Writer Happiness in 2014 by Margaret Aslanis-Nystrom
Many people believe happiness is something they should run after as a major goal. They chase after happiness as if it was something that could be owned or touched or even earned. That is why so many people think they will be happy through the things they buy or consume. Small moments of happiness is obtainable, but is short-lived. Haven’t you wanted something, saved up for it, and got excited once you had it, then had buyer’s remorse soon after? Or, the excitement of the chase wears off as soon as you get what you wanted and the newness wears off? It is because things or consumerism, does not have lasting meaning. Instead, our relationships, our calling, our passions, and our memorable experiences are what makes our lives meaningful.
Lasting happiness is possible, but not as a goal. Long-term, meaningful happiness is a feeling and a state of being that is experienced through the ups and downs of living life to your fullest potential. It’s about life satisfaction. It is something that is threaded through days of experiences of connecting with others, ourselves, and the world around us. It is not solely connected to a person’s income, class, or educational status. It explains why some people in poor countries can feel greater happiness than countries that are rich in income and resources. It explains why Mexico has a greater life happiness than the U.S. The U.S. has more cases of depression than any other country in the world and is also considered the richest country in the world.
Happiness is not something you should make a goal in the first place. Instead, it is a by-product of a life that is well-lived after basic human needs are met. A well-lived life includes risks, many failures, difficulties, and yes, at times, unhappiness.
This includes writers. Most writers feel happiest when writing. Do not confuse happiness with ease, comfort, or lack of difficulty. Writing can be and is difficult many days. It is the process of writing, the act of writing, the art of writing, the journey of writing that makes us happy. It is the connections we make with our writing. It is the life of meaning that we build through our writing. It is a life of happiness that is filled also with disappointments, failures, risks, and doubts, which is part of the other side of the happiness coin. You can not have fulfillment without disappointment. You can not have innovation and creativity without risks. You can not have confidence without doubts. You can not have happiness without unhappiness. It is an ongoing experience through which we continuously permeate. It is rarely a linear experience. It is more of a maze of experiences where you find your way to the end, only to go on to the next new maze or re-enter an old one. A writer is rarely happy with one novel, one poem, or one article, etc. We are always looking ahead to the next new project that engages us or excites us, even before we finish our current projects.
So if you are looking for happiness as a writer, search for it by living the life you want to live. Make it your goal to become the writer and person you want to be in small steps every day and add to those steps. Practice your craft. Connect to the world around you. Surround yourself with other people doing the same. Writers willing to support you, mentor you, and connect with you. Do the same with others. Create the experiences and opportunities you need to grow as a writer and as a person. Connect with nature, which feeds your soul. Connect to your own nature. Take a walk daily regardless of the weather and eat healthy foods. Find the routines that are not only healthy, but feeds you emotionally and spiritually. Write about or think about, the things you are grateful for. Mindfulness in our daily lives helps to improve our happiness. If you are feeling sad or depressed, do these things and do something for someone else.
Many studies show when we think and do things outside of our own interests and our own needs, by doing something for someone else in need, we often feel better, or happier. Maybe that is another secret. Not looking for ‘happiness’, but being, ‘happier’.
I wish you much writing joy, and yes, happiness, in 2014.
- The Writer’s Control Guide for Procrastination and Writer’s Block: 101 Management Strategies.
- What’s the difference between a happy life and a meaningful one? (bps-research-digest.blogspot.com)
- The Writer and the Old Year (mentzer2150.wordpress.com)
- 9 Writer’s Resolutions for 2014 (rubberduckycopywriter.com)
- 3 Gifts for You the Writer (stephanieromero.wordpress.com)
Feeling stuck or need help with procrastination or writer’s block? Margaret’s award-winning blog, http://afterwriterdreams.com/, is a motivational content blog for writers. She is an author, educator, artist, guest radio speaker, and monthly guest blogger/columnist in N.C. She has taught children and adults for 40 years and created over 25 blogs. She also writes articles and psychological thrillers. Read her new ebook:The Writer’s Control Guide for Procrastination and Writer’s Block: 101 Management Strategies.