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Oct 10 / King Kaufman

Six lessons on how to live from famous creative people

Ludwig van Beethoven

"Must I spell it out for you? Get me coffee!"

Guardian writer Oliver Burkeman, by way of reviewing a book on the daily routines of creative people by Mason Currey, tried some of them out: He woke up early like Hemingway, drank strong coffee like Beethoven and wandered around naked like Ben Franklin.

And just like that, he wrote “The Sun Also Rises,” composed “Ode to Joy” and discovered electricity!

Well, no. He didn’t. But he did learn a few things, which he sums up in the piece as “six lessons from history’s most creative minds.”

Learning about how birds like Ernie and Ludwig van spent their day won’t make you a creative genius. It won’t even help you write a good sports story. But it might give you some inspiration and some ideas about how to approach your writing, or any other creative activity.

So here are Burkeman’s six lessons, learned from Currey’s research:

  1. Be a morning person.
  2. Don’t give up the day job.
  3. Take lots of walks.
  4. Stick to a schedule.
  5. Practice strategic substance abuse.
  6. Learn to work anywhere.

Read the piece in the Guardian to learn why these things are important.

This blog cannot fully endorse No. 5. Note that substance abuse includes drinking a whole mess of coffee, but any time someone advises you to practice substance abuse, take that advice with a grain of salt. Just one grain, though. Salt’s not good for you.

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“Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven when composing the Missa Solemnis” by Joseph Karl Stieler (1781–1858) / Wikipedia
  • Scott Harris

    Strategic substance abuse!!