“It’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy.” I found this quote on the internet the other day. A friend encouraged me to start a regular gratitude practice, and since I have, I’ve noticed that no matter how foul my mood, my gratitude practice lifts it every time. I tick off 25 things I’m most grateful for that day. And as I’m listing them, I feel layers of weights lift off my shoulders.

So today, if I were to focus my gratitude practice on my art, it would start out like this:

  1. I’m grateful for the opportunity to pursue my writing in all its forms.
  1. I’m grateful for my writer’s group, which taught me most of what I know about good writing.
  1. I’m thankful for that grumpy newspaper editor who took a chance on a history major who had never written an article before.
  1. I’m thankful for my first mentor, Susan Stacy, for whom I worked as a research assistant at PBS. She built up my confidence and convinced me I was going places.
  1. I’m grateful for my fifth-grade teacher who didn’t believe I’d written that poem because, “No fifth-grade student could write a poem this good.”
  1. I’m grateful for my mother, who told me time and again she believed I would be a writer someday.
  1. I’m thankful for my father for instilling in me a love of good literature.
  1. I’m grateful for my three kids who used to read with me every night and edited my books to make them better.
  1. I’m grateful for my writer’s coaching clients, who teach me, inspire me, and remind me why I love helping writers achieve their dreams.
  1. I’m grateful for William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Bill Bryson, Frank McCourt, Charles Dickens, Neil Simon, Maya Angelou, J.K. Rowling, Jane Austen, and so many other writers who taught me to appreciate that each writer has special gifts and a unique voice.
  1. I’m grateful for school kids who tell me “I thought history was boring before you came to visit” or “I thought I was a bad writer before I met you.”
  1. I’m grateful for all the reporters, bloggers, podcasters, and radio hosts who have invited me to share my stories about being a writer and asked questions that challenged me.
  1. I’m grateful for computers, because pecking away on an electric typewriter is hard when you’re not a good typist.
  1. I’m grateful for my husband who is my best friend, soul mate, champion, and patron of my art.
  1. I’m most grateful for the men and women of the World War II generation who have shared their stories with me and given my writing purpose.
  1. I’m also grateful in advance for whatever is coming next in this crazy, glorious writing journey. May it never stay the same!
  2. And, of course, I’m thankful for you, dear reader. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!