By Liz, grateful it’s not super cold yet!
It’s the most grateful month of the year.
You all know that, though. It’s November, after all. November and gratitude are kind of synonymous. And if you’ve been following the blog, you know we’re doing giveaways all month to show we’re grateful for our readers. Our Wicked Wednesday posts cover everything we’re grateful for, from agents to mentors to the little things. We are all blessed, and we know it.
And that means being grateful for everything, even the things that don’t seem so great. It’s been a challenging month for me personally, so I’ve been trying to put extra attention on all those blessings in my life — large and small. The people, pets and experiences that I’m incredibly lucky to have in my life. Being able to write books that make people happy. Being part of a community. I could go on.
But this year, it seems important to show that gratitude differently. We’ve all spoken a lot in the past couple of weeks about “doing something.” About making a difference, being kind, speaking up. We’ve all seen opportunities where we can make a positive impact on someone’s life. This comes in many forms, whether it be standing up for someone who’s being treated poorly, or listening to someone who needs a friend. Buying someone a cup of coffee. Actually doing something, not just thinking about gratitude.
This year at Crime Bake, I had two experiences that brought this point home. The first was when I stepped out of a session to sit for a few minutes in one of the hotel’s common areas. A lovely woman approached and asked me to sign a book. I did, and then I invited her to stay and chat. She told me about the project she was working on during NaNoWriMo, and how she hoped to finish her book soon after. I told her I had no doubt she could do it, and that I expected to see her back at Crime Bake next year with a finished manuscript and ready to pitch. Her whole face lit up and she thanked me for the encouragement. She walked away happy.
And when I was packing up my car to leave the conference at the end of the weekend, another woman approached me outside the hotel. We’d met at Malice. She told me that when we’d spoken back in May, I’d been very encouraging about her work. So now she wanted to tell me that she’d finished her book and was shopping it around. She also thanked me for taking the time to encourage her back then, and wanted to share her next steps in this journey.
I walked away from both of these interactions full of gratitude for them, when they thought it was the other way around. But really, it goes both ways, right? “Doing something” doesn’t have to always seem big, like stepping into a fight to stand up for someone. It can be as easy as telling someone, Hey, I was where you are once. You can do it! It’s as easy as telling a person who had a positive impact on you, however large or small, that they did. Both of these things demonstrate actually showing gratitude by passing that feeling along to someone else.
And boy, if these little things start to add up, imagine what an impact we could have?
Happy Thanksgiving, readers and friends. The Wickeds are grateful for all of you.
Have you had a gratitude-filled experience lately? Tell us about it below. I’m giving away another copy of Murder Most Finicky to one commenter!