How to be a Writer (in Five Easy Steps)

Writing is easy. Just follow these steps, clap your hands, do a little dance, spend the next 1000-5000 hours working on the next great American novel. Continue reading →

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How to Keep Notebooks

My apartment is littered with the carcasses of notebooks. Some are full, some half-full, and in a drawer in my desk I keep several pristine books of different sizes awaiting their own ravishing.

If you’re a creative, and you don’t bother with minimalism, ¬†you probably have a similar dark corner of your home where blank paper stares at you in expectation. It’s just who we are, and if you’re like me, the white expanses can sometimes raise up a sea of anxiety. And yet you buy more paper.

To “keep” a journal sounds almost domestic, like keeping up appearances. The idea of housekeeping comes to mind. The most accurate analogy is to keeping a pet: if you feed your journal, it will reward you with a form of companionship and insight.

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On Keeping a Journal as a Creative

We don’t often discuss this, but ideas have to come from somewhere. As creative workers, we like to imagine that they bubble up from the aether, or from the bottom of a gin tonic. If we’re more honest, we discuss ideas in terms of observations, of memories and experiences. But even in that case, the creative process happens somewhere in the back of your mind, behind curtains in a place closed off to us. The best most of us can do is notice where the ideas start, and for many creatives, that place is in the pages of a journal.

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