Let’s face it, most writers struggle. We struggle with making ends meet, finding story beats, writing something as good as that first piece that made us decide to become writers. We become so used to the idea of struggling that we start to believe it’s an integral part of writing. How many aspiring writers do you know that aren’t striving for success, but instead are are married to the struggle?
But what do you do when success arrives? It’s an interesting sociological experiment to watch people get everything they’ve ever wanted, or thought they wanted, and see nothing change in their lives.
For some time, I was friends with a writer who was generally a miserable person. If it was a sunny day, he would say, “Soon it’ll rain.” He got staffed on one of the hottest comedies on TV and rose through the ranks to Executive Producer, earning insane money, with residuals coming in for the rest of his life.
Last year, we ran into each other and after a short conversation it became clear that he was the same bitter guy I’d known ten years ago. Still scowling at the sun and waiting for the rain. Is he successful? Everyone in this town would say yes.
Everyone but me. To me, success is enjoying life and everything in it, regardless of your circumstances, and writers can do that without ever selling a script or a story. If you can be happy now, why not? Do you think you have to be miserable to be “successful?” I know a lot of very rich writers — some happy and some wretched, and it seems that life is a lot better for the happy ones.
So get a jump on enjoying your success. Be prepared for it when it arrives. Decide to be happy now – trust me, happiness is not an impediment to good writing – and then when the money, fame and accolades start rolling in, you’ll be able to fully reap the rewards. And if they don’t ever roll in, it’s no loss. You’re still happy.
Valerie Alexander is a Now Write! Screenwriting contributor and the author of Happiness as a Second Language, an Amazon Top Seller in the “Happiness” and “Self-Help” categories. As a screenwriter, Valerie has written for Joel Schumacher, Catherine Zeta Jones, Ice Cube, and others. She made her directing debut with the award-winning short Making the Cut, and is the producer and director of “The Wedding Matters,” “Say I Do” and “Life Support”, successful commercial campaigns supporting marriage equality.
Prior to becoming a writer-director and author, Valerie was a securities lawyer, an investment banker, and an Internet executive in the Silicon Valley, where she worked on some of the most high profile transactions in the industry.
Visit Valerie’s Speak Happiness website for more info, or follow/connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.