Thursday, July 30, 2009

What makes you happy?

Have you ever sat down and written a list of what makes you happy? Lately I've been trying to remember what made me happy when I was a kid. Like, what were the things that really made me crap-my-pants happy when I was 7 or so? (it was really nice to remember how much I used to love to swim in the ocean):

*Art Projects
*Road Trips

I know there are a million platitudes associated with this topic, but I just feel like it's so important to really figure out what makes you truly happy and then to go out and do it. Because you live and then you die and you're not going to reap any benefits from sacrificing yourself to guilt or obligation, those things aren't going to matter when you're gone. You really have to enjoy life while you're alive (because you aren't going to enjoy it when you're dead!), and the sooner you figure out what you enjoy, the more you're going to get out of being a living, breathing human being. This has been my little personal philosophy for my 30's so far... obviously take it with a grain of salt, I also feel like people are totally mutable, as well as circumstances, and every aspect of everything, but anyway, right now, today, I feel like happiness is everything.

So while looking at my list of things I loved when I was 7, I started thinking about things that make me happy now; it's pretty similar, just add bikes, music, cooking, making-out, and clothes.

I've been trying to keep all these things in mind as I figure out what to do next career-wise. Honestly, I'm not sure I'm cut out to sell my art, or move around in the art world. The paintings I have lying around my house right now I want to keep, and new ones aren't springing forth. It's so complicated and boring. And in the end, I don't want my art tied into my financial survival, I'm too much of a stolid, security loving person for that sort of life...

So I've decided that my new career is going to be that of a Romance Novelist! Or at least I think it'd be a fun experiment. I've decided to really study the world of Romance for two years, like I'm in an academic program. I'm going to read nothing but romance novels, watch romance movies and read trade magazines. . . I sort of picture it being like that movie Supersize Me, where that guy eats only McDonalds for a month, just to see what effect it has on him; I want to immerse myself in this Romance novel culture and see what sort of writing comes out of me after a while (to be clear, when I'm talking about being affected by Romance Culture, I mean in an intellectual way, not really in a romantic relationship way. Like I don't expect it to make me a better person to date or something. Nor do I think I'll want to wait around for a bare-chested Scotsman to come to my rescue after I take a tumble from a runaway horse, ahem).

I know that there are a lot of books out there that tell you how to write romance novels, and that the "how to write a romance novel" business is itself a cottage industry, but that doesn't deter me at all, I still totally want to study something in depth, and this topic fascinates me. And I just think it'd be really fun to write a cheesy romance novel. I read somewhere a long time ago that 50% of all revenue from books was from romance novels. I also read that in order to write a good romance, you have to respect your readers and respect the genre, so I'm going to do that too. I get escapism. I get why some women would buy these books and read them and I want to explore that further.

Lastly, I'm so excited to pick out a pen-name! Like, Georgette Fox, or Lily Cummings, or Loretta Bixby. I would totally appreciate it if you have any pen-name suggestions to post them! Also, if you have any suggestions of good romance novels to read, post those too! Right now I'm thinking about reading everything on this list of the top 100 romance novels I found via Google. Of course I'm also going to hit up all the greats, like Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts, and maybe even those Twilight books. But I'm going to ease myself into it by re-reading Vilette and some Jane Austen, because I still totally love that shit.

I've given myself one huge caveat though, and that's that it has to be fun, I have to enjoy it. If I don't have fun reading these books and writing about romance, then I won't go on. No point in forcing something like this, eh?

Does all of that sound totally wacky? I totally get how weird it may seem, but for right now this plan totally feels right. I hope to blog about the process too (seeing as how I'll be using a pen-name, shouldn't hurt anything).

Ok, that's quite enough blog-action for today. Off to the movies in a bit. . .


e said...

so awesome. i totally support this. you should read outlander. i've only read the first book, but my sister is obsessed.

Vitamin said...

Yes! that book is next on my list! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

just browsing through your blog after finding the "nerd girlfriend" entries, and had to comment and tell you that this post is so lovely.

how's the romance research going?


ps. i'm totally going to follow you now (er, your blog, i mean). hope you don't mind me not leaving a link. i have a blog but am far too embarrassed to show it off.

Vitamin said...

thanks Tracey! The romance research is going good! I'm reading Outlander right now, and I would totally reccomend it! Still haven't written anything myself yet though. But I'm having fun. . .Thanks for following my blog.