The 12 habits of highly creative people


I recently read this excellent book by Mason Currey called Daily Habits. I highly recommend it.  While reading it I noticed that across centuries, countries, continents, and fields, certain habits kept popping up over and over. Listed here are the 12 habits I noticed. Every creative person follows a different path to chase their muse, but at the same time some definite patterns emerge in the lives of these artists. (The people in this book are the sort that are known by just their last name — Proust, Darwin, Picasso, Descartes, Tchaikovsky, Pollock, Faulkner, Twain etc.)

Here are the top twelve things that highly creative people gravitate towards:

1. lots of coffee!
2. working hard but, surprisingly often for only a short burst of time. Many writers only work for 3 or 4 hours each morning. (Architects and painters on the other hand tend to work all day.)
3. long walks. lots and lots of very long walks.
4. eating the exact same meal every breakfast, and lunch etc. So you don’t have to waste time thinking about it. (It’s weird how often this one shows up— Ingmar Bergman, Glen Gould, Patricia Highsmith, Oliver Sacks, David Lynch.)
5. alcohol to unwind . . . or some kind of daily “vigorous exercise” to unwind.
6. avoiding social obligations.
7. naps.
8. habitual reading. often artists will re-read a handful of their favorite authors again and again.
9. indulging in eccentricities. (Beethoven would pour giant pitchers of water over his hands each morning while he bellowed scales.)
10. either being a very early bird or a night owl. It’s easier to concentrate when there is no one around to distract you.
11. tobacco
12. avoiding TV.

3 Comments on “The 12 habits of highly creative people

  1. Pingback: My top 10 posts of all time | Anthony Alvarado

  2. Pingback: The 12 habits of highly creative people | Anthony Alvarado

  3. I guess that my habits are a bit different than yours. Doesn’t drinking coffee all day make you a bit jittery? And eating the same meal day after day? Boring…sorry to be so blunt here, but that is how I role. To relieve stress, I use another one of my passions…baking and cooking. I live alone, but I do find others to enjoy my repasts. My kids use to ask me if I was cooking for an army…It has felt like it at times.
    I am trying to work on the smoking. grrrrrrr….In fact, my son bought me a vape thingie, and I have not had any success with that whatsoever. Every time he asks me if I am practicing; I do the same thing to him that he has done to me…I glide over the question and distract him with something else. I choke every time I have used it. Now, if I had weed available to me, I would use that to quit smoking. It worked the first time, and I was smoke free for 1.5 years…Just ran in the closet to hit the bong a couple of times whenever I had the urge. That tapers off after a few weeks as well.
    I told my kids in later years how that was successful and that it made my more creative for them. They just laughed and said I was using that as an excuse, because they saw no difference in our day to day activities. And they kinda knew what I was up to walking out of the closet in a cloud of smoke. I should move to California. I am sure that I could get a script, because I am stressed out, Doc. Gimme that weed.
    Though I was there last month for three weeks, and it was just laying around the house I stayed at, and I never even took a toke. Now, that is crazy. Looks like I am writing you an essay, so I will say goodbye for now….damn, I do type fast…lol
    Have a most wonderful, stupendous day. Take care of your cat, dog, and girl. That really cracked my up when I read that. It still does.

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