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Monday, January 20, 2020

The Writer's Perspective on Health, Happiness, and Prosperity by Debra H. Goldstein

The Writer’s Perspective on Health, Happiness, and Prosperity by Debra H. Goldstein

January begins a new year of dreams and hopes, but it is also a time for personal reflection. When I think about my family and friends, I wish them only health, happiness, and prosperity for 2020. Being honest, I’d like the same for me – but these thoughts take on different interpretations when one is a writer.

Health – We all wish to be healthy in the sense of no illnesses, injuries, or other personal calamities. Consequently, we are told to eat healthy, avoid alcohol and tobacco, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Writers? They fill the smoke-filled bars at conventions. Often, they eat on the fly because they are immersed in a project. They work in a solitary environment where they rarely leave their computers (which, by the way, is a good means of developing carpal tunnel syndrome from typing/ eye strain from not blinking/ neck and shoulder pain from poor keyboard posture). Finally, sleep and exercise go out the window when a writer is on deadline.

Happiness – Joy in the little things brings smiles to most people’s faces, but writers?  We are happy when people buy our books or tell us they like something we wrote, but we cringe at bad reviews, sales numbers that don’t meet our expectations, and when fans and friends don’t show up at signings. One writer, on deadline, compares the days she is immersed in writing to being in jail. I don’t find that a particularly happy image, do you? Or how about those instances when an idea is impossible to grasp or if it does invade one’s brain, it doesn’t work?

Prosperity – If prosperity is counted by the dollars earned or a declaration of being a New York Times Bestselling author, prosperity is the gold ring most writers can only dream about.

So, why do writers write? It certainly isn’t because it brings us pure health, happiness, and prosperity. No, after much reflection, I think it is because we must. We hope readers are happy with what we produce, but readership isn’t our primary purpose in spending our time writing. Although it may not be obvious, writers obtain health, happiness, and prosperity from the joy of sharing ideas through the written word. … and every now and then from reader reactions. Tell me, what about you? Why do you read and how does it impact your health, happiness, and prosperity?


Kait said...

I can recall a single day with perfect clarity. I was sitting at my desk in the law office where I work editing a memorandum of law. These are notoriously dry documents (although there have been a few with lighter moments) and they must be precise, concise, and 100% defendable. Writing and editing that brief I realized how much I loved manipulating the written word, polishing it until it shone, and letting it speak for itself. For those few moments, I was totally at peace. A rare event.

Write because I must, yes, and because I love it.

Annette said...

As someone with a deadline only TWO WEEKS away, I'm dealing with all of those health issues you mention, Debra. And Book Jail. Yes.

Yes, I write because I can't NOT write. It's something I've always done and probably always will. But the Universe has been known to send me moments to let me know I do it for bigger reasons too. Like the time a daughter wrote to me and let me know she'd given a copy of my first book to her mother who was battling cancer, and reading that book helped her get through her chemo treatments. I sobbed like a baby. If I needed another reason to write, THAT gave it to me.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I observe, imagine, read, and WRITE. It's a way of life.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Jair, Annette, and Margaret, I love your reasons for writing and reading. I guess, as an only child, imagining became my companion and led to writing so I wouldn't lose all the thoughts. Like Kait, I find it particularly satisfying when the puzzle pieces come together!

Paula Gail Benson said...

Sorry, my first reference to Kait somehow morphed into Jair!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Interesting how we all feel the same way. It's in our fiber no matter what. Thanks for your remarks.. may we all find peace and happiness in doing what we love.

Pam Hopkins said...

I read because I can't not read. . . I have a shirt that says, "I'm a book reader; not because I don't have a life but because I can enjoy many."
I read constantly and always have a book with me (usually my Kindle). Whenever I have a minute or two or more, I read.

Grace Topping said...

Well said, Debra. Like Kait, I love manipulating the written word. It’s amazing how many permutations I can come up with for the same sentence. Otherwise I could never have written 38 versions of my first book. Thankfully it kept getting better.

KM Rockwood said...

Reading and writing is interwoven in my life. I haven't always written, but I have always felt compelled to create characters and scenes in my mind, and I love to discover words that say exactly what I want them to.