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.
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.
12. avoiding TV.