I have noticed yet another Facebook trend in which a photo appears in my feed (usually of someone’s children/spouse/partner/friends/various family members/holiday/dessert) and beneath it is a message stating ‘So blessed to have these wonderful [moments/children/pets/family members/friends/carrot cakes]’.
Here is my issue with these posts. By stating that the individual posting is ‘blessed’, or even ‘feels blessed’ (which I guess would be similar to stating ‘I feel like it’s raining’, in the hopes someone will confirm the beginnings of rain drops), this individual is suggesting others are not blessed. Being blessed implies that you have had something special and holy conferred upon you. It implies that others are not blessed, and therefore [your deity of choice] doesn’t care if the other person has lovely memories/children/family/carrot cake. That perhaps [deity of choice] just doesn’t like those other schmucks, and if they’ve got a crappy life unworthy of Facebook, then so be it. Screw em.
But, I don’t think this is the true sentiment of the ‘I am so blessed’ posters. I think what these people mean to say is that they are ‘thankful’ for their carrot cake memories.
So, what does any of this have to do with writing?
It has to do with feeling ‘blessed’ versus ‘thankful’ about writing. Recently I was having a discussion with a babble (the collective noun I believe should be used for a group of writers) of talented authors, who each bemoaned whether or not they were gifted enough to carry on writing. They wondered if they were ‘blessed’.
First, I should state that these individuals are not talented. They are excellent writers, but talent would suggest that writing ability is bestowed upon a person from on high. No, these writers have worked hard, studied their craft, followed a career path in literature, language and writing, and — most importantly — spent years practicing. They write: novels, short stories, essays, anything.
These individuals aren’t ‘blessed’; they’ve worked damn hard to appear talented. They are professionals, even if they don’t always get paid for what they do. So, in my not so humble opinion, they should not worry about talent but be thankful for the time, support, and education they have received.
This can apply to us all, whether you’ve put 10,000 hours into the craft or ten minutes. We should not worry about being ‘blessed’ but be ‘thankful’ for our time to write (even if it’s just in five minute bursts on the Tube), our literacy, and — most importantly — our desire to even write. Those should be what we focus on, and when that happens we’ll stop worrying about the creative writing gods.