Sunday, May 2, 2021

Are Writers Happy?


Finland, for the fourth year in a row, ranks as the happiest nation, based off of surveys of people around the world. There is no measurement used to judge what makes one happy nor is there a standard of living that is evaluated for comparison. They answer one simple question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you?

It is not: How successful, safe, loved, blissful, healthy, or wealthy are you? It is not about any one specific thing or aspect in your life. This is simply about whether one feels happy, doesn’t matter why, and if so, to what degree, regardless of what they choose to use as a barometer.

Finland, a Scandinavian socialist paradise, doesn’t suffer from some of America’s problems. They have a nice security blanket: paid-for, world-class healthcare and education. It is a safe and peaceful place. However, it is not a climate-friendly place.

With 200 days of winter and two full months where the sun never rises above the horizon, and temperatures that can drop to 20 degrees below zero, this is an ice desert.

The Finnish still have to contend with human nature, and humans are competitive and aspirational. Even in Finland, the people may not be fully satisfied, but compared to other nations, they look to be the happiest.

Americans are challenged by the happiness question. Can you be happy but unsatisfied enough to want more? Americans, by nature, are in a state of striving for more. No matter what they have, more can be obtained, so they are in pursuit of it. Further, they envy others for what these people have, and look through a Facebook posting lens that distorts reality.

The US, by the way, despite reportedly having the highest number of covid deaths of any nation in 2020, and with heavy job losses and shutdowns, shot up from 19th to 14th happiest last year.

Are authors happy? Is being an author a cause for celebration or condemnation? Authors feel good when writing and getting published; otherwise, they whine over a lack of sales, awards, recognition, or fame.

They are certainly happy:

*When writing, not so much when marketing.
*When researching and dreaming up their book, not so much when editing.
*When they see a printed book, not so much when formatting a book to be self-published.
*When a literary agent or publisher accepts them, but not when begging them for representation.
*When they get a great review, and not so much when they ask friends to post a review who are too lazy to do so.
*When their book spreads a positive, empowering message, but not so much when they see a frivolous book hit a best-seller list.

It all begs the question: Are authors happy?

Is being a writer an activity that makes us happy — or is it a way of being, an identity that one can’t shake even if he or she wants to?

Writing is perhaps a sign of mental illness. It is definitely a channel for many who are depressed, angry, ignored, marginalized, or victimized. But it is also a beautiful art form that we use to paint a better world — informing, inspiring, enlightening, and entertaining us.

Being an author may or may not make one happy, and it may or may not lead to any type of success that can be measured by traditional metrics. However, it is what millions of us do and are, and we wouldn’t -- and couldn’t -- trade it for anything!


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: 

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