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.