By Michele Matthews
Can you be a happy writer?
You’ve come home from a tiring day job. You try to sit down at your laptop and write a few words before relaxing for the evening. But the words won’t flow. Or maybe you’re one of those lucky people who get to write full-time for a living. You sit in your home office day after day pounding out the words. Are you a happy writer? Is it possible to be one?
Here are ten ways to be a happy writer.
Whether you’re writing an hour or writing full-time, you need to take a short break of 10-15 minutes each hour you write. Your body will thank you. Sitting for very long isn’t good for you.
Better yet, you could set a timer for 10 minutes, write, set the timer again, and wipe down your kitchen counter or do some other house chore. Katharine Grubb wrote a book called Write a Novel in Ten Minutes a Day. She outlines this process in this book, which is a must read if you’re a writer.
I have used both methods for taking breaks. Which method I use depends on where I am. If I’m at Starbucks, my normal writing hangout, I take a break each hour. If I’m at home, I use Katharine’s method. You have to use what works best for you.
Exercise or meditate
Exercise is good for you. It helps you strengthen the muscles in your body, keeps excess weight off, and gives you energy. While it will help your brain, too, meditation works as well for your brain. Meditation increases your happiness and improves your mental ability. You don’t have to get fancy with it. All you have to do is sit there and be in the moment.
I started working out a few months ago, and I’ve noticed a huge change in the way I feel. Not only am I am losing weight and inches, I feel good about myself for the first time in a long time. I’ve noticed my energy level is up as well, which means I’m writing more and hitting those goals.
Socialize with other writers
One way to improve your writing skills and make you a happy writer is to go where other writers are. You can attend a writing conference or a workshop. You can join writing groups online or find one close to where you live. Other writers understand how important writing is to you when you may not have support with family and friends.
I haven’t gotten the chance to attend a conference or a workshop yet, but I’m planning to go to the 10 Minute Novelist Conference in 2018. I used to belong to a local writing group. Unfortunately, the group quit meeting. However, I get plenty of support and encouragement online in the 10 Minute Novelists.
You don’t have to do things by yourself. Sharing experiences helps make you happy, and you should share those happy times with other people, like family and friends.
You could do an activity that will help your creative side. Go on a drive through the country where you’ve never gone before, go to a public place and watch people, or visit a museum.
I used to do all kinds of fun activities when my kids were younger, but now I do things with my nephew and nieces when I can. That’s so much fun seeing watching them.
Do good things
You can use your writing skills to volunteer in your local community. By doing good things for others, you’ll be happier. You could offer to teach a writing class at your public library or read a story to elementary students. You could also tutor reading and writing to students of all ages.
If you need help finding a place to volunteer in your area, go to volunteermatch.org and do a search.
Set writing goals
If you’ve felt overwhelmed with your writing, then setting writing goals is important. Make sure you set realistic goals. Break down those bigger goals into smaller goals. Once you have your goals, make them happen. Hitting your goals boosts your self-esteem and makes you happier.
After a few years, I’m finally better about breaking down those bigger goals. I’m feeling less overwhelmed, too, which makes me a happy writer.
From time to time, you must give your mind a rest. You have to set boundaries and say when enough is enough. You need sleep to rest your body and mind. If you have a day job, you can’t stay up all night writing and expect to go to work the next day. If you’re a freelance writer, you need to set realistic deadlines.
As much as I would like to write all day and night at times, I need a break. I have to take care of myself.
Put your worries away
One of the hardest things you will have to do is ignore the haters. However, you can’t worry about what other people think. People will hate no matter what you do. You can’t worry about your book’s rankings on Amazon and wherever else you published it. Focus on writing more books. The more books you write and publish the more people will take notice.
I’m only on Amazon, and I don’t even bother looking at my books’ rankings. Right now I’m focused on publishing more books. And for the haters, I haven’t had any yet, but that can always change.
Journal our thoughts
One of the best ways to feel good is journaling. You can write down your random thoughts and feelings. You can journal about those things you’re grateful for, such as getting your first book review or having a reader tell you how much she loved your book.
Journaling is one of my favorite things to do. When I can’t get the words out, I can always think of good things that are happening in my life to write about.
Write what you love
Most importantly, you need to write what you love. You will be a happy writer if you’re writing in a genre you love. Find your passion and write about that. It doesn’t matter if it’s a genre that’s popular. All that matters is that you’re happy.
For a brief moment right after I published my second book, I thought about changing to a different genre, one of the most popular ones. And then that thought was gone. I can’t write about something I don’t love. I write what I’m most passionate about — women’s fiction and nonfiction.
Which of these ways will you use to help you be a happy writer? Can you think of anything else to add to the list?
Michele Mathews is an author of three books and a freelance editor. She is the proud single mom of two children, two dogs, and a cat.