As a writer, growth is looking back and realizing how many times your work deserved be beaten down, but wasn’t.

Gratitude is realizing all the people who didn’t beat, but encouraged you.

This weeks YA Highway Road Trip asks “With American Thanksgiving approaching, what writing-related things (or people)
are you thankful for?”

I wouldn’t be where I am with my writing without the help of some incredibly talented writers and teachers I’ve encountered. I’m thankful for the writing teachers who never told me I couldn’t. I’m thankful for the ones who suggested I attend writing conferences, where I’ve grown more in my writing than anywhere else.

I’m thankful for the writers who have gone above and beyond to help me in my journey toward publication. Their enthusiasm has kept me going so many times.

I can’t believe there was a time when I hadn’t written a novel, when I didn’t know what a literary agent was, when I couldn’t define the passive voice, or tell you when it’s okay to use it. But I know that, without the help and training I’ve received, I’d still be at the point I was two years ago.

All this to say, there are only a million and a half opportunities out there for writers. There are plenty of excuses for writing poorly–you’re young, your new, you’ve never had any training. There are zero excuses for not growing, if you want to. Attend writing conferences. Read books (books that teach writing, and books where the writing itself is a teacher).

(Side note: If you’re looking for an excellent conference, check out the Mad Anthony’s writers’ conference or the Antioch Writers’ Workshop).

Participate in blogs, library events, book signings to network with other writers, and overall write. Write like you mean it, because in a world of 6 billion people what you make might just mean something to one of them.

And they’ll thank you for it.