Weekend Edition – Getting Happier Plus Writing Tips and Good Reads

Welcome to this Saturday Edition in which I share a little of what I’m up to with my writing (when I’m not here) and what I’m reading (between the covers and around the web). I’ll also pull back the curtain a little on my version of the writing life (but not so much as to be indecent).

I hope you enjoy this little diversion and encourage you to share your own thoughts, posts, and picks in the comments. I LOVE hearing from you and seeing the world from your perspective.

Happy writing! Happy reading! 



The Power of Happy

I just spent my morning dancing around to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

Hey! Want to join me?

Wasn’t that fun? 

I swear, even the animals in my house seem to dig a little early morning dance jam. The cats come running from wherever they are in the house and little Benny swims out from his hiding place in the aquatic weeds to swish his tail.

At the beginning of the year, instead of a typical resolution like finishing my novel or getting a story published or losing twenty pounds, I decided to stick with something simple: Figure Out What Makes Me Happy. Do More of That. Truth be told, this isn’t always as easy as it seems, but I’m making progress. The hardest part is usually the figuring out part. We get so wrapped up in the shoulds of life that we forget about the bits that make us come alive. We lose track of why we’re here in the first place.

happier logoI recently downloaded a cool little app called Happier. The site bills the app as a “fun, social gratitude journal.” Basically, it’s a tool to capture the things that make you happy. I’ve only been playing with it for a week or so, but the simple act of recording what makes me happy definitely seems to make me … um … happier. The app helps you get into the habit of noticing your own happiness, and before you know it you’re noticing a whole lot more happiness than you might have expected.

The best part is that happiness makes you more creative and more productive. It’s true. If you do a few quick Google searches, you’ll find dozens of articles that talk about the correlation between having a smile on your face and being able to work harder and more creatively. This one from Forbes on how happiness boosts worker performance, for instance, or this one from FastCompany about how one agency is using happiness to increase creativity. Pretty cool stuff.

What I’m Writing:

happy blogAll this happy talk reminded me of an itty-bitty blog that I wrote back in (gasp!) 2009. (Was it really that long ago?!?) My Good Mood Gig Campaign blog was part of a 30-day competition for a writing gig with a vitamin company. I didn’t get the gig, but I had a lot of fun creating and running my very first blog.

I look back at these posts and wince a bit. I was, after all, only two years into my blogging journey. I was more or less fumbling along in the dark. Still, the assignment was an inherently fun one and – if nothing else – I was able to create a mini archive of happy stories including links to great music, videos, and other content.

And – hey! – even though I’m slightly embarrassed by the writing, it makes me HAPPY to realize that I’ve been making progress since then and continue to learn my craft and improve my writing with each and every blog post and column, article and essay. That’s enough to make me smile.

What I’m Reading:

Affiliate Link

Last week, I shared a great novel called Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore. This week, I read Robin Sloan’s follow-up Kindle Single, Ajax Penumbra 1969 (affiliate link). You know that feeling you get when you finish a book and really love it and don’t want to leave the world the author has created? I was definitely feeling that after turning the last page of 24-Hour Bookstore, so this 60-page story was the perfect “just-a-little-more” fix.

I also loved having an excuse to use my usually neglected Kindle. It’s a first generation model that typically sits forlornly on my bedside table. I use it mostly to download and read book excerpts in order to decide if it’s worth requesting the “real” book from my local library. It was fun to actually read a full-length piece on the Kindle. Even if it was only a “single.”

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The Kindle Single is really quite an ingenious product. Not quite a book, but weightier than an essay, the Kindle Single is often a perfect length read … especially when you’re really busy and making time to read anything more involved is just impossible. Animalish (Kindle Single) (affiliate link) by Susan Orlean is another Kindle Single that I own and have read more than once.

Maybe I have accidentally discovered a use for my Kindle beyond reading excerpts. Perhaps my Kindle is meant for collecting fabulous essays, short stories, and novellas – capturing them in digital format so they take up oodles of space on my shelves. Besides, it’s just fun to get that quick and instant gratification – click, and – whoosh! – there the piece is. And at $1.99 – $2.99 a hit, it costs less than a chai latte. Hmmm … I may be onto something here.

And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:

Finally, a quote for the week:

book over

I just love this piece. It’s likely a meme adaptation, but the character is the creation of the fabulous Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half.  Her art and stories seem simplistic, but she has a wonderful way (as both a writer and an artist) of seeing right to the heart of a thing. Pretty amazing, actually.

So, that’s it for me (for now). Happy writing & happy reading & happy SPRING! Until next week. 🙂

Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.

50 thoughts on “Weekend Edition – Getting Happier Plus Writing Tips and Good Reads

    • Ha Ha! Thanks, Cynthia. So glad to have you here.
      Oh – and if you want cat pictures, I can oblige … just visit me on Instagram (suddenlyjamie). 😉

  1. I recently saw a version of this video from Australia. Both are very fun. Of course I don’t need an App to tell me that what would make me the happiest is looking out the window and not seeing snow. Great post.

    • The videos are all so much fun. Nothing like seeing people just let go and have a good time.
      And – OMG, YES! – a view without snow would be lovely.

  2. omg, I am so adding that app to my phone. In addition to reminding me to notice happy moments, I have a feeling it will provide lots of fodder for writing. I sometimes find myself writing from dark places, and while I like to write privately to work through the darkness, the moody stuff is not what I want to put out into the world. I much prefer my public writing make people feel good rather than bad. I think this Happier app will help with that. Thanks Jamie!

    • Ooh! Do look me up, Andrea. I’ll look for you, too.
      I’ve found that it’s really helping me to realize just how happy (and grateful and fortunate) I am. It’s also a reminder about how it truly is the little things that make me happiest.
      Dark and light will always battle within the artist. That’s the nature of art. Good to find a balance.
      Happy “happying!” 😉

  3. Oh Oh Oh! Thanks for clueing me in to the Ajax P 1969…That makes me do the morning-happpy-dance. I so loved Mr. P:)

  4. After reading your post about Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Book Store I picked up a copy and began reading it this week – loving it so far. I’m excited to hear about the Kindle Single – thanks for sharing!

    • So glad you’re enjoying the book. 🙂
      I thought it had a great mix of elements – a little mystery, a little history, and a healthy dash of philosophy. Oh – and FUN! Enjoy.

  5. Jamie, thank you for the links. I liked the arch types and bookmarked it. I just wasn’t able to get through the John Updike article today. I will try again, in a few days. Happy weekend, Silent

    • The Updike piece takes some “digestion.” I actually live only one street over from where Updike lived and worked, here in Ipswich, MA. I know two of his children (both visual artists) – very nice people. Hope you have a lovely weekend, too!

      • The book is coming really well. I finished the introduction this week (it’s in my proofreader’s hands now) and I worked on all the illustrations this weekend. Last thing to do before I send the finished draft to publisher is the formatting. 🙂

  6. Pingback: Weekend Edition – Getting Happier Plus Writing Tips and Good Reads - IBook Store

  7. I downloaded this app right away. My coworker is very into yoga and meditation so I shared it with her. We try to keep the energy and optimism in our office, so I think this will help. Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m so glad you’re trying the Happier app. Look me up if you like. It’d be fun to connect with other writers there. 🙂 Here’s to energy and optimism.

  8. First time reading your blog and I really enjoyed it! Will have to try that Happy app! I could use a few reminders. May help me find an stay in my happy place — usually at the keyboard writing! Thanks for sharing the info. I look forward to reading your posts!

    • Welcome, Andrea! So glad to have you here.
      I hope you do try (and enjoy!) the Happier app. It’s really pretty fun and definitely helps you start to notice all the little things that brighten your day. Pretty cool.
      Looking forward to seeing you around the blog again soon. 🙂

  9. Jamie, you are my favorite and the most fun and interesting to read. I love all of you writers on this blog, but yours, Jamie, are motivating and I like to check out the recommended sites and blogs too. Kudos! Oh and Thank you for the Happy dance video. . . . I heard a voice say, “Get on UP” and I did!

    • You’re so sweet. I think I may be blushing.
      Glad to know that you are feeling motivated and enjoy reading the other blogs – so much great information & inspiration out there.
      And yay for getting on up with the Happy dance video. Excellent!

  10. I always get so much out of what you write here – I love your resolution for this year: seriously, if we get happy, everything else falls into place! I’m definitely downloading that Happy app and I’ve put the 24 hour bookstore on my wishlist! Awesome 🙂

    • You’re right, Sara – getting happy has a sort of magic to it. It really does help you put all the other pieces together.
      I hope to see you on the Happier app. Would love to share happy moments with other writers & book lovers.
      Oh – and I hope you get your wish & get to read Sloan’s book. It was great fun. 🙂

  11. I love the idea of a Happy app! We tried the old fashion way at work, write happy moments in a jar and read it at the end of the year. I love discovering new apps. I’m loving this Writeometer one that reminds you to write, has a timer, and records how much you’ve written on your project.

    • Writeometer sounds fabulous, but I couldn’t find an iPhone version. You’ve set me on a quest to find something similar for the Apple OS, though. TKS! 🙂

      • I never thought there would be a day there would be an Android app and not one for Apple! I had such a hard transition letting go of some of my favorite apps. But I hope you find one. It’s fantastic!

      • I know! I was surprised, too. I’m sure I’ll find something. Came across some good candidates – now I just need to test drive them. 😉

  12. I have been participating in the 100 Happy Days project and I find, that yes, I am a lot happier. You hit the nail on the head with the comments about noticing the things that make you happy help you to notice more things which make you happier. And so on and so on…

    • Amazing to discover how many little things bring joy in a single day … if only we take time to notice them. 🙂 Happy 100 days and beyond!

  13. Pingback: Book Progress, Battlestar Galactica Video and Writing, Feminism, Media Related Links | Natacha Guyot

  14. I feel like an editor more than a writer. I will rewrite the same thing like 10 times. I have over thought everything for too long. I finally just pushed “public” on my first blog post. I am happier now that I have actually done it, but I am sure it will make me cringe a year from now. I just have to breathe and let it go! At some point, we all have to just “do” instead of just “think.” I am going to try to embrace my doing, even though it might suck. 🙂

  15. Working as a nurse and seeing stress rub off all people around me can get a bit crazy sometimes… writing for me makes me happy, I think living vicariously through writing can be major therapy.

    Awesome blog, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thanks

  16. Pingback: Weekend Edition – Speed bumps, identity crises, and shorts plus good reads and writing tips | Live to Write - Write to Live

  17. Pingback: Weekend Edition – A Place to Write plus Writing Tips and Good Reads | Live to Write - Write to Live

  18. Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog based upon on the same topics you
    discuss and would really like tto have you share some stories/information. I know my visitors would enjoy your work.
    If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me
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  19. Pingback: Weekend Edition – The Dichotomy of You Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips | Live to Write - Write to Live

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