4. Staying focused on the positive. View your writing life as a series of opportunities and growth experiences, even though some experiences (like rejection slips) may involve pain.
Daily there are good things to focus on though. Focus on the excitement of finding a good idea, or researching a fascinating subject, or working in a quiet library where you can still smell the stacks of books.
In the same vein, avoid worry, anger and depression wherever possible, and if it’s a part of your life, stop and deal with it. In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron says: “the truth is that too much torment and too much depression can make it as difficult to write as to make the bed, wash the dishes, do the laundry. To the depressed person, writing may present itself as one more chore. For this reason, we are actually working on our writing when we directly address the larger issue of our happiness.”
5. Spending time socializing with other writers. Form writing and critique groups. One word of caution, though: choose WORKING writers, not just people who like to talk about writing someday or go to workshops. Choose writing friends who actually are committed to writing consistently and trying to improve.
Iron sharpens iron. You need writers who will hold you accountable, not for sales, but for trying, for studying the markets, for revising, for doing thorough research, for your daily journaling, or whatever writing activities you’ve chosen for your growth. And if the writers you meet with stop writing, don’t feel compelled to remain in the group. Drop out and find other working writers to socialize with. You will help each other along.
The Whole Truth and Nothing But
Believe it or not, winning an award or being on the bestseller list would NOT change your writing life, either for better or for worse. That’s because fame and fortune (both which are fleeting, I’m told) are not the elements of a good writing life any more than being thin guarantees happiness for women.
Incorporating the above five elements in your life will do a lot more for creating a happy writer. The best part about this news is, of course, that these five attributes are totally under your control. They don’t depend on the shifting markets, changing times, or fickle public taste.
Each attribute of a happy writer’s life is attainable by every writer. So start today. Right now. Change your perceptions of what a successful writer’s life entails. (It’s probably better than you’ve imagined.) Then go out and make it happen for yourself.