The daily rituals and working routines of prolific authors and artists – people who really do get a lot done – very rarely include techniques for ‘getting motivated’ or ‘feeling inspired’. Quite the opposite: they tend to emphasise the mechanics of the working process, focusing not on generating the right mood, but on accomplishing certain physical actions, regardless of mood.
Anthony Trollope wrote for three hours each morning before leaving to go to his job as an executive at the post office; if he finished a novel within a three-hour period, he simply moved on to the next. (He wrote forty-seven novels over the course of his life.)
The routines of almost all famous writers, from Charles Darwin to John Grisham, similarly emphasise specific starting times, or number of hours worked, or words written. Such rituals provide a structure to work in, whether or not the feeling of motivation or inspiration happens to be present. They let people work alongside negative or positive emotions, instead of getting distracted by the effort of cultivating only positive ones. ‘Inspiration is for amateurs,’ the artist Chuck Close once memorably observed. ‘The rest of us just show up and get to work.’
Details and supplementary resources for this infographic can be found in the previous post. Feel free to share this infographic as you please, but a link back or comment will be most welcomed.
We’ve all heard the phrase – “Work Life Balance” – in fact, I’m pretty sure my partner’s corporation still contains that phrase as an organisational motto. But maybe the balance part of this term needs changing – to blend.
The same concept is possible with writing, which is, of course, work – and hard brain-numbing work at that. It can be applied to anything we have passion for.
In April this blog participates in two corresponding challenges – the Blogging from A to Z Challenge and CampNaNo.
This sticky post will act as an index and progress meter for the challenges.
Well, I’m not making up a Z post for the sake of it. It’s been a long and windy journey, and if you’ve arrived at Z via the #AtoZChallenge, I congratulate you on your perseverance. It’s been a tough journey for all the bloggers, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing out these posts, and doing the rounds of reading others.
This post will simply work as an appendum, containing a list of all the references, links, and books I’ve used in this A-Z post series on Writer’s Core Habits. But first – a video…
For one of the newest commentators on this blog, Angeline.
Give your writing a go, find a little time. You never know what might happen until you do it.
2 Years to a Book. That’s what I realised I could accomplish – on top of my normal writing projects and goals during the year. For others who don’t have the luxury of so many free hours to write, as I do, the program also allows for a book draft completed during that first year.
As a new writer, one of the hardest lessons I learned (aside from the sheer hard work of writing) was that I would no longer be able to pick up a book to simply read for pleasure.
The core habit I’m discussing here is something that we as writers must be able to do – that of reading as a writer – or developing some x-ray lens when we read.
Writing Maxims to Live By, and Break
“There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.” – Somerset Maugham.
If only there were a Writing Rule Book, but it went missing, along with that Parent Manual 101 I was looking for some years back.