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We seem to have a strange but all too human cultural fixation on the daily routines and daily rituals of famous creators, from Vonnegut to Burroughs to Darwin — as if a glimpse of their day-to-day would somehow magically infuse ours with equal potency, or replicating it would allow us to replicate their genius in turn.And though much of this is mere cultural voyeurism, there is something to be said for the value of a well-engineered daily routine to anchor the creative process.Those are the best moments, when I’ve got the whale on the line, when I see exactly what it is I’ve got to do. It never goes quite like you think, but that moment is a touchstone, a place to come back to.
By contrast, working sporadically makes it hard to keep your focus.
It’s easy to become blocked, confused, or distracted, or to forget what you were aiming to accomplish.
One of the painful ironies of work life is that the anxiety of procrastination often makes people even less likely to buckle down in the future.
I have a long list of “Secrets of Adulthood,” the lessons I’ve learned as I’ve grown up, such as: “It’s the task that’s never started that’s more tiresome,” “The days are long, but the years are short,” and “Always leave plenty of room in the suitcase.” One of my most helpful Secrets is, “What I do every day matters more than what I do once in a while.”Everybody who does creative work has figured out how to deal with their own demons to get their work done.
[…] Creativity arises from a constant churn of ideas, and one of the easiest ways to encourage that fertile froth is to keep your mind engaged with your project.
When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly. That’s why practices such as daily writing exercises or keeping a daily blog can be so helpful.Still, surely there must be more to it than that — whole worlds rise and fall, entire universes blossom and die daily in that enchanted space between the writer’s sensation of writing and the word’s destiny of being written on a page. To be disciplined, and at the same time, take risks. Fail better.” It requires what the great editor Ted Solotoroff once called In other words, it requires grit — that the science of which earned psychologist Angela Duckworth her recent Mac Arthur “genius” grant and the everyday art of which earns actual geniuses their status. […] To allow ourselves to spend afternoons watching dancers rehearse, or sit on a stone wall and watch the sunset, or spend the whole weekend rereading Chekhov stories—to know that we are doing what we’re supposed to be doing — is the deepest form of permission in our creative lives. We research a little known piece of history obsessively. We don’t know why, and yet these moments form the source from which all our words will spring.For all that’s been mulled about the writing life and its perpetual osmosis of everyday triumphs and tragedies, its existential feats and failures, at its heart remains an immutable mystery — how can a calling be at once so transcendent and so soul-crushing, and what is it that enthralls so many souls into its paradoxical grip, into feeling compelled to write “not because they can but because they have to”? The writing life requires courage, patience, persistence, empathy, openness, and the ability to deal with rejection. To be willing to fail — not just once, but again and again, over the course of a lifetime. Writing is also, as Shapiro poetically puts it, a way “to forge a path out of [our] own personal wilderness with words” — a way to both exercise and exorcise our most fundamental insecurities and to practice what Rilke so memorably termed living the questions, the sort of “negative capability” of embracing uncertainty that Keats thought was so fundamental to the creative process. You come face-to-face with your own resistance, lack of balance, self-loathing, and insatiable ego—and also with your singular vision, guts, and fortitude. The British author and psychologist Adam Phillips has noted, “When we are inspired, rather like when we are in love, we can feel both unintelligible to ourselves and most truly ourselves.” This is the feeling I think we all yearn for, a kind of hyperreal dream state. Originally featured in October — sample it further with Shapiro’s meditation on the perils of plans.), edited by Behance’s 99U editor-in-chief Jocelyn Glei and featuring contributions from a twenty of today’s most celebrated thinkers and doers, delves into the secrets of this holy grail of creativity.Reflecting Thomas Edison’s oft-cited proclamation that — since true aspiration produces effort that feels gratifying rather than merely grueling, enhancing the grit of perspiration with the gift of gratification.) One of the book’s strongest insights comes from Gretchen Rubin — author of We tend to overestimate what we can do in a short period, and underestimate what we can do over a long period, provided we work slowly and consistently.When writer's block hits, taking a moment to read some of the best books on creative writing can get writers back on track to creativity.Whether writing action, writing for television, or writing fiction, Below are some of the best creative writing books available to get writers thinking differently, writing outside the comfort zone, and exploring new writing styles.You see yourself do the work, which shows you that you can do the work.Progress is reassuring and inspiring; panic and then despair set in when you find yourself getting nothing done day after day. For Charles Bukowski, it sprang from the soul like a rocket. Every year on January seventh, I prepare my physical space. I just leave my dictionaries, and my first editions, and the research materials for the new one. He said, “Do it another ten years, you can be a writer.” But I looked around at the people on Wall Street who were ten years older than me, and I didn’t see anyone who could have left. […] I used to get the total immersion feeling by writing at midnight. Joy Williams found in it a gateway from the darkness to the light. From those seventeen steps on, I am in another world and I am another person. When it comes to nonfiction, it’s important to note the very significant difference between the two stages of the work. So it did appear to be financial suicide when I quit my job at Salomon Brothers — where I’d been working for a couple of years, and where I’d just gotten a bonus of 5,000, which they promised they’d double the following year—to take a ,000 book advance for a book that took a year and a half to write. I was twenty-seven years old, and they were throwing all this money at me, and it was going to be an easy career. It’s very hard to preserve the quality in a kid that makes him jump out of a high-paying job to go write a book. I noticed very quickly that writing was the only way for me to lose track of the time.