All posts tagged: writing

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Virginia Woolf and Susan Sontag On The Beginning of an Idea

“Boredom is a function of attention,” wrote Susan Sontag in As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980. There are creative benefits to be found in being bored, for Sontag there was also creative influence from reading because it stalled her from writing. “Stalling by way of reading and of listening to music, which energizes me and also makes me restless. Feeling guilty about not writing.” “Getting started to write is never an easy feat. The handsome devil that is procrastination can play a recurring role for many writers, much like the overwhelming sense of having too many ideas and not knowing where to start. Add to that the relatively unquenchable desire of discovery of new things to enlarge not only our minds, but our hearts also.” But where do our ideas come from? This got me thinking about other writers and what the beginning of an idea looks like. I came across this extract from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s journal, “Saw the morn rise from the hilltop but could not wait for the sun. Those long slender bard of …

Making Your Bed Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

If you want to make it big, you’ve got to start small. Jumping in the deep end will often leave us startled and gasping for air, so we start in the shallow end, we gain confidence, and we move forward. We graduate, and after that, there’s no stopping us. That’s how we can change the world in our own little way. A speech given by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven to the graduating students at the University of Texas explains that we can change the world by starting with a small task everyday: just by making our beds in the morning. If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day.  It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, …

Routines of Successful Writers

Although I’m pretty certain there is no answer to it, I sometimes secretly tend to question whether there is a panacea for good writing. This got me thinking about the habits of successful writers and what kinds of routines they go through to produce work that they deem valuable. Here are some writers’ routines which I found by digging through the wonderful The Art of Fiction Archives from The Paris Review: Haruki Murakami keeps to a very tight routine when writing. He explains that he attempts to keep himself mesmerised, so he can stay wholly immersed in his work and state of mind. When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a …

reading, books

6 Things To Do on a Quiet Night In | Introvert Dear

It’s well known by now that the introverted personality generates energy by being alone. The virtues of solitude have been extolled by many with benefits including freedom, creativity, and psychological well being. However, for some reason, society seems to fear, even chastise, the solitary individual: the person having dinner in a restaurant alone, the girl reading alone in the park, or the man strolling through the streets of a new city, is viewed as lonely, rather than free.

Outsiders and Creative Thinking | Warhol’s Children

In a 2012 study it was found that social rejection propels creativity for those with an independent self-concept. That is, people who place less of a premium on sharing more similarities with major social groups, rather than opting for a more individualistic approach. 3 studies were conducted. In the first, participants were rejected outright and informed they had to work on their tasks individually. They then indicated how they felt (pretty rejected). In the second rejection was primed by requiring students to circle pronouns (“I”, “my”) and vice versa for the interdependent version (“We”, “our”). Results showed that the participants who had an independent self-concept, and who were rejected, produced more creative responses for their test, more so than included participants. The final study showed how these variables influence idea generation by completing a space alien drawing — the more the drawing diverted from conventional structures (nose in the middle of the face etc), the more creative. Again, independent thinkers generated more creative drawings following rejection, than following inclusion. “Rejection relative to inclusion appears to …

Failures of the Greats: Why You’re Doing Better than You Think (Plus 17 Writing Tips from Some Greats)

Before having This Side of Paradise published, Francis Scott Fitzgerald claimed he had received one hundred and twenty-two rejection letters. He then spent two months rewriting The Romantic Egoist, retitling it to This Side of Paradise and sent it to his publishers. Within two weeks he received a special delivery form the editor, reading: