The Key to Creative Happiness: A How-To Guide

Some pursue happiness, others create it. ~ Unknown

I’m happy. Not because my life is perfect and wonderful—it’s far from it.

No, I’m happy because, on a daily basis, I get to do what I love the most—write poetry and create art.

Yet my happiness hinges upon something else as well. Something that’s bigger than my own personal pleasure. Something that makes me feel connected to others and to my world.

The Joy of Creating

Writing eases my suffering…writing is my way of reaffirming my own existence. ~ Gao Xingjian

I believe most writers write, first and foremost, for themselves. I know I do. The pure delight of language and playing around with words and meanings keep me going back to the page day after day.

Whether it’s a fascination with what words can do or the motivation created by how it feels to express our experiences, opinions, and observations, ultimately, writers write and artists create because we have a deep need to do so. Without that deep need and passionate desire, then I imagine one would simply get bored and abandon the pursuit.

Creativity gives the artist joy and a sense of purpose then. The process of writing and creating art tells us who we are and what we’re meant to do on this planet.

The Importance of Sharing

Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others. ~ Buddha

The personal pleasure and benefits artists receive from writing and being creative are great. But I’ve found that happiness is enhanced and increased when we share our creative work with others.

Sharing our writing and creative work can make us feel connected to others and to the world around us. And it can make us feel that we’re actively participating in the creation of culture and history.

At the very least, sharing our creative work can give us ways to receive feedback from others. And that feedback is important to feeding our souls as artists. It tells us that we have some impact on others and on our world and in some cases, that we’re changing hearts as well as minds.

Why Share?

Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions. ~ His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

The twin desires to create and to share our artistic work with others birth and sustain creative happiness.

Yet, what if you’re shy or insecure about your work? What if you fear negative feedback? And what to do if you actually receive it?

These are common concerns for artists, especially beginning artists who haven’t yet learned to take calculated and well-thought risks for sharing their creative work.

But risk, whether large or small, is necessary for art.

Without it, there’s simply no way to achieve the creative success we seek, and ultimately there’s no way to actually create, as the act of creating is itself always a risk of sorts.

Moreover, sharing our work with others empowers us to hone and master our craft. Like all living things, art needs the kind of sustenance that can only come from outside itself.

Improving our skills is easier when we dare to share our work with others who can offer the kind of feedback necessary for our growth as artists.