Many years ago, before I met my husband, before I became a writer, I went through some not so happy times. I remember making a collage on a large poster board of things that made me happy. I smiled every time I looked at it, and I looked at it frequently. It helped keep me going.
I don't remember everything on that collage, but I remember a few things. A smiling woman in a flowery sundress, a man holding an infant, a barbeque. These images meant something special to me and probably wouldn't mean the same to you--but we all have our happiness collages.
Around that same time, I began collecting letters of recommendation. Nurses tend to change jobs frequently (every 2 years was the average back then,) so I figured instead of going back and bothering these past supervisors time and again, I'd just keep a letter from them on file. There were days I wanted to quit. If it got bad enough, I dug out those letters and reread them. It reminded me exactly why I had become a nurse, and that I was a good one.
I ran across something the other day that could have been called a more recent happiness collage--or letters of recommendation. It was a print out of my old review snippets. These were reviews of my old books in a different genre published under a different pen name. Reviews are, in a way, letters of recommendation.
I didn't have to reread them to convince myself to keep going. I'm happy writing and publishing. But it gave me the push I needed to republish these old friends.
Suspense is no longer my genre, but I had four successful published paranormal romantic suspense novels that readers loved, according to these reviews. I have the rights back and even though I was asked not to mess up my brand (hot romantic comedy) I will still offer these books under the old name on Amazon. It's not a career move. I don't want to revive that pen name. It took too much time, effort and expense to change it. I simply want to share those stories with fans of that genre.
I'm letting a friend help me with the technical part of making these old books available, so don't ask me how to do it! I have no tech skills whatsoever! This isn't about my happiness or about making a few more bucks. This is about offering a few hours of happy, healthy escapism to anyone who needs it.
Meanwhile, I have new review snippets. There are words like "laugh out loud funny" in these reviews that make me smile each time I see them. And I share my happiness collage or my letters of recommendation on my website now. You can read them on my "raves" page if you like. http://www.ashlynchase.com/raves.html
It might not make you as happy as it makes me, but these snippets make me extremely happy. They remind me of why I became a writer and that I'm a good one.