Monday, May 24

Making Secondary Habits Primary

Kevin Hartnett writes about how the writer Murakami deliberately rearranged his life to make writing work. He cites that Murakami knew, as I am figuring out too, that there is only so much writing (or painting) one can accomplish when it's a secondary activity:
He wrote his first novel in the predawn hours after he’d finished tallying receipts and washing down the bar.  His writing sessions sometimes lasted only half an hour, at which point he’d fall asleep.  Even under those conditions Murakami was able to mine the talent that would eventually make him famous.
I've never read Murakami, but he seems very deliberate. He seems very aware of how each day fits within the rest. I've always tried to aim for being so confident that I know the exact place for each day's work. But I'm pretty impatient and tend to let all those "primary" activities overwhelm me. I guess there is still something to be said for working with resistance. Would I even know what to do (yet) if each day was entirely devoted to painting?

Semi-related: Although I can't access the June 2008 New Yorker article, The Running Novelist, that Hartnett mentions... the cover to that same issue pretty nicely sums up my feelings when I see folks at work tapping a book title into Amazon on their iphone.

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