As a writer (regardless of publishing status, a writer is someone who writes), when do you imagine being happy, content, fulfilled? When you find an agent? When you are published? When you hit a best sellers list? When you make a certain amount of money from writing? When you are “famous”? What if the answer to when you can find happiness as a writer is now? Yep, today, tomorrow, and the next day, regardless of publication status, rejection letters, or a miserable day job. Whatever the stage in your career, the following are steps you can take to find happiness as a writer and even become a better writer in the process.
This may sound ridiculous, but many people who have grand ideas of hitting bestsellers lists aren’t consistently engaging in the one activity that increases their chances of getting there: writing. Sure, they may think about writing; they may talk about writing; they might tweet about writing; heck, they might even outline a little. But until you have a consistent writing practice, the book, article, or blog post won’t get written. To remedy this, schedule the days and time to write, and stick to it. Just like working out, once you’ve made it a habit, writing becomes less work and more fun, hence increasing your happiness as you write.
JOIN THE RIGHT GROUP
Humans are social creatures by nature. Though writing is considered a solitary field, it’s vitally important that writers stay connected to others. To do this, beginning writers may want to find a class to learn and hone their craft. Advanced writers can benefit from regular critique groups while strengthening their writing. Querying writers might need support like grabbing a coffee while crying on shoulders as they dredge through the slush pile. Published writers may want to join forces with others that are more focused on marketing and taking their careers to the next level. Regardless of the group, finding like-minded writers is essential in order to fulfill social needs. Learning and sharing with others is a great way to improve your writing and increase happiness.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA
From interacting with other writers, learning about agents, and participating in contests, there are a plethora of reasons why engaging in social media is important. And now there is one more. Neuro-economist Paul J. Zak (Claremont Graduate University) has discovered, and scientifically proven, that social networking triggers the release of the feel-good hormone, Oxytocin. Just think about it: there’s nothing more instantly gratifying than writing something and immediately having it liked on Facebook, reposted on Instagram, or retweeted on Twitter. Writing and publishing can be a long and slow process, so writers need those feel-good, real-time encouragements that can only be given on social media.
SAY WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY
Many writers have something they want to say or a message they want to get across through their writing. Maybe they had a profound event that changed their lives. Maybe they have a cause they want to support. Don’t wait for your book to be published to get your message across. Volunteer for a cause or raise awareness in different ways if you are passionate about something. Not only will this give you happiness now, but it will also help you build your author brand and connect with others interested in your subject – people otherwise known as potential readers.
To sum it up, when you are writing regularly, in fellowship with others both in person and virtually, and connecting with your book’s message, you’ll find that happiness is attainable now. Sure we all want to be successful, best-selling authors (apparently hope really does spring eternal). But let’s not put our happiness on hold until then. Instead, let’s enjoy every step along the way.