Friday, November 1, 2013

Daily rituals of writers and other creatives

I've always had a great interest in detailed descriptions of how creative people do their work. I found a treasure trove of these methods of getting something done in a recent book entitled Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey and published this year (2013) by Knopf.

I found the book at the Fargo Public Library and returned it within a couple of days. Not because I didn't like it; I loved it! I needed to own it. This has happened to me before: I discover a book at the library and after reading a few pages I want to own it and read it on my Kindle (the new PaperWhite, gray-scale, e-ink model). I still browse Barnes & Nobel and used book stores--but, in those spots, I look for books on photography and certain software. Hard to get the most out of those books on a Kindle that's designed for text reading. I do prefer reading text on the gray-scale e-readers. Magazines, newspaper and books with photographs are popular on the Kindle Fire, the Apple iPAD, Microsoft Surface, and the Samsung Galaxy tablets.

Back to the book:  Currey describes the little daily rituals that stimulate or prepare writers, painters, composers, playwrights, and poets to get to work and accomplish something. Common threads that run through the lives of most of Currey's subjects are:
  • getting up early in the morning
  • working until lunch time
  • taking a nap after lunch (sometimes up to two hours)
  • running errands and doing non-creative work in the afternoons
  • enjoying a cocktail (or two or three) starting at 5 P.M.
  • having a glass or two of wine with dinner
Alcohol plays an important role in the process for most writers and creative types. It seems to be a "fuel" to free the mind to be creative, or it's a means to force relaxation after a day of intense concentration.

Most do not wait around for inspiration. Currey quotes the contemporary American novelist and essayist, Jonathan Franzen, as saying: "It is a danger to wait around for an idea to occur to you. You have to find the idea."

For more information on this book and/or to order from Amazon, click here.