Just be helpful.
Jonathan Franzen wrote The Corrections wearing earplugs and a blindfold — to block all distractions — stupefied into creative submission with a bottle of vodka.
Fred Rogers began every morning with a swim and a prayer. Later, he’d slip into a cardigan sweater — knit for him by his mother — and write words for puppets to say. When he sat down to play the piano, his neighbors knew it was going to be a beautiful day.
Gertrude Stein liked to work at her country estate — in short bursts of fifteen minutes a day — while her lover guided farm animals into her field of view. (She wrote best whilst gazing at cows, though some days, she didn’t write a single line.)
Me? I’m no Franzen (well, actually…) or Rogers or Stein. I’m not one of the Greats. I am Good. I’m Just Fine.
Some days, I spend twenty minutes polishing one simple idea that makes 1,000 people say YES.
Other days, I spend two hours spinning one sultry poem that nobody will ever read, but me.
Always, in the hopes of just …
To as many people as possible.
Beyond that? I don’t over-think it.
Whether you need earplugs and a blindfold (kinky) or a bottle of liquor (hope not) or a swim or a prayer or a kiss or a cow …
Whatever it takes for you to be a better writer, giver and human being …
Start with love. Keep it simple. Just be helpful.
P.S. If you’re fascinated by the ‘daily rituals’ of great artists and writers and thinkers, as I am, read this book.
Then ignore everyone and find your own rhythm.