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Counting Your Blessings In a Word Cloud

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 4:42
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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

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