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.
A while back, I read Daniel Pink’s The Adventures of Johnny Bunko. This short, engaging book is quite striking, because it’s a career guide written in the form of a manga comic book. Terrific! It blew my mind.
I was so inspired by it, in fact – by this engaging way to tell a story and to convey information – that I became determined to do a comic myself. It took me some digging to find the right person with whom to collaborate, but at last I found the brilliant, funny, and (appropriately) very happy young cartoonist, Chari Pere.
It took us a long time, going back and forth, to finish this comic, but it was a terrific process. It was very interesting to me to see how words could be accompanied by pictures, and how those pictures would influence a reader’s understanding.
Ta-da, here it is: Gretchen Rubin in the Quest for a Passion. (Tip: after you hit the link, click “fullscreen” on the bar at the top of the page.)
Finding this vehicle for a creative collaboration made me very happy. First, I really enjoyed working with another person on a mutual project. As a writer, I spend almost all of my time working alone. I love this, but it’s nice to work with someone else from time to time. One reason I love this blog so much is that it allows me to engage with people, and to discuss ideas, every day.
I also love the creative ideas that emerge when you work with someone else. If I’d been the sole creator of this project, it would have been quite different. The same thing happened when my friend and I worked on our picture book, Four to Llewelyn’s Edge. Working together, we created something so much better than either of us could have done alone. What’s more, with both the cartoon and the picture book, the project couldn’t have been done at all without collaboration.
So try to find a vehicle for creative collaboration. It doesn’t need to be a lengthy, complex project – just something fun, that you want do with someone else. Maybe you and your wife want to re-do the garden. Maybe you and your sister want to make a scrapbook for your parents’ fortieth anniversary. Maybe you and your friends or your co-workers want to keep a blog together. Maybe you and your kids want to tackle the spaghetti-and-meatball cupcakes from the wonderful Hello, Cupcake! cookbook.
If you’re interested in subject of creative collaboration, I recommend the very interesting book, The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together, by Twyla Tharp and Jesse Kornbluth. For example, here’s one suggestion about collaboration that really caught my attention:
“Don’t sign on for more problems than you must. Resist the temptation to involve yourself in other people’s zones of expertise and responsibility. Monitor troublesome situations if you need to, but don’t insert yourself unless you’re running out of time and a solution is no where in sight. In short, stifle your inner control freak.”
Have you found a vehicle for creative collaboration in your life? Has it made you happier?
If you’d prefer to have the comic emailed to you, just write me at grubin [at] gretchenrubin [.com]. No need to write anything more than “comic” in the subject line.
* I got a big kick out of this virtual road trip created from thousands of Google street-view images.
* Are you looking for a good book to start your summer? Searching your brain for a possible Fathers’ Day present? Please consider The Happiness Project (can’t resist mentioning: #1 New York Times bestseller).
Order your copy.
Read sample chapters.
Watch the one-minute book-trailer.
Listen to a sample of the audiobook.