Why gratitude can help you lead a more joyful creative journey

Using Gratitude for a Joyful Creative Journey | Kate Johnston | Writing Coach | Editor

We’re coming to the end of a month, end of a year, and end of a decade. This kind of brings up mixed emotions. For many of us who have been dreaming of writing books, hooking a literary agent, or landing an amazing publishing deal we might be feeling a little anxious. Time is passing, and what do you have to show for it? Or maybe you’ve published a book and it’s not selling, or maybe you’re not getting reviews, or maybe the reviews you’re getting are less than encouraging. Or maybe you’re stuck. You have a story idea but things like family obligations, lack of time, or uncertainty about how to actually start are blocking you from making forward progress.

First of all, understand that if you feel inspired to write, that means you are meant to write. The story idea came to you for a reason. It didn’t come to anyone else. It is up to you, then, to decide what to do with it.

Second of all, indulge in this amazing feeling of creativity. It’s the best amiright? Who among us would ask for TIME TO WRITE for Christmas or your birthday? Give me a day that is ALL MINE, with NO INTERRUPTIONS, NO OBLIGATIONS, A GUILT-FREE ZONE, and I will choose to spend it writing.

Third of all, you must honor your muse in a way that works best for you from day to day. No one else is going to hand you everything you need for your creative journey. You must be clear on your intention, be clear on your vision. What story do you want to tell, who do you want to hear it, and why (or why not) do you want to share it at all?

At this point, your real-world self and your creative self have to learn how to co-create together.

When they’re not working together, then the two selves are out of alignment. You will face more difficulty and complication and uncertainty throughout your journey because you’ve likely dealing with unclear vision, conflicting goals, or working at cross-purposes.

One of the best ways to handle this is to make your writing time and writing habitat sacred writing space. This doesn’t mean you have to be writing every day. (Even though I’m a huge proponent of daily writing, that won’t work for people who aren’t clear on WHY they’re writing in the first place.) Rather, by sacred writing space, I mean that you need to treat whatever time and energy you devote to your writing practice with immense gratitude. No matter if it’s five minutes three times a week, or seven hours every day.

How often do you thank yourself for sitting down and writing? Is there anyone who contributes to this opportunity? How often do you thank them? Do you take a moment to look at your desk, your writing supplies, your manuscript, the view from your desk, your cup of coffee, and ever truly feel grateful that you get to do this amazing thing called creativity? How much of your writing practice do you take for granted? Do you ever stop long enough to be grateful for the internet, notebooks, authors who have come before you, inspiration from out of the blue?

Gratitude is an amazing, empowering force.

When we are feeling thankful, then we are in receiving mode. By acknowledging the things we have, we receive more of that because we’re coming from a place of openness, not resistance. When we’re open, we can receive. This means we can receive more time, more inspiration, more readers, more reviews, more success.

Obviously for this to work, then, is to connect your real-world self and your creative self so that they are both “on the same page.” The mom in you should be grateful for the extra hour kids sleep in so that you can get in more writing; the writer in you should be grateful for the conversation you overhear in the coffee shop because it inspires you with a scene in your story.

Instead of bemoaning no time to write, lack of a support system, writer’s block—try connecting your two selves together through gratitude. Spend a few minutes in your journal, on your commute, in the shower, cooking dinner, wherever feels good, and list ALL the things you are thankful for in your writing life. Go as small as sharpened pencils, Google, and fuzzy slippers to big forces such as five-star reviews, guest blogging, and new story ideas.

When we start focusing on the beautiful things in our lives and let ourselves have fun with our creative journeys, we’ll wake up one day and realize we’re living our dreams. This is because we’re operating from a place of inspired, thankful energy which is yummy receptive energy.

What are you grateful for? I’d love to know! Share your thoughts below!

Have a writerly day!

10 thoughts on “Why gratitude can help you lead a more joyful creative journey”

  1. Great post Kate with lots of great insights and thought. I am grateful for everything I have. Heck, I’m grateful for the opportunity just to wake up every day. <3 Wishing you a beautiful holiday season Kate. <3

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  2. Thanks for this encouraging and enlightening post, Kate. 🙂 I certainly have experienced being grateful for my writing and this gift, I believe, given to me from God. I just wrote a blog post on this about a half hour ago, so it’s funny that I stumble upon your post now. I don’t believe in coincidences. Gratitude daily makes my life more rich and meaningful and beautiful. Thanks again!

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    • I don’t believe in coincidences either — so neat that our posts aligned this way. I love taking the time to think about all the things I take for granted and really being grateful for them, because it makes you stop and realize just how much we truly have.

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    • Thanks, Jacqui. I hear you. It’s easy to get caught up in the middle of things that tick us off. It’s amazing how anger throws us off-balance and off-course. I guess we just have to work on it little by little. Happy New Year!

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  3. A half year ago a friend gave me a sweet gratitude journal, and I tried to write a few sentence in it every day. Then…life got in the way and I stopped the practice. This morning in the dentist chair for my bi-annual cleaning, I thought how fortunate I am to be able to take care of my teeth – have them cleaned, see a dentist. Then, when the dentist looked at my newest dental x-rays and exclaimed, “you have boring teeth – they’re all in excellent health!” I ran home and wrote in my gratitude journal. :–)

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    • Boring teeth, haha. We should want boring teeth, I suppose! I love my gratitude journal. I find myself smiling at things when I write them down because I’m overcome with the simple delights of things like wildlife views out my study window and hot, bracing showers. 🙂 Happy New Year!

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