|My happy place. Reminds me of my boyfriend and I in Key Largo.|
Gamma Hawdon actually contributes her advice in this thoughtful blog post about the real ways authors can keep themselves happy. I'm reading it at a time when I've just had an interesting discussion with my boyfriend about the process of writing. I think I make it sound more agonizing than it truly is; but, to some degree it can be an arduous process. I compared it to something like rehearsing a song. The writing component is far less glamorous. You can co-author with someone if the company suits you, but I wouldn't do it because writing itself is so isolating. It has to be, at first. You have to filter some of your influences into the world you build. And for authors like me, trying to build a fantastic world, it really requires you to believe fully in that reality. I have to live it for my characters, so they can be as real as possible. And that takes time, thinking, getting lost in the process, and sometimes being a social kook.
And this takes me back to my original point: Gemma Hawdon's article.
Right off the bat she comes to terms with the outdated modes of thinking. In order to be a true writer, you have to:
- Live and/or breathe your work.
- Become obsessed with your work.
- Live a tortured life where, without your work, you're unhappy and irritable
- Dilute your story with lyrical and superfluous words and statements (she gives an example)
- Don't feel bad if you don't write every day.
- Write when and how you like.
- Writing is only one part of you.
- Inspiration comes from living. So whenever possible, live!
- Don't get burnt out.
It's easier to dispel pearls of wisdom when you've already accomplished your goal. But sometimes happiness looks different when you're somewhere in between being an experienced writer and a budding author. This is not my first attempt, but it's the first one I fight for.
Let's start with the basics. What's the end game? Is there one?
Personally, my goal is to push this book, and other succeeding books, out into the public mainstream and get paid for it. I believe it has potential to be as good, if not better than the current authors on the market. Somewhere between Charlaine Harris and Chuck Palahniuk. The former with regards to genre and the latter... dark, biting humor. Anywho, that's my goal. And my happiness is aligned with achieving that goal.
If you're not a novelist, then Hawdon's five paths to being a happy writer may work for you.
For someone like me, it can... with some minor adjustments:
- Don't feel bad if you don't write today, but do something that will shape your story tomorrow
- Find a routine and stick with it... until it no longer works. It's all about building achievable habits.
- Writing is a part of you. You should think of yourself as a holistic being.
- Get out there! But, balance that time wisely with the work of writing.
- Don't get burnt out (needs no tweaking).
So here is a revised copy to address my happiness as an author:
- When I'm not writing, I'm reading. Or taking notes on something that inspires me. Or performing additional research to breathe more life into my story.
- A big chunk of living my life is to complete this story. Based on my flaws as an author, it's important to put it first. (Money and whatnot a very, very close second)
- What wakes me up in the morning and puts me to bed at night is the sheer happiness of creating a story. I cannot deny that for anyone or anything.
- I should immerse myself more with the writing culture. I should get out more. Step away from the computer!
- And, of course, don't get burnt out. Try something new.