23 March 2009

Random: Losing Yourself In Writing

Have you ever had the experience of losing yourself in your writing? Of sitting down to start and getting up an hour later, shocked at how much time has passed because the words just kept on coming?

Turns out, if you have, it's actually good for your internal happiness, and thereby your health. And if you haven't, investigate - there are strategies you can learn that can help you enjoy what you do - in writing, in life - more :) It's all about finding out what your 'happiness strengths' are, and finding ways to exercise them more in what you do every day.

I love the feeling of losing myself in my writing, but it doesn't happen often. My top strength, according to the survey on Authentic Happiness (the website of Dr Seligman, who presents the video below), is open-mindedness. It took a bit of creative thinking to come up with a way to include that in my writing (heh, lucky creativity is near the top of the list too! :D), but I've decided that at least one way I can do it is through listening to my characters more. By allowing them to have their own thoughts and feelings and opinions, and by allowing those to be different from my own, I'm exercising my ability to be open-minded, which will make me happier because it's something I enjoy and am apparently good at - and hopefully, it'll make me happy because it gets more writing done! :D

And, quite coincedentally, it will hopefully address a problem I've been having with the characters in my novels: they end up all sounding the same!

So go, watch the video, and tell me - what's your happiness strength? :)

8 comments:

Windsong said...

Video link didn't work for me, but I know I'm happiest when the characters write the story for me. :D

Lady Glamis said...

Thanks for a great post, Inky!

I don't have a problem with my characters taking over. That would be why my novel is filled with really unnecessary swear words that I have to take out in later edits... they just speak like they want to. Never mind what I want them to speak like...

I'll have to watch that video! If I have further thoughts, I'll post them up.

I don't get lost so much in my writing with a kid running around and Finding Nemo blasting in the background. Kinda hard. :)

Anonymous said...

Er, the video appears to have disappeared. Sorry about that. I'll fix it up tonight, once I'm home from work.

Argh!

~Inky

Anonymous said...

Right, the video isn't here because it was playing up before, throwing out all the margins etc, and my dear sweet webmaster is currently in there fixing it all up. I promise: It Shall Return!

~Inkles

Yunaleska said...

Don't have time to watch the vid...but apparently its not there so that's ok! To get the writing flowing, I tell myself its ok to write rubbish. That works most of the time :)

Davin Malasarn said...

I love losing myself in the writing. It feels great. But I've been writing for about nine years and it's happened, maybe, three times. It's really rare for me so I'm so grateful when it happens.

Merc said...

(I can't watch the movie even if it works, given my connection, but! Comment coming anyway. %-))

The other day I wrote about 4.5k before I even realized it, and it flew by because I was having so much fun! Weirdness + letting characters do what they want (most of the time) + crazy world-building + DL and humor apparently makes me happy, along with action. ;)

At least on that day it did. :P Some days I struggle with everything... but I think for sure, when characters surprise me and do unexpected things, it makes me happy (even if I have to rant about it first). B-)

Great topic, Inksy One!

~Merc

Inkblot said...

For those who couldn't access it, the general gist of the video is that there are three components to happiness: pleasure, flow, and meaning.

Pleasure is exactly what it sounds like: the luxuries that make life pleasant.

Flow is what I talked about in the article: the ability to lose yourself in something because you're enjoying it so much.

Meaning is also self-explanatory: to be truly happy you have to feel like your life has a purpose, a meaning.

What I found interesting was the idea that you can utilise knowledge of your 'happiness strengths' to increase the likelihood that you'll experience pleasure and flow. Know what makes you happiest, and somehow incorporate that into your writing - and voila, increased chance of flow! :)

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