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Daily Rituals: How Artists Work Hardcover – April 23, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (April 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307273601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307273604
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

From Booklist

Writers and artists are always asked about their process, including the crucial question, “How do you do meaningful creative work while also earning a living?” Currey set out to amass as much information as he could find about the routines “brilliant and successful” creators adopted and followed, and the result is a zestful survey of the working habits of “some of the greatest minds of the last four hundred years.” This zealous and judicious volume brims with quotes and fascinating disclosures about the vagaries of the creative life. Currey outs the habits of nearly 200 choreographers, comedians, composers, caricaturists, filmmakers, philosophers, playwrights, painters, poets, scientists, sculptors, and writers in a dizzying array that includes Benjamin Franklin, Henri Matisse, Nikola Tesla, Stephen King, Twyla Tharp, Federico Fellini, Ann Beattie, Gustav Mahler, and Toni Morrison. Here are early birds and night owls, the phenomenally rigorous and the nearly dysfunctional. George Balanchine thought things out while ironing. Maya Angelou writes sequestered in a “tiny, mean” hotel room. Marilynne Robinson confesses, “I really am incapable of discipline.” Currey’s compendium is elucidating and delectable. --Donna Seaman

More About the Author

Mason Currey was born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. His writing has appeared in Slate, Print, and Metropolis, where he was an editor for six years. He lives in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work reminded me of that book which I loved.
Terri J. Rice
I recommend this clever little mini-bio work to anyone who likes eating potato chips or M&M's or, who just likes to feel good about their own efforts.
R L Phares
Not only did I find this book an enjoyable read, but a very motivating one as well.
Alain B. Burrese

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Terri J. Rice TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have a pocket size book by Thomas Craven titled: Famous Artists and their Models. In it are the stories of the various artists and their muses. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work reminded me of that book which I loved.

This is a collection of various types of artists- musician, painter, writer, philosopher, scientist- and just what it is that makes them work well.

It would be not surprising to know that Truman Capote was a "completely horizontal author, 'I can't think unless I'm lying down, either in bed or stretched out on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy.'"

Alice Munro kept her writing a secret, writing when her oldest daughter was in school and her younger taking a nap. If she were interrupted by a neighbor during this time she simply visited with the neighbor. All her writing happened in snatched time.

Charles Schulz drew every single strip himself without the aid of an assistant- six daily strips and a Sunday page totaling 17,897 strips. He did it by being regular- seven hours a day, five days a week. Rising at daybreak, showering, shaved, woke his children, drove them to school in the family station wagon stopping to pick up the neighbor's children too, and finally home to begin his work. Lunch was almost always a ham sandwich and a glass of milk in the studio working until 4PM when the kids would return from school.

This is fascinating to read of Flannery O'Connor, Chuck Close, Herman Melville, N.C. Wyeth, Le Corbusier- 161 in all! Ludwig van Beethoven could not start work until he had his coffee- made by himself- from 66 beans per cup-exactly counted out.
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88 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Michael on August 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey (Editor)

This book is a hard one to review because of what it is. This is a meticulously researched work on the work habits of writers, composers, artists and other creative types. He pulls this information from existing sources, biographies, autobiographies and personal journals. If you are looking for this type of detailed information, than this book easily could merit a five star review. Currey does a great job presenting this information, presumably sifting through mounds of notes, interviews and books to capture the essence of the artists work habits. There are almost 30 pages of footnotes for this book. I took a lot of notes while reading this book and I will post the writing life tidbits out on my twitter feed as #authorfacts in the next few weeks.

In a purely unscientific assessment of these habits, I can present to you a summary of what I learned here:

Artists work first thing in the morning to get it out of the way early so they can go about their day. 113 out of the 161 artists profiled (or 70.2% of them) began work in the morning, and many of the the late-rising artists also began work as one of their first activities of the day in the afternoon or night time, but the overwhelming majority of artists woke in the morning and got to work within 2 hours of waking.

Most of them followed a strict daily work schedule working for a set number of hours, (typically anywhere from 3 to 6 hours) or until they hit a goal word count (usually 1000 to 1500 words).

Many artists drank or smoked to excess, all ultimately having a negative impact on their work. Another popular excess: coffee.
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69 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Richard Staats on April 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a fabulous book! It was a diligent work of love by Mr. Currey over a decade of research and writing.

The key take away for me was that all of these 166 very productive, very creative folks had routines. They were disciplined in their approaches, and they left lasting legacies.

In working with younger artists (and the occasional middle aged artist), I often hear the lament, "I can't produce art on a schedule! The Muse must move me!" This widely held misconception is probably why the word "starving" is so often associated with artists. :-D As moSt musicians will tell you, a knowledge of music theory enhances results.

I love this book. I am ordered several copies for the course I teach on engendering creativity.

Well done!

In service,

Rich
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85 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Linda J. Schiller-Hanna VINE VOICE on March 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am a writer. Not as prolific as I wish, but still have published a few things. ( Relieving the Burden of Self on Kindle). I have huge issues with discipline and have struggled all my life with getting "down to it." Therefore, I grabbed this book like a life raft the minute I spotted it. Am I glad I did!
I decided to put a number system on each selection to help myself when I go back over it (as I KNOW I will!), for inspiration.
1 is ...ideas I'd never use. 5 is for ideas that seem absolutely perfect for me. I have done tons of underlining on many passages for
multiple reasons. There are "zingers" on nearly every page! (If a book makes me underline, its definitely worth owning.) That's why I buy most books. I can't underline library books.
One idea that was extremely helpful is by Morton Feldman: "...after you write a little bit, stop and then copy it. Because while
you're copying it, you're thinking about it, and its giving you other ideas." He learned this from John Cage. This is a system I will adopt at once!
The book is fun to read: partly history, part biography, part entertainment, but mostly inspirational.
I know that reading Daily Rituals will likely become part of my own Daily Ritual....so I can finally get down to the business
of writing...which is why I got this in the first place.
I think many people would enjoy it, whether or not they were writers, artists, musicians, poets, or movie directors....it provides a voyeur's eye showing the way many different types of people handle self-management.
A truly joyful book!
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