At long last, in a few weeks, I’m going to try to sell my book proposal for the Happiness Project.
It’s very unusual with a non-fiction book to work for so long on a project before selling it. I hope I made the right strategic decision to hold off as long as I have. Wish me luck.
In any event, I’ve been trying, and failing, to come up with a great subtitle.
So I’m turning to you and the wisdom of crowds for suggestions for a subtitle.
To start the thinking, here are some current options:
The Happiness Project:
A Year of Changing My Life—Without Changing My Life
My Year-Long Quest to be Happier
My Year-Long Quest to be Happier by Changing My Life—Without Changing My Life
Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Pick Up Litter, Swallow Anger, Contemplate the Heavens, and Generally Have More Fun
My Year of Bursting into Song, Picking Up Litter…etc.
I like the paradoxical “changing my life without changing my life” but I fear that’s too obscure – people won’t get it and so will be put off. (What I mean is that I don’t make a radical change in my life — move to India or give up shopping or take a sabbatical from my family. I look for greater happiness within the ordinary confines in my life.)
My usual tagline for the Happiness Project is “I spent a year test-driving all the tips, rules, wisdom of the ages, and current scientific research to find out what actually works.” I like this description, but I can’t figure out how to turn it into a snappy subtitle.
“My Year of Test-Driving the Wisdom of the Ages and Current Scientific Studies to Discover What Actually Made Me Happier” doesn’t strike me as compelling.
I also like the idea that “Gretchen tests all this advice and reads all those books so you don’t have to.”
A friend suggested “My Year of Purposeful Living, Wanton Singing…and Picking Up Strangers’ Trash.” This sounds great. My only hesitation is that I wish I could replace “Purposeful Living,” because that kind of vague advice is the kind of thing I really avoid in the Happiness Project. (We can all agree that that’s a worthy goal, but how the heck, exactly, do you go about living more purposefully?) I can’t think of something that sounds as good but that’s more concrete.
I like the word “adventure.” I wish there were a synonym for “quest” that had the same meaning and wasn’t quite so unicorn-y. I really want to keep the mention of the “year.”
I suspect that the right subtitle is something completely different from the ideas above. Something imaginative and unexpected, but that also accurately describes the Happiness Project. But darned if I can think of what it could be.
One of my Secrets of Adulthood is “It’s okay to ask for help.” So I’m asking. Help!
An unrelated matter:
If you’ve emailed me in the last few days to ask for a copy of my charts, please be patient. Here in Kansas City, I can’t SEND email because of a technical issue, but I’ll send the charts as soon as I get back to my office. And for those who may have missed the message – if you’d like a copy of my resolution charts, to use as inspiration for your own happiness project, just email me at grubin [at] gretchenrubin [.com]. (I’ve added the brackets to thwart spammers, but just type the email address in the usual way.)
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