In this post, we explore what Thanksgiving can mean for writers and how they can celebrate it.
Thanksgiving For Writers
Everybody knows what Thanksgiving is. It’s the fun edition of Christmas. It has turkey and pumpkin pie, watching a parade on TV, or a football game at the stadium. Family and friends share in the festivities.
The day after Thanksgiving, on Black Friday, shoppers around the world set off bright and early on their retail therapy. All the stores offer great deals so most people start their Christmas shopping.
Writers may find it hard to write in all this buzz. And yet – Thanksgiving is a great holiday for writers, too. With so much going on, and so many people around, it can be quite rejuvenating to retreat to an armchair and take it all in.
Thanksgiving is all about gratitude. What does that mean to you as a writer?
What Writers Can Be Thankful For
Writers are privileged. They get to enjoy the most wonderful activity in the world! At least this is what the author of this blog post thinks. Don’t believe me? Let me show you what writers can be grateful for.
Books can take you to any place in this universe. You’re not even confined to time. We can read about our history, and even imagine our future. We can explore our senses and the most intricate corners of our minds. And just think about all the people you get to meet as a reader!
Stories make us understand the world around us. They captivate us, they take us on journeys through time and space. Writing stories is how we make sense of it all.
Words are the most wonderful tools. They can make us cry like a baby or sing like a nightingale. They give shape to our feelings and thoughts. Writers get to use more of these each day than any other person on this planet.
Some people are read by a wide audience, and some are being read by a friend or a family member. The number of readers doesn’t matter. What matters is that writing helps us communicate. Being read brings writers together with readers.
Leaving A Mark
Whatever you write down, it stays. Just think about how old the bible is. Writing makes thoughts no longer ephemeral. No matter how long your writing is read by others, you have left your mark.
So, what are you thankful for as a writer? Try to remember the beginning of your writing journey. What set you off? What made you believe you are a writer? What was the first thing you ever wrote?
Celebrate Thanksgiving by writing it all down. Need more ideas? Please read on.
5 Prompts For Thanksgiving
Here are some ideas to get your writing going.
Use the family dinner for research.
Eavesdrop. Family dinners are great for fresh material. Ask about family stories about aunts, uncles, and great-grandparents. Sooner or later, every family dinner gets gossipy. Just make sure that when you do use this material for writing, you change names and dates, so nobody is offended.
Research Thanksgiving traditions.
Does your family have a special thing you always do? A special dish? A special prayer? Write about what makes your Thanksgiving unique.
Focus on the senses.
What flavours, smells, songs are special for your holiday? For your family?
Change your POV.
How would a turkey describe Thanksgiving? Or a cranberry? Or a football?
Imagine a Thanksgiving in the future.
What would your holiday be like without turkeys or pumpkins? Would you miss Black Friday?
Just in case you need more prompts, Writers Write has these 10 Perfect Writing Prompts For Thanksgiving. If you still don’t know what to write about, how about some inspiration from famous writers?
Famous Authors On Thanksgiving
- Oscar Wilde on food fests
‘After a good quality dinner, one will be able to forgive anybody, still one’s own relations.’
- Erma Bombeck on food and football
‘Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not a coincidence.’
- J. O’Rourke on family get-togethers
‘Thanksgiving is so called because we are all so thankful it only comes once a year.’
- Augusten Burroughs on being critical of Thanksgiving
‘Thanksgiving was nothing more than a pilgrim-created obstacle in the way of Christmas; a dead bird in the street that forced a brief detour.’
- Ambrose Bierce on turkeys
‘Turkey: A large bird whose flesh, when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude.’
If you still haven’t found anything to write about, there’s always research. Not everybody celebrates Thanksgiving like Americans.
Is Thanksgiving The Same Around The World?
The short answer: No. And yes! Every nation on this globe has a day in the year when people give thanks. So, everybody shares that with the USA. But the exact date, the customs, and traditions on this day of Thanksgiving vary greatly.
Let’s not forget: Thanksgiving is a holiday that Americans celebrate each year on the fourth Thursday in November. Pumpkin pie, turkey, football, and parades are their idea of giving thanks.
In Germany, for example, things are very different. Thanksgiving is not a public holiday but a church day when altars are lavishly decorated with whatever has been harvested in a particular region. Then it gets complicated. Religious people can’t even agree on a date!
Catholics celebrate Thanksgiving on the first Sunday in October. Protestants celebrate it on the first Sunday after Michaelmas (29 September). You can easily guess that these dates don’t necessarily fall on the same day!
Germans do not have any pilgrim fathers to thank, nor any football traditions. Germans play soccer, after all.
Let’s look at some other examples. In India, people celebrate the festival of ‘Pongal’ in mid-January. Asians in China, Taiwan and Vietnam give thanks for a successful harvest in mid-August, when they come together to look at the moon and eat little moon-shaped cakes. Australians have their harvest season in spring. One of their prominent events is the ‘Apple & Grape Harvest Festival’ in Stanthorpe, which is celebrated only every two years. But it does go on for ten days!
However, there is one aspect of the American Thanksgiving tradition that has become universally acknowledged: Black Friday. All over the world, shops start their sales on this day, and people get ready for a shopping spree!
How Can Writers Celebrate Black Friday?
After giving thanks comes the preparation for the new year. After the harvest, farmers sow the seeds for the next season. For writers, it’s much the same.
Thanksgiving, whenever you celebrate it, is a great time to think about your writing plans for the upcoming months. Do you want to write a novel? Or short stories? How about some poetry?
Check out the wealth of information provided by Writers Write. There are roughly 1200 blog posts on creative writing, and they’re all free to access. There are also workbooks on character creation, dialogue, fantasy, grammar, setting, and more.
If you need tuition, please check out the many challenges offered by our sister website, Deadlines For Writers.
The Last Word
Writers Write also celebrates Thanksgiving today. We have a lot to be thankful for. Each month, we reach 180,000 readers around the globe who come to our website for advice and inspiration. Writers Write has about one million fans on social media. This writing community is incredible! Thank you for your continuing support.
By Susanne Bennett. Susanne is a German-American writer who is a journalist by trade and a writer by heart. After years of working at German public radio and an online news portal, she has decided to accept challenges by Deadlines for Writers. Currently she is writing her first novel with them. She is known for overweight purses and carrying a novel everywhere. Follow her on Facebook.
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