This fascinating poster is from the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, outlining the daily routines of famous creative people. We could all do to learn something from them. Ben Franklin would “Rise (early, of course), Wash, and address Powerful Goodness!” Victor Hugo took public ice baths on the roof. Maya Angelou works “always in hotel or motel rooms. ” Some had some not-so-healthy habits—Honore de Balzac drank up to 50 cups of coffee per day, and Freud smoked 20 cigars per day (and they were just cigars). He also trimmed his beard every day. Maybe he didn’t want to end up looking like Darwin.
RJ of Infograph We Trust was kind enough to give me permission to use this, which I originally saw on his site. Thanks, RJ!
My own creative routine–. I have a hard time with routines. Much of it takes place late at night. Some of it happens in the laundry room, even if I’m not doing laundry. Ideas end up in Evernote, my iPad idea bank. Usually I forget to use them. Coffee just gets me barely functioning but not that creative; it did seem to work for Balzac. Snuff (as Darwin enjoyed) is out of the question.
I have to compartmentalize the different types of things I work on–writing some days, illustrating in others. I have phases where I feel like doing one more than the other. But just getting my keister in the chair is the main thing. Some days I feel so fuzzy I can’t think. Other days I have lucid thoughts or rhyme pours out. I let my brain take me for a walk. The Internet is a major time-waster—would we have the Theory of Evolution without it? I think society has devolved.
The poster makes me realize the value of rituals. We can’t all be creative geniuses, but wouldn’t it be great if more of us took cold roof baths?
Now I’m really wondering about other people’s creative routines! Everyone could put a Webcam pointing at their studio …