This is a time of year when many of our enews readers are thinking about thankfulness. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful that I have work. I’m thankful for my health. But there is one thing I am richly thankful for: I am thankful for the gift of writing.
I don’t know that I’m a particularly talented writer. I make a living at it, which is relatively impressive. I keep busy, and I’m published because other people believe in my work and are willing to invest in it. But much of that is the result of the years and years and years I’ve put into my craft. I’ve been writing for publication since the very early 1980s. Quite frankly, I ought to be decent at it by now. I’m grateful for being at this end of the learning curve rather than the end I was at in the early 1980s, but there is something bigger: I’m just thankful to be a storyteller.
Being a storyteller means I’m never really lonely. When I am alone, I can simply slip into my head and tell myself a story full of relationships and action and consequences. Being a storyteller means I’m never really old. I can be a ten-year-old boy helping his big brother produce a web television show about cryptics. I can be a twelve-year-old girl who joins her best friends in entering a magical realm where they must be very brave and very clever if they are to make it out again. I can be and go anywhere I like, because of the amazing gift of telling stories. And I can tell those stories to others, or I can simply enrich my own life with them. They are always there.
The business of writing can be incredibly frustrating, and more than a little overwhelming. You have to do things that don’t come naturally to a storyteller. You have so many things that are totally out of your control, an experience which doesn’t come naturally to anyone. And yet,writing itself is amazing. It lets you live a life beyond the day-to-day. And sometimes, it lets you share that life with readers you’ll never see or touch or meet, and they’ll bring their own bits of life to it. That is nothing short of miraculous. So, I’m thankful for it.
I hope you are too.
With over 100 books in publication, Jan Fields writes both chapter books for children and mystery novels for adults. She’s also known for a variety of experiences teaching writing, from one session SCBWI events to lengthier Highlights Foundation workshops to these blog posts for the Institute of Children’s Literature. As a former ICL instructor, Jan enjoys equipping writers for success in whatever way she can.