THE DAILY GRIND
Daily Routines is an inspiring little blog that reports on the daily routines of various artists, writers, thinkers and public figures. The site culls its short entries from biographies, interviews and printed sources.
Here’s the daily routine of writer Haruki Murakami:
When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4:00 am and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for 10km or swim for 1500m (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9:00 pm. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.
The Paris Review, Summer 2004
His mode of living consisted of daily visits to the British Museum reading-room, where he normally remained from nine in the morning until it closed at seven; this was followed by long hours of work at night, accompanied by ceaseless smoking, which from a luxury had become an indispensable anodyne; this affected his health permanently and he became liable to frequent attacks of a disease of the liver sometimes accompanied by boils and an inflammation of the eyes, which interfered with his work, exhausted and irritated him, and interrupted his never certain means of livelihood. “I am plagued like Job, though not so God-fearing,” he wrote in 1858.
Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx: His Life and Environment
When Bergman and I had last met, in 1996, during the opening in Stockholm of “The Bacchae,” Bergman compared his theatre work to carpentry, and said he was eager to lay down his tools. He thought the play would be his farewell to the theatre. (He had bid adieu to filmmaking more than ten years earlier, after his Academy Award-winning “Fanny and Alexander.”) He was looking forward to Fårö’s solitude. He does not like noise—“Quiet” signs are posted around the Dramaten when he’s at work. He does not like lateness: he positions himself outside the rehearsal hall at ten each morning in case the cast wants to fraternize, and rehearsals begin promptly at ten-thirty; lunch is at twelve-forty-five; work finishes at three-thirty. He does not like meeting new people or people in large groups. He does not like surprises of any kind. “When I’m in Stockholm, I’m longing every day for that island—for the sea, for nature,” he told me. “To listen to music. To write. To write without deadlines. When he was my age, my father—he was a clergyman—relearned Hebrew with a friend. They read Hebrew and wrote to each other in Hebrew. There are so many books I want to read. Difficult books. That’s what I intend to do and what I’m longing for.”
The New Yorker, May 31, 1999