Giving Thanks for Black Friday

I’ve always harbored a suspicion that the term we use for today, Black Friday, has less to do with retail shopping and more to do with the general mood most people find themselves in after the horrific stress of being exposed to their families on Thanksgiving.

Longstanding feuds between siblings, too much alcohol, the disapproving clucks coming out of your parents’ mouths—it can be a lot to take, especially on a holiday that looks so picture perfect in all those Stovetop stuffing commercials.

If you’re one of the millions of people feeling miserable this Black Friday, don’t despair. I’m with you. But may I make one suggestion?

Use your misery.

Take all those crazy family arguments, your nephews’ sloppy attempt to play football outside (despite the rain), the way your aunt sat there reading an old Harlequin romance novel at the table like there wasn’t a party going on around her. Take it all and use it in your book.

Give thanks for Thanksgiving (and for Black Friday). Where would we be without them? Sure, you may be feeling the pain now, but suffering lies at the heart of most writers’ best work.

Dive into it: Remember every eye roll, every snide comment, every time your uncle Stewart dipped back into the whiskey bottle while still claiming to be on his first glass. Recall every detail, write it down, and make it your own.

And if you still don’t have enough to round out your work in progress? Take heart. Christmas is just a few weeks away and we get to do it all over again.

Always remember: What doesn’t kill you doesn’t just make you stronger; it also gives you great material for your novel.

Have a wonderful Black Friday, everyone!

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