Happiness is... Writing A Bad Novel, Very Fast

Now, I know that money buys happiness, but the pursuit of bliss is starting to push me into penury. My outlay on yoga classes and flights to Thai silent meditation retreats and 5HTP pills has become pretty steep, but it pales in comparison to the moolah I spend on enlightenment literature.

Continue shopping? Nooooo....

From Benjamin Hoff to Matthieu Ricard to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, I'm a sucker for a smile-peddling hack.  As in most areas of my life, I am convinced that books are the answer - with a small and a capital a. However, the damn things keep telling me to stop reading, and do stuff. Balls.

Thankfully my latest manual, Gretchin Ruben's The Happiness Project, is really quite helpful, despite coming from the super-personal, colloquial and cinammon-smelling US genre of spiritual navel-gazery à la Eat, Pray, Love. For all its scrapbooking and cookie-making, Ruben's down to earth, domestic approach to positivity is spot on.

It succeeds thanks to the simple truth that sorting your sock drawer does indeed rival Dandayamana-Dhanurasana for cultivating inner calm; and thanks to its method which, with themed months and charts of daily tasks, has orgasmic homework-and-gold-star appeal for ingrained swots such as I.

So, to launch my own Happiness Project, I've decided to avoid the hardest stuff (relationships), and focus first on work. First up, I'm aping one of Ruben's most successful projects: the one-month novel, a creativity-freeing concept from Chris Baty. The idea is to write 1600 words a day, for 30 days, unedited, unplanned and fast - and behold, the Nobel is born! Well, more like 50,000 mildly shit words, placed one after the other in a less-than-ideal order. But 50,000 words nonetheless.

Yes, I know NaNoWriMo is in November, but I'm a miserable bastard who likes to do things alone, and in any case, that's too far away. Currently stuttering and dribbling, I want to learn to pour again, unstaunched by the fear of judgement and the pressure of perfection.

So here goes. I started on Monday, and it already hurts like hell. But I am wearing a tiny little smile. And I'm going to do Buy Nothing Day UK.

I don't have time for anything but typing, anyway.