8 Ways to Be a Happy Author

Happy authors1. Write primarily because it’s what you love to do.

2. Resist comparing yourself to others. When you find yourself doing it—pull yourself back, pray, meditate, practice mindfulness or whatever you do to find calm, and remind yourself of all the reasons comparison is futile.

3. Understand that getting published for the first time is exciting and worth celebrating, but will not make you a different person. You will still be you.

4. Refuse to idolize your own words. Let them be edited and made better from the input of smart people. Happily throw away the ones that aren’t good enough.

5. When you start thinking this whole pursuit-of-publishing path is hard, give yourself a reality check. Crab fishing is hard. Neurosurgery is hard. Being a fighter pilot is hard. You can do this.

6. Expect bumps in the road and determine to handle them, rather than letting each obstacle plunge you into an emotional pit. If you DO fall into the pit, climb out as quickly as you can.

7. Dream big and keep your expectations high, but manage your response to adversity.

8. Remember that writing is a gift and a privilege. Just the fact that you write means you are literate, you have a computer, and you have something to say. Celebrate that!

What are some other ways to be a happy author?



  1. Jacqlyn Mori says:

    Brief and helpful article…thanks for the reminders!

  2. I recommend drinking heavily.

  3. Wow, that’s a lot of comments. And I tried but gave up on reading them all…

    I guess I would add, remember the comments that make you smile as they’ll be part of the strength you need to get through the rough patches when everything feels so dark.

    I got a couple of wonderful comments on my writing in the last couple of days that really helped me to get back into my editing (total drudgery for me).

    “I like what I see, and I don’t offer that frivolously. In my work as a publisher and executive editor, I read more manuscripts than I can count. Reading your first chapter would make me want to consider the book for publishing. Out of up to 80 or 100 manuscripts per day, there would only be at best one or two a week that I’d read a bit further. I’d pose a rough guess that about 95% of what I saw needed more work than I could offer.

    You’re starting off really, really well.”

    And another:

    “Really good writing, by the way.”

  4. Leigh Moore says:

    Excellent reminders. Thanks! :o) <3

  5. Mehmet Arat says:

    Thank you for the very good advice.
    To be a happy author.
    To be a happy writer.
    To be happy while writing.
    All sounds good.
    But can it be possible to be happy completely with all the storms in your head?
    Even when you are published and satisfied with your previous works, wouldn’t your thoughts create new conflicts in your mind?
    A writer can be happy only with the love of writing.
    But “There is no happy love.”

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  7. Peter DeHaan says:

    Rachelle, I needed the perspective you wisely gave for #5 — and #8 was a nice bonus. Thanks so much.

  8. Bonnie Doran says:

    Thanks for the advice, Rachelle.

    My issue is usually the bumps in the road, which at first seem like potholes that will swallow the whole car. Friends help me keep things in perspective.

    I keep reminding myself that this whole publishing thing is God’s idea. I leave it in His hands, take it back, leave it in His hands . . .

  9. Jessica says:

    Thank you for this post, Rachelle. I always have to remind myself of number 6, but instead of being plunged into an emotional pit, I just stop altogether.

    As for other ways to be a happy author, I would say keep a supportive network around you and USE THEM, whether it’s for emotional support, ranting about your writer’s block, or just someone to bounce ideas off of.

    And a good cup of tea doesn’t hurt, either.

  10. Cindy Pye says:

    I needed to “hear” that! Thank you so much for such great advise. I have been writing since I was in junior high school, but only in the past year have begun pursuing my writing career. This is very timely advise for me.

  11. Sidney Ross says:

    CHRIST 🙂 happy (V)alentine ARRIVAL(advent)

  12. Sidney Ross says:

    #8) Because I have something to say.

    There you go again, making me love you. I love your advent over content I love that my walk follows you, I love that my time is your time the bombs the missiles ye place on my head I love that you know the gray of my mind and in keeping with you I watch over that gray, I cross my heart loving you hope to die loving you. Oh Jesus/Lord, there you go, making me love you, again.

  13. A good walk always helps me. Thanks for sharing these positive reminders.

  14. SC Skillman says:

    Thank you for your encouraging post, Rachelle. I find a good way to be a happy author is to be a member of a writers group and/or a writers organisation such as the one I belong to, ACW (Association of Christian Writers). The ACW Facebook Page is excellent – I feel as if I’m chatting with others at a writers conference, & part of a community of people all sharing my own values. Some recent responses I’ve received to my posts have been so uplifting.

  15. Doug Thompson says:

    #10 – Only you can tell that story that’s bouncing around in your head!

  16. Craig Soffer says:

    This piece is really what many writers (myself include) often need to hear. Very well done. I shared it on my Facebook page, too. It’s the kind of piece you need to re-read after every rejection letter.

  17. Deb Hathaway says:

    I struggle most with #2!

    When I read someone else’s work and have to say, “Damn, that was written so well”, my confidence is shaken. Then I remind myself I write differently, with a unique voice all my own. That doesn’t make mine worse, just different. I appreciate a well crafted sentence, embrace the fact it’s not my style and move on.

    Thank heavens I have made the decision to write my book for me. If anyone else wants to read it and gets enjoyment from it, that’s a bonus.

    I have posted an excerpt on my blog if anyone is interested in seeing what I mean.

  18. Terry Shames says:

    Great post! I have one thing to add to #6: Have a good writing pal you can go to when you are in “the pit.” Someone who understands what you are going through and will give you a shoulder to cry on.

    Regarding #3. Maybe it doesn’t make me a different person, but it sure feels different!

  19. Darlene Lund says:

    Spot on!
    My motive for writing keeps me in check!

  20. Great advice! Sometimes I have to chant “Keep your eyes on your own plate. Their success does not diminish mine. They worked hard for this; now you go work hard for it, too.”

  21. Aidyl says:

    I don’t know if you ever enter writing contests or not, but I’m hosting one on my blog and would be delighted if you wanted to enter it. =)

  22. Thanks,as always,for your wonderful, real and encouraging posts.

  23. As I rewrite my novel and wonder if this kind of thing is what I really want to do, along comes Rachelle with eight very good reasons to be happy. I am clinging to number eight as the pivot. Love this. – John

  24. Loved the list! Another thing that keeps me a happy writer is having some writing buddies who ‘get’ the writing life. Writing is a solitary art, and I treasure the fact that I have people in my life that I can talk to about what I do. We support each other and I’m always learning from them. Do I know how lucky I am? YES!

  25. Angie Bigler says:

    Yes, this is just what I needed to hear this morning. I was feeling overwhelmed about my writing yesterday and today I begin fresh and thankful for the gifts it brings.

  26. J.M. Bray says:

    Don’t get so fixated on the “end goal” that you miss the wonderful journey. Enjoy the process.

  27. Rachelle

    I laughed out loud at #8 about being literate and owning a computer! How true we take these for granted. I even shared it with my Facebook writer friends so they could enjoy it! I enjoy your blog as you write such pertinent posts for us writers.

  28. Erich Kreppenhofer says:

    What a great posting…I think most of us go through most of these phases at one point in our writing life…Thanks for reminding me…

  29. You are always uplifting with your words!

  30. R.A.Savary says:

    Thanks Rachel. It took me a while, but I finally realized I should pay more attention to the blogs that appeal to the writer in me than the promoter.

    My dad always said your work speaks for itself; of course he wasn’t talking about writing – at least, I didn’t know he was, at the time.

  31. Jan Thompson says:

    “4. Refuse to idolize your own words. Let them be edited and made better from the input of smart people. Happily throw away the ones that aren’t good enough.”

    Good one! After working really hard to get a scene “perfected,” it’s hard to see it discarded because it doesn’t fit at the rewrite. Must step back, and let it go. (It might resurrect itself in the next book.)

    Here’s one more I can think of:

    9. Keep everything in perspective. There is life outside of writing.

  32. Nikole Hahn says:

    Coffee! That’s my answer to being a successful author…and good coffee.

  33. Rachelle, I am so glad to have seen this today! I too, am copying it to have at hand everyday! I am a brand new blog writer & I really needed to see these points you gave! Thankyou!

  34. #9. A happy author = a learning author. A growing author.

    Being a writer means you’re never to old to learn and grow. The pleasure of learning never ends! (It hurts sometimes, too.) Look behind you to see how far you’ve come. Look ahead to anticipate the adventure and unknown. What a blast!

  35. Mike says:

    All good points. I welcome editors with open arms!

  36. Such good reminders! I accomplish #1 daily, but #8 made me smile. Yes, I own my words, but am always so thankful for the source of their inspiration, the privilege of my freedom to write them, and the joy they bring me. “In every thing give thanks.”

  37. Justin says:

    And if you’re not going to make any money from it you may as well enjoy it. Write something that spins your wheels

  38. I agree with everything you put in this list. In fact, #3 reminds me of this blog post I recently wrote.

    My first book is a week away from my front porch but I know a published book will not make me happy.


  39. Peggy Dover says:

    Number 6! I used to disappear into a hole with every refusal. Now when one comes along, I feel it more as a “Dip in Road”, which reminds me of an old Mad Magazine cartoon of my brother’s and then I laugh. Forward march.

  40. Aurora says:

    YES. I loved my book but when I got my editors comments I realized quickly that I was stupid and she was smart. She made my book go from good to great!

  41. Ryan LaForge says:

    How about, “Always have fun with your writing!” In the final analysis, there’s no reason to do anything–job, hobby, or whatever–if you’re not having fun. I tell my first-grade daughter, regarding her soccer team, it doesn’t matter who’s winning, who’s scoring, who’s on the pitch. If you’re not having fun, there’s no reason to be out there!

  42. Julie Luek says:

    I’m printing this out and pinning it up on my wall. Perfection.

  43. I believe it helps if we let the writing itself be part of the reward. It’s such a fulfilling experience when everything comes
    together, and I still enjoy reading most of my work as I continue to strive for perfection.

  44. Thank you. Such positive words. I need a spring cleaning of my mind now and then to think fresh, uplifting thoughts.

  45. Love this.

    I’d add, “Don’t forget where you come from. Those are the people who will love you regardless.”

    Thanks, Rachelle. My first book comes out May 1, so this is a timely reminder.

  46. THank you, I needed that reminder. Especially #1

  47. Love your post. All great points. Regarding #5, I remember Barbara Kingsolver saying “laying asphalt in the summer is hard work. Writing? Much easier.” It’s good to keep that perspective.

  48. Knowing how you work is extremely important.

    What is the word count you consistently produce? What is the best environment for productivity?

    When you know those things about your own psychology, you can make a more creatively conducive environment.

    Thus, happier writer!

  49. Jeanne T says:

    I loved these tips to be a happy author, especially number 4. I think I would add to remember that my writing–progress, abilities, etc–does not define me. This helps me weather the ups and downs on this journey a little more smoothly.

  50. Terrific list, Rachelle. I’m printing it and keeping it close to my computer for future reality checks and encouragement.

  51. Dan Erickson says:

    You’ve mentioned eight great points. I’ve never compared myself to other writers. I have as a songwriter, but since I started writing books a couple of years ago in my mid 40s, I just found no use or reason for comparisons. A few other reasons:

    Writing reduces stress.
    Writing is therapeutic.
    Writing helps us discover ourselves.

    Rather then thinking about writing for financial or commercial success, I think what writing does for us personally is key to how we can be happy writers.

  52. Sue Harrison says:

    I love these, Rachelle. #8 is wonderful! I would add a corollary to #2 – Celebrate the work of others. You’ve directed me (and all your readers) to so many great books, and I love falling into quiet inner celebration as I read their words and contemplate their ideas.

    • Elissa says:

      Oh, I completely agree with your proposed corollary Sue! Enjoy the work of other writers. Soak it up. Learn from them. Be inspired by them.

      All writers must be readers first or they won’t be very good writers.

      • Beth K. Vogt says:

        Chiming in and agreeing with you, Sue. Even if I’ve had a less than hip-hip-hooray kind of writing day, it always excites and rejuvenates me to celebrate another writer’s success!

  53. I love these. Really love them.

    #1 is likely my favorite. It always comes back to #1 for me.
    ~ Wendy

  54. Ginger says:

    I don’t comment much, but read regularly. I needed this today, thank you.

  55. Rita Kroon says:

    Hey Rachelle, You started my writing time at the computer with a 8 reasons to celebrate! Thanks. I started my day with the Lord, but my writing time with your advice! Hooray!

  56. Great advice, Rachelle. And for those who get that first (or second or third) contract, realize that there will be continued bumps along the road–edits, deadlines, marketing. But be grateful you have the opportunity to travel that road.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  57. Lisa Bartelt says:

    #1 is so important, I’ve found. When I’m writing for a job just to make money, I find much less joy in it than when I’m writing for the pure love of writing. I find I’m a happier writer when I’m in the company of other writers. I’m reminded that I’m not alone (or the only weird one!) and that other people appreciate the same things I do. Very encouraging post! Thank you!

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