“Genius is 1 Percent Inspiration and 99 Percent Perspiration.”
– Thomas Edison
Good morning from the Writing Cave, AKA my office, where I have been spending an extraordinary amount of time this week. When it is cold and gray outside, as it has been this past week, being here feels like a respite and a cocoon from the elements. In fact, during the winter, staying in my office doesn’t really feel like work at all.
Despite the fact that I call my office the Writing Cave, I’ve put a lot of work into making my writing space feel like a ‘sacred space.’ All of my books – the ones I’ve written and the ones I love—are in my office. I’ve painted it a warm creamy white, and I have a tree in one corner near a comfortable couch where I read and sometimes, when I’m writing by hand, write.
Writing is the act of sitting down and composing sentences, but really, it is about much more than that. Your whole life – how you slept, what you ate or drank, your relationships with others, your financial situation — feeds into what happens when you sit down to write. A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to make changes to my life so that it conformed to writing. I left New York City, where I had been living for years, so that I could have a bigger office, one that could accommodate my books. Recently, I stopped drinking wine (and all alcohol) during the week, as it had begun to interfere with my ability to concentrate in the morning. Sometimes it is important to step back and make an assessment: What is serving my writing? What is hindering it? What can I do to support my efforts? What inspires me?
If you are looking for information about writing and how to make a career of writing, I recommend this book from Poets & Writers. It is full of information that is essential to making your writing sustainable. It is out April 7th, but you can pre-order it and have it on pub date.
Last Monday morning, I came down to the kitchen feeling totally uninspired and I found this bowl of lemons in a bowl from the south of France. The beauty of the colors and the scent of citrus changed my mood and made me want to go to my desk.
Reading books that inspire me also motivates me to write. Right now, I’m reading a lot of books for my next New York Times Book Review column, but I’m also reading this book about Nordic Witchcraft:
And here is a stack of books I’d like to read (and some of them I have already) taken from Twitter:
The Ancestor is going to be published in 5 weeks and I’m starting to get excited!
It makes me wonder about how people discover new books. At the library? In a bookstore? Online? Listening to a podcast? How do you find new books?
Thank you, as always, for sharing my week. May you find inspiration in your life and work.