The “Happiness Project” author on the difference between book writing and blogging, and whether interacting with Internet commenters brightens or darkens her day.
Question: Does interacting with readers on your blog make you happier or less happy?rn
Gretchen Rubin: Having my blog has given me such a gigantic engine of happiness. I just can’t even imagine life now without my blog. So, I love my blog. I’m really lucky because I have amazing leadership. I see some of the comments that other blogs get and it seem like all the smart, nice, interested, engaging people are over on my blog because I have an excellent community of people who really are – really have a lot to say and a lot to add by **** huge amount about happiness and just how these things play out in different people’s lives. That’s been a gigantic benefit.rn
The thing about a blog and about a book is it’s a very different kind of writing. The blog is wonderful when you just have a 300-500 idea. Just one idea that you want to get out there. And I also like writing a blog because I skip around. One day I’m interested in loneliness, one day I’m interested in unconsciousness over claiming, another day I’m interested in how to keep yourself cheerful if you lost your dog. And so I can move around very easily and take advantage of interesting things that maybe would be a whole chapter in a book, but are interesting and thought provoking ideas.rn
A book is a better way to develop a complicated idea, or to tell a big story and to show how ideas weave in and out of each other, which is something that comes up a lot in happiness because all these ideas are interconnected. So, the blog is good for that quick hit, that quick idea, and I love the reader engagement, and then the book allows me to take these ideas and really develop them at much greater length and to tell longer stories. Somebody told me though that they thought the blog was more about process and the book was more about outcome because they’re sort of a more reflective attitude that you have when writing the book because it’s more coherent, it’s more pulled together, it’s more thematically organized and it’s certainly more edited. A blog is something that, everyday there’s a new thing and that’s part of the fun of it, you’re just constantly moving forward. A book really gives you more time to reflect and think hard on things very, very deep.
Recorded on February 16, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen