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November 27, 2014

The Best Reason to Blog — 2014 Edition

Harvest basket of colorful decorative gourds with text: The Power of Gratitude

Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S. The day we eat too much food, roll our eyes at the antics of our extended family, and think about all the things we’re grateful for. Or in my case, see if I can sneak in some NaNoWriMo words while everyone else is taking their post-turkey nap in front of the football game.

(I’m sadly serious. I love Thanksgiving, but this holiday isn’t helping me catch up. Anyone have a Time Turner I can borrow? *panics*)

This Thanksgiving post is now an annual tradition on my blog. Four years ago, I revealed that the best reason for me to blog is all of you. The post three years ago reiterated that point with my gratitude for all the friends I’ve made via blogging and social media. Two years ago, I confessed my love of the blogging format because of the connections possible. Last year, I revealed that blogging for you pushes me—in a good way.

And gee, what a surprise! All of you are still the best reason to blog! *smile*

The Power of Gratitude

The reason I do this post on an annual basis is because gratitude is such a powerful tool.  Thinking about what we’re thankful for forces us to pay attention to our priorities and what matters most to us.

The daily grind of pulling teeth, er, words out of our head, of facing rejections or bad reviews, or of slogging through marketing and promotion can make us forget why we do what we do. Being grateful for the good things—whether that’s the joy we feel when writing goes well, the excitement of wanting to share our work, or the appreciation of our readers—reminds us of the positive aspects. So for me, taking the time to be grateful for all of you makes blogging worth it.

Using Gratitude to Form Connections

I recently tweeted a link to a post by Dan Blank that made me cry because he talks about what it means when we truly embrace our audience. Unless we’re writing just for ourselves, connecting with readers is usually one of our main goals for our work.

As Dan said:

“The real goal is that moment when a fan connects so deeply with your work… It is a place where the boundary of artist and fan is broken, and you are two human beings sharing something unique together.”

I haven’t had that experience with a reader of one of my stories yet. But I had several experiences of an overwhelming connection with readers of my blog this past year.

When I attended the Desert Dreams regional conference this past spring, multiple people came up to me and said, “Oh my gosh! You’re Jami Gold. I love your blog!” They wanted hugs and selfies and a sense of that connection.

As an introvert, that experience was odd to say the least. *smile* Introverts generally cringe at being the center of attention, and because my fiction doesn’t debut until next year, I still feel like a nobody in many respects. So to be honest, I’m not sure I reacted as well as I could have—or should have—to validate that sense of connection. (So if I disappointed you when we met, I’m sorry!)

think I handled the situation slightly better when it occurred at the RWA Nationals conference this past summer, but I don’t know. Is meeting an awkward dork what they wanted? *wink*

Now, I don’t bring up those experiences of mine to brag (or to make fun of my dorkiness, as the case may be), but to share that yes, a sense of connection is what we often want with each other. So thank you—all of you—for allowing me to connect with you through my blog.

Just as I try to be there for you with my posts each week, you all were there for me this year with my brother’s brain surgery. (Tangent update: He still has some paralysis, but he’s slowly recovering.) I plotted all of your prayers and healing wishes on a map so he could feel the support from around the world, and I can’t tell you how much that outpouring meant to me or my family. We were all shocked (in a good way) and profoundly grateful.

It felt powerful. These connections feel real. They are real.

The opportunity to connect with you in our own sincere or dorky ways is the reason I blog, and for that, I’m lucky to have you. Thank you!

Does stopping to feel grateful help you focus on your priorities and what’s important to you? Have you ever deeply connected to others through their writing? Have others ever deeply connected to you through your writing? How does that make you feel? (Am I alone in my I-don’t-know-how-to-handle-this introversion?) Is there anything special you’re grateful for this year?

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What do you think?

8 Comments on "The Best Reason to Blog — 2014 Edition"

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Deborah Makarios

I’m thankful that this year I got to leave my Dreaded Day Job and focus on writing! I need to keep reminding myself how awesome that is, and remember not to waste this beautiful opportunity.
One day I hope my writing will mean something to more than just myself – one day!

Avery

Jami, I love reading your blog–though I seldom make a comment. This year (besides being thankful for family & friends) I’m thankful I’ve found the time to rewrite a novel that needed work. And it is now in the editing stage. I’ve been able to get my contemporary story, not only outlined but have finished chap. 1 and have written (hopefully) many useful scenes. Sadly, my blog sits stagnant. I have plans to revise my website which will also change the focus of my blog. I understand the time I have for writing is limited so I think the writing of my stories must be my priority. But while I write, I am working on how I want my website and blog to look even though I have nothing to show for it. For a long time I worried about “my presence” online and because of it, I wrote nothing at all on my stories. I found myself wasting time playing silly games and being thoroughly discouraged. My point is that once I became determined to stay focused with some aspect of my writing, everything in its proper time will fall into place. And with this decision, I find some peace. Good luck with your NaNoWriMo! 🙂

Gloria Oliver

I think even us extroverts really enjoy making those connections, even if we’re not 100% ready to deal with them face-to-face. Heh heh. Keep at it!

Glad to hear your brother is improving! Great news!
The idea of putting all the get well wishes on a map for him? Priceless! That was a totally inspired idea! Go, Jami, go!

Petrina Meldrum
Petrina Meldrum

I’d just like to thank you, Jami, for the time and effort you put into sharing your knowledge with others through your blog. I’m a fairly new subscriber, but have already benefitted from reading your posts. Take a bow. You deserve it.

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