Yesterday I finished writing a short novel. It took me two weeks to write 50,000 words.
So, what’s up with this ho-hum feeling I’ve got?
Well, actually I know exactly what’s up with it. It’s the same feeling I got after I completed my first novel years ago (roughly 1999).
That first one, I’d been working on for MONTHS, almost a full year actually and I finally finished it late one night beside a dying fire in my parents basement at Christmas time. So much time and effort went into it and I sat there feeling hollow, not the joyous celebratory, elation I though I should feel.
Yesterday when I finished the book I did feel awesome, I felt happy and excited and elated, everything I should have felt after that first one so long ago. BUT after less than a day, here I am with that same hollow feeling.
I want to fill it, I want to start working on another book. That’s a great feeling to have, to want to work on more writing, but… I think it’s misplaced.
Remember all my talk about inspiration?
Well I was super inspired to write this last work (hence completing it in two weeks). This sense of “I really want to start something new and keep writing” I have now isn’t coming from inspiration, I think it’s coming more from desperation. I have no project I had planned to work on at this point, I’m still mulling that over. I think this “need” to start something new it more to get over this hollow feeling of a goal accomplished.
Happiness research tells us over and over again that completing goals is fine, but it is WORKING ON goals (actually doing the work and putting in the time and energy) that makes us really happy.
So what is the solution?
Never accomplish any of your goals…sorry, bad joke, couldn’t help myself. No that’s not it.
It’s mindfulness and hard work. I know this doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but it’s the truth.
We are a society of overworkers (in general) who have no idea what to do with ourselves once we actually get what we’ve been working toward. We immediately seek out the next goal, the next “high” if you will (like I’m doing with this need to write something new), when what we should be doing is stopping…breathing…smelling the roses (metaphorically being aware of the awesome thing we just accomplished), and celebrating it!
I’m already making plans with my wife for how we’re going to celebrate this book being finished (as well as the book I put on amazon earlier this week). I have so much to celebrate.
Now I just need to be mindful – every time I start feeling down – that I just did something awesome! Then I need to do the hard work of choosing to change how I feel and purposefully feeling happy and satisfied. It is work, but it’s very rewarding work because the result is more happiness in your life.
So the next time you accomplish something, big or small it doesn’t matter, remember to take a moment (or a few days) and really tell yourself how awesome you are!
Because we are all awesome in our own ways, but sometimes we have trouble remembering it.