I’m known for using the word glee a lot. So much so that when the television show, Glee, started, a number of friends wrote me to say they’d thought of me when they saw it. I took it as a huge compliment. I mean, being known for having glee is a rather nice thing.
When Cheryl said her topic for the month was joy, I was pleased…I figure Joy and Glee pretty much float in the same happiness pool so I was excited about the blog.
To be honest, I’ve paid a lot more attention to my glee/joy/happiness levels since I participated in a study about happiness in February. We were driving across that state on a Sunday and were listening to NPR’s Ted Talk Hour. The topic for the day was happiness. Given my love of glee I was hooked when I heard the topic. But as the talk went on, they mentioned a study on happiness, and I signed up the next day. Three times a day I got a text with a hyperlink to the website and a group of questions that varied. Most of the questions asked: What are you doing? Do you have to be doing what you’re doing? Do you want to be doing what you’re doing? Then came the little happiness toggle…rate your happiness.
Here’s what I discovered…I am pretty happy.
Most of my surveys found me at home working or outside walking. And all but one (hey, everyone has a bad day now and again) found my happiness toggle over fifty percent. Most way over fifty percent.
Now, I’ll confess, I count half of my walking time each day as part of my writing process. My morning walks usually involve me thinking about that day’s work. Those walks find me running through the scene, trying to decide which characters are part of it, what they’re feeling, what they’re saying. Neighbors occasionally mention that they drove by and I seemed to be in a daze…to be honest, I probably was. I can’t tell you how much I love those quiet, contemplative walks. I come home feeling centered and ready to start my day’s work.
So what else about writing brings me joy? Pretty much the whole process. I love finding a story I want to tell, but mainly because the story is the vehicle I use to find my characters. I love living with them and getting to know them. No, it’s more than that. For the course of their book, to some extent I am them. I get to see the world through their eyes, and frequently they see the world differently than I do. That’s a gift…seeing the world in a whole new way.
I read a quote that says, a non-reader lives one life, but a reader lives hundreds of lives. As a writer, I get to lives those other lives as well. In my real life, I’ve never stumbled over a dead body, or been left at the altar. I’ve never waxed my legs, or opened a library. I’ve never… The list of things my characters have done and I haven’t is a long one. Yet, I’ve done all those things and more through those characters. I’ve lived their heartaches and their joy…and that brings me joy.
So when I did that study on happiness, I found I slid that happiness toggle over the 50% mark most of the time. My writing (and my family and friends…my life in general) brings me joy. I work at home with a laptop balanced on my holey jeans. I work when I’m walking the dogs in the morning, finding joy and peace in the world around me. I’ve lived a busy real life, but I’ve lived thousands of other lives through the books I’ve read and written.
My work gives me all three!
Holly Jacobs next book is a June release, Just One Thing. You can find her at www.HollyJacobs.com.
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