Writing Can Make You Happier

Are you happy?

I’d like you to close your eyes and think about this question:

“Are you happy?”

Are you happy in this place, in this time, do you enjoy life? Of course, the most likely answer, would be ‘no’. The majority of my peers have answered ‘no’. Each replied with a laugh and a negative reply.

‘Even a retard couldn’t be happy in this place.’  

Why do we think these things? Why can’t we take the steps to smile, to follow the TED-talks, Youtube tutorials, Quora posts, and silly quizzes on unsecure websites—all telling us how to become happier? We sit here, wondering what happiness is, if we truly desire it, our heads tripping into that summer swing that flies nonchalantly through each vague, time-consuming question:

‘Am I happy?’

PC: MicheleSayers

We have all experienced our own hardships, and no matter how their severity may compare to each other, when it comes to deciding whether or not everyone is the same or completely unique there is one thing that all of humankind shares:

Pain

Happiness seems to be the most effectual way of healing pain; yet, we struggle remarkably to achieve it. Many young writers begin to write because they are dealing with certain pressures and various forms of stress. Writing usually starts from the books, the happiness of these stories and the places they describe draw us in and make us want to live to see them. And sometimes we cannot help but think that ‘One who writes happy things must be happy.’, thus, in our search of happiness, we begin to write.

But, you don’t necessarily have to always write about happy things. In my case, I drafted quick poems about the darkness of my room, the fear, the pain. However, each time I flipped a page, my words became more positive. Writers at the same time, indulge in pleasant imagery about the better memories of our lives. Though the drafts I created as a child were very badly written, each positive sentence of warmth and comfort placed itself so neatly into my head. Writing provides many with a pillow to cushion the stiff, stoic darkness of our thoughts.

Slowly, life becomes lighter.

This idea of self-healing revealed itself to me in the form of poetry, short, thoughtful walks, and more dozing off into space during breaks. Though the thought of these things may seem like ‘a waste of time’, I assure you they provide the exact opposite.

Many students stress excessively over their grades and test scores and are rarely exposed to “true-boredom”. Boredom seems like the ultimate waste of time, yet boredom is what I believe to be one of the very beginnings of writing. In a state of boredom, one experiences various thoughts, perhaps about the hue of the sky or the rain streaks on the window. Ideas resulting from boredom are often translated into into artistic portrayals of the absurd journey of their thought processes.

The more often one experiences these deeper moments, the better ideas they think of—thus resulting in an individual who is capable of more than just strictly academic thinking. Writing creates a world of escape, a leisurely space in which one can think freely about the things in their life, their opinions, or simply not think about those things at all.

Writing creates a more self-aware and empathetic environment for the writer—what I mean by this is that by writing about yourself and other people, by taking the time to write from the perspectives of those around you or characters from your imagination, you will naturally be given a higher capability of understanding yourself and others. With writing, even a beginner will gain the ability to think deeper and to take on more creative risks.

Taking more risks gives one a wider spectrum of choices in life, they’ll be more willing to seize new opportunities and chances. Studies have shown that the human brain is happier when presented with less flavors of ice cream to choose from, but life is not Baskin Robbins, and opportunities are not ice cream flavors. The more you reach for, the greater chance of you succeeding. While in the process of performing a risk, doubt and hesitation usually appear—which is where writing comes in handy. Writing about the risk you’re taking and why you’re taking it will make you more confident in continuing forward and completing the task you set out to do. You’ll be less fickle about your decision, less hesitant, more brave, and more excited than anxious to take the risk.

This, will ultimately make you, a happier, more accomplished individual, who has taken the risks they have always avoided, and who has taken the opportunities they have always been too scared to take.

– Michelle Lee ‘22

Featured image: MicheleSayers

Novelize November with National Novel Writing Month

November = NaNoWriMo = Time to write a whole novel

November. The month of Thanksgiving. You know what else more? In a few weeks, it’s the official #NaNoWriMo – a fun program for young writers that happens every November 1st, all the way to the 30th. After all, it’s that time of the year that ordinary everyday individuals get a sudden craving for the taste of ink and deep thought, thus choosing to step into the arena to endorse in the NaNoWriMo buzz. Hoping to fire away your novelist writing skills? This just might be the perfect option for you.

Basically, the National Novel Writing Month is a writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. You got it, an entire novel by the end of November. For one whole month, you get to flaunt your inner author, let your imagination take over, and just be inventive!

The whole process is pretty simple – each participant begins writing on November 1st and must finish by midnight, November 30. The word-count goal for the adult program is 50,000 words, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) permits 17-and-under participants to set reasonable yet challenging word-count goals of their own. This means the students can get an opportunity to become an author for a month while still balancing all their schoolwork without much of a stress.

 

The organization has even created a calendar for the participants to help them spur on.
The organization has even created a calendar for the participants to help them spur on.

In 2014, over 300,000 adults participated through the main site, and nearly 90,000 young writers and students participated through the YWP. This year, the event’s popularity is continuing to grow as people all over the world are still pursuing to join this program. Although in South Korea, the popularity seems comparatively less, as there are a total of only 36 participants so far in the regions of Seoul and Busan.

 

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NaNoWrimo also has a badge system, where the participant’s account dashboard displays a series of badges – one for each major action the individual can perform. A badge is gray until you earn it, and you achieve that by clicking it and performing the appropriate action. If an action isn’t currently available – for example, winning before late November – the badge is solid gray. Some of the variety of badges you can earn to feel accomplished are Profile Badge, Region Badge, Forum Badge, Writing Buddy Badge, and many more.

In the end, you don’t have to be a writer to experience merit. If not realized already, the most beautiful thing about writing is that you finally get the chance to stop being a consumer for once and start creating yourself. Everyone has spent their whole lives consuming endlessly, and maybe it’s time to do the opposite. Take your time to expand and create, just for the joy of it. Even if this experience doesn’t reward you anything, it’s the question of whether you would still be willing to persevere or not.

Just remember that it’s the taking part that counts. If you do happen to reach the magical 50,000 words – congratulations. If not, understand that you have still succeeded in challenging yourself and regard yourself as a winner anyway. It is the journey of your story that values the most. Have fun and good luck!

 

– Ashley Kim (‘18)