There’s been a lot of interest in Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project which was published in late 2009 and became a #1 New York Times Bestseller. The book is a memoir of the year Gretchen spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from the popular culture about how to be happy–from Aristotle to Martin Seligman to Thoreau to Oprah.”

As a blogger, and someone who derives a great deal of pleasure and happiness from blogging, I loved the part of the book where Gretchen describes launching her blog.

While my blog posts usually have more of a business focus on topics such as social media marketing, I wanted to take this opportunity to share Gretchen’s perspectives on blogging—mostly because I identify. And, because I often talk with people who are contemplating starting a blog and wondering how it will be for them. These passages describe my experiences so perfectly. I believe that if you want to blog, once you get through the initial steps,  you too will reap the benefits which come from blogging.

In Gretchen Rubin’s words from The Happiness Project:

So how was I going to incorporate novelty and challenge into my happiness project? I wanted to choose a goal related to other things I liked to do–no violin lessons or salsa-dancing classes for me, no matter what the experts said. At the point when I was trying to figure this out, my literary agent suggested that I start a blog.

..reading the research on the importance of challenge to happiness had convinced me that I should stretch myself to tackle a large, difficult goal. Not only that–if I did manage to start a blog, it would connect me with other people with similar interests, give me a source of self-expression, and allow me a way to try to convince others to start their own happiness projects.

But despite the promise of a big happiness payoff, I felt apprehensive. I worried about the time and effort a blog would consume, when I already felt pressed for time and mental energy.

Preparing to launch the blog reminded me of two of my Secrets of Adulthood:

It’s okay to ask for help. When trying to get started, I floundered until I thought to do the obvious: as for advice from friends with blogs.

By doing a little each day, you can get a lot accomplished.

Since then I’ve posted six days a week, every week.

Seeing that first post hit the screen gave me an enormous rush of triumph. I couldn’t believe I managed to do it.

I quickly discovered that even after I’d launched it, my blog remained an excellent source of happiness through challenge. To put it more baldly, it often drove me crazy with frustration. The more I did, the more I wanted to do. I wanted to add images. I wanted to drop the word “typepad” out of my URL. I wanted to podcast. I wanted to add live links to my TypeLists.

My blog gave me a new identity, new skills, a new set of colleagues, and a way to connect with people who shared my interest. I’d expanded my vision of the kind of writer I could be. I had become a blogger.”

image credit: Mike Licht,’s photostream