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Focus on the Fun to Win the Writing Race

Because happiness leads to success

Woman releasing bubbles on crowded street
Writing lets joy bubble out
Writing is FUN, a way to let the joy bubble out onto someone else, to give effervescence to thoughts, to release ideas into the universe and watch them glow like fireflies in the night.

For the fun of it

Yesterday, I found a beautiful poem as I followed my morning routine of reading through my news briefs and catching up on the fabulous Brain-Pickings newsletter from Maria Popova. It was about finding solace in the face of death, and the power of that poem struck me dumb.

I was happy that I had the time to read before rushing off to work.

Later, again as I was reading and doing research for an upcoming article, I found a story about a literary hoax I’d never heard of before, a deception that cost one man his reputation and his career while vaulting a fake persona to fame. (More on that in a different post.)

I was thrilled that I had the latitude to pursue that intriguing story.

I looked out my window, gazing on my backyard path. The hydrangea bushes are lush with flowers, glowing globes of white and pink and purple. A hummingbird flitted around a feeder. Brilliant blue flashes shot from the trees as male bluebirds, their puffy orange chests glowing, dive-bombed the grass then ascended to the sky.

Comfortable clothes, cold peach tea on my desk. My music floating in the air. And I thought, for the millionth time:

“Even if I don’t make much money writing, this is FUN. I am happy, through and through.”

The advice of experts

The world of content writing and marketing often exhorts how important it is to build an audience. If you don’t have a thousand followers, you just can’t make it. The perennial advice is to publish every day, even if it’s crap. (Sorry. I just don’t buy that.) Write, write, write. Get as many contacts as possible. Post on Social Media at every opportunity.

I GET the importance of building a body of work.

I UNDERSTAND the need for an audience — which is why I write here in the first place.

I KNOW I have to market myself.

But still….

I think sometimes we’re missing the point. Writing is FUN, a way to let the joy bubble out onto someone else, to give effervescence to thoughts, to release ideas into the universe and watch them glow like fireflies in the night.

boy sending sparks into a night sky
Ideas into the universe like fireflies in the night

Writers should never forget the fun factor in their freelancing life. When the act of writing doesn’t make them happy, it’s impossible to be successful.

If we feel the fun, you’ll succeed

Traditional thinking holds that the harder you work, the more successful you’ll be. Success will bring happiness:

Not true. Think of all the successful — often wealthy, beautiful people — who aren’t happy.

I propose a different approach altogether.


Find your fun factor. Concentrate on that. Be joyful and enthusiastic about your work. Note with gratitude the dozens of advantages of being your own boss, working at home, and doing what you love.

To quote the popular lyrics by Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.”

Being happy will bring success.

Science backs me up.

Research suggests that happy people, those with positive emotions, are more successful in their careers.

“…happiness precedes and leads to career success–not the other way around. In psychological science, “happiness” relates to “subjective well-being” and “positive emotions.” Those with greater well-being tend to be more satisfied with their lives, and also to experience more positive emotions and fewer negative ones. Research suggests that it’s these positive emotions–such as excitement, joy, and serenity –that promote success in the workplace.

What is your definition of success?

Maybe having thousands of followers, a multitude of fans, articles that make thousands of dollars every month is a definition of success. Maybe those things DO make you happy.

But maybe being happy is a form of success. How many people in life can say they are satisfied and content? Genuinely happy?

The artform of my chosen profession provokes passion, understanding, and curiosity. There’s joy in molding ideas into a shape that can be captured by others. Creating content makes me happy.

I hope that that happiness shines through my work and gives it a spark that illuminates it. I hope that money will follow.

“The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy; I mean that if you are happy you will be good.” — Bertrand Russell

Writing brings me bliss.

And being happy is my idea of success.

Child with handful of bubbles
Bubbles of Happiness

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