The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

As a fellow writer, Gretchen Rubin offers a lot of great advice about starting a blog, the uncertainty she felt taking the plunge and leaving her job as a lawyer to become a writer, and several pearls of wisdom on motivation.

Now certainly, motivation is a problem we all face, especially as writers.  We all want to become writers, but not all of us are willing to commit to what it takes to be a writer.  Many of us, myself included, are easily caught up in the demands of every day life and allow it to take us away from our true passion, which is of course, writing.

To be a successful writer, Gretchen Rubin mentions, you have to actually like writing.  It has to make you happy.  Otherwise, you’ll have a problem sticking with it.  People who are happy with what they do find the time to actually do it and therefore, are more motivated and successful.

As part of her happiness project, the author decides to dedicate an entire year to not only making herself happier, but to finding out what exactly makes her happy.  She focuses on work for an entire month, sharing what she’s learned.  Here’s a summary of some of her excellent advice:

-Aim higher.

-Challenge yourself by committing to something and sticking to it.

-Work smarter by boosting your efficiency.

-Focus on “now” and allow yourself to enjoy it.

-Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.

-“Enjoy the fun of failure.”

My favorite passage in the book?  One of her “Secrets of Adulthood”:

By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.  We tend to overestimate how much we can accomplish in an hour or a week, and underestimate how much we can accomplish in a month or a year, by doing just a little bit each day. 

Reading her novel, The Happiness Project,  has really renewed my zeal for writing, and I thank her for that.  In addition, she offers a lot of great insight and tips on writing, finding a writing support group, and blogging.

If you’re looking for a book to boost your ambition and give you a kick in the pants, this might be a good one for you to read.  While the focus of the book is primarily the author’s search to define and find happiness, much of it is based around her life as a writer.  It doesn’t necessarily offer much on the craft of writing, but if you’re looking for a source of motivation, not only as a writer, but in your life in general, this will do the trick.

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Slacker

For all of you who have been waiting so long for me to update, I apologize, and thank you for your patience.  Summer is here, as I’m sure you all know, and the combination of that, and still not being done with my novel is making it a bit difficult for me to get on here and update.

The good news is, I figured out where my story is going.  The bad news is, I’m not quite there, yet.  I promise that soon my first draft will be complete and I will be back here in full force, talking about the next steps of novel writing – editing, more editing, and even more editing.  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

In the meantime, just so I don’t leave you lonely for so long again, I’ve decided to post some book reviews I’ve written recently as well as some fun writing exercises, just to keep you all limber.

Hope you’re all having a great summer, and happy writing!

Roadblocks

So, fellow writers, after plugging away faithfully for over two months, we’re nearing the end of our challenge.  I have to confess I’ve allowed myself to get distracted over the last few weeks, and I’ve become quite a procrastinator.  One of the reasons this has happened is the weather.  It’s next to impossible to stay inside when the weather is as gorgeous as it’s been the last few weeks.  Two, I moved, and I’ve been unpacking like crazy.  I can’t stand to look at boxes and misplaced items everywhere, so I’ve been dedicating a lot of my free time to this task.  Three, my husband, who has been working 6 pm – 6 am for the last four years of our lives has finally been transferred to day shift, and we’ve been enjoying long, leisurely dinners together and marathons of watching the TV show LOST on Hulu.  Good for our marriage, bad for the writing.

So, with less than three weeks left in the challenge, I still have about a hundred pages left to write.  Not so good.  I’m forcing myself to dedicate this afternoon as well as my entire day off tomorrow to working on my novel, with the hope that I will get caught up.

I hope all of you are having better luck.  I’m at the point in my story where I have to make a decision about how I want it to end.  I’m still a bit undecided about this, so I think I’m just going to have to commit to something and hope for the best.  I can always change it during the editing stage.

Fun fact – did you know that the average novel goes through 10 drafts before being published?  So while we’re nearly finished with our first draft (which I believe is truly half the battle), we still have a ways to go before we begin contacting publishers.

Anyway, I’m off to attempt to write about 25 pages in two days.  Wish me luck.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.