Happiness is the key to life, the rest will follow.
Some form of that phrase adorns a Good Luck! greeting card or punctuates a graduation speech every year. Writers I’ve spoken with love this job. With exceptions, writers I’ve read do not.
Author Paul Theroux goes off the ledge to quote V. S. Pritchett: a writer “who spends his time becoming other people and places, real or imaginary, finds he has written his life away and has become almost nothing.”
“Writing is such a solitary act,” says Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard. He explains that self-destructive acts, like writing, beget other habits of the same variety. Cheers, Hemingway.
Some studies have found that meaningful experiences (acquiring a new skill, for instance) make people happier than pure pleasure.
That is to say, a cupcake tastes better than eating a handful of sugar cubes.
Each new article is akin to acquiring that new skill. In a given week, I must research and learn the culture of different worlds: Civil War reenactments, local vineyards, national airport traffic numbers, military bands.
I’m not sure what these sad sacks are blubbering about.
Music, fiction, poetry — that writing is cross-training for journalism. It allows me to play with language, discover how words interact, how narratives flow.
Imagine studying three beetle species: you gain knowledge about the essence of a beetle from each, despite their differences.
Maybe these writers need to drop the closed-door act and grab a safari hat.