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  • Writer's pictureJabe Stafford

Writing For Happiness

Write Good: An Absurd Storytelling And Adventure Blog

Writing For Happiness

“But how do I know the reasons why I write?” said the spirit piloting the skeleton within a meat suit. “Do I have to have a reason? It’s just for fun. It makes me happy.”

GOOD! That’s the best friggin’ reason to write.

Writing for happiness is the biggest rebellion since that farm boy with a laser sword flew a letter down a techno-canyon and did the no-look shot of a lifetime.

Not knowing exactly WHAT makes you happy about writing is badass, both at first and later in life. It can be a self-discovery quest to learn how to put your finger on exactly what makes you happiest about storytelling. If you really want to dig deeper into why writing brings such joy, there’s some cool things you can take your time and look at. Do you write characters or genres that are similar to the books you love reading? Is it the free-flow feeling of all the things you learned coming together over the course of weeks and months of finishing a manuscript? Or does it not matter if you finish at all because you love building in different worlds at different times? Look for those moments when you’re happiest and see what you can do to make sure more of them happen.

Think of your favorite genre. Now.

What makes you happiest about reading or writing it? Could be the beer drinkin’ werewolves. Could be the high-tech rednecks doing jackass stunts. Could be the moral or relationship dilemmas. Could be the atmosphere, the magic, the romance, the snark, the action, anything. Find that thing and do it more often. Other books in that genre. Find ‘em. Read ‘em. See what other writers do with your favorite tropes, creatures, and plots. Think what you’re truly love to do with that favorite concept of yours. Then start DOING the thing! It’ll be even more satisfying when you know you’re writing in the direction you want to be writing in.

What things have you always wanted to learn or put time into for the sake of writing? Could be another culture. Could be a new language and its nuances. Could be medicine, car repair, zoology, coding, martial arts, playing an instrument, microbiology, bartending, juggling, anything. Pick one of those and start learning it. It counts as writing time if you’re researching winemaking or Portuguese or insect behavior or supernatural occurrences in your local town. Give yourself permission to be happy doing that learning, THEN weave it into your story if that’s what makes you excited. Hell, a lot of horror/thriller novels got written because the author loved researching serial killer behavior and why their morals are so skewed. SO WHAT if your internet search history is full of murder stories, famous hacking events, or the effects of drinking paint. If it’s part of a story you’d love to write, don’t be self-conscious.

Friggin’ rock the thing!

Kerjillions of writers I know intentionally DON’T finish stories they write, or they get distracted and hop to a different story BECAUSE they love so many different ones. That’s ok. That’s good. You’re still writing. Finding joy in a whole bunch of genres or tropes doesn’t make you NOT a writer. You’ll learn what you want and need to learn by building all those different stories, even part-way. Maybe in the process of bouncing between a dozen stories, you’ll find one you love more than a panda loves bamboo. If not, then hey, you’re STILL happy creating a little here, and some there.

You absolutely do NOT need to have a reason to write. There’s no obligation to say some witty, intelligent lie when someone asks, “So you’re a writer? Why do you write?”

Legitimate responses to that question include:

“I like drunk magical creatures.”

“Because an elf and a ghoul should be best friends.”

“I like getting paid to make shit up.”

“Dragons gotta get bored sitting on all that gold. What if a dragon gets a gambling problem?”

“Because it’s fun creeping myself out.”

“I write smut.”

“Because groups of dumb people facing a mediocre killer and losing is entertaining.”

So pilot that skeleton in a meat suit you’ve got and use those hands to write whatever the frick makes you happy.

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