Over at Slate, Mason Curry has been collecting the daily routines of writers, artists and other creative people. How do they do it? How do they work every day? Balzac drank a lot of coffee. Franz Kafka wrote at midnight. Tchaikovsky was obsessed with talking long walks.
People often ask me how I do what I do, like there is some magically “it” quotient: if I do what they do they I can be x, y, or z. If I can emulate the routine of someone else, maybe I can find the portal into a creative life. There has to be one right way, doesn’t there? But what Curry has found, and what I also believe to be true is that every process is different. Some writers work best at night, some in the day. Some are very disciplined, some are more flexible. For every routine you can find someone who does the complete opposite.
The point being, you have to find your own way of working to get the work done. What I do, may be interesting (actually I’m pretty sure it’s not) but there’s only a chance that learning about it will help you. Only you can know the bizarre set of circumstances and situations that will allow you to produce.
But the bottom line is, you better find out your way of working and get the work done. That’s the common thread among all of the creative folks that Curry highlights. They got work done. That’s what I do. That’s what you have to do if you want to be a creative artist. There is no magic “it.”