Casey N. Cep over at the Pacific Standard writes an interesting piece about the “Myth” of the artist’s creative routine, and why they shouldn’t be looked at so closely:
It is not only the routine of any of these artists that made them successful. Not many of them even follow the routines they offer. Their creative lives are all more complicated, more disordered than the bullet points or time stamps they detail in one-off interviews. And even if they devotedly followed their own procedures, then it would be still odd to reduce the mysterious beauty of their work to these obvious patterns of waking and sleeping and typing.
She goes on to note that any of these routines could have been a result of something else, or a cause of something far more negative than their creativity (excessive alcohol use leading to cirrhosis, for example).
We agree, but only to a point: sure, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creativity, and you aren’t going to become the next Albert Einstein because of the shampoo you use. But we can learn a lot from these geniuses, if we know how to apply them to our own lives. Alan Turing’s messy desk isnt’ necessarily something to strive for, but it probably won’t hurt, either.
So the next time you read about the habits of a creative genius (which we often write about here on Lifehacker), remember to look at their habits with the right frame of mind. Hit the link for the full article.