Ingres – Luigi Cherubini & the Muse of Lyric Poetry (1842)

Habit is a great deadener” wrote Samuel Beckett in Waiting For Godot.

But establishing a set routine doesn’t always have to be mechanical or tedious.

There’s a difference between a habit that is imposed upon you and one that you have some control over.

I have learnt the truth of this from setting the modest goal of keeping this blog alive. It’s not that I always have a brilliant idea or endless flashes of inspiration (chance would be a fine thing!) but I’ve come to recognize the value of simply putting something down.

Unexpressed thoughts have a nasty tendency to fester like untreated wounds – it’s best to get them out in the open even if in a relatively crude form.

Most writers of substance advocate the practice of setting aside some time on a daily basis and to go with the flow. The point of this is not that it will necessarily produce great art on a regular basis but it’s a habit of being which acknowledges the need to keep the creative juices flowing. Quality is not the goal. Ruthless editing comes after.

Unless you follow this advice, you can easily waste a lot of precious time procrastinating or waiting for inspiration to come. The muse is notoriously elusive and is not a friend of the desperate.

The right attitude and a trained mind do not supplant raw talent but habit sharpens the intellect and strengthens the mind’s capacity to put in the work necessary to complete anything of substance.