“My working process is no doubt much the same as yours and the same as many other people. The artistic process seems to be mythologized quite a lot into something far greater than it actually is. It is just hard labor… As anyone who actually writes knows, if you sit down and are prepared, then the ideas come. There’s a lot of different ways people explain that, but, you know, I find that if I sit down and I prepare myself, generally things get done.”—Nick Cave
1) “My feed (full of people I admire) is mostly just a loud, stupid, sad place… I think I’m following the right people, I’m just seeing the worst side of them while they’re stuck in an inhospitable environment. […] Christopher Alexander made a great diagram, a spectrum of privacy: street to sidewalk to porch to living room to bedroom. I think for many of us Twitter started as the porch—our space, our friends, with the occasional neighborhood passer-by. As the service grew and we gained followers, we slid across the spectrum of privacy into the street.”
2) “I have found that my greatest frustrations with Twitter come not from people who are being nasty — though there are far too many of them — but from people who just misunderstand. They reply questioningly or challengingly to a tweet without reading any of the preceding or succeeding tweets that would give it context, or without reading the post that it links to. They take jokes seriously — Oh Lord do they take jokes seriously. And far too often they don’t take the time to formulate their responses with care and so write tweets that I can’t make sense of at all. And I don’t want to have to deal with all this. I just want to sit here on the porch and have a nice chat with my friends and neighbors.”
3) “Why do we give people such access to us? Why do we read what every random asshole says two seconds after we post anything? We allow people access to us 24/7. We’re always in public, constantly checking an anonymous comment box, trying to explain ourselves to everyone, and trying to win unwinnable arguments with strangers who don’t matter in our lives at all.”
“First of all, don’t worry about the money. Love the process. You don’t know when it’s gonna happen. Louis C.K. started hitting in his 40s; he’d been doing it for 20 years. And don’t settle. I don’t want to ever hear, “It’s good enough.” Then it’s not good enough. Don’t ever underestimate your audience. They can tell when it isn’t true. Also: Ignore your competition. A Mafia guy in Vegas gave me this advice: “Run your own race, put on your blinders.” Don’t worry about how others are doing. Something better will come.”—Joan Rivers
New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones recently compiled a series of four playlists on Spotify of “perfect” songs: vol 1, vol 2, vol 3, vol 4, vol 5. Among the songs found on the playlists are Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blue Moon by Elvis, Pony by Ginuwine, Tranmission by Joy Division, Tennis Court by Lorde, No Scrubs by TLC, and Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin. The playlists are also available on Rdio, courtesy of my friend Matt: vol 1, vol 2, vol 3, vol 4, and vol 5.
“I have been saying for a while that creativity has taken the place of salvation and divine grace, which have lost credibility with the wane of religious faith. It has become the secular equivalent of hope in the afterlife. And in the process the whole phenomenon of creativity has become mystified, as behooves a concept that people use to reassure themselves about the future.”—Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, quoted in “The Cult Of Creativity”
“An artist of any sort… you must not put down the man before you. It’s like putting down the guy who built the ladder you’re standing on. Without him, you’re standing on the floor. With him, naturally you’re above him, because he’s holding you on his shoulders. You devour his stuff. You eat it up. And then you move one step higher. A lot of cartoonists, I’ll take all the originality they’ve got, and all their ideas, and swallow them, and then I’ll try to move one step further. That doesn’t mean I could’ve done it without their influence or their help. Because, eventually, some guy’s going to be standing on my shoulders…”—Shel Silverstein, in a wonderful interview with Studs Terkel
Mise en place is a French cooking term that means “everything in place.” It’s used to refer to the way chefs will have all of their ingredients organized and ready to go before they start cooking. (Obviously, it’s an idea that applies to other types of work.)
Maybe you have a hard time getting to work because you really haven’t taken the time to figure out what materials you need, and you don’t have them ready-to-hand. They shouldn’t be “organized” in the sense of “visually organized.” One’s studio should be definitely be “messy,” but only in the sense that everything is where it’s most useful. If papers everywhere on the floor makes working easier right now, because you need to constantly refer to them, then they should stay there. So you need first to get the material conditions in place, before you can work.