A screwed off doorknob or Picasso’s ‘stay-home-day’ – many big thinkers and artist are not only genius but also have rituals to gain space for creativity. Everyone could learn from this.
You didn’t leave behind a painting like Picasso? Your writing isn’t quite as good as that of Hemingway? No reason to give up just yet – all mentioned Artists weren’t just blessed with incredible talent. In addition they had smart strategies to create space during the grey everyday life, for them to increase their creativity – strategies also small thinkers like ourselves can profit from.
Mason Currey gathered the habits of 161 Creatives in his book “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work”. Sarah Green in her Blog for the ‘Harvard Business Review’ found out that regular people can very well learn from these anecdotes about the daily life of famous painters, writers, philosophers and scientists.
Strategies used by geniuses to organise their day where both effective as well as they are simple.
The Literature Nobel Prize Laureate William Faulkner for example, used to screw of the doorknob of his study room because it didn’t have a lock to focus solely on his work.
Mark Twain practiced a more extreme form of isolation – even his family was not allowed into his study rooms. Instead, anyone who wanted to talk to him needed to blow a horn before.
On the other hand, Ernest Hemingway wrote down the exact number of words he had written that day to ‘not lie to himself’, while Anthony Trollope used to write for only three hours a day and no more than 250 words in each 15 minutes.
Ernest Hemingway stated: “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next”. He shares this opinion with Arthur Miller, the author and husband of Marilyn Monroe.
Very popular amongst many artist such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Charles Dickens and Sören Kierkegaard was the mandatory stroll, which the latter one found so inspiring he would sit down at his desk still wearing his hat, migratory stock and umbrella and start writing immediately.
A very radical way of not having to deal with everyday problems were practiced by Sigmund Freud and Gustav Mahler whose wives would make a great effort in helping their husbands with time consuming tasks. In Freud’s case his wife Martha Freud would lay his cloth out, pick his tissue and even put the toothpaste onto his toothbrush, while the wife of Gustav Mahler would bribe the neighbours with tickets to the theatre so her husband could compose his music without disturbance.
Jane Austen was relieved in a similar manner by her sister Cassandra from all household duties to be able to focus solely on her writing.
The perhaps most unorthodox method was used by Andy Warhol who called his coworker Pat Hackett every morning and told her about all activities he used to do the day before. Hackett took notes during the whole process which could take up to two hours.
One very famous artist who would grant himself no brakes at all died at the age of 35. His name was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.