Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

I used to play the drums in a rock band during my high school and college days, and in our rehearsal room there was a sign that said “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.” At that time I wasn’t worried about my creative side, as the carefree student days offered perfect ground for my creativity. As I grew older (and started working), I began to realize the importance of nurturing a passion, daily practice and constant research: I found my own personal balance by combining the occasional bursts of creativity with more regular and methodical exercises. And that’s how the Haiku challenge started.

An inspiring book I’ve just finished reading is Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, a collection of 161 articles about daily habits of creative people (novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, mathematicians etc.). The author (Mason Curry) pulls this information from existing sources like biographies, autobiographies and personal journals.

Most of the articles are relatively short (1-2 pages), but that’s enough to give an overview of how some of the most creative minds of the last 500 years were organizing their days in order to stay creative and cope with everyday tasks as well.

Although all the creatives included in Daily Rituals are different, there are some recurring behaviors shared by many inspired minds:

  1. Drinking a lot of coffee
  2. Working hard, but for a short time: many writers and musicians apparently only work for 3 or 4 hours each morning
  3. Going for long walks
  4. Reading and listening to music regularly
  5. Either being a very early bird or a night owl.

Daily Rituals is an enjoyable and motivating book.  Some of the creatives included in the book are Karl Marx, Woody Allen, Erik Satie, Agatha Christie, George Balanchine, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens, Pablo Picasso, George Gershwin, Charles Darwin, Andy Warhol, John Updike, Twyla Tharp, Benjamin Franklin, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, Anne Rice, Igor Stravinsky.

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work is available on Amazon