When you can’t create you can work. - Henry Miller
Writing on Those In-Between Days
Akshay G

This is the first time this particular brand of echoing writing advice (slash stuff-making principle) has actually hit home with me. And, thinking about it, I suspect it’s just that this time, my brain heard it wrong enough.

I’ve recently started to get really into determining what kinds of work are good for what times of day — and what moods, and what places, and what contexts and tools and media and levels of exercise and kinds of sleep I’ve had and people I’ve talked to that day and stuff I read on tumblr.

And I’ve been reveling in the understanding that sometimes, this thing I want to make is wrong for this time of day. Or isn’t supposed to come out of the tool I’m using, or cannot be created in this particular place where I’m sitting.

(I can’t make myself work on this script this late in the evening; this drawing has to come out of a pencil, not a pen, or a tablet; for whatever reason, this comic furthers itself easiest at a coffee shop, into a shitty composition notebook, without any formal paneling, and certainly not in an order you can parse without a tangle of arrows)

But there are always other things to do, little minutiae and administrivia and dumb tasks that you have to do some time or else things start to, well, not collapse, but at least sag under their own weight. And the best times for that are those times when you can’t create — i.e., when you can’t put all your myriad ducks in a row to produce the conditions under which you can do your own version of good creative work.

You can tinker at sentences, delete paragraphs, prepare layouts, scan sketches, sort your notes, sort the files on your desktop, sort the objects on your actual desk, put things away, dust, make your bed, read, cook lunch, sit with your dog, go outside.

The work that permits creativity.

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