“Remember this: that very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” Marcus Aurelius
Widely admired for his contributions to Stoic philosophy, our boy Marcus cultivated a minimalist approach to life – an attitude that I believe we can easily connect with and wholeheartedly embrace as writers and craftspeople.
When you think about it, we are extraordinary fortunate in so many ways! As we ply our trade, we and other creatives like us need very little to ply our trade: pen and paper, a computer, even an iPhone, a camera, a dance floor, a musical instrument. The only other ingredient we need to create something wonderful and beautiful is ourselves.
Consider all the ways that the simple act of creation can make us happy:
Happiness flows from giving ourselves the gift of time to ponder and express our art.
Happiness flows from putting our energy and inner resources in serviceof work that we feel excited about and want to bring to fruition.
Happiness flows from the joy of creating – from fashioning a story and characters out of pure air and our imagination.
Happiness flows from knowing that we are doing the work we are meant to do – that the page is a field of endeavor worthy of the best we have to give.
Happiness flows from grappling with something difficult that we really care about: a stubborn cliche we need to root out and replace; a wayward character who resists the limits we’ve imposed and wants to be called to life and developed; a messy plot that needs to be more elegantly structured.
Happiness flows from coming to the end of the day and realizing that we’ve done a good day’s work and that we’ve set ourselves up well for our next round of writing.
We have so much to take joy and pleasure in – how blessed we are – favored by fortune and finely tuned for creativity. Let’s remember this today as we all write on!