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March 30, 2014 10:22 AM   Subscribe

What did Mozart do all day? A poster breaks down the daily habits and self-reported routines of hundreds of composers, painters, writers, scientists, etc to illustrate how people find the time to construct their work.
posted by The Whelk (68 comments total) 63 users marked this as a favorite

 
Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know the context surrounding the source data, but my feeling is that there is little resemblance between these self-reported daily routines and actual daily routines -- that they're more like the routines of an "ideal" day in the life of.
posted by tybeet at 10:27 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Well, that's dismaying.

I'd chart my own time management - - except that I already know the largest block of time would be "Time spent dicking around on the internet".
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 10:29 AM on March 30 [16 favorites]




that they're more like the routines of an "ideal" day in the life of.

I disagree. These people were so prolific and successful because of their routines. Beethoven's, at least, is very well documented. The rigid schedules of the great artists and scientists are the reason behind their 'genius.'

And yes, I see that "Reading all of Metafilter" is not a category, which may explain my lack of symphonies.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:32 AM on March 30 [10 favorites]


Lutoslawski: "I disagree. These people were so prolific and successful because of their routines."

The skeptic in me thinks that part of that is a convenient myth that's only adhered to because it fuels the belief that one can life-hack their way to genius or success, if only they follow the right kind of routine, or follow their own routine rigidly enough.
posted by tybeet at 10:37 AM on March 30 [9 favorites]


People always say they don't have any time for creative work, but what they really don't have is a willingness to tell other people to go to hell because they have something more important to do.
posted by thelonius at 10:40 AM on March 30 [31 favorites]


Well, it's not life-hacking so much as the work is what it takes to manifest the inspiration. The older I get the more I realize the adage about genius being 99% perspiration is so (sometimes depressingly) true. The difference between someone like Beethoven and a talented musician with good ideas is that Beethoven just put the work in.

Copland used to say that sometimes the best composition sessions ended with fewer bars than you started. Britten was the same way (who, by the way, put on a suit each day and sat at the table from 9-5 to compose, like clockwork). Part of 'genius' is a numbers game. We only see the best of these geniuses' work - what we don't see is the sloggy shit they made in the hard working hours of every day and eventually rejected (Mozart being a notable exception to this, Mozart who never erased anything).

When you hear most writers talking about method, by the far the biggest takeaway is that they just write every. single. day. They spend the time each day with their ass in the chair. As many of us creative types know, that can be freaking hard.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:42 AM on March 30 [14 favorites]


Also, shit man - walking. Walking is clearly the key to inspiration.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:42 AM on March 30 [11 favorites]


Huh. I don't see many routines that involve 10+ hours of a non-creative day job plus commute. Maybe that's what I'm doing wrong?
posted by naju at 10:46 AM on March 30 [47 favorites]


You can also put in all the work and more and still have nothing or a complete failure. Creativity is a terrible ROI, I'm sure we could just do away with it.
posted by The Whelk at 10:48 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


Where is Ben Franklin's daily hour of sundry carousing with tarts?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:51 AM on March 30 [13 favorites]


I take heart in what my friend Ed said about writing:
Most of the time, writing is indistinguishable from goofing off.
posted by Mister_A at 10:52 AM on March 30 [6 favorites]


Mmmm tarts.
posted by Mister_A at 10:52 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Also mmmm carousing.
posted by Mister_A at 10:52 AM on March 30


And guess who's on deadline RIGHT NOW?
posted by Mister_A at 10:53 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Yes I completely agree it's the "Telling Everyone to Sod Off, I Am Crafting My Masterpiece" part that I haven't been able to get a handle on.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:54 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Well, unfortunately, the people you have to tell to sod off include your employers, romantic partners, and children.....
posted by thelonius at 10:56 AM on March 30 [9 favorites]


You do, sort of. You have to let them know that you're off limits at those times, that it's important to you, and that it's a deal-breaker if they can't deal with it. Except for the kids. They don't handle that sort of thing well.
posted by Mister_A at 11:01 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Yeah Luto, if everybody just left me the fuck alone and I had servants and a live-in romantic partner whose entire purpose was to look after the house so I could do genius art shit I bet I could get a lot more done.

I really, really, really hate articles like this.
posted by beefetish at 11:03 AM on March 30 [20 favorites]


Mister_A, you get back to work RIGHT NOW.
posted by queensissy at 11:03 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Lutoslawski is right on too about the value of the work, refinement of the project til it's perfect. So when the orchestra strikes up Beethoven's 9th, you can be sure it ain't a first draft. Sure, Mozart had incredible talent, but he didn't settle for some Salieri-level shit; he went all in, applied all his talent, along with considerable critical ability, to write music that endures to this day.

And yes, he probably walked a lot.
posted by Mister_A at 11:05 AM on March 30


thoreau never had to wash his socks.
posted by The Whelk at 11:05 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


god when I found out Thoreau was getting food from his mom it just totally destroyed my whole Walden image.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:06 AM on March 30 [36 favorites]


Oh, yeah, he was not at all a hermit.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:07 AM on March 30


The skeptic in me thinks that part of that is a convenient myth that's only adhered to because it fuels the belief that one can life-hack their way to genius or success, if only they follow the right kind of routine, or follow their own routine rigidly enough.

That's not skepticism; not yet. It's gainsaying. It becomes skepticism when you start to put facts to it. If there is cause to believe these self-reported scendules are erronious, I'd love to see the details.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:11 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


I do find it interesting that in this chart, gray represents "making ends meet." There is very little gray to be seen.

(not that I'm bitter.)
posted by whistle pig at 11:16 AM on March 30 [7 favorites]


You know, I disagree that this article is depressing. There are plenty of people who have regular routines, balanced routines, even leisurely routines, here. Kant, for example, write an hour a day, taught four, and took a four hour lunch break. Mozart also took a four hour lunch break, followed sometimes by going to concerts and participating in the musical community. Dickens wrote for five hours a day. Some of these schedules look a lot like my most fortunate days.

I'm not saying these people didn't work hard, but not more than we do. My takeaway from this is that they were lucky enough to not have to spend 8-10 hours working for other people - although Kant and Mozart still had to teach a considerable amount.

MF's collective response to this seems to stem from our cultural bias towards working hard. These people were successful because they worked really hard, right? Well - not all of them - I'd love to have the schedule of tchaikovsky, or corbusier, or Darwin (which is probably the most realistic for me). There is plenty of reading, walking, socializing, leisurely mornings, spending time with family. But we look at Freud, Ben Franklin, Maya Angelou and think "boy they sure worked a lot" - and assume the reason why other people weren't as successful was due to their lack of hard work.
posted by ianhattwick at 11:28 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


Yeah, like Whistle pig notes, most of these people were already well-off and didn't really need to bust ass for a living. They could apply their considerable talent and work ethic to actually producing the work they would become famous for. I also note there's a lot of socializing in a lot of those charts as well as work. I would be interested in seeing a similar chart for the working class of those eras - my guess is the charts would be largely gray, with a little orange (for meals) and maybe five hours for sleep.
posted by LN at 11:29 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


These things only ever describe habits of "modern creatives;" but there are others that I tend to find more interesting. For instance, this is from a letter by the great Maimonides, body physician to Saladin and probably the most important writer and thinker on Judaism since the ancients, in 1199:
"But with respect to your wish to come here to me, I can not but say how greatly your visit would delight me, for I truly long to commune with you, and would anticipate our meeting with even greater joy than you. Yet I must advise you not to expose yourself to the perils of the voyage, for beyond seeing me, and doing all I could to honor you, you would not derive any advantage from your visit. Do not expect to be able to confer with me on any scientific subject for even one hour, either by day or night, for the following is my daily occupation: I dwell in Mizr (Fostat), and the Sultan resides at Kahira (Cairo); these two places are two Sabbath days' journeys (about one mile and a half) distant from each other. My duties to the Sultan are very heavy. I am obliged to visit him every day, early in the morning; and when he or any of his children, or any of the inmates of his Harem, are indisposed, I dare not quit Kahira, but must stay during the greater part of the day in the palace. It also frequently happens that one or two of the royal officers fall sick, and I must attend to their healing. Hence, as a rule, I repair to Kahira very early in the day, and even if nothing unusual happens I do not return to Mizr until the afternoon. Then I am almost dying with hunger; I find the antechambers filled with people, both Jews and Gentiles, nobles and common people, judges and bailiffs, friends and foes--a mixed multitude, who await the time of my return. I dismount from my animal, wash my hands, go forth to my patients, and entreat them to bear with me while I partake of some slight refreshment, the only meal I take in the twenty-four hours. Then I go forth to attend to my patients, write prescriptions and directions for their several ailments. Patients go in and out until nightfall, and sometimes even, I solemnly assure you, until two hours and more in the night. I converse with and dictate [that is, dictate books and letters] to them while lying down from sheer fatigue; and when night falls I am so exhausted that I can scarcely speak. In consequence of this, no Israelite can have any private interview with me, except on the Sabbath. On that day, the whole congregation, or, at least, the majority of the members, come unto me after the morning service, when I instruct them as to their proceedings during the whole week; we study together a little until noon, when they depart. Some of them return, and read with me after the afternoon service until evening prayers. In this manner I spend that day."
posted by koeselitz at 11:32 AM on March 30 [18 favorites]


That's the other thing that's amazing to note, is how many of these people eat one meal a day.
posted by LN at 11:33 AM on March 30


I would like to see Toni Morrison's schedule when she had a day job as an editor (as well as the occasional teaching stint), raised two sons alone, and found time to write her first few novels.
posted by lowest east side at 11:41 AM on March 30 [7 favorites]


Yeah Toni Morrison has always been really inspiring to me for that reason. She got up in the wee hours each day to write before work/kids. I have admitted to myself I don't do that because I am simply too lazy slash loving of sleep.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:43 AM on March 30


Me.
posted by Fizz at 11:46 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


The number of people I know who complain they don't have free time for creative stuff but apparently have time for watching incredible amounts of Netflix to the point they can argue about the minutiae of the latest series everyone is talking about is close to 1:1.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:05 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


To me the point is, there's no one way to do it, for any value of 'it'. And also, don't get bummed out looking at the time these people put into their art; they are presumably, in most cases, already at the point where they're doing it for a living. So think about what you'd like your day to look like if you were doing your passion and making a living at it, and compare that, not your current shit job and furtive late night scribbling or whatever.
posted by Mister_A at 12:06 PM on March 30


naju: "Huh. I don't see many routines that involve 10+ hours of a non-creative day job plus commute. Maybe that's what I'm doing wrong?"

Yeah, that's what stands out -- only two of them have "making ends meet" (purple) as a significant chunk and it's only like four hours a day (Kant and Mozart, lecturing and teaching lessons).

Also notably lacking from this list of "how geniuses spend their time": Primary responsibility for childcare, 15-20 years per child.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:09 PM on March 30 [18 favorites]


Also interesting to look at how many of them reported 7-8 hrs sleep per night. Mozart is a freak but most of the rest were into getting some sack time, which for me is vital, whatever work I'm doing. I've made good progress so can comment a bit here :)
posted by Mister_A at 12:10 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to see how Hugo and Balzac, both famously prolific writers, had such wildly differing work routines. Balzac did almost nothing but write, Hugo fitted an hour or two in among his social life.

Darwin may have the best balanced, though. Work, family, correspondence, leisure. Nice to have inherited money!
posted by tavella at 12:11 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


I have enough time to be creative, I just have no talent.
posted by octothorpe at 12:13 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


I just have no talent

That never stopped me!
posted by thelonius at 12:17 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


I have enough time to be creative, I just have no talent

Shut up, Dan Brown.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:28 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


The number of people I know who complain they don't have free time for creative stuff but apparently have time for watching incredible amounts of Netflix

Yeah, this. Not like I'm some great creative genius or anything, I just like to make clothes and furniture and light-up blinky stuff for Burning Man and whatnot, but someone once asked "dude, how do you have TIME for all this?" Well, it's not that complicated; I have time for all this because this is what my time is FOR. This is what I do.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:41 PM on March 30 [14 favorites]


I guess this is interesting to most modern creatives the same way a chart that broke down how James Deen gets laid so much might be interesting to someone who wants to know the best way to get a date for Friday night? "People whose whole job is creating stuff for vast fame and fortune -- how do they do it?" Hell if I know, man
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:42 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


The skeptic in me thinks that part of that is a convenient myth

That's not skepticism; not yet. It's gainsaying. It becomes skepticism when you start to put facts to it. If there is cause to believe these self-reported scendules are erronious, I'd love to see the details.


Not taking self-reported anecdotes as gospel truth is exactly what skepticism is. In this case, there's ample reason to be skeptical about the individual data and, especially, the overall message of the infographic.

We know from the field of nutrition that self-reports of food intake are often dramatically inaccurate, due in part to people's unconscious tendency to misremember their habits to paint themselves in the best possible light (ie, minimize the amount of food they eat because gluttony is non-normative). It would be surprising to me if some or many of these creatives hadn't done the same; a good work ethic is strongly normative, so you'd expect them to exaggerate the amount of work they do. (Look at the mythologising of Margaret Thatcher's four hour sleep patterns, for example).

Moreover, there's a strong likelihood of selection bias: I'd expect them to be more likely to record their work days when they are being productive in the midst of a project, and not when they spent the week in houses of ill repute, or swigging laudanum, or mooching around depressed.

Then on top of that, the reports are filtered through an editor and an infographic maker who have each brought their own distortions (is it really conceivable that all these creatives used the same data collection methods to record and code every hour of their day? Of course not, editorial discretion has filled in the gaps. But that discretion has its own biases; to make the creatives' lives look as eye-opening as possible, inflating the remarkable aspects of the data and minimising the humdrum aspects).

Moreover, there's also editorial bias in the selection of creatives: where are all the women and people of colour, for example (apart from Maya Angelou)? Where's Sylvia Plath, who reportedly got up early in the morning to work for a brief period because her domestic duties kept her busy during the day?

In short, I think the onus is on you to show this is an accurate summation of the work days of historic creatives, not on us to prove it is dubious.
posted by dontjumplarry at 1:00 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


So when the orchestra strikes up Beethoven's 9th, you can be sure it ain't a first draft
Why thanks, a century and a half of sketchbook research in one sentence.

Still, I'm still unsure whether Beethoven counted those 60 coffee beans because he didn't trust his housekeeper, or whether he was stingy (how big was his cup?), or a control freak, or whether he needed a calculated caffeine kick for his work. The interesting questions about these composer dudes are much less often about the how, but about the why.
posted by Namlit at 1:14 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


whistle pig: "I do find it interesting that in this chart, gray represents "making ends meet." There is very little gray to be seen. "

I was just assuming that "making ends meet" was a euphemism for "having sex" and happily thinking that even geniuses weren't getting it on all the time.
posted by chavenet at 1:28 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


As a creative, I find the more leisurely routines comforting. The whole "99% perspiration" thing was a source of shame and guilt, always made me feel doing a little here and there could never produce valuable work like continuous, hours-long daily sessions. Seeing that so many of the pros kept it mixed up reminds me that sitting to enjoy tea with a friend or even falling into the time sink of MetaFilter every once in a while is part of the process.

It's okay to think myself a writer and stretch the fingers an hour a day without feeling the pressure to pulverize them into bloody oblivion to claim the mantle.
posted by idealist at 2:11 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Last year I had a really productive year. And then I met people who said "oh man, I wish I had your kind of output."

My secret? I sat down on my bum and I got on with it - in-between my day job, a family freak-out and plenty of friends having bad times.

I just sat down and got on with it whenever I had pockets of time. Sure, I am not up-to-date with current films, I haven't watched any GoT/Breaking Bad/Walking Dead/whatever and last year I didn't read a quarter of the books I usually read in a year. I chose to do something else. There are only so many hours in a day - it all boils down to what you choose to do with them. There are no secret hacks, no short-cuts to Mozart's genius and no easy ways to become prolific. You sit down on your bum and do stuff. That is all.

/cynical rant over.
posted by kariebookish at 2:36 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


My secret? Weeks and months of procrastination on metafilter.
posted by Namlit at 3:11 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


I'm thinking these "routines" are all from a point in the life of these people where they have settled down and are in a sense living on the creative capital they built during an intense youth.
The arts are different - maybe writing needs less hours than sculpture or composing. Maybe architecture is more outward than poetry. Maybe not.
One of the problems with quantifying artists' and scientists' work is that it is deceptively similar to play. Dedicated artists and scientists are often literally working all their awake hours during their formative years, because they enjoy it more than anything else. They care a lot less about wages than others, they attend events only if they seem relevant to their work, they travel far and wide to get to the best masters and points of reference.
Then at a certain point, families, employees, mortgages or other responsibilities kick in and the perspective changes, but if they did the proper work as young, it doesn't matter: there is a huge fund of ideas and experience to mine.
posted by mumimor at 3:34 PM on March 30


a chart that broke down how James Deen gets laid so much

That would be a ruler, not a pie chart.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:15 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Not taking self-reported anecdotes as gospel truth is exactly what skepticism is.

In historical studies, these "self-reported anecdotes" are what we call primary sources. And skepticism involves testing hypotheses, not simply rejecting them.

And there is a massive difference between understimating the amount of calories consumed and the amount of hours set aside for work. I could provide you with a pretty decent breakdown of my average day, and there are patterns of work I do. On the whole, it would be accurate enough for this sort of project, because whether I actually do creative work three hours per day or two and a half and then daydream for half an hour doesn't affect my output in the same way that miscalculating calories effects weight.

But your skepticism was rooted in the idea that this is some woo nonsense suggesting that accomplishment is based in a "cultural bias" toward working hard. But that's simply not a presumption in the creative professions -- instead, there is a lot of presumption that one must wait to be struck by inspiration. This isn't universal, of course, but it is common enough. Additionally, these charts don't read as a "work hard" tract -- I'm surprised at how short the work day is for some of the people listed. Instead, it seems to show that accomplishment can involve an established domestic and social routine, and that it is possible to create masterpieces while also working a second job, even if it interrupts your workflow. It also shows that different people have wildly different schedules, some working for a few hours early in the day, some lying in bed after their partner has gone to sleep wrestling with questions.

I mean, sure, be skeptical. None of this might be true. Darwin might have dozed off immediately rather than solved problems late at night. But your skepticism didn't simply question whether the reportage was accuate, it made conclusions about the lessons we can draw from this, and the reasoning for doing it, that I simply don't share, and I'm sorry if i asked you to show your homework, but the truth is, as a skeptic, I'm a little tired of cynicism passing itself off as skepticisim, and your comment seemed an example of that.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:25 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


I've never read Trollope, but I do enjoy his schedule, which did involve a day job.

Amusingly, that entry is from the blog-turned-book from which the FPP's poster's data is derived.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:28 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


"Idleness". That about sums up the majority of my day.
posted by Redfield at 4:29 PM on March 30


Oh, I just remembered another one that I've always loved. Here's Machiavelli's accounting of how his days were spent in the days after he was imprisoned, tortured, and exiled from his home, forced to find creative ways to get by; I find it rather inspiring:
"And what my life is like, I will tell you. I get up in the morning with the sun and go to a wood of mine that I am having cut down, where I stay for two hours to look over the work of the past day, and to pass time with the wood­cutters, who always have some disaster on their hands either among themselves or with their neighbors...

"When I leave the wood, I go to a spring, and from there to an aviary of mine. I have a book under my arm, Dante or Petrarch, or one of the minor poets like Tibullus, Ovid, and such. I read of their amorous passions and their loves; I remember my own and enjoy myself for a while in this thinking. Then I move on along the road to the inn; I speak with those passing by; I ask them news of their places; I learn various things; and I note the various tastes and different fancies of men. In the meantime comes the hour to dine, when I eat with my company what food this poor villa and tiny patrimony allow. Having eaten, I return to the inn; there is the host, ordinarily a butcher, a miller, two bakers. With them I become a rascal for a while, playing at cricca and tric-trac, from which arise a thousand quarrels and countless abuses with insulting words, and most times we are fighting over a penny and yet we can be heard shouting from San Casciano. Thus involved with these vermin I scrape the mold off my brain and I satisfy the malignity of this fate of mine, as I am content to be trampled on this path so as to see if she will be ashamed of it.

"When evening has come, I return to my house and go into my study. At the door I take off my clothes of the day, covered with mud and mire, and I put on my regal and courtly garments; and decently reclothed, I enter the an­cient courts of ancient men, where, received by them lovingly, I feed on the food that alone is mine and that I was born for. There I am not ashamed to speak with them and to ask them the reason for their actions; and they in their humanity reply to me. And for the space of four hours I feel no boredom, I forget every pain, I do not fear poverty, death does not frighten me. I deliver myself entirely to them."
posted by koeselitz at 7:57 PM on March 30 [13 favorites]


Hard work + naps.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:13 PM on March 30


I do that 5 am to 6 pm commute/work thing five days a week, and live in a squeezed apartment where the TV is on every night, and I'm too tired to concentrate anyway. Most of the 90,000 word first draft I wrote between February and November of last year was written during my lunch break during the work week. That wasn't even a full hour every day...it took about 15 minutes to leave the office, get lunch, get to my writing place, then get back to work. I sometimes got a couple hours early Saturday and Sunday mornings, before anyone else was up, and on holidays as well.

The most important thing is to sit down and do it. Any amount of time is a win.
posted by lhauser at 8:14 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


I'm kinda surprised by how much these schedules remind me of software development. I think it's pretty typical for independent devs to wake up early, do some freelancing throughout the day, do focused work for stretches lasting several hours, stay up until absurd hours of the night, and rinse and repeat after 5-8 hours of sleep. The trick to be learned from these schedules, I think, is to align your artistic pursuits with your sources of income; even when he wasn't composing, Mozart probably gained a lot from teaching and performing, which fed into his compositional skills and vice versa. Can't really do that when you're filing TPS reports for 10 hours a day and trying to kickstart your music career with the rest of your time.
posted by archagon at 9:15 PM on March 30


> "Also notably lacking from this list of "how geniuses spend their time": Primary responsibility for childcare, 15-20 years per child."

I'd love to see Bach's schedule for this reason. He had, what, 10 kids, or two times that if you also count the ones that died young? Plus the teaching, the kapellmeistering, and all the other non-compositional duties he had to perform.
posted by archagon at 9:57 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Here's someone they forgot: Hunter S. Thompson

3:00 p.m. rise
3:05 Chivas Regal with the morning papers, Dunhills
3:45 cocaine
3:50 another glass of Chivas, Dunhill
4:05 first cup of coffee, Dunhill
4:15 cocaine
4:16 orange juice, Dunhill
4:30 cocaine
4:54 cocaine
5:05 cocaine
5:11 coffee, Dunhills
5:30 more ice in the Chivas
5:45 cocaine, etc., etc.
6:00 grass to take the edge off the day
7:05 Woody Creek Tavern for lunch-Heineken, two margaritas, coleslaw, a taco salad, a double order of fried onion rings, carrot cake, ice cream, a bean fritter, Dunhills, another Heineken, cocaine, and for the ride home, a snow cone (a glass of shredded ice over which is poured three or four jig­gers of Chivas)
9:00 starts snorting cocaine seriously
10:00 drops acid
11:00 Chartreuse, cocaine, grass
11:30 cocaine, etc, etc.
12:00 midnight, Hunter S. Thompson is ready to write
12:05-6:00 a.m. Chartreuse, cocaine, grass, Chivas, coffee, Heineken, clove cigarettes, grapefruit, Dunhills, orange juice, gin, continuous pornographic movies.
6:00 the hot tub-champagne, Dove Bars, fettuccine Alfredo
8:00 Halcyon
8:20 sleep

Source: Carroll, E. Jean (2011-10-04). HUNTER: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S. Thompson (Kindle Locations 196-221).
posted by wcfields at 10:33 PM on March 30 [12 favorites]


The rigid schedules of the great artists and scientists are the reason behind their 'genius.'

Wait, what? No. While certainly hard, consistent work is necessary *even for those with tremendous natural gifts,* to imply that you or I could compose at the same level as Beethoven or Mozart if we simply stuck to a similar schedule is... probably not so true.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:08 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


An oldie from a former Mefite:

The Republican Gay Agenda
as per Jeff Gannon/Jeff Guckert, Ted Haggard, Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Bob Allen, Glenn Murphy Jr., etc.
8:00 a.m. Wake up. Wonder where you are.

8:01 a.m. Realize you are laying on 100% Egyptian cotton sheets of at least ‘300-count,’ so don’t panic; you’re not slumming.

8:02 a.m. Realize you are actually in your own bed in Dupont Circle (for a change). Wake stranger next to you and tell him you are late for work, so you won’t be able to cook breakfast for him. Mutter ‘sorry’ as you help him look for his far-flung underwear. You realize that you tore his boxers off him last night, so you ‘loan’ him a pair of tighty-white briefs, but not the new 2Xist ones because you never intend to see him again.

8:05 a.m. Tell the stranger, whose name eludes you, ‘It was fun. I’ll give you a call,’ as you usher him out the door, avoiding his egregious morning-breath.

8:06 a.m. Crumple and dispose of the piece of paper with his telephone number on it when you get to the kitchen.

8:07 a.m. Make a high-protein breakfast shake while watching CNN. Wonder if the stories you’ve heard about Anderson Cooper are true. Decide they must be.

8:30 a.m. Black or grey suit? Decide to go with black, the only shirt that is clean and the ubiquitous red-striped rep tie.

8:45 a.m. Climb into BMW, trying not to look too much like Barbie driving one of her accessories, as you pull out of your underground parking. Chanel or Armani sunglasses? Go with Armani. Save the Chanel for Rehobeth this weekend.

9:35 a.m. Stroll into The Russell Senate Office Building.

9:36 a.m. Close door to office and call best friend and laugh about the guy who spent the night at your condo. Point out something annoying about best friend’s boyfriend but quickly add ‘It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, just as long as you love him.’

10:15 a.m. Leave office, telling your secretary you are ‘meeting with some of your boss’s constituents.’ Pretend not to notice her insubordinate roll of the eyes (or the cloying ‘poem’ she has tacked to her cubicle wall).

10:30 a.m. Hair appointment for highlights and trim. Purchase Aveda anti-humectant pomade.

11:30 a.m. Run into personal trainer at gym. Pester him about getting you ‘Human Growth Hormones.’ Spend 30-minutes talking to friends on your cell phone. Cardio for 30-minutes; lift weights for 20.

12:50 p.m. Tan. Schedule back-waxing in time for Saturday party where you know you will end up shirtless.

1:05 p.m. Pay trainer for anabolic steroids and schedule a workout. Shower, dry and dress while taking ten minutes to knot your red-striped rep tie while you check-out your best friend’s boyfriend undress with the calculation of someone used to wearing a ‘g-string thong’ and having dollars stuffed in his crotch.

1:40 p.m. Meet someone for whom you only know his waist, chest and penis size from Manhunt for lunch at the ‘hot, new restaurant.’ Because the maître d’ recognizes you from the The Crew Club, you are whisked past the Christian heterosexual couples who have been waiting patiently for a table since 1:00 p.m.

2:30 p.m. ‘Dessert at your place.’ Find out, once again, people lie on Manhunt.

3:33 p.m. Make your way to Capitol Hill. Make sure the senator for whom you are an aide votes ‘lock-step’ against your personal interests.

5:00 p.m. Take a disco-nap to prevent facial wrinkles from being so ‘terribly witty.’

6:00 p.m. Open a fabulous new bottle of Pinot Grigio.

6:47 P.M. Bake Ketamine for the weekend. Test recipe. Call ‘Juan’ to score some ‘X’ and ‘White Lady’ (really, just for friends) tomorrow before heading to Delaware for the weekend.

7:00 P.M. Go to Abercrombie & Fitch and announce in a loud voice, ‘Over! So way over!’

7:40 P.M. Stop looking at the A&F photographic displays and the ‘hottie’ retail-boys and go to ‘cool store’ to shop for a new bathing suit (“Does this make me look fat?”) for the weekend in Rehobeth.

8:30 p.m. Light dinner with ‘catty’ homosexual friends at a restaurant you will be ‘over’ by the time it gets its first review in the ‘Washington Blade.’

10:30 p.m. Cocktails at JR’s, trying to avoid alcoholic queens who can’t navigate a crowd with a Stoli in a cheap plastic cup. Get plastered. Invite one of the alcoholic queens home with you.

12:00 a.m. ‘Nightcap at your place.’ Find out that people lie in bars, too.”

Rinse-and-repeat.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:36 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


The rigid schedules of the great artists and scientists are the reason behind their 'genius.'

A necessary cause, of course, but not sufficient. You must cut and carry and stack firewood to build a blaze, but you also need a spark.
posted by pracowity at 11:57 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Like the man said, some people work very hard and yet they never get it right.
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:05 AM on March 31


"We go to the office, we're there, we're in a room together," Joel adds. "We take naps, but, you know, the important thing is that we're at the office, should we be inspired to actually write something."

Joel Coen on the writing process.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:17 AM on March 31


Moreover, there's also editorial bias in the selection of creatives: where are all the women and people of colour, for example (apart from Maya Angelou)? Where's Sylvia Plath, who reportedly got up early in the morning to work for a brief period because her domestic duties kept her busy during the day?

For each Mozart there is a Nannerl.
posted by sukeban at 5:48 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


5:45 cocaine, etc., etc.
6:00 grass to take the edge off the day
7:05 Woody Creek Tavern for lunch-Heineken, two margaritas, coleslaw, a taco salad, a double order of fried onion rings, carrot cake, ice cream, a bean fritter, Dunhills, another Heineken, cocaine, and for the ride home, a snow cone (a glass of shredded ice over which is poured three or four jig­gers of Chivas)


To me the most amazing part of this routine is that he could eat so much after all that coke.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:17 PM on March 31


Great link. Thanks, Whelk.
posted by homunculus at 9:20 PM on March 31


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