Coming Soon to a City Near You! Maybe.

My book, The Happiness Project, comes out in less than a month, and my book tour schedule is final! At last.

Several weeks ago, when I posted a question about my possible book tour, many readers wrote to me to encourage me to come to their home towns – I appreciate that so much. Now, at last, here’s the final schedule. I hope that I get to meet many of you along the way.

New York City – January 7, 2010 [I live in New York City]
Barnes & Noble
86th and Lexington
7:00 pm

Boston – January 13, 2010
Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard St
Brookline, MA
7:00 pm

Washington, DC – January 18, 2010

5333 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC
7:00 pm

Chicago – January 19, 2010
811 Elm St.
Winnetka, IL
7:00 pm

Kansas City – January 20, 2010 [I grew up in K.C., and my parents still live there]
Kansas City Public Library/Rainy Day Books
Plaza Branch
4801 Main Street
Kansas City, MO
6:00 pm

Denver – January 21, 2010
Tattered Cover Book Store
9315 Dorchester ST
Highlands Ranch, CO
7:30 pm

Los Angeles – January 25, 2010 [my sister lives in L.A.]
Vroman’s Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA
7:00 pm

San Francisco – January 26, 2010
Books Inc
1760 4th St
Berkeley, CA
7:00 pm

Seattle – January 27, 2010 [especially interested in going to Seattle, because it’s the only city on the list that I’ve never visited before]
Kim Ricketts Books
2030 5th Ave.
Palace Ballroom
Seattle, WA
7:00 pm – “Good Life” Series

New York City — February 9, 2010
92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY
7:30 pm
Buy tickets here

If you live in one of the cities, please come! Bring your friends! Spread the word! I really hope I’ll get the chance to meet blog readers face to face as part of the book promotion.

* Who knew? Over at the great blog, Marginal Revolution, I see that for Germans, at least, Sunday is the least happy day of the week.

* Zoikes, as of today, the publication date of The Happiness Project is just one month away. So close, and yet so far. Pre-order your copy now! If you need some convincing, look here.

The Year of Happiness Challenge

Ask yourself: What would make you happier? Make it happen in 2012.

To help get you thinking, in a weekly video, I’ll discuss how to tackle a “Pigeon of Discontent” — those ordinary, nagging problems that settle in to roost.

Join now, sign up! Studies show that taking an action, like signing up for this challenge, will help you hold yourself accountable for your resolutions.

Check out the Videos for the Happiness Challenge.

Read more about starting your own happiness project.

Buy the book, The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin

Make Sure the “Fun” is Fun for YOU.

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you could have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in — no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.

One of my Secrets of Adulthood is “What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you — and vice versa.” This sounds simple, but it actually was a huge breakthrough for me. So many things that other people consider “fun” are not fun for me, and it took me an astonishingly long time to realize that. Drinking alcohol, shopping, most games…I just don’t enjoy those activities.

Even now, I have to remind myself that people go skiing because they honestly want to go skiing, not because they are made from a sterner moral fiber than I.

I’ve realized, too, that it’s important to think about this in the context of my family. If I want to have fun with my family, I need to make sure that we’re doing activities that — at least some of the time — are honestly fun for me. Otherwise, I just get bored and try to end things – or even sneak away. Was it Jerry Seinfeld who said, “There’s no such thing as fun for the whole family?” Well, I’m trying.

For example, my four-year-old is constantly begging us to read to her. I was getting so bored with Frog and Toad and the like that I was making excuses.

Then it occurred to me – why not read something I like, too? I don’t have much appreciation for Little Bear anymore, not after the tenth reading, but I love children’s literature. Surely there’s something we can both enjoy.

She’s not ready for The Golden Compass, of course, and she’s not even ready for Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, but first we read the All-of-a-Kind Family books, and now we’re working our way through Mary Poppins. I love those books, and it has made a huge difference in my willingness to read to my daughter. It’s fun for me to read those books, too!

Obviously, as a parent, I can’t follow this rule all the time. My children enjoy things that aren’t much fun for me, so I get my fun vicariously, by watching their fun. But I’ve decided to try to steer our activities more to things that we all find fun, because then I’m so much more enthusiastic.

(Of course, it’s possible to run, then, into the opposite problem: something is so fun for me that being with my children ruins the fun. If I really want to see an exhibit, say, I can’t go with my two children. I just won’t be able to concentrate. But I could go myself, and then return with them.)

One of the great mysteries of happiness is – why is it so hard to “Be Gretchen”? Why is it so hard to know my own likes and dislikes? It seems that nothing should be more obvious than the question of what I find fun, yet I have to think hard about this, all the time. (On the subject of fun, here are the three types of fun.)

This principle doesn’t only apply to children; fun with your sweetheart, fun with your family, fun with your friends, fun with your co-workers. Have you found any good ways to have fun with others that’s also fun for you?

* I loved Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life, and Jesse Kornbluth (also known as Head Butler) is a friend, so I can’t wait to read the book that they worked on together: The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together.

* I send out short monthly newsletters that highlight the best of the previous month’s posts to about 28,000 subscribers. If you’d like to sign up, click here or email me at grubin, then the “at” sign, then gretchenrubin dot com. (sorry about that weird format – trying to to thwart spammers.) Just write “newsletter” in the subject line. It’s free.

Ten Reasons Why Using Twitter Will Boost Your Happiness.

Every Wednesday is Tip Day, or List Day.
This Wednesday: 10 reasons why using Twitter will boost your happiness.

I’m a huge fan of Twitter, and last night I was trying to persuade some friends, and later my sister, to give it a try. I think there are many ways in which Twitter can boost your happiness.

As a side note, it’s very appropriate to talk about happiness and Twitter, because the blue bird is the symbol for both. In fact, the blue bird on the cover of my soon-to-be-published book bears some resemblance to a few of the Twitter bird-logos.

1. Twitter allows you to pursue your passion – even if only in your imagination. A key to a happier life is to have fun – people who regularly have fun are twenty times as likely to feel happy. As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi noted in Creativity: “When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it.”

But sometimes, you just don’t have time to pursue your passion as much as you’d like. Many of my happiness-project resolutions are aimed at helping me make time for my passion. But if you can’t find the time, or if you’d like to spend even more time on your passion than you do, Twitter is a great source of conversation and ideas. If you love great food, Mad Men, green technology, college football, knitting, kidlit, writing paranormal erotic romance fiction, Apple — or, like me, Virgina Woolf’s The Waves — you can find other people who are interested in the same thing, day or night. And for that reason, it also makes you happier because…

2. Twitter distracts you if you’re feeling blue. Studies show that distraction is a powerful mood-altering device. (In fact, men’s greater tendency to distract themselves from bad feelings may be one reason they are less prone to depression than women.) If you’re following a bunch of people whose posts interest you, you can always count on finding something that will catch your attention. It can distract you, and also…

3. Twitter can get you laughing. If you follow some people who are very funny, you can count on getting a little mood boost when you need it. Reading 140 characters takes just a few seconds, but it’s enough to re-direct your mood. My current favorites: @borowitzreport and – forgive me, my beloved Laura Ingalls Wilder – @HalfPintIngalls.

4. Twitter helps you maintain loose relationships and strengthen strong relationships. One hot debate is whether technology will change Dunbar’s law – can you really handle more than 150 friends? Maybe not. But whether or not you can have more “friends,” technology certainly allows you to keep a better handle on acquaintances and virtual acquaintances. Far more than ever before, I’m vaguely aware of a huge number of people, some of whom I “know” and some I don’t “know,” and although that sounds overwhelming, it makes my life warmer and richer. Twitter, along with Facebook, blogs, Tumblr, and all the rest, allow you to keep a little connection with lots of people without much effort.

5. Twitter lets you help other people. Do good, feel good. If you have friends who own stores or restaurants, who write books or articles, who perform music, who advocate for a cause, or otherwise want to direct attention someplace – or if you want to help strangers who are doing these things — Twitter lets you shine a spotlight on their activities. Writers often say to me, “I don’t want to use Twitter because I don’t want to promote my work all the time.” Fine – so support the work of people you admire! Tweet about them. Speaking of which…

6. Twitter gives you a bully pulpit. I try to persuade people to commit to being organ donors. Through Twitter, I can repeatedly send this message out to a lot of people – and who knows, maybe I persuade some people to act.

7. Twitter lets you conquer a device. Mastering a new technology – whatever the technology is — contributes to the atmosphere of growth in your life, and that boosts happiness. Because social connections are a key (perhaps the key to happiness), the fact that Twitter technology connects people makes this effect even more intense.

8. Twitter lets you feel like you’re in on the current thing, and that’s satisfying. Sure, something may replace Twitter, or it may lose popularity and fade away. Right now, though, a lot of people are using it and talking about it. It’s not possible to keep up with everything new – new music, new video-games, new TV shows, new iPhone apps – but Twitter is easy to use, so it’s a good place to start if you want to feel current.

9. Twitter lets you share those funny little observations that float through your head. Some people scoff at Twitter, saying “I don’t want to read about what other people eat for breakfast.” Well, it’s true, people post too much about their airport travails – but in fact, it’s very amusing to read people’s comments on their everyday lives. And it’s even more amusing to think of your OWN comments! In the same way that carrying a camera sharpens your eye, knowing that you can communicate your clever aperçus makes you more observant and wittier.

10. Twitter makes gathering information easier. If you follow people who share your passion, they’ll help you keep abreast of everything happening in that area. And if you have a general question, crowd-sourcing it to Twitter is a great way to get an answer. When I wanted to know the PC equivalent for iMovie, and the definition of “steampunk,” I got answers right away. Most of all, Twitter is a super-efficient way to find out what other people find interesting.

These are all ways that Twitter can boost your happiness. Now, Twitter has one major drawback for happiness: it uses up time, and time is in short supply for most of us. It’s true, it’s an efficient way to scan headlines, keep up with passions, and connect with people, but the fact is, it may tempt you to spend too much time using it, or to use it to procrastinate from other, less enticing work.

Like most things, Twitter is a good servant but a bad master, and you have to figure out how to keep it under control. No staying up past your bedtime reading the #twilight stream. That said, it’s worth figuring out how to work it into your life.

If I’ve convinced you, but you don’t know how to use Twitter, here are two additional tips:
— Use Tweetdeck. I never could get the hang of Twitter until I started using Tweetdeck to access it. Go to Twitter, sign up for an account, then go straight to Tweetdeck and enter your account information.
— Here’s a quick read on the basics of using Twitter. Even better, ask someone to walk you through it in person. Using Twitter isn’t hard, but you need someone to explain the key features (direct message, re-tweet, hashtags, 140 characters). For more great info on using Twitter, try Twitip by ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse.

Once you’re on Twitter, follow me at @gretchenrubin.

* Ah, someone has a blog crush on me! I’m thrilled.

* It’s Word-of-mouth day, when I gently encourage (or, you might think, pester) you to spread the word about the Happiness Project. You might:
— Forward the link to someone you think would be interested
— Link to a post on Twitter (see above for why you should be using Twitter!)
— Sign up for my free monthly newsletter (about 30,000 people get it)
Pre-order the book for a friend (or yourself)
— Put a link to the blog in your Facebook status update
Thanks! I really appreciate any help. Word of mouth is the BEST.