If you ask my friends to describe me, they would probably say I’m outgoing, talkative, maybe even a little bit loud. I love hustle and bustle, keeping busy and most of all I love people. So my friends might be surprised to find out that I rather like the quiet. I’m just as happy being left alone with my thoughts as I am at a party. There is something strange and wonderful about sitting alone in a café in the heart of a big city, watching the world go by, taking it all in. But even more, I like moments of complete silence when I can pick up my pen and write. I like waking up at first light when everything is still and picking up my pen. Writing fragments of confused dreams. Ideas for new stories. Disjointed thoughts. Poems. Not for anyone else, but just for me.
To be able to create something is a magical thing. To have a place for all my ideas and an opportunity to put my thoughts in order is wonderfully freeing and completely addictive experience. Setting aside time to express myself and explore my thoughts to their fullest potential, brings me a type of satisfaction I cannot easily find elsewhere. I love taking the time to find the right words; half science half art. Sometimes rubbish, sometimes beautiful. Always enjoyable.
Allowing myself the freedom to be creative is very important. Especially when I’m feeling blue. And I’m not the only one who makes the link between creativity and happiness. Writing gives me the space I need to think about and evaluate what’s going on in my life and in the lives of those around me. It is uplifting for me – therapeutic even. If I write fiction I have to think how my characters would think and see things through their eyes and consider their motivations. On the page I let my pen take me wherever I want to go. I can channel all my anger, all my frustrations and all my fears into my work. I can pour out my soul onto the paper; the good, the bad and the ugly. And I get that calm, tranquil feeling. When I’ve finished I feel happier than when I started.
The good news for people who are looking for a channel for their creativity, is that writing is completely free. All you need is a pen and some paper! Or you could start your own online blog – private or public. You’ve heard of music festivals, but did you know there are also loads of literary festivals you could go to? And there are cool writers groups in just about every city or town, where you can drink coffee, share your writing with likeminded writers, get advice and receive feedback. And if there isn’t anything near you, why not start your own group? Don’t be shy – you could be the next JK Rowling! One of the most unexpectedly fun nights I’ve had recently was at an open mic poetry night where people like me, who write between shifts at work or on the bus, finally get to share their poems in a friendly, buzzing atmosphere. A love of writing can take you anywhere. For me it takes me in the direction of happiness.
Written by Shirin Zaid
Photography by Matryosha
#BlueForWhat is an online campaign we launched in January 2015, to encourage people to think about the activities that make them happy—even in the colder and seemingly more gloomy months and days. We reckon that doing what you love is a sure-fire way of boosting your positive emotions, whatever the weather!