GUEST POST: Britt Skrabanek: I’ll Be Happy When…


Happiness. We put so much pressure on that single word, don’t we?

It’s all too easy to get stuck in this mental cycle of thinking happiness will magically arrive once we get something we thought we wanted more than anything else—when we accomplish something we worked our asses off to get.

I’ll be happy when I get that promotion.

I’ll be happy when I buy that house.

I’ll be happy when I write that book.

Do we feel happy after obtaining or accomplishing any of these things? Not for very long. Like coming down from a high, we crash and we wonder where it all went wrong.

Hey, what happened to my happiness I deserve? I worked so hard for it, and now it’s gone.

The build-up we attach to thinking happiness comes after a certain thing causes this self-destructive roller coaster of emotions.

As a writer, I know this feeling well. And I see it all the time in other writers.

I hear many aspiring novelists say that they’ll be happy when they finally finish writing their first book, so they can share it with the world. They envy others who have published their novel, thinking they have won the key to happiness.

I know this, because I used to be an aspiring novelist. I used to feel these things.

I used to think that if I published books, I would be able to become a full-time writer. I pictured myself looking out the window, typing away with a cat in my lap, creating meaningful art to share.

Since then, I’ve written and self-published three books. And I still have my full-time job.

After each book release, I felt disappointed. Yes, I was proud of myself for my hard work. I was. But what kept holding me back was the pressure I put on my own happiness.

Because I said…

I’ll be happy when I publish my first book.

I’ll be happy when I publish my second book.

I’ll be happy when I publish my third book.

Here’s the really interesting thing about finding happiness. It’s not hard to find. It’s actually right there in front of us.

Recently I ran a free Amazon promotion on my first book, Beneath the Satin Gloves, for a re-release I did after reediting the whole damn thing.

The promotion was a smashing success, with hundreds of downloads. My goal was to get more reviews. Then, I got my first Goodreads review…and it was one star, no comment.

I blamed the review for stealing my happiness. I wanted to quit writing—not for the first time—and I began second-guessing my path and purpose in life. Just like that.

Sure, it sounds ridiculous as I reveal this vulnerability to you guys, but it’s true. And, we all do it.

Again, I put too much pressure on my happiness, because I said I would be happy when I got reviews for my book. Well, I got one didn’t I? Shouldn’t that have made me happy?

Finding Happiness

The picture of me you’re seeing is a selfie I took right after this happened. It was a beautiful sunny day here in Portland and I took a walking break at work.

There’s a lovely urban park not far away. It’s surrounded by tall buildings and a busy freeway, but the park is spacious and peaceful, a sanctuary inside of the chaos.

It was here that I snapped out of my unhappiness. It was here, on a Wednesday afternoon, that happiness washed over me.

Nothing happened. There was no five star review for the same book to make me “feel better,” or some other grand revelation. I was simply happy.

And when I look back at some of the happiest moments in my life, they happen when I least expect them.

I think this is something we should all keep in mind. I’ll be happy when I live.


Britt is the spirited indie novelist of Nola Fran Evie, Everything’s Not Bigger, and Beneath the Satin Gloves. Her blog, a physical perspective, is a whimsical snapshot of life, musings, and the glory of the written word. Britt is blissfully married, has two delightfully incorrigible cats and loves to experience the world—all of its quirky beauty inspires her endlessly. When she’s not writing, she’s a bike riding Yogi who loves to dance.

 
 
 
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35 thoughts on “GUEST POST: Britt Skrabanek: I’ll Be Happy When…

  1. Yay! Thanks so much for having me over at your brand new place. I feel so special. Sharing with my peeps tomorrow, so I hope to bring some visitors over for your housewarming party.

    Congrats again…and cheers! Looks great.

    • It’s a common thing, Mike. Not sure if it’s human nature or part of our modern society…maybe a little bit of both. Wherever it comes from, I’ve learned to recognize it and work on it.

      Awesome.

  2. I so can relate to that – definitely a ‘I’ll do that when…’ kind of person.
    I hope you won’t let mean-spirited reviews (or even average ones) get you down, nor over-think all the things you haven’t achieved, because you have achieved so much. Since we’ve known each other, you’ve published 3 books, while I’ve dithered and dothered and done none of that. So please celebrate! And be happy!

    • Hey, Marina! Fancy seeing you here.

      No, I won’t let reviews get me down. I think it’s natural for the first bad ones to get to you and then it’s time to move on.

      Thanks for the encouragement, honey. You haven’t dithered…I don’t get to read as much as I’d like, but I always love seeing you exploring new books and celebrating those authors.

  3. Wonderful, truthful post, Britt. Happiness is a state of mind and for many writers it’s the other state we live in. Goals and success will not give that to you. I find my happiness in nature– the ocean, wildlife, solitude.

    • Thanks, Dannie! I was a little nervous about writing it, which is why it was easier for me to pitch it to Chris, then write it over here.

      Yes, it is common for writers to live in the other camp. Once I get outside in nature and see and smell growth, I feel truly happy too.

  4. Once during a walk in the woods I saw an Andy Warhol quote of all things etched into a rock. It said, “You have to be willing to get happy about nothing.” So true. We push ourselves so much when most of the time true happiness comes out of nowhere and takes us by surprise.

    • Amazing, honey! I’ve actually never heard that quote and it’s certainly one worth etching into a rock for others to see. We do push ourselves too much. When we let go, BAM…some unexpected happiness.

  5. Wise words, Britt. It’s all too easy to wait for happiness, maybe because we equate it with such lofty things. If we instead equated it with everyday things like drinking a cup of tea (or an ice cold beer…), watching our favorite TV show, curling up with a book, we might find it more often.

    It’s funny, because after I get a bad review, a walk helps put things in perspective for me, too. Nature resets our balance. She’s good at that. 🙂

    • It truly is. Again, I’m not sure where these ideas of happiness come from, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. Spending time thinking about that takes away other moments to enjoy.

      Walking is one of the most healing things in the world. Works like a champ!

  6. This has definitely been a theme in my life, but more so in recent years. Sometimes I think we guilt ourselves into feeling anything other than happiness because we don’t have anything to “show” for it or think that we’re just being self-indulgent. But really, who said being happy has to look or be a certain way at a certain time/place? I’m glad you wrote about this and that you found your own source of happiness even after some rough times.

  7. Happiness is today. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Enjoy it all.
    Britt, you always have the right words to share and your perspective is contagious.
    Be happy, now! I’m happy to have read you again.
    (now, I’ll have a thourough look at this new blog you’ve introduced us to)
    xoxox
    Jul’

  8. You make some great points Britt, that I can truly relate to. I do still do the ‘I’ll be happy when’ thing, but I think I do it less than I did and try to appreciate happiness in small things.

  9. Britt I look at you and what you have achieved and I admire that you have written three books. I think no matter what we do we must find the happiness in the small things in our day. the other stuff is just a bonus. Great post.

  10. What a wonderful piece, Britt. It’s so true, we so often think “When/If I do this, then I’ll be truly happy”. And in fact it’s the everyday things, the little moments, that really make up our happiness in the end.

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