Counting Your Blessings In a Word Cloud

Wednesday, November 23, 2016
So here it is, the day before Thanksgiving, and I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that many of you might be overwhelmed…the cooking, the cleaning, the stressing. You need a moment or two, just a little time to gather yourself so you can actually, you know, enjoy the spirit of Thanksgiving. That’s where a word cloud comes in.

And for this exercise to work well, it’d be nice if you had a gratitude journal.

My gratitude journal is more of a gratitude list. I’m a big fan of lists. Lists are easy. Lists are quick. And so before I go to sleep every night, I list five things/people/intangibles for which I’m grateful. There’s something about counting my blessings that helps me dwell on the positives rather than the negatives of the day.

But if you don’t have a gratitude journal, you can just make a regular, old school list. Make it a long list, though; free write for maybe ten minutes, typing every little thing that pops into your head, and don’t worry if you write the same word over and over again. In fact, make it a point to add that bountiful blessing as often as you need it.

Now it’s time to go to a word cloud generator. These are cool applications that will take a whole bunch of words and make them into a graphic. It’s a great tool that allows you to “see” your writing which can be helpful in many ways. For example, you can plug in a manuscript and find out if your protagonist’s name shows up often…or if instead, the word “bologna” dominates your story. (If bologna is your protagonist, then you’re fine. But if your protagonist really likes bologna and you’re writing about a sandwich meat to the point of obsession, then you might want to make some changes in your manuscript.)

There are lots of word generators, like WordItOut, Tagul, TagCrowd and probably the best-known, Wordle (Note: if Chrome is your browser, you’re not going to be able to use Wordle). They’re free and very accessible. Seriously, if you can copy and paste, you can figure out how to create a word cloud. I went with WordItOut to make this graphic from my journal’s list of November blessings. The whole process—taking a break, listing your blessings, creating a word cloud, printing it out—will take maybe a half hour.

Just thirty minutes for you to see how truly blessed you are! You can even put your word graphic in a simple frame from a dollar store and make it the centerpiece for the holiday table, wherever that may find you.

So relax, y'all! I have a feeling that those lovely words might be the best dish you serve this Thanksgiving.

~Cathy C. Hall


Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--I hope your Thanksgiving tomorrow is wonderful. (I hope you don't have to cook, although when you cook, you get all those great left-overs.)

A word cloud that's better than my homemade cranberry sauce? I guess that's true--the word cloud will last forever...

Oh, I guess that cranberry sauce and pie and mashed potatoes will last forever as well--on my hips.

Have a great day tomorrow, Cathy. You have lots of followers who will be raising a forkful of dressing or a glass of wine and thinking of you--and all the other writing friends we have.

Margo Dill said...

I love this idea! :) Happy Thanksgiving!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

And now I know why Wordle won't work for me. I should have known you'd have the answer. I'll try one of the others. :) This is a wonderful idea that I'm about to go play with. You know, of course, that YOUR name will figure prominently in mine. Thanks for being awesome.

Donna Volkenannt said...

Thanks for this post, Cathy. I like the idea of a gratitude journal. It is something that focuses us to think about what we have to be grateful for.

Linda O'Connell said...

I am going to be talking to high school students soon. I shall pass this idea on. Thank you!

Debra Mayhew said...

Wow! Great minds really DO think alike! What a cool way to keep track of the people and things that have played an important role in the day to day of life. I'm excited to see my name in your cloud. If my daily thoughts and prayers were turned into a cloud you'd be front and center. :)

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