The Accomplishment and Gratitude Relationship

The Thanksgiving holiday has passed here in the US, ushering in a time of quiet reflection as I emerge from a difficult period in my life. I say quiet because I’m someone who avoids Black Friday and most of what follows. Reflecting, I’ve realized my symbiotic relationship between accomplishment and gratitude, the two driving me forward.

Riparia Tarnabeth Dellbane. Picture: CA Hawthorne

Riparia Tarnabeth Dellbane. Picture: CA Hawthorne

Looking back, I’m grateful for all I’ve learned. Each writing accomplishment along the way has increased my skills, making me more grateful and in turn inspiring me to do and learn more.

See how that works?

Let me use a related and recent example linked to NaNoWriMo.

Because of a tragic event last month I cancelled my plans for my ninth NaNo.  It’d become a tradition, but I didn’t want pressure this year. Still, as I’ve mentioned, I wrote a little each day as therapy, the amount increasing slightly some days. After the 14th of November I’d written about 16K, all in short stories.

*I wasn’t paying attention at the time, but instead looked back when I drafted this post and was shocked how little I had to that point.

The therapy, the healing, was real, and I was grateful for it. Meanwhile, my numbers climbed at an increasing rate.

I moved on to a novella, Mount Tempest, that opens with my wounded heroine trying desperately to protect her daughter. Soon after, the story takes a more romantic turn. The irony is my late month burst resulted in a NaNo’s worth of words anyway.

That’s a fun fact, though numbers matter little to me. I more care about stories, their content and characters. I care about learning. I care about having fun with my craft.

Still, the numbers were proof I’m emotionally healthier, have found a path forward, and writing is a huge part of that. Now, I’ve reached the point where my productivity is reflecting my better mindset.

This insight is invaluable given the big project I’ll begin in January 2023.

Trust in the Forgotten mood board where associated pictures are linked because they overlap. Note: Doppla the horse.

Trust in the Forgotten mood board where associated pictures are linked because they overlap. Note: Doppla the horse.

A part of me has begun to hunger for my return to the Kovenlore Chronicles. I look forward to tackling the advanced editing I spent much of 2022 learning. It was on the morning of November 29th (the day I’m drafting this) that it stepped front and center into my mind.

I’d been considering a blog post about gratitude and it occurred to me how grateful I am I have the entire series drafted and the continuity edits complete. That’s something no one can take away from me.

Those thoughts led to thinking about Riparia’s portrait, then the mood board I created this year for the first novel in the series, Trust in the Forgotten. On the mood board is the poem about Riparia. That led to pondering the story’s opening scene.

That opening might change a little in editing, but not my gratitude for the cherished lines that initiate a series…

Rain dripping off her hat’s brim, Riparia Dellbane weighed the gruesome possibilities. Any explaining a charred corpse in a Coving street weren’t good. The worst choice was the most likely choice.

Practitioners.

The mere thought, if allowed to linger, would induce shaking.

She was shaking.

In and out of the city, that was the routine. Deliver the message. Retrieve one, if needed. Escape to the open road.

Dismounted, clutching Doppla’s reins too tight, she made a slow, torturous survey, the empty street too empty for early evening. Raindrops played a solemn drumroll on cobblestones, but couldn’t wash away the stench that was cooked human flesh. It was far too late to lend assistance, of course, but was there the grim chance it was someone known to her?

Her breathing hinted the storm within, but at least the figure was too short to be Paran. “Who were you, sir? A Keeper? You deserved better—” She choked. Swallowing … that wasn’t going to happen.

Practitioners, it had to be.

“Dear Genessa, no. Practitioners aren’t supposed to be so far north, Doppla.”

Doppla snorted. Odd how it summed up the situation.

Flee the city? No, the message remained. She pulled a threadbare sleeve across her brow to remove the tangled locks sticking to her skin. All at once the twenty-ninth of Autumn New Season was as cold as winter, freezing her planted feet when she should act.

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About Christina Anne Hawthorne

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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