First read Writer Imaging: Your Vision of Success.
According to our most reliable sources—happy writers—the “good writing life” is actually dependent on the following conditions:
1. Staying active, writing every day, even if it’s only a journal entry or your Morning Pages, as promoted by Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.
2. Staying organized. Many writers claim that they’re better parents, spouses and friends when they’re writing. I can attest to that myself. This is where being organized comes in. When our offices overflow with stacks of unanswered mail, unread newsletters, and scraps of paper everywhere, the messiness often makes us depressed and antsy, unable to sit down and work.
On the other hand, being organized calms us and makes us want to write. This becomes a daily “happiness” habit after a while. Elaine Fantle Shimberg, in her book Write Where You Live, says organization builds routines. And “routines created to fit your personal schedule and time commitments can quickly become work habits. These habits help you to assume the professional persona as soon as you enter your office space… Routines help you prevent sliding into procrastination,” a nasty habit that can make us unproductive and miserable.
If you need more help with this, get my free e-book at the top of this blog: Rx for Writers: Managing Your Writing Space and Your Writing Time.
3. Staying productive with meaningful work. When we’re working on a project that feels important, that we know will benefit our readers in some way, we’re happier writers. These tend to be stories and books we need to write, such as the book that “in some way speaks profoundly to the core of his [the writer’s] beliefs, the emotional and spiritual and intellectual center of his life” (from Philip Gerard’s Writing a Book that makes a Difference). When your work is meaningful to you and touches others’ lives, you’re a happy writer, whether it ever makes you rich and famous or not.
(We’ll talk about the last two requirements for a satisfying writing life next time.)