On the surface, artists and writers have it made. They’re not tied to desks or 9-to-5 schedules, and many people believe they simply come and go as they please. While that might be true for some poets, painters, and composers, the really successful ones are incredibly hard-working, disciplined strivers who stick to routines that put the rest of ours to shame.
That’s according to Guardian writer Oliver Burkeman, who’s penned an article about the working habits of history’s great artists. Janell Hazelwood of Black Enterprise has picked up on his findings and distilled them down to 4 Habits of Creative People That Can Lead to Success. If it’s good enough for Mozart, it’s good enough for you.
1. Don’t Sleep In — Frank Lloyd Wright and Mozart weren’t prone to lazing around in bed, and if you want to be “happier and more conscientious,” according to Burkeman, you, too, should fight the urge to hit that snooze button. But how do you do it? “If you’re determined to join the ranks of the early risers, the crucial trick is to start getting up at the same time daily, but to go to bed only when you’re truly tired.”
2. Get a Side Gig — TS Eliot and William Faulkner did some of their best writing while moonlight at a bank and power plant, respectively, and as Burkeman explains, there’s something to be said for the financial security that comes from working a side hustle.
3. Stay Active — Even if you’re not out running marathons every weekend, get away from your desk once and a while and get the blood flowing.
4. Don’t Fear Rituals — Doing the same thing day after day might not seem all that exciting, and it may strike some as daunting, but “on closer inspection,” Burkeman writes, “it often seems to be a kind of safety net: the alternative to a rigid structure is either no artistic creations, for those with day jobs, or the existential terror of no structure at all.”