Monday, May 30, 2011

Guest Post: Being Grateful & a giveaway

Today we get to have a guest post by Brian Cohen.  He suggests that a good caption for this picture is "Author Bryan Cohen is grateful that someone is holding the horse he's riding with a rope so he doesn't gallop away."  What do you think?

I will now turn the post over to him.  He will explain the giveaway attached to this post!

Being Grateful
By Bryan Cohen

We live in a world in which the bad things that happen to us are reinforced by our social interactions, the Internet, and our minds. Friends tend to talk about the crappy things that happened to them since the last time you talked. People post their shortcomings, failures and insults on the Internet to gain sympathy and for humor’s sake. In addition, the mind naturally gravitates toward adding emphasis to the most negative things in our lives. I used to be involved in the thick of all this negativity just like everybody else. Ever since I’ve pushed myself in the opposite direction, however, the quality of my life and my career as a writer has shot through the roof.

A lot of people associate negativity with realism. They think that they have to talk about the awful things in the world and their lives and do it in a mean, sarcastic way. You know, because that’s the way the world works. Here’s the thing though, the world tends to look exactly how you paint it. If you paint it to be a painful place that is a constant struggle, it’s most likely to be that way. Fortunately, if you think of the world as a loving place in which good things tend to happen, your life will typically follow suit.

I’ve read many books about prosperity and happiness and in them gratitude is a very common theme. The books that talk about money say that if you appreciate the money you have, and appreciate the money that you will have in the future, you will eventually get more of it. While I wavered on this point as “too spiritual for me” for a while, it has passed the test for me with flying colors. I didn’t really try the experiment at 100% though until reading Marci Shimoff’s Happy for No Reason.

Marci takes gratitude to a whole new level in the book. Not only does she recommend increasing the gratitude you have in your life, but she suggests diverting focus away from all the negative things you think, say and do. Of course, there are bad things in life that happen from time to time, but we tend to think about them and talk about them and act upon them long past the point we need to. Marci discusses the need to slowly but surely stop blaming people for things that go wrong in your life; to stop talking and thinking about negative things that have happened in your past (or even your immediate rear-view mirror); and not to talk or think about bad things that have happened to other people.

If you start choosing to talk about positive things and to think about the good stuff as often as possible, you’ll get used to it. It took me years to get into this mindset and I’m still certainly not perfect with it. Always trying to be grateful for what I’ve got and what I hope to have hasn’t always been a cakewalk either, but I’m getting better. If I have a quiet moment alone I send up a little prayer thanking the universe for getting me to this point.

I know, I know, it sounds like hippy-dippy mumbo-jumbo. But, if you want to give a happier, healthier and more successful life a try, gratitude and positivity is certainly a good direction to take.


Bryan Cohen is giving away 100 personalized writing prompts to one giveaway entrant chosen at random during the blog tour. Personalized prompts are story starters that cater specifically to a writer’s subject matter, strengths/weaknesses, etc. Cohen will create the prompts to cater exclusively to the winner. He is giving away free digital copies of his book The Writing Sampler to everybody who enters, which includes excerpts from each of his four books on writing. The book contains essays, writing prompts and tips and tricks to enhance your writing skills. In addition, for each of Cohen’s books that reach the Top 500 on Amazon during his blog tour, he will add a $50 Amazon gift card to the drawing (up to six $50 cards in total)!

To enter, simply post a comment to this blog post with your e-mail address. Entries will be counted through June 2nd, 2011.

Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. Since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he has written four books (1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Sharpening the Pencil: Essays on Writing, Motivation, and Enjoying your Life, and Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job), several plays (Something from Nothing and Chekhov Kegstand: A Dorm Room Dramedy in Two Acts) and he was the head writer for an un-produced Web series (Covenant Coffee). His writing and motivation website Build Creative Writing Ideas has had over 100,000 visitors since it was founded in December 2008. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Follow Bryan on Twitter @buildcwideas.

Thought I would add some links to make it easier to get to his books on Amazon. :0)


  1. This sounds interesting! Since writing is still just a "maybe" in the back of my mind, I would love the prompts. Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. Thanks Theresa, I hope the prompts can turn that maybe into a big fat yes :).

    And thank you Lisa for letting me be a part of your blog for the day!!


  3. I loved reading this post. Really lovely.
    And I would love to win a copy :)

  4. Sounds great

    gfc follower

  5. Great post! I'd love to be entered for the giveaway!


  6. Hi There,

    I consider this post to be words to live by...and I would surely love to win the personal writing prompts...but at the very least I will really appreciate the copy of the book, so my email is
    The sum total of my writing so far is a little blog that is the link to my favorite post so far...I hope you'll check it out...Pinkim from TrulySimplyPink

  7. This looks really interesting! Thanks for doing this!

    hnwhitlock2000 at gmail dot com

  8. Krystal Larson edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom Thank you so much for this giveaway! The book looks really cool.

  9. Thanks everybody for the awesome comments! I'll be sending your books along shortly :).


  10. Cool. Thanks for the chance to win!
    hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu


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Have a wonderful day.