Saturday, May 12, 2012

Vive la revolution!

I’ve been having an awful day. A day full of straggled sobs and salty tears. I got some sad news regarding my darling Nan*.

Earlier in the week I was actually knocking together a post about happiness. I had come to the realization the more I tried to force creativity, the more I struggled to produce anything. Well nothing other than a set of shoulders knotted with stress.

Whilst I am aiming to make a living from writing, I have inadvertently been sucking the life out of my writing. Extreme expectations, intense workloads, strict deadlines etc.  So it’s almost no wonder that writing was making me feel rather stressed and anxious.

I was feeling so miserable I started reading ‘The Happiness Project’ and this quote hit me like ton of bricks:

“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.” Robert Louis Stevenson.

Today this seems particularly potent, as I've been painfully reminded about the fragility of life. It makes me even more determined to prioritise happiness.

Last week, after reading that quote, I let go of the self-imposed pressures and just chilled out*. 

Once I stopped forcing myself to produce work that would make O. Henry go “oh my!” - I found that ideas starting popping up faster than corn kernels in a hot pan.

Like they say - a happy worker is a healthy worker.  In fact I stumbled across this report “Making employees happy, healthy and productive”

"First, consider the domino effect. Employees are overworked. This overworked environment encourages stress and stress-inducing behaviors and illnesses, which in turn increase turnover, absenteeism and employee dissatisfaction and ultimately costs employers billions in higher healthcare and labor costs" **

It feels like I’ve just given the one finger salute to a bitch of a boss.  I’m now working in a much healthier (and happier) working environment.

I’m learning to be the nice boss. The one who says things like “my door is always a open“, ”free muffins for all!” and “of course flannelette is appropriate for casual Friday!”

Of course there will still be demands, I won’t allow my writing to slip to just jotting down shopping lists, but I can already see that happiness doesn’t hinder productivity.

Whilst Red Smith famously said “There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein”

I think that would be a dreadfully messy business to engage in on a daily basis. I definitely think experiencing a spectrum of emotions is important to foster a sense of honesty and excitement in writing (I can attest to braving the stormy swell of emotions today). But I think that one needs to establish a happy working environment to ensure that the creative muse turns up and clocks on.

So Vive la revolution! Farwell Fi the dictator! And hello happy little camper!

Every revolution needs a couple of smashed eggs

*She is just the best.  Plain and simply – the best.

The woman herself! [photo taken 3years ago, during a freezing Irish winter!]

** This may have coincided with the discovery of the truly amazing show – Downton Abbey AND the hilarious podcast 'The Minutes'

**Note that this report was written for actual corporations, so perhaps it's prudent I edit out the word 'billions' for - “ultimately cost employers (read: Fi)…a fine button collection, a stack of tatty band posters and her sanity”. I think that this gives a clearer indication of my fiscal relationship with my writing!

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