The Writing Cooperative’s 2018 Writing Challenge
Show your gratitude
Let’s start with an exercise…
Grab a piece of paper (a Post-it, napkin, or back of an envelope will work) and a pen or pencil.
This exercise will take 5 minutes, so look at the clock and note the time or set a timer on your phone or watch. You can do this anywhere — on a bus, in your bed, in a coffee shop — as long as you have 5 uninterrupted minutes to just sit and think.
Okay, ready? Begin!
Think about all the things you’re grateful for at this very moment and write them down. Be as specific as possible, i.e. instead of writing, “My friends”, write down, “My friend Jane because she brought me my favorite tea yesterday.” After 5 minutes, put your writing utensil down.
Maybe you wrote down 2 or 3 things. Maybe you wrote down 10 things. The number doesn’t matter. What matters here is that you took some time to reflect on your life and identify a few things you feel gratitude for.
Experiencing gratitude on a regular basis is thought to lead to greater happiness and optimism. Writing down what you are thankful for is only one way to feel gratitude. You might get the experience through meditation, journaling, or by writing thank-you notes. A thank-you note is a win-win situation. They improve the writer’s mood by serving as an expression of gratitude, and they improve the recipient’s mood by serving as a kind, and maybe unexpected, acknowledgement.
And so, for the November Writing Challenge…
We challenge you to write a thank-you note.
Start by choosing something off the list you just made in the exercise above. Is there a person on there you could write to? Or a place or thing? Expand upon the idea you jotted down and write a full blown thank-you note expressing your gratitude.
Here are a couple resources explaining how to compose a good thank-you letter:
- Here’s How to Write a Great Thank You Letter (from Grammarly)
- Being Thankful: Thank-You Note FAQs (from Emily Post)
And, if you’re on the fence about actually sending your letter, consider this:
“New research showed the recipients of an emailed expression of gratitude felt much more ‘ecstatic’ than writers expected.” — Heather Murphy, New York Times
- Stories for this month must be written in the form of a thank-you note.
- The note must be published on Medium. (It’s up to you whether or not you want to actually send the note to the intended recipient…though it is encouraged!)
- To be eligible to win the monthly prize, stories must be published on Medium on or before November 30, 2018.
- Tag your story with “WCNov2018”.
- Entries must be shared in the #challenge channel in The Writing Cooperative’s Slack community. Our Slack community is free and open to any writer. If you’re not already a part of our Slack group, you can find out how to join here.
The winner will be the thank-you note shared in our #challenge channel that has the most claps at the end of the month. Be sure to share your story on Twitter, Facebook, or whatever other media you prefer to promote your story. It’s also to your benefit to get your entry written as soon as possible for maximum exposure.
Win Exclusive Swag
The winner of each month’s challenge will receive a prize pack* that includes an exclusive Writing Cooperative-branded tote bag and notebook.
We’re also giving props to Juliett Papa’s poem, “The Demon Bartender” which was a close second-place:
Thank you to everyone who participated! You can find all the entries under #WCOct2018.
( *Winners located outside the United States will receive a gift card of equivalent value due to the cost of shipping. In the event of a repeat winner, the prize pack will go to the runner-up. All 12 prize recipients will be eligible to win a grand prize at the end of the year. )