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Chuck Wendig @ChuckWendig
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HAPPINESS.

Let's talk about it.

*pushes a comfy chair toward you, hands you a therapy wombat, mixes you a fancy cocktail, mixes the wombat a fancy wombat cocktail*
HAPPINESS IS BULLSHIT

the end
wait no, I'm kidding, come back, I'm not done

also that wombat isn't yours, it's a fucking LOANER WOMBAT you thief
also LOANER WOMBAT was my favorite Jaeger in #PacificRimUprising

I feel like this thread is getting off-track
So, this talk of happiness comes from the angle of being a writer, a creative person, but I suspect it's probably broadly true in a larger human way.

But I notice that when I'm happy, it's rarely due to a thing I control.

(Same with sadness, but the focus is on happiness here.)
And what I mean is, when I have a moment of genuine bliss or happiness, it's a product of curious emotional and contextual situational alchemy that -- you know, it maybe happens because I put myself in a situation, but I didn't like, CREATE the happiness.
And we focus a lot on happiness in our daily discourse, in the way we view our emotional health. ARE YOU HAPPY? Like, I used to check in on this constantly.

ARE YOU HAPPY

HOW ABOUT NOW

HOW ABOUT NOW

WHAT ABOUT NOW

WAIT WERE YOU HAPPY FIVE MINUTES AGO

OH NO
It's like getting your eyes checked at the fucking eye doctor. "Is this clearer? How about now? Is this more out of focus? Or more in focus? CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK." Until the point where you have no idea how to even read your own name anymore.
The more you think about happiness, the harder it is to be happy, maybe? Same way how it's a very bad idea to think overmuch about sleeping or breathing or other essential activities. It's a good way to have a fucking panic attack is what it is.
And as a writer, ohhh, boy you have a lot of opportunity to check in on your own happiness -- am I happy with today's word count? With the book I'm writing? With the book I wrote last year? With my sales? With my reviews? Advances? Royalties? Awards? *breathes into a paper bag*
And when you ARE happy, it's often a thing that accompanies A MOMENT OF TRIUMPH, whether that's you hitting your word count or having a book come out or a publishing deal or the completion of a sales target or someone hands you a wombat and a cocktail.
But that happiness is always temporary.
It comes and then it goes and in its absence you worry, should I still be happy? Is it fucked up that the happiness went away?

And some people really WANT you to be constantly happy as a creative person. They don't understand how you're

not

always

happy
"YOU'RE DOING WHAT YOU LOVE HOW ARE YOU NOT HAPPY. MOST PEOPLE NEVER DO THAT. SOME PEOPLE CAN'T AFFORD TO SIT ALL DAY AND WRITE A BOOK HOW ARE YOU NOT JUST SWIMMING IN HAPPINESS ALL THE TIME YOU SHOULD BE ASPIRATING PURE EFFERVESCENT BLISS, YOU WASTREL."
(make a note:

we need to bring back "wastrel."

and when it comes back I demand to be credited for its reinstitution into the derogatory vernacular please and thank you)
Anyway, more to the point, these moments of happiness are ones you maybe deserve, maybe ones you've orchestrated over time, but you don't flip a switch, you don't conjure a Happiness Elf and he delivers it to you like a GrubHub order.

Translation: you don't really control it.
What you do control, and what for me is the more meaningful metric, is:

Satisfaction.
Happiness is kind of an externally-fed emotion.

But satisfaction is something deeper, something fed by an internal wellspring. And something directed by a kind of... emotional compass.
And satisfaction can be a thing you have more control over -- not in the moment to moment, but in the larger sense.

As a writer, I may not be happy with a day's worth of writing, but I am satisfied that I wrote it, and satisfied that I am committed to it.
Writing doesn't make me happy. It satisfies me. And when my satisfaction is off, it's something I can get my hands around -- something feels "off" in a deeper sense, as to whether or not I'm telling the stories I want to tell.
Satisfaction for me -- and I know, this is all semantic yakbarf -- is a thing I can ask of myself. Am I satisfied that I'm doing all I can do? Am I satisfied that I'm doing it in the direction I want to be doing with it?

Can I answer to myself on this thing, whatever it is?
Happiness is going to come and go. Rise and fall. It's like the cocktail I gave you -- you'll drink it and it will be gone.

But satisfaction is like the wombat. With you for as long as you nurture it.
I mean, at least until I take the wombat back or it dies.

I'm just kidding, wombats don't die.

WOMBATS ARE ETERNAL.

They also poop in cubes, which is not at all relevant, but a fun fact.
Is any of this helpful to you? I don't care! I wanted to talk about it! Suck it, Twitter!

I'm sorry, Twitter, I didn't mean that. That was rude.

More to the point: it's okay to be happy, it's okay to be unhappy, that shit's a roller coaster ride. Seek your satisfaction.
And that satisfaction is key, I think, to us Creative Folk, because this is a career with wild, drunkenly swerving uncertainty -- you might as well enter into it with the goal to be accountable to yourself and your satisfaction first and foremost.
So what I mean is HAPPINESS IS BULLSHIT. Mostly. A little. Sorta.

HAVE A NICE DAY BYE
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