Writing tips: productivity, dissatisfaction, and happiness

This week’s writing tip begins with a quote from Chris Bailey’s book: The Productivity Project:

“Over the course of my project, I found that the best attitude to have with productivity is an odd one: to never be satisfied – but to continually find ways to cultivate happiness. Luckily, productivity, when done right, isn’t only one of the keys to happiness – happiness is one of the keys to productivity.

“The kinder you are to yourself as you become more productive, the more productive you will become.” (p 270)

Dissatisfaction is something Steven Taylor Goldsberry elaborates on in his book, The Writer’s Book of Wisdom. He calls it the “Get Used to Despair” rule number 6. “… Of all the arts, writing is perhaps the most difficult. It’s not a performing art, so you don’t have the immediacy of a live audience to let you know how you’re doing. It’s only black marks on white paper, so it’s not pretty like painting or architecture. Everyone thinks he can do it, so it has little prestige. It can be lonely work. (…)
“Are you sure you want to be a writer?
“If so, you must be willing to embrace the inevitable despair that accompanies meaningful creation.”
He includes a quote by J. B. Priestley:
“No matter how piercing and appalling his insights, the desolation creeping over his outer world, the lurid lights and shadows of his inner world, the writer must live with hope, work in faith.”

But let’s get back to happiness. In an interview with Tim O’Reilly, Gretchen Rubin asked what he has learned about happiness that he didn’t know when he was 18 and he responded, “(…) Decide what you need to do, make a habit of it, and come to love it rather than resent it. That applies to the habits of householding, to exercise and diet, to work, and to taking the time to reach out to friends and family. It is so easy to be full of resentment against the things that we feel are keeping us from our joy. Finding joy in what needs doing is magical.”