it? A positive perspective.

  13. Thanks for the post, Dianna. I love the part about the typewriter. I don't think I'd be a writer today if I still had to use one of those hateful things!

    I'm thankful for my wonderful, supportive family, too. And for a great day job that is almost as much fun as writing...though I can't do it in my pj's!

  14. Laura, so good to chat with you here. Unfortunately, I did used to type out stories on a non-electric typewriter that was my mom's, but I don't know how serious I would've gotten with that piece of technology either. I guess that would've been a true test of dedication.

    Supportive families and a great day job are truly treasures to hold on to.

  15. Hi Dianna @ Sandi! Great post, girls.
    Can I just say "ditto" to what Anna Doll said. She basically summed up all that I'm thankful for ... minus the grandchildren. I don't have any of those,my children are way too young, LOL.

    Dianna, I love that your mom doesn't read your kind of book, but said she will read yours when you get published. Sweet. And I'm thankful for an awesome critique partner as well. I'm a better writer because of your friendship, your encouragements and last but not least, your tough edits, girl. Keep 'em comin' !!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

  16. I'm thankful for the ability to write and that people are touched by the stories. That God reaches through our words to brush the balm of laughter or encouragement to readers in need of it.

    Great post, Dianna!

  17. Hey, Cheryl! My prayers are always that God will use my words to touch those who read them also.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Christy, you were able to drop by! That's super encouraging. And, I can say I'm thankful for your input on this post. Aren't critique partners the best?

  19. Dianna,
    Thank you so much for being my guest! I thought your article was fantastic. I'm thankful for a husband who is my biggest cheerleader and is willing to let me charge off down the road toward my goals without reminding me that they're dust bunnies under our bed....or at least I'm sure there MUST be a few down there...I haven't looked lately. (g)