Creative habits

I recently read Daily Rituals, a book about how artists work. A sketch of each creative gives some info about their daily habits and rituals as they pertain to their artistic or creative endeavors. The book is a lot of fun and covers famous and popular writers, scientists, poets, painters, composers, philosophers, both living and dead. In some cases, the glimpse of daily life a hundred or more years ago is the most interesting facet of an entry, simply for the novelty of difference.

This is such a hot topic around here, if only because we seem to be too busy and the household schedule often fluctuates more than we'd like. Overall, the summer is a slow and less productive period for me when the kiddo is home. I get much more done during the school year, yet here at the end of September I'm still trying to find a good daily schedule for myself. I like to keep it interesting by throwing things like exercise and running into the mix once it gets cooler because, really, who needs consistency?

Several things in Daily Rituals struck me. Decades ago there used to be a lot more day drinking and a lot more blatant drug use. Some days, slogging away at my desk, I can absolutely see why both are appealing. The flip side are the vast number of people who just show up every day and do it, whether it's good or bad, useful or useless. When I get into a good rhythm, I can see their point.

I was quite happy to see that I am not the only world class procrastinator. The write up of Francine Prose struck a chord with me as she explained:
"When the writing is going well, I can work all day. When it's not, I spend a lot of time gardening and standing in front of the refrigerator."
Mostly, what I took away from the book, is that creatives are an odd bunch with weird little idiosyncrasies, habits, and superstitions. We all have "that thing" that helps us get into work mode and keeps us on task. And, when it comes down to it, passion for the project and the art is what keeps everyone going, no matter how they approach a day's work. It was an inspiring read, full of little laughs and what felt like inside jokes as I read through and thought, "Ah, me too!"

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