By: Mason Curry
Book Overview: Franz Kafka, frustrated with his living quarters and day job, wrote in a letter to Felice Bauer in 1912, “Time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.” Kafka is one of 161 inspired—and inspiring—minds, among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late; whether by self-medicating with doughnuts or bathing, drinking vast quantities of coffee, or taking long daily walks. Brilliantly compiled and edited, and filled with detail and anecdote, Daily Rituals is irresistible, addictive, magically inspiring.
“There’s no one way — there’s too much drivel about this subject. You’re who you are, not Fitzgerald or Thomas Wolfe. You write by sitting down and writing. There’s no particular time or place — you suit yourself, your nature. How one works, assuming he’s disciplined, doesn’t matter. If he or she is not disciplined, no sympathetic magic will help. The trick is to make time — not steal it — and produce the fiction. If the stories come, you get them written, you’re on the right track. Eventually everyone learns his or her own best way. The real mystery to crack is you.” ~ Bernard Malamud, via Daily Rituals
“Like your private bedroom, your writing room should be private, a place where you go to dream. Your schedule — in at about the same time every day, out when your thousand words are on paper or disk — exists in order to habituate yourself, to make yourself ready to dream just as you make yourself ready to sleep by going to bed at roughly the same time each night and following the same ritual as you go. In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives. And as your mind and body grow accustomed to a certain amount of sleep each night —six hours, seven, maybe the recommended eight — so can you train your waking mind to sleep creatively and work out the vividly imagined waking dreams which are successful works of fiction.” ~ Stephen King, via Daily Rituals
“I’ve never believed that one should wait until one is inspired because I think that the pleasures of not writing are so great that if you ever start indulging them you will never write again.” ~ John Updike, via Daily Rituals
“Today many people live the external life exclusively, and when the inner world erupts or stirs, they rush to a therapist or druggist for help. They try to explain profound mythic developments in the language of behavior and experience. Often they have no idea what is happening to them, because they have been so cut off from the deep self. Their own soul is so alien to them that they are unaware of what is going on outside the known realm of fact. Former methods of keeping in touch with the inner life have gone out of mode. Diaries, letters, and deep conversations help focus attention on developments and materials that lie beneath the surface. Only one hundred years ago, without benefit of typewriters and word processors, people kept elaborate, long and detailed diaries and notebooks. We seem to have left behind these methods of reflection in favor of technologies for action.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
By: Seth Godin
Book Overview: Made for dipping into again and again, Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? brings together the very best of Seth Godin’s acclaimed blog and is a classic for fans both old and new. ‘Getting your ducks in a row is a fine thing to do. But deciding what you are going to do with that duck is a far more important issue.’ Since he started blogging in the early 1990s, he has written more than two million words and shaped the way we think about marketing, leadership, careers, innovation, creativity, and more. Much of his writing is inspirational and some is incendiary. Collected here are six years of his best, most entertaining, and most poignant blog posts, plus a few bonus ebooks.
Post(s) Inspired by this Book: Top 15 Quotes from Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck by Seth Godin
“In the connected age, reading and writing remain the two skills that are most likely to pay off with exponential results. Reading leads to more reading. Writing leads to better writing. Better writing leads to a bigger audience and more value creation. And the process repeats.” ~ Seth Godin, Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?
“Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and fingertips.” ~ Dawson Trotman
“Writers, of course, are obliged by our professions to spend much of our time going nowhere. Our creations come not when we’re out in the world, gathering impressions, but when we’re sitting still turning those impressions into sentences. Our job, you could say, is to turn, through stillness, a life of movement into art. Sitting still is our workplace, sometimes our battlefield.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness
“When you write, you lay out a line of words. The line of words is a miner’s pick, a wood-carver’s gouge, a surgeon’s probe. You wield it, and it digs a path you follow. Soon you find yourself deep in new territory.” ~ Annie Dillard
“One of the few things I know about writing is this: Spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you.” ~ Annie Dillard, American Writer
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that” ~ Stephen King
What is a random thought notebook?
It’s exactly what it sounds like: a notebook where you track your random thoughts.
How might this be helpful?
The answer is three-fold. Continue reading