A while ago I had blogged about a webpage that chronicles how “artists work” (see my posting here). Now I discovered a whole website devoted to it. Check out Daily Routines. They are all interesting to read and the common theme that jumps out, for the most part, is the level of discipline that artistic creativity requires. Very little of the “flash of insight” moment – but lots and lots of hard work.
Here’s Murakami in the Paris Review:
When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4:00 am and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for 10km or swim for 1500m (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9:00 pm. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.