One Thankful Writer

Posted by Rita Lorraine

Writers have a lot to be thankful for, especially writers fortunate enough to be born into the technology generation. So in the spirit of true thanksgiving, I present to aspiring writers everywhere one thankful writer’s “what I’m thankful for” list.

Without further ado, here’s what I’m thankful for…though not necessarily in this order:

1. Computers –In my day, the IBM Selectric typewriter ruled. It was bulky, it had a pesky ink ribbon that I never learned to load without getting ink all over myself, and it needed accessories, like a clotted bottle of White Out for those horrible typos you just couldn’t avoid. But…those days are gone now, and good riddance to them all. Thanks to the inventor of the computer!

2. Word Processors – The word processor is a liberator; it set me free. Back in the day, I had to type, white out and re-type, and sometimes I had to crumple the paper and start all over again. But now I can create, edit, and print documents; cut and paste paragraphs, and rearrange pages until my heart’s content. Yeah, I love me some word processors!

3. Spell Checkers – Gone are the days of manually searching for typos until your retinas burn. I’m as thankful for the spell-checker as I am for its creator, who I’m convinced must certainly have been a sheer genius.

4. Word Counters – Ever counted the words in a 110-page document one. at. a. time? I did. But word counters perform this traumatic task now, and for this I am eternally grateful.

5. SCBWI.orgThe Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators helps writers connect with professionals in the field and novices who have the same questions they have. I’m so thankful for this organization, because through its existence, I’ve made many friends, had many questions answered, and established many wonderful pen pal relationships. Thank you!

6. Writing Listservs – You couldn’t ask for a better way to meet published writers, chat with aspiring writers, read about agents and editors, and pick up tid-bits on the craft. Writing listservs are the bomb! I belong to several, but if you’re looking for the perfect listserv, logon to YahooGroups and find the one that fits your needs. Thanks to whoever invented writing listservs!

7. FundsForWriters – I just love Hope Clark’s FundsForWriters newsletters. They’re free (unless you want to super-size it and get a paid subscription), they’re chock-full of information, and they’re delivered right to your inbox. But even better, Hope takes the work out of finding the money. It’s out there; all you have to do is go get it. Thank you, Hope!

8. WordPress software – Since the debut of WordPress, blogging has never been easier. WordPress software is free and there is a huge gallery of themes and plug-ins to make your writer’s blog shine like the top of the Chrysler Building. Check it out and create your online presence. I’m thankful for WordPress!

9. Fleishman-Kincaid Readability Test – Thank God for this clever test, because without it, I’d still be peppering stories for young children with words better suited for young adults.

10. Mr. Sandman – He doesn’t always come when you need him, but when he finally shows, Mr. Sandman packs a wallop. My own children are grown now, but I remember what it was like to try to write with rambunctious children in the house. Thanks, Mr. Sandman, for your knock-out punch.

11. Online Critique Groups – The tech-savvy generation will probably never understand what us old heads went through, but I’m thankful that writers no longer need to juggle impossible schedules to meet and mingle. We can now email or Skype or Instant Message to get and give the assistance every writer needs.

12. Free Online Writing Conferences – The best things in life truly are free, and two of the best things I experienced this year were the online writer’s conference, and the Muse Online Writer’s Conference. I made new writing friends, submitted first pages, received critiques from professionals in the field, and honed my writing skills. And for this I’m very thankful!

13. Email – Gone are the days of spending hundreds of dollars shipping full’s and partial’s off to publishing houses that have no intention of reading a word of your unsolicited masterpiece. These days almost every publisher, editor or agent requires an email submission. They get your work faster, and although this may mean they’ll reject it faster, at least you don’t have to go broke getting the bad news.

14. Skype – I’m a trekkie from way back, but I never dreamed I’d be video-conferencing – or Skyping, as they call it – like I do today. I’m so thankful for this genius program, because it has helped me meet writing professionals I may never have had the time or money to meet, and it has helped me attend conferences I might have had to miss because of distance or financial challenges. Thank you, creators of Skype!

15. You – Without visitors, this blog would be just another lonely corner of the world. A virtual corner, yes, but lonely just the same.

Best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving,

Rita Lorraine

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