Tags: Teach For America Essay QuestionsSolve Physics Problems Online FreeThesis Statement ChinaThe Chicago Bears EssaysMath Homework SheetSolar Panels Business PlanWhat Should A Covering Letter Always Include
Anthony Trollope, the nineteenth-century writer who managed to be a prolific novelist while also revolutionizing the British postal system, observed, “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.” Over the long run, the unglamorous habit of frequency fosters both productivity and creativity.Frequency, she argues, helps facilitate what Arthur Koestler has famously termed “bisociation” — the crucial ability to link the seemingly unlinkable, which is the defining characteristic of the creative mind.For example, some people wear a white lab coat or a particular pair of glasses, or always work in a specific place — in doing these things, they are professionalizing their art. But whatever happens, any writer will tell you: This is the best part.
The question of why writers write holds especial mesmerism, both as a piece of psychological voyeurism and as a beacon of self-conscious hope that if we got a glimpse of the innermost drivers of greats, maybe, just maybe, we might be able to replicate the workings of genius in our own work. In ), editor Meredith Maran seeks out answers on the why and advice on the how of writing from twenty of today’s most acclaimed authors. If I’m talking about a woman in Victorian times who leaves the safety of her home and comes to the Gold Rush in California, I’m really talking about feminism, about liberation, about the process I’ve gone through in my own life, escaping from a Chilean, Catholic, patriarchal, conservative, Victorian family and going out into the world. If you sold a million books once, your publisher really, really thinks you might sell a million books again. That dynamic has the possibility of constraining the imagination. There’s a huge incentive to write about things that you know will sell.
We seem to have a strange but all too human cultural fixation on the daily routines and daily rituals of famous creators, from Vonnegut to Burroughs to Darwin — as if a glimpse of their day-to-day would somehow magically infuse ours with equal potency, or replicating it would allow us to replicate their genius in turn.
And though much of this is mere cultural voyeurism, there is something to be said for the value of a well-engineered daily routine to anchor the creative process.
Prolific novelist Isabel Allende shares in Kurt Vonnegut’s insistence on rooting storytelling in personal experience and writes: I need to tell a story. Each story is a seed inside of me that starts to grow and grow, like a tumor, and I have to deal with it sooner or later. But I don’t find myself thinking, “I can’t write about that because it won’t sell.” It’s such a pain in the ass to write a book, I can’t imagine writing one if I’m not interested in the subject.
And disappointed — because I have a sort of idea that isn’t really an idea. If she doesn’t show up invited, eventually she just shows up. Emotionally, it puts you in the place that everybody dreads. You can’t give in to your natural impulse to run away from situations and people you don’t know. When it’s working and the rhythm’s there, it does feel like magic to me. There’s no hole inside me to fill or anything like that, but once I started doing it, I couldn’t imagine wanting to do anything else for a living.