Links and articles about technology, design, and sociology. Written by Rian van der Merwe. Follow @RianVDM
To be creative, your most important tool is utter concentration
Mark Helprin offers up some great advice to writers in Skip the Paris Cafés And Get a Good Pen, but it’s advice that works just as well for all creative pursuits:
Your most important tools will be your honesty, labor, courage, practice, luck and utter concentration. […] More valuable than speed or being struck by what you think is lightning (and others usually do not) is concentration. When asked how he managed to come up with the calculus, surely one of the greatest achievements possible for the mortal mind, Newton replied, “I thought of nothing else.”
I love the writing style in this piece. For example, while expanding on his advice not to try to be Hemingway by writing in cafés all over Europe:
Literary skill, much less greatness, cannot be had with a pose, and exhibitionism extorts the price of failure. Also, have pity on the weary Parisians who have wanted only a citron pressé but have been unable to find a café where every single seat is not occupied by an American publicly carrying on a torrid affair with his moleskin.
When I grow up, I want to write like that.