How an Orderly Life Benefits Your Art

rock paper scissorsYou’ve seen the common perception of “artists” — disorganized, flighty, not always entirely in touch with reality. Mess and disorder, partying ’til all hours and sleeping in, drink and drugs and bad behavior of all kinds. Artists aren’t expected to behave like “normal” people because, y’know, they’re artists.

Truth is the more habits you institute in your life the better it is for your art. Here’s why.

Using Up Willpower

Exercise strengthens muscles. It also strengthens willpower.

Muscles get tired and have to rest.

So does willpower.

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Why You Need a $2 Wooden Pencil

Palomino Blackwing 602.

Can you imagine a pencil so glorious it has a first, middle, and last name? For $2 each, I guess they should.

To put that price into perspective, for those of you who think hey that’s half as much as a cup of coffee, the dozen yellow Dixon Ticonderoga pencils you shoved into your kid’s backpack at the start of the school year cost fourteen cents each. That dozen cost less than a single Blackwing 602.

But read the reviews.

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I Don’t Write My Best Writing

original photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1406545 by Caesantana http://www.sxc.hu/profile/CaesantanaI dictate it.

Many of the authors I work with are concerned about whether or not their typing, spelling and grammar skills will get them through a 70,000 word book. It just doesn’t matter. “Writing” doesn’t have to mean writing.

The surest way to get your book or blog post finished is to use the method that’s easiest for you. If you type a thousand words a minute like Best Beloved does, you should type — if you enjoy it. If you prefer scribbling longhand in a notebook, do it. The extra step of having your work transcribed, whether by you or someone else, will probably take less time than struggling to use tools and methods that feel unnatural to you. Even if that’s not the case, using tools and methods that make you struggle diminishes your art.

When Best Beloved was too ill to work with me, writing was excruciating. I’ve been a writer and a coder most of my life. Just because I type 50 wpm doesn’t mean I like it.

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